New glossary shows how to say ‘doomscrolling’ and ‘elbow bump’ as Gaeilge

11 Nov 2020

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DCU researchers have compiled a resource of Irish-language terminology for words that have popped up during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of an effort to keep Irish speakers up to date on the latest Covid-19 terminology, a team from Dublin City University (DCU) has created a new online vocabulary collection.

Researchers said the project was developed in response to a perception in the Irish-speaking community that official communication concerning the pandemic was taking place almost exclusively in English and that much of the Irish information that did exist was not kept up to date.

The Gaois research group at DCU, which led the project, said that the glossary is a descriptive collection rather than a prescriptive one. This means that it aims to list all terms in common use for a particular concept, rather than to provide a single ‘correct’ one.

For example, coróinvíreas is considered the standard term for ‘coronavirus’ and víreas corónach is often used in the media, but both are widely used. Meanwhile, the Irish equivalents of ‘cocooning’ include clutharú, cocúnú and neadú.

A comprehensive collection

However, in some instances of key concepts, the researchers failed to identify an Irish term that was widely used. After consultation with Foras na Gaelige, new words associated with the pandemic were created.

Examples of new terms include Covid marthanach (long Covid), gruaimscrolláil (doomscrolling) and beannú uillinne (elbow bump).

“Like everyone else we spent the early months of the pandemic familiarising ourselves with new technical concepts related to Covid-19,” said Dr Gearóid Ó Cleircín, the project’s principal investigator.

“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.”

The project is part of DCU’s Covid-19 Research and Innovation Hub, which was launched in May to work exclusively on projects addressing challenges posed by the pandemic.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic