Foras na Gaeilge has just launched its new English-Irish dictionary, Focló “Our aim is to provide comprehensive coverage for every entry, illustrated with examples to give context to the Irish equivalents. As well as translations for the English content, the dictionary also contains sound files and grammatical information.” Those sound files provide Connacht, Munster and Ulster pronunciations of each Irish word, which is so wonderful I can barely believe it. A caveat: “The dictionary is being published on a phased basis, and the full content won’t be online until end-2014. The entries published in January 2013 consist of approximately 30% of the eventual content, however this range covers approximately 80% of general English usage.” But what’s there is very useful, and it’s well worth bookmarking. (Hat tip to Stan Carey.)


  1. That’s all very well, but it’s time the buggers returned the Book of Kells to Scotland.

  2. Perhaps they can try to work out a deal over the Stone of Scone. Assuming (which it’s probably not) that the Stone is the original Lia Fáil.

  3. Cool! Single-word lexemes include pronunciations in the three main dialects.

  4. The Stone? Sounds like a good swap to me.

  5. So is this a pun on folklore or an English word borrowed into Irish, or something else?

  6. @Gary: the similarity is striking, but my understanding has always been that the Irish word is derived from ‘focal’ (word).
    Having said that, I post to be schooled…

  7. Gary: Neither. It’s the regular Irish word for ‘dictionary, lexicon, vocabulary’. The root word focal ‘word’, is an old borrowing from Latin vocabulum.

  8. Gary: John Cowan beat me to it. However, my own source on the subject (Vendryes, Jacques. 1902. DE HIBERNICIS VOCABULIS QUAE A LATINA LINGUA ORIGINEM DUXERUNT, Klincksieck, Paris, page 143)claims that “focal”, while it is indubitably a latinism, is a loan from either Latin “vocabulum” or “vocula” blended with “vocalis”. Does anyone know of more recent scholarship on this particular word?

  9. You may also like the Irish speech synthesiser that my colleagues in the Phonetics and Speech Laboratory in Trinity College Dublin have developed: It has Gweedore (Donegal) and Connemara dialects; no Munster yet, but I think they’re working on it.
    dearieme: I don’t think we’ll be giving you (back?) the Book of Kells any time soon, but the next best thing is this really stunning book by Trinity’s Keeper of Manuscripts, Bernard Meehan, himself a Scot.
    Ad break over.

  10. Aha!

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