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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (April-June) » Masculine and Feminine « Previous Next »

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James (209.48.182.219 - 209.48.182.219)
Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 01:26 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I know the answer to this is available in Ó Shiadhal but I'm away from my references right now and the question is fresh on my mind.

When responding to a question does the use of the personal pronoun need to reflect the gender of the subject in question when the pronoun references an inanimate subject?

Mar sampla:

Cá bhfuil mamaí?

Tá sí thuas a staighre.

Obviously, we use sí because of the gender associated with the subject.

But what about the following?

Cá bhfuil an cupall?

Cá bhfuil an fuinneog?

An bhfuil an cupán ar an sasar?

Do I need to know the gender of each of these subjects in order to answer correctly or does "Tá sé ...." suffice, generally speaking? I know that there are some nouns that have an accepted gender ie: ships and countries are always referred to as feminine (unless one considers the "fatherland" but that's an unusual exception). These, I would presume, need to be answered with the feminine pronoun but beyond that, is this gender identification in the response necessary?

I realize I've asked the same question several times but I wanted to be sure my question was clear.

Go raibh maith agaibh,

Le meas,

James

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Beth (204.111.92.183 - 204.111.92.183)
Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 04:13 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

James a chara, yes you should refer back to these nouns by their particular gender. One of the nouns that, although masculine, is referred to as "sí" is "capall", so if that's what you meant by "cupall", that would be the exception among the nouns you named ("Tá sí [an capall] anseo"). Also, since "fuinneoig" is feminine, you'd ask "cá bhfuil an fhuinneoig?" The exceptions given in O Siadhail are expressions like "sin é mo bharúil", where "é" refers to the topic under discussion, rather to the feminine noun "barúil".

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James (209.48.182.219 - 209.48.182.219)
Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 05:19 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I was afraid of that! I've not been paying as close attention to the masculine, feminine aspect of things as I should! :-(

Go raibh maith agat!

Le meas,

James

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Oliver Grennan (193.122.47.162 - 193.122.47.162)
Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 09:08 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I managed to get through 14 years of state education in Ireland without actually finding out that nouns had a gender in Irish. I only found out a few weeks ago. Still, I got a Grade B in the Higher Level Level Certificate - tuigim anois an fáth nach bhfuair mé A.

So, you can get by, and be understood easily but fluent Irish speakers will be slighlty irritated by the mistaken use of sé/sí, é/í.

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james (209.48.182.219 - 209.48.182.219)
Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 09:15 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I didn't think the comprehension would be an issue. I was more concerned from an academic standpoint. We have a group of "self teach" students and I've been acting as a de-facto instructor. This question presented itself at our last meeting and I didn't have the answer.

I'd rather study it right and inadvertently speak it wrong--that way at least I'll know I'm wrong!!

Le meas,

James

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Phil (159.134.209.75 - 159.134.209.75)
Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 05:06 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

"Rón" = seal, as in the water animal. It's feminine, so:

Is rón í.

And now, take a male seal.

Is rón é.

ah well

BTW, is it true that the word "cailín" is masculine. eg. Is cailín é.

Ní thuigim!

-Phil

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Aonghus (193.120.237.66 - 193.120.237.66)
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 04:05 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Cailín is masculine, yes.
The word for a young (unmarried) woman is often neuter in other languages. I'd have to check, but I suspect what happened was when the neuter gender was dropped from Irish, words that formerly belonged to it became masculine.

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Daibhí (63.161.61.33 - 63.161.61.33)
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 09:23 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Cailín is masculine, yes.
The word for a young (unmarried) woman is often neuter in other languages. I'd have to check, but I suspect what happened was when the neuter gender was dropped from Irish, words that formerly belonged to it became masculine.

Aonghus,

I just surfed across this speculation, and thought I'd offer what I've been told -- that all diminutives formed with the suffix (ín) are treated as masculine nouns, and that cailín was originally a diminutive of cailleach.

D.

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