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May you meet a wizard that will mock your manly part
November 29, 2013 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Curse your loved ones in Old Irish.
posted by rtha (26 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
(Metafilter:) May you meet a Norseman that will find fault with your little book of poems!

Comrac fort fri Lochlannach inchrechfas do lebrán duán!
posted by bleep at 10:29 AM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fault is that it is a book, and not something useful like say, gold or a flaming rump of meat.

Finally I can curse my elders in the language of my even more elders!
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 AM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks, i will be sure and direct several of these to any ill mannered audience members at the Kenmare Choral Competition this weekend. I am sure they will not be Irish but there are folks attending from the UK and other parts of Europe.
posted by rmhsinc at 10:40 AM on November 29, 2013


Now I just need a pronunciation guide and I am all set.
posted by elizardbits at 10:45 AM on November 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


As a Norseman, I'm so going to satirize your hard cheese.
posted by The Whelk at 10:51 AM on November 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Good lord, just last night I was looking at this link-expired post from 2000 while searching for MadLibs templates. I wonder if this is the same thing, though one does call them 'mallacht' and the other 'maldacht'.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:51 AM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


May you meet a wizard that will mock your manly part


Too late.

*sigh*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:57 AM on November 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


That Alan Moore can be so mean.
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 AM on November 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


These should come with a warning, as they weaponised wit back then; IIRC one satirist's cursing so disfigured the face of Conchobor's intended that she died for shame.
posted by Abiezer at 11:08 AM on November 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, no inviting Anicent Irish to the Frair's lub roast then?
posted by The Whelk at 11:30 AM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is much fun in pronouncing these loudly and with enthusiasm.
posted by oddman at 11:35 AM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now I just need a pronunciation guide and I am all set.

You can try copying the insult into this site to hear a possible pronunciation: http://www.abair.tcd.ie/. I direct my myth students here when we talk about the Táin Bó Cúailnge, so we're not forced to discuss the story of "that guy who fought that other guy because of the woman who had the bull."

I should note that the Irish language confuses and frightens me, so this pronunciation engine could be giving you Old Klingon, for all I know.
posted by bibliowench at 11:37 AM on November 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Old Irish: A language that byte-encoded itself.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:37 AM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Old Irish curses are simply The Best! Thanks!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:42 AM on November 29, 2013


May you meet a wizard that will mock your manly part

Around here, we call that "Tuesday".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:45 AM on November 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Muilend inna Maldacht" -- for the purpose of evoking phonological similitude, would it be utterly incorrect to translate the appelation as "Malediction Mill"?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:00 PM on November 29, 2013


May you meet a defiant badger that will gnaw away at your desert.

So satisfying!
posted by BlueHorse at 12:10 PM on November 29, 2013


a flaming rump of meat

is that a thing or a characterization
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:59 PM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


> You can try copying the insult into this site to hear a possible pronunciation: http://www.abair.tcd.ie/.

Oh ho ho, if only it were that easy! That site works for modern Irish, which is bad enough; Old Irish is a whole different kettle of consonants. As this excellent site says:
The challenge of reading Old Irish orthography can be briefly stated: all the letters representing consonants have multiple phonemic values. The pronunciation of a letter is determined mainly by its position in relation to other letters in the same word, and in the case of initial letters, by the influence of preceding words.
An example of the delights that await the student is that you usually can't tell whether, say, a written d is lenited or not:
(Note that the lenited forms of “g, d, b, m” came to be written “gh, dh, bh, mh” in later Irish. Since these letter combinations were foreign to Latin, however, the writers of Old Irish apparently did not feel comfortable adopting them just yet. In any case, as native speakers of the language, they could usually automatically supply the lenited pronunciation from context.)
For instance, take the curse Comrac fort fri filid formtech memas do chride! (May you meet an envious poet that will break your heart). Old Irish filid 'poet' is written filí in modern Irish; the -d was actually lenited (-dh), which disappeared, lengthening the preceding i. The same goes for the d of chride; in modern Irish it's written chroí and pronounced KHREE—compare machree, a Hibernian term of endearment borrowed straight from mo chroí (earlier mo chridhe) 'my heart.' And it's been too long since my Old Irish studies for me to be able to tell you whether the -m- of comrac (the verbal noun of con.ric 'meets') is lenited (mh) or not.

> "Muilend inna Maldacht" -- for the purpose of evoking phonological similitude, would it be utterly incorrect to translate the appellation as "Malediction Mill"?

Actually, it's not only phonologically similar, it's etymologically correct; both maldacht and malediction are from Latin maledictio, and both muilend (a better OIr. spelling is mulenn; it's now muileann) and mill are from Latin molina.
posted by languagehat at 1:27 PM on November 29, 2013 [20 favorites]


Now I want to write an rpg where the magic system is based on this generator.

"May you meet an ancient alien that will shrivel your three-year-old dry heifer". Oh yeah, perfect for a game of clan building and raiding in ancient Ireland.
posted by happyroach at 1:59 PM on November 29, 2013


Languagehat, I suspect a phonetic rendering of what you're talking about may be called for. (I didn't get what anyone said about pronunciation until my Irish friend explained it as "we pronounce 'bh' like 'v'."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:24 PM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


my name is siobhan and no one in my family is Irish. my mom read my name in a novel and figured out the pronunciation via Ryan's Hope.

i finally found it was the bh and not just the b that made the V sound during college.
posted by sio42 at 4:29 PM on November 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


also may you meet an envious poet that will break your heart is the story of my life.

maybe I'm Irish after all...
posted by sio42 at 4:31 PM on November 29, 2013


Oh ho ho, if only it were that easy!

Stupid internet, forcing me to compete with people who actually know what they're talking about.

Seriously, thought, languagehat, that was fascinating. But I think I'll stick with Klingon.
posted by bibliowench at 4:45 PM on November 29, 2013


Wow, I didn't realize how mean I am. I went for "May you meet an old woman who will sell your lapdog."
posted by Anitanola at 7:24 PM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


These should come with a warning, as they weaponised wit back then

The Welsh did it to, like the time Taliesin made the bards make silly lip noises at the king.

Blerwm, blerwm!
posted by homunculus at 4:47 PM on November 30, 2013


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