The Corner

Touch of The Irish

I think Andrew Stuttaford may be the first NRO contributor to have mentioned

the mighty Cuchulain. But, Andrew, you gotta tell people how to say it.

Having known Cuchulain only from the printed page, I embarrassed myself,

when I finally got to mingle with some Irish scholars, by saying

“COO-coo-lain.” After they stopped rolling round on the floor, they advised

me that the correct pronunciation is more like “Ku-HOO-lin.”

The reason Irish spelling is so impossible is that the written language is

very old. Irish was the third European language to attain the written form

(if you ignore a few undecipherable scraps in things like Etruscan). The

order was: Greek, Latin, Irish.

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