Bought a t-shirt, wondering what it says

I bought a t-shirt at The Celtic Store in Dallas, it had a cool woodcut of people playing and dancing around a campfire in the woods with some kind of demon or devil, and the text above and below the picture say this…

“Bhi siad ag damhsa agus seinm ceoil chomh fiain gur dhamhsaigh an diabhal port”.

Some of the Is and As have accent marks above them, but I don’t have Character Map installed on this box so I can’t duplicate them here.

“dhamhsaigh an diabhal port” seems to mean “dancing to the devil’s tune”
“fiain” means “wild”

I looked here:

I also tried to look at which is a list of Irish phrases and translations, but the page wasn’t accessible.

What language is that?

It’s either Scottish Gaelic or Irish. I did do a lot of messing around with online dictionaries, but didn’t find them much use and couldn’t reply without a sensible answer to give. Now the question has come down to what language it is, I feel OK to put in my 2p worth.:slight_smile: So that much is definite. What follows is not so definite, just stray words that I happen to know/remember.

FWIW I’d agree with Tamsu’s answer. And I’d say that the first word “bhi” is the future tense of “to be” and “siad” is likely to be “they”, so it starts with "they will be doing something or other.

I’d be very surprised if “dhamsaigh” and “dhamsa” were not the same word, just different parts of the verb, and “ceoil” I don’t know, but the Scottish Gaelic word “ceol” means music. Oh, and “agus” should simply mean “and”. And, “seinm” could possibly mean to play an instrument, because “sein” means that in Scottish Gaelic, tho’ this could even be Irish (ie similar but different).

Of course, all this boils down to is people merrily dancing with music and instruments and a devil, which you knew from the picture anyway, so I suppose that’s a bit sad, really!

Would it be silly to suggest that you simply ask the people at the shop from which you bought it? And if they tell you, would you post it here, please? Anyway, I hope you get it translated somehow. Good luck.

As Tansu said, it’s Irish. I’m not 100% sure of this (of the second half anyway) but I’d read it as “they were dancing and playing music so wild that the devil danced a tune.”

Couldn’t it also be Welsh, Manx, Brittany, or one of the other Celtic tongues?

No, it’s Irish. Celyn (I’m guessing) would be able to tell if it were Welsh. Irish and Scottish are very close, so that it isn’t so easy to tell the difference. One clue would be the diacritics: where Irish uses a long “acute” accent mark, Scottish uses a “grave”. Manx is linguistically the same too, but uses exotic letters “k” and “w”. As for the translation, ruadh is spot on: “they were dancing and playing so wild that the devil danced a jig”.

My experience of Welsh is limited to the bi-lingual road signs there, and my Gaelic is similarly limited to place names on Ordinance Survey maps of the Scottish Highlands - and understanding neither. That said, the OP text does look very different from Welsh and does look superficially like Gaelic.

The Goidelic languages (Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx) - are very different to the Brythonic languages (Welsh, Breton and Cornish), despite all six being part of the Celtic family. I’ve heard it said, though I can’t remember where/have no source/etc etc, that these two surviving branches of Celtic are as different as any two branches of any language family in the world. Welsh and Irish (for example) share some gramatical features, but their vocabularies are nothing at all alike. In other words you couldn’t possibly confuse the two, if you know even the basics of either one of them.

Scots Gaelic is easier to confuse with Irish, but there are enough differences in their spelling to tell them apart fairly easily. For example the “ag damhsa” in the OP would be “a’ dannsadh” in Scots Gaelic. My Scots Gaelic is absolute rubbish and my Irish isn’t all that either, but I can tell which of the two languages I’m looking at instantly.

Don’t ask me to explain Manx …

ruadh is quite right. You could mix up Irish and Scottish Gaelic with each other, not knowing them (as I don’t) but not with any of the others. Tho’ I’d suggest there are similarities in vocabulary. Random examples =my SDMB name “Celyn” (meaning “holly”) (Welsh) would be “Cuileann” (Scottish Gaelic), and “lake” would be “llyn” in Welsh and “linn” in Gaelic.

BTW, for the fun of it, I just took a quick look at an online Manx dictionary/language lesson, and I can report one major similarity, namely that even Lesson One involves learning how to announce that it’s a cold day!

Well, that’s a bit like “this is the highest hill in the state” (any higher and it would be a mountain). But it’s true that they are very different; the divergence between British and Irish dates to around 500 BC, I think.

It shouldn’t take long to explain that it’s exactly the same as Irish! :slight_smile:

I looked all these words up in my Irish dictionary (which has been sitting on my desk since an abortive attempt to learn Irish a few months ago) and came up with the following:

Bhi = past tense of ‘to be’
siad = they
ag = at
damhsa = dance, dancing
agus = and
seinm = playing
ceoil = music
chomh = as, so
fiain = wild, primitive, savage, riotous
gur = until
dhamhsaigh = dance
an = the
diabhal = devil
port = tune

Sounds like ruadh is pretty close to right.

C’red t’ou cheet er?

I just came up with a great T-shirt idea. How do you say “I’m with stupid” in gaelic?

I was SO tempted to find you a phrase that meant " I’m with that stupid Swiss guy" but I’m sure no-one would ever do a thing like that.

as a person with largely irish heritage who is, in small fits and starts, trying to learn the gwelguh (i know, i don’t remember how to spell it, see below…)

I can positively assert that you are all full of poop.

the phrase clearly means ‘oh, we can’t spell for shit, no one else can follow our spelling non-rules, tra la la la, we jsut like to dance, and a devil’
(i’ts a rule in the irish, that every statement has a mention of some diety or other…or the word ‘bless’…as in “ah, god and the devil bless yer shoes, lass, and it’s been so long since ye’ve blessed us with yer blessed presence, ah, god…” Which, in irish, goes someting like ‘shaaeen saign san, shayne, saahgin sagbin saigbhin sahin, wuh…’)

Thank you very much

You could say it as “Tá mé leis an t-amadán”. I think it loses something in the translation though :slight_smile:

Creidim - chonaic me clar telefise ina raibh daoine ag labhairt “Gaelg” agus bi me in ann iad a thuiscint go maith.

Don’t you find that you can understand Scots Gaelic fairly well too, though? All three of the Gaelics are to some degree mutually comprehensible. When I said “don’t ask me to explain Manx”, though, I meant its spelling peculiarities.

Sassenach Gaeilge Cymraeg
one amhain; aon un
two dhá dau
three trí tri
four ceithre pedwar
five cúig pump (pronounced “pimp”)
six sé chwech
seven seacht saith
eight ocht wyth
nine naoi naw
ten deich deg
hundred céad cant
fire tine tân
water uisce dwr
air aer awyr
earth talamh daear
sky neamh nef
sun grian haul
moon gealach lleauad
star realta seren
light solas golau
life beatha bywyd
birth breith genedigeath
death éag angau
human daonnai;duine dyn
man fear gwr
woman bean gwraig; benyw
head ceann pen
eye súil llygad
tooth déad dant
tongue teanga tafod
heart croí craidd
hand lámh llaw
foot troigh troed
I mé mi
thou tu ti
name ainm enw
father atháir tad
mother matháir mam
son mac mab
daughter iníon merch
brother deartháir brawd
sister deirfiúr chwaer
stone cloch carreg
tree crann pren
flower bláth blodeuyn
rain fearthainn glaw
night óiche nos