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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Plastic Cups are an Instrument? Watch - Amhrán na gCupán in Irish

Fun video of Irish school children performing the Cup Song (Amhrán na gCupán) using simple plastic cups and the floor and singing the original song "Cups (You're Gonna Miss Me)" translated into the Irish language (also referred to as Gaelic):

Cups (You're Gonna Miss me) in Irish (Gaelic)

So you say, "What are all those Irish words?"

That can be found at: Amhrán na gCupán

I'm still a beginner at Irish, but I think I see some differences between the Irish translation and the English version.

The Irish title (Amhrán na gCupán) looks like it would be translated "Song of Cup" in English. Said another way, "Cup Song". The Irish is more descriptive by saying the work is a song but the English title probably assumes the context of using the title would show it's a song.

The fourth line of the first verse is, "mbeidh tú liom?" which is short for, "you will be with me?" Kinda different from, "what'dya say?" I like how they both are contractions, are informal, and the meanings come very close.

The end of the fourth line of the second verse ends with "mo aoibh" which means "my smile." That doesn't match the end of that line in the English version, which says "my hair."

But keep looking and you'll see the end of the next and fifth line of that verse ends with "'chuile thaobh" which means "all sides." That's pretty close to the word "everywhere" which ends that line in the English version.

You wonder why go to that trouble to use different words?

With the Irish line endings, the lines rhyme. They both end with sounds that rhyme with the English word "eve." I am thinking the line about "all sides" is the idiom for "everywhere" in that sense, and then the translators needed a rhyming word for the previous line.

Pretty clever, eh?

A change for apparently similar reasons is made at the fourth and fifth lines of the last verse:

... ag caint   which translates as, "talking," and,
... ag seinnt   which translates as, "playing," as in music or a musical instrument.

These compare to these line endings:

... my walk
... my talk

in English.

Am I suggesting you or anyone be upset about this?

No.  Translating in general is tough because you just can't change each and every word to a translated word and have the meaning work.  And in a song, especially one with a staccato rhythm, fitting the translation into the beat is extremely tough.

I am at the point I expect all translations of songs to be different than in the original language.

In this case, I like the Irish version and I think it preserves the sense of the English version very well.

So, if you haven't already, go to the Irish version, click play, and enjoy!

Cups (You're Gonna Miss me) in Irish (Gaelic)



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