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An Mhaighdean Mhara

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Post March 02 2012, 16:27 PM
sandy12345
New Arrival
 
Posts: 1
Redwolf wrote:
Annabeth O'Hara wrote:Dia Dhaoibh :)

I sing this song all the time, and I was wondering if I could find out finally what it means! Thank you!

Is cosúil gur mheath tú nó gur thréig tú an greann
Tá an sneachta go freasach fá bhéal na mbeann'
Do chúl buí daite is do bhéilín sámh
Siúd chugaibh Mary Chinidh 's í 'ndiaidh an Éirne 'shnámh

A mháithrín mhilis duirt Máire Bhán
Fá bhruach an chladaigh 's fá bhéal na trá
Maighdean mhara mo mhaithrín ard
Siúd chugaibh Mary Chinidh 's í 'ndiaidh an Éirne 'shnámh

Tá mise tuirseach agus beidh go lá
Mo Mháire bhroinngheal 's mo Phádraig bán
Ar bharr na dtonna 's fá bhéal na trá
Siúd chugaibh Mary Chinidh 's í 'ndiaidh an Éirne 'shnámh


Before the translation, some background:

The Mary Cinidh referred to in the song is a Merrow (or Selkie, as they call them in Scotland). There are many stories about the seal people in both Irish and Scottish folklore (in some of which, a person can hold one captive by stealing its skin...in others, the merrow can chose to remain on land as a human but, if she ever touches salt water, she'll be forced to return to the sea and never again walk on land.

In the back story to An Mhaighdean Mhara, Mary is the latter kind of merrow. Her little daughter Máire fell into the sea and, in rescuing her, Mary is forced to return again to her seal shape and never more return to land to be with her family. In the song, her husband and daughter call out to her in grief and shock as she returns to the sea.

"Éirne" may refer to Loch Erne, or it may refer to the Atlantic Ocean (it is an old word for the Atlantic, so it's hard to tell which is meant).

BTW, you've got some odd/misspelled words in there.

Here's the translation of the song as I know it:

"It seems you're declining or that you've forgotten the humor
The snow is pouring at the mouth of the fords,
Your yellow-speckled back and your gentle little mouth,
Thus is Mary Chinidh, after swimming the Éirne."

"O my dear mother," said fair Máire,
From the brink of the strand and the mouth of the beach.
"My beloved mother is a merrow!
Thus is Mary Chinidh, after swimming the Éirne."

"I'm tired and will be till day,
My bright-breasted Máire and my fair Pádraig.
Over the waves and under the mouth of the beach,
Thus is Mary Chinidh, after swimming the Éirne.

Redwolf


wow finally i've found the meaning of this beautiful song! thank you very much!

 
Post March 04 2012, 17:10 PM
Annabeth O'Hara
Getting Addicted
 
Posts: 50
I've listened to those videos, but cannot figure out what you mean by Tapping their Rs. Is there anyway of explaining?

Annabeth

Post March 04 2012, 18:08 PM
Breandán
Giostaire
 
Posts: 4409
Can you not hear a tap in the r in Mary of Mary Chinidh in the last line of An Mhaighdean Mhara? It is a slight d quality to the r.

Other words in which the tap is clear are freasach in the first verse , bhruach, trá, and mhara in the second verse, and bhroinngheal, and pádraig in the third verse.

Post March 04 2012, 18:54 PM
Redwolf
Ard-Banríon na Ráiméise
 
Posts: 57599
Annabeth O'Hara wrote:I've listened to those videos, but cannot figure out what you mean by Tapping their Rs. Is there anyway of explaining?

Annabeth


Try this, Annabeth:

First try saying the "r" in "Mary" the way you normally do. Feel how the middle of your tongue lifts and curves toward your palate?

Now, instead of that, try articulating that "r" by briefly tapping the tip of your tongue on the hard palate right behind your teeth, so it almost makes a "d" sound. That's known in classical singing as a "tipped 'r'," and is used to avoid sitting on that "rrrrrr" sound. It's also a sound that's quite common in Irish, and one that, as Breandán said, often distinguishes native speakers from learners (though a good learner will learn to emulate it, just as a good learner of French will learn to use the uvular "r").

Anyway, that's the sound we're talking about here. If you listen closely to the singers (all native speakers from Donegal), knowing what you're listening for, you'll hear it.

Redwolf

Post March 04 2012, 21:43 PM
Annabeth O'Hara
Getting Addicted
 
Posts: 50
Thanks, that's perfect.

:)

Post March 04 2012, 22:28 PM
Redwolf
Ard-Banríon na Ráiméise
 
Posts: 57599
Annabeth O'Hara wrote:Thanks, that's perfect.

:)


No prob! There are several sounds in Irish that we don't have in English (and vice versa, of course), and Breandán's right in that you can often tell a beginner, or an indifferent learner, by whether or not they make them correctly. If you listen closely to the recording he posted, some other differences you may note are that they pronounce "t" and "d" slightly differently than we do in English (the tongue is pressed against the top teeth instead of against the hard palate), that there is a different quality to the "l's" in some words, and that there are some gutterals (such as the "ch" in "sneachta"). These ladies all being from Donegal, you'll also hear a different, slightly nasal, quality to their broad "a's" (that's a feature of the dialect). Good learners will do their best to emulate these sounds, but some are less diligent about it than others.

Redwolf

Post March 05 2012, 1:12 AM
Annabeth O'Hara
Getting Addicted
 
Posts: 50
I'm definitely finding the guttural sounds to be the most frustrating right now. Then the 'r's, and then the fine tuning with ts, ds, and ls! But I'm very determined to work on that, because accents are just really important to me! :) Your tips, and others on here, have definitely gotten me to the next step though!

Go raibh míle maith agat :)

Post March 05 2012, 1:25 AM
Redwolf
Ard-Banríon na Ráiméise
 
Posts: 57599
Annabeth O'Hara wrote:I'm definitely finding the guttural sounds to be the most frustrating right now. Then the 'r's, and then the fine tuning with ts, ds, and ls! But I'm very determined to work on that, because accents are just really important to me! :) Your tips, and others on here, have definitely gotten me to the next step though!

Go raibh míle maith agat :)


The "ch" in sneachta is basically an aspirated "k":

Start by pronouncing "k" as in "king." Feel how your throat closes to make the sound?

Now try saying it without closing your throat all the way, letting some air escape. That's the sound of broad "ch" in Irish.

Redwolf

Post March 05 2012, 3:55 AM
Annabeth O'Hara
Getting Addicted
 
Posts: 50
Great! And you've said do the same thing with G to get a broad "gh"?

Post March 05 2012, 7:01 AM
Redwolf
Ard-Banríon na Ráiméise
 
Posts: 57599
Annabeth O'Hara wrote:Great! And you've said do the same thing with G to get a broad "gh"?


Yup! Voiced version of the same sound.

Redwolf


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