the phantom limb (curse or blessing?)


On speaking Irish.


I'm sure you know that there are two languages in Ireland: Irish, the native Gaelic language spoken since antiquity, and English, spoken as a result of centuries of English political dominance.


Both languages appear on Dublin street signs.

Am ar bith
Am ar bith / At any time.
Féach gach treo
Féach gach treo / Look both ways.
Críoch / End.

Meaisín ticéad
Meaisín ticéad / Ticket machine.
Ioc & Taispeain
Ioc & Taispeain / Pay & display.
Traffic signs


And all streets have two names, or two versions of the same name. (Streets in Dublin, like in the U.S., are named; this is one Western practice I truly wish the Japanese had adopted.)

Bóthar San Labhrás
Bóthar San Labhrás / St. Lawrence Road
Bóthar Dromchonnrach U.
Bóthar Dromchonnrach U. / Drumcondra Rd. Upr.


Occasionally one finds a sign only in Irish.

Dog poop
Cén sórt Úinéir Madra Tusa?


There are words from Irish which are used in English. One example is "Garda", the name of the police force. Unlike the street signs above, you don't see "Garda / Police" anywhere, just Garda. "Police" doesn't seem to be in use.


(I wonder whether Garda's insistence upon using a native Irish word is a manifestation of conservative nationalism. This would certainly be in keeping with the character of a police force. The Japanese police are generally right-wing as well.)

Garda lamp
A lamp at a Garda station.
Garda symbol
A Garda symbol on a patrol car.

そして逆に英語から入ってきてアイルランド語化した単語もある。例えばタクシーに乗りたいときは "Taxi" に乗っても良ければ "Tacsaí" に乗ってもよし。

And then there are hibernicized words borrowed from English as well. For example, when you want a lift in the city, you can flag down either a "taxi" or a "tacsaí".


And if you're driving, watch out for "rampaí" (ramps). Americans call these speed bumps. (To us, a ramp is what you climb to get on an airplane.)

The driver of this tacsaí is looking at me very suspiciously.
Americans also use ramps to execute death-defying leaps.