A research team at Dublin City University came up with a list of COVID-19 words and phrases in Irish to keep the Irish-speaking community up to date during the pandemic. 

Editor’s note: Seachtain na Gaeilge (Week of Irish) is an international Irish language festival, the largest annual celebration of Ireland’s native language and culture in Ireland and around the world. Everyone is given the opportunity to enjoy the Irish language by participating in the festival, both native speakers, learners and those with a few words, by providing a calendar of entertaining and fun events for all interests and age groups. Find out more about their online events here.

The Gaois research team in Dublin City University (DCU) led the project, in Nov 2020, to address concerns among the Irish-speaking community that official COVID-19 communications in Ireland were taking place almost exclusively through English. 

The researchers have described the new online vocabulary collection as a descriptive collection rather than a prescriptive collection, meaning that there are often multiple Irish terms listed for one English coronavirus-related word. 

For instance, both víreas corónach and coróinvíreas are listed as acceptable translations for coronavirus, while clutharú, cocúnú, and neadú are all acceptable Irish translations of cocooning. 

Some words, however, did not have any Irish translations at all, meaning that the Gaois research team had to consult with Irish language body Foras na Gaeilge to create new coronavirus-related words, including beannú uillinne (elbow bump) and Covid marthanach (Long COVID). 

An bhfaca sibh an cnuasach nua téarmaí COVID-19 ar Gaois? Tá téarmaí agus samplaí á dtiomsú againn le roinnt míonna anuas. Bhfuil aon rud fágtha ar lár againn? https://t.co/naJtyOBQKr pic.twitter.com/J6V4gBNxvP

— Gaois (@gaois_ie) November 11, 2020

Dr. Gearóid Ó Cleircín, the project's principal investigator, told Silicon Republic that the research team is still welcoming public submissions for new pandemic-related words as Gaeilge. 

"We believe that the COVID-19 collection is pretty comprehensive as it stands, but we’re also aware that we may have overlooked certain terms or concepts that should have been included and we’d welcome suggestions from the public," he told Silicon Republic. 

The Irish language project was launched in May by DCU's COVID-19 Research and Innovation Hub, which aimed to combat problems created by the coronavirus pandemic. 

* Originally published in Nov 2020.

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