Scottish Gaelic: ana-bhlasta


Senior Member

Could someone be so kind and tell me what Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh meant when he said what follows?
Sa Bhìoball Ghàidhlig gheibh sinn "an t-ana-Crìosd" airson "the anti-Christ". Ach, mar a tha fios againn, ann an cotheacsa eile, bidh "ana" a' neartachadh na leanas an àite a bhith ga àicheadh, mar eisimpleir "ana-mhòr", "ana-bhlasta". Ach ma tha "Ana-" iomchaidh, a dh'àindeoin seo, airson "Anti-", dè an cruth as fheàrr airson "Antithesis"?"

I don't need a word-for-word translation. What I need is just a hint about whether or not my assumption is right, the assumption being that there is an opposition in meaning between ana-bhlasta and ana-blasta (granted that both are correct). Knowing that would shed some light on the origin of both (discussed in a separate thread: Gaelic an- 'very').
Last edited by a moderator:
  • I speak Irish, not Scottish Gaelic, but I can pretty much understand this:

    In the Scottish Gaelic Bible, you get "an t-ana-Crìosd" for "the Anti-Christ". But, as we know, in other contexts, "ana" is used to emphasize the thing which follows it, for example "ana-mhòr", "ana-bhlasta" (very big, very tasty). But if "Ana-" is used despite this to mean "Anti-", how would you say "Antithesis"?

    From what I can see, and what I've just looked up in an old dictionary, if ana is followed by a word whose first letter is *not* lenited, then the word takes on the opposite, negative meaning. Hence ana-bhlasta means very tasty, but ana-blasta means tasteless/insipid, and so ana-
    Crìosd means "the opposite of Christ" (ana-Chrìosd, if such a word existed and made sense, would presumably mean very-Christ).

    This is just me making an educated guess looking at other examples in dictionaries. You'd ideally want a Scottish Gaelic speaker to confirm this.
    Thank you lots, Tegs!!!

    I'm a newbie in Celtic linguistics, trying to learn Irish as consciously as I can (morpheme-by-morpheme), and it's just fascinating. Enriching. Enlightening! Inspiring! And very much rewarding.

    Go raibh maith agat arís!