By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Budding Irish speakers using the Internet have now got a special page to help them translate bizarre curses to spice up their e-mails — thanks to a university in America’s heartland.
The Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., has posted a English-Irish translation curse engine (An tInneal Mallachtai) for techie-heads to make up their own invective.
A three-part menu of subjects, verbs and objects in English allows you to concoct your own abuse.
It offers choices like "may Monica Lewinsky destroy your good reputation" (go scriosa Monica Lewinsky do dhea-chlu), "may an alien being weaken your investment portfolio" (go lagai neach neamhshaolta do chuid infheistiochtai) and "may the hounds of hell gnaw at your Corn Flakes" (go gcreime cunna ifrinn do chuid caloga arbhair).
Donall O Maolfabhail, spokesman for the state-funded language promotion body Bord na G’ilge/An Foras Teanga, said he wasn’t surprised by the unusual translation service.
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"There is huge interest in Irish around the world," he said. "We are getting lots of e-mails, about seven or eight a day at least, seeking translations and advice about things like signs and names. The majority come from America.
"We hadn’t heard about the Missouri curse site; it sounds fascinating. Irish is being taught in many universities in places like Tokyo, Moscow and Innsbruck."
Requests for small translations are met but larger amounts of text are referred to commercial translation services.
"We haven’t had any requests for Irish versions of curses," he said.
Officially, the 22-year-old Bord na G’ilge has gone following the Good Friday agreement to be replaced as An Foras Teanga (The Language Body).
However the suspension of the peace process institutions has left the new body in limbo and O Maolfabhail said it can not hold board meetings, buy offices or hire new staff.
"It’s causing us some difficulties," he said.