Trivia Teaser

A 'Dreadnought' was a term for a WHAT?

Giant doughnut
Fearless Greek warrior

The Gaelic Way


By Christine Lovatt

A game I recently heard on the radio took me straight back to my childhood. It was the yes/no challenge my brothers and sisters often played, which you may have played at parties.

One person asks rapid-fire questions which the other must answer without saying yes or no. It’s harder than it sounds.

However, my mother had no trouble. The reason? As an Irish person, she had a natural advantage. She would say “It is” or “They don’t” instead of yes or no.

I’ve been told the Irish Gaelic language has no word for yes, or no, so that even though Irish people speak English, they retain the habit of finding an alternative way to answer.

If you don’t believe me, try it out. Ask an Emerald Isle native a question, and I bet you a bunch of shamrocks they won’t come out with a straightforward affirmative or negative.

Maybe it’s something to do with that old gift of blarney that Irish people are blessed with by legend. My father, who’s Welsh, reckons it’s a reluctance to give away too much information but no-one can deny that the Irish have a magical way with words, can they?  Careful how you answer that.

Happy puzzling!


2 Responses to

The Gaelic Way

August 01, 2007 at 8:06 PM


the word for no in Gaelic is neha As I attended an Irish school it was the first word we learned in Irish as the teacher said it to us often and frequently. when we said - will cada gum ma shay da hollow. Which means can I go outside please. Neha which mean NO. Sorry i dont know the word for yes in Irish.


Dinkydi said:
August 18, 2007 at 8:38 PM


coming from an Irish background I would have to agree with you to be sure, to be sure, to be sure