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Thirty-Two Words for Field: Lost Words of the Irish Landscape

UK Publisher: Bonnier

Rediscover the lost words of an ancient land in this new and updated edition of an international bestseller.

Most people associate Britain and Ireland with the English language, a vast, sprawling linguistic tree with roots in Latin, French, and German, and branches spanning the world, from Australia and India to North America.

But the inhabitants of these islands originally spoke another tongue. Look closely enough and English contains traces of the Celtic soil from which it sprung, found in words like bog, loch, cairn and crag. Today, this heritage can be found nowhere more powerfully than in modern-day Gaelic.

In Thirty-Two Words for Field Manchán Magan explores the enchantment, sublime beauty and sheer oddness of a 3000-year-old lexicon. Imbuing the natural world with meaning and magic, it evokes a time-honoured way of life, from its 32 separate words for a field, to terms like loisideach (a place with a lot of kneading troughs), bróis (whiskey for a horseman at a wedding), and iarmhaireacht (the loneliness you feel when you are the only person awake at cockcrow).

Told through stories collected from Magan’s own life and travels, Thirty-Two Words for Field is an enthralling celebration of Irish words, and a testament to the indelible relationship between landscape, culture and language.


‘This updated edition of Thirty-Two Words for Field is a beautifully written, engaging and often surprising account of one man’s love affair with his first language.’ – Resurgence & Ecologist

Manchan Magan is a writer, presenter and travel documentary maker with a life’s mission to steer people back to nature...