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Q: english to gaelic tranlation ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: english to gaelic tranlation
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: kirb-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 21 Jan 2003 11:22 PST
Expires: 20 Feb 2003 11:22 PST
Question ID: 146595
i want this translated into Gaeilge; "above all else: to thine own self be true."  
I know that it will not be exact.  as close as possible is great
Subject: Re: english to gaelic tranlation
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 21 Jan 2003 14:50 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello kirb-ga,

An important disclaimer at the outset: I do not speak, read, or write
any kind of Gaelic.  Nevertheless, to my surprise, I believe I have a
good answer.

A translation of two lines from Scots Gaelic (Gàidhlig) to English
gave me a good place to begin:

"Bi dileas duit fein a ris, 
Dileas da d' Ard Righ thar gach dreang."

"Be true to thine own self besides, 
True to thy High-King above all obstacles."

"Carmine Gadelica: Ortha nan Gaidheal" [Gàidhlig]
Sabhal Mór Ostaig

"Carmine Gadelica: Ortha nan Gaidheal" [English]
Sabhal Mór Ostaig

Gàidhlig-English dictionaries provide the following definitions:

bi: be
dileas: faithful
duit: to you (singular)
féin: self
a ris: again

thar: over, across, beyond
gach: each, every

"Faclair Gàidhlig - Beurla / Gaelic - English Dictionary"
Angus MacKinnon
Imperial College: Condensed Matter Theory Group

"Gaelic Dictionary - Faclair"
John A. Galbraith
Catholic Church, Western Isles, Scotland

Thus, it appears that "bi dileas duit féin" means "to thine own self
be true" (literally "be faithful to yourself") in Gàidhlig.

An Irish Gaelic (Gaelige) dictionary indicates that "bi" is "bí" in
Gaelige, while "dileas" is "dílis"; the other two words of the phrase
appear the same.  Thus, the phrase in Gaelige would be "bí dílis duit

"Gaelic-L Dictiomary IGGL1.DIC"
Seán Mac Suibhne
Sabhal Mór Ostaig

Here are pages that indicate that "bí dílis" and "duit féin" mean,
respectively, "be faithful" and "thine own":

"History page" [in the poem halfway down the page]
Labane National School

"Na Briathra Folaithe - Bahá'u'lláh - Cuid 1 - ón Araibis (1-20)"
[right hand column, under heading "7"]
Baha'i Faith Pages from Skye

So that's one part of the phrase.  The rest is "above all else". 
"Thar gach", from the Gàidhlig text, is a good beginning.  The Gaelige
dictionary (cited above) indicates that these words are the same in

In searching for "thar gach" on Google, I found the phrase "thar gach
rud", and eventually "thar gach rud eile".  The Gaelige dictionary
indicates that "rud" means "thing" and "eile" means "(an)other".  So
"thar gach rud eile" means, crudely, "over every thing other", or more
likely something like "above everything else".

Indeed, this phrase is translated in one document as "most of all",
which is certainly close in meaning.  It is found in the document on
the second line of the last paragraph in the left column of page 2;
the English translation is the first line of the last paragraph in the
left column of page 1.

"Midland Health Board: Annual Report 1999"
Midland Health Board

And several web pages, such as the following page, indicate that "rud
eile" means "something else".

Rudella [Rud eile]

So, in sum, the translation of "above all else: to thine own self be
true" into Gaelige would be "thar gach rud eile: bí dílis duit féin."

- justaskscott-ga

I used the following search terms on Google, by themselves or in

"thine own self"
"bi dileas"
"bí dílis"
"duit fein"
"duit féin"
"thine own"
"thar gach"
"thar gach rud"
"thar gach rud eile"
"rud eile"
"something else"

In addition to searching on Google, I browsed the Gaelic dictionaries.
kirb-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
thank you soooo much i have been trying to find this for a long time

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