Irish Word a Day - Lámh - Arm



With Article (Singular)

an lámh
the arm

Example Sentence

Tá mo lámh nimhneach.
My arm is sore.



Posted Nov 23 2016
Attachment: arm_lamh_HW.mp3


YoungSpoon wrote re: Irish Word a Day - Lámh - Arm
on Wed, Nov 23 2011 12:18

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but is arm not géige?

Dale D wrote re: Irish Word a Day - Lámh - Arm
on Wed, Nov 23 2011 18:20

That was my understanding, and lámh is "hand".  According to my online Irish dictionary, "hand" is "lámh" and "arm" is "géag", "lámh", or "armáil", although "armáil" is the verb "to arm" so I guess that one doesn't count.  I know in ancient Egyptian, the word for leg and foot were the same as it was considered all one appendage, so maybe this is a throwback to some ancient Egyptian thinking?  :o}

I knew "lámh" was "hand" because while I was in Ireland in the '70's, I asked someone how to propose marriage in Irish.  At first, they thought it would be "Bí sásta liom 's pós mé," "Be satisfied with me and marry me", but then they discovered the expression "Tabhair dom do lámh" "Give me your hand" (i.e. in marriage), so when I proposed to my wife, I did it in Irish, then translated.  It was pretty fun.

Dale D.

seano wrote re: Irish Word a Day - Lámh - Arm
on Thu, Jan 9 2014 20:02

Hi folks, As I've said before, one of the first things to do when learning a language is to lose the idea that things exist in clearly-defined bundles outside of language and that all languages will therefore recognise the distinction between a hand and an arm. In fact, it's because English has two distinct words for the long limb hanging from your shoulder and the thing with fingers below your wrist that we see them as two different things! In Irish (and possibly in Ancient Egyptian, Dale!) the word lámh really means both the hand and the arm. It's by far the most common word. Géag is rare enough but is useful if you want to make a distinction (if you're translating something in English which uses hand and arm, for example). And there are also other words like sciathán, which means wing but is the word I would use if I hurt my upper arm or shoulder. And there's also rí, which means the forearm, so if you hold something at arm's length, it's 'fad do rí uait'! I know some people will be uncomfortable with this and would prefer something neater and more clearly defined. For them, I would recommend Esperanto, which is completely regular and has no nasty surprises! Irish, like all natural languages, is full of what a Japanese teacher once described to me as 'subtle nuisances'. I think he meant nuances, but I've never been completely sure ... :-)

seano wrote re: Irish Word a Day - Lámh - Arm
on Thu, Jan 9 2014 20:06

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the same is true for cos and troigh. Cos is really the word for both foot and hand and troigh is only used when you want to specifically refer to the bit below the ankle. Even in this case, most speakers would simply call it a cos. (Though troigh is the only word if you're talking about measurements - dhá throigh ar airde is two feet tall.

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