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Al Evans ( -
Posted on Sunday, June 16, 2002 - 09:53 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I think I've figured out the answers to these questions, but I hope someone will tell me if I'm wrong. These all concern Lesson 19 in Ó Siadhail's _Learning Irish_.

1. In the vocabulary list, sciobtha is spelled scioptha, though in the text at the end of the lesson "rosciobtha" is spelled with a "b". I'm betting this is a typographical error in the vocabulary list. Am I right?

2. In the text is the sentence "Tá beithigh agus caore agus cearca acu." Is caorigh just misspelled?

3. Also in the text is the sentence "Bhíodh na daoine go hiontach ag obair in éindí agus bhídís in ann saol a bhaint as an oileán." Why is the first verb in the past habitual? It doesn't seem like "They used to be..." is the intended meaning. Does it mean "They have always been...."? It seems reasonable, but I wasn unable to find any support for this use of the past habitual with my limited resources.

Al Evans

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Seosamh Mac Bhloscaidh ( -
Posted on Monday, June 17, 2002 - 12:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

1. Both are accepted spellings but there should be consistency within a single book or article. Ó Siadhail prefers the spelling with "p" to show the actual pronunciation. But both older and newer dictionaries prefer the older spelling with "b" which preserves the root. In similar cases though, the Standard spelling went with pronunciation: scríobhtha (or sgríobhta) became scríofa. Why they did this halfway, I don't know. "Sciobtha" is related to the verb sciob "snatch".

2. Yes. It should be caoirigh.

3. The past habitual and "used to" seem appropriate here to me. The people used to be wonderful working together in the old days and used to be able to make a living from the island [but now the good old days are over]. The second verb is also in the habitual past.

Ádh mór


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