View Full Version : Irish Gaelic pronunciation?

Kenra Daniels
08-08-2011, 05:27 AM
Any native speakers here? I need the Irish word for unclean, or impure, in the sense of evil. A couple of sources gave me "neamhghlan", but Medievalist tells me that's simply dirty. I have a couple of pronunciation guides that mostly agree with each other, but a phonetic representation from someone who actually speaks Gaelic would be useful.

The usage is in present time, by a character born in the late 17th century. He lived in several different areas of Ireland, at different times since then, so variations for time period and locale won't matter a great deal.

Thanks in advance!

08-12-2011, 02:20 AM
Hi Kenra,

I'm not a native Irish speaker, but I live in Ireland and some of my friends have taught me some of the basic rules.

This looks like it should be pronounced 'nifflawn' - 'neamh' is 'nif' (like a rhyme to riff), the g looks silent and the 'lan' has a drawn out 'a' (a like in lawn, not like in snake). there is a 'twang' to it that is hard to describe (it's very subtle though), but i hope my description makes at least a little bit of sense.
i'll confirm this with my friend who went to a native 'as gailge' school. if she doesn't agree with my explanation, i'll let you know asap.

08-12-2011, 07:19 PM
Hey there, I just replied on your other thread. I'm a fluent speaker. That word would be pronounced nav-g-lan but with a bit of a h after the g. Nav gh -lan. But to be honest I have never heard it before, it sounds like a direct translation. A few options are salach, sal-ack which means dirty or lofa which means rotten.

Kenra Daniels
08-18-2011, 09:56 AM
Thanks for giving it a go, guys!

I needed this as a stage name for my character, a vampire pretending to be a human pretending to be a vampire. He's now a heavy metal musician, and really plays up the "Evil Vampire" angle.

After spending a little time on an Irish translation forum, a couple of people recommended Fear Dubh as a sort of euphemism for 'The Devil'. It fits the character's personality perfectly, and I've tentatively settled on the phrase as his stage name. If anyone has another suggestion, I'll definitely consider it.

Not knowing the language, much less the intricacies and nuances, I'm at a total loss. ;-P

08-18-2011, 10:03 AM
Dubh works well, actually; fear is "man/person."

There's a habit of assigning nick-names in Irish, that's current as well as ancient, so you'll often see someone who has dark hair, or a gloomy disposition, referred to as "Dubh."

Kenra Daniels
08-25-2011, 10:55 PM
Thanks, Medievalist!

The folks at the translation forum said Fear Dubh literally means Dark or Black Man (not referring to skin tone), and that in some areas it was often used as a euphemism for the devil, or to refer to an evil person. In that context, it would fit my character very well.

I also liked that the pronunciation, spoken by, and to, someone unfamiliar with the language, could be easily confused and interpreted as "Fire Dove". It allows for misunderstandings that could be fun.

Thanks again.