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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (January-June) » Copula eclipsis lenition « Previous Next »

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Dave (155.198.17.120 - 155.198.17.120)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 07:33 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Can anyone explain these words? Thanks!

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Pádraig Mac G. (205.244.12.243 - 205.244.12.243)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 09:55 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Dhabhí, A Chara,

(1) In Irish there are two words for the English verb "to be." The copula is one of these, and its most common form is (is.)

For example, "Is mise Dave" translates to I am Dave.

The other form is the verb "bí" which appears commonly in the present tense as "tá."

For example, "Tá mé go maith." I am well.

The cupola has very specific uses and the discussion of the subject could take a whole chapter in a grammar book.

(2) Eclipsis is the changing of the spelling and the pronunciation of a word by placing another letter before the initial letter under certain conditions. Again, the details are quite extensive and require a lot of study. One example of eclipsis occurs when a noun is preceded by the definite article "an." In this case "cailín" becomes "an gcailín." Notice that the C is retained in the word, but it is not pronounced. It is "eclipsed" by the G.

(3) Lenition is the process of softening the sound of a consonant through what is sometimes called aspiration. In the written word (in Irish) it is usually indicated by the insertion of the letter H after the consonant to be altered.

For example: "Tiarna" (Lord) becomes "A Thiarna" in a direct address. H in Irish is actually not a letter, but an indicator of a change in pronunciation. That is why you see so many words that sometimes have an H in them but at other times do not.

All three of these terms are a lot more complicated than this brief explanation would lead you to believe, and I would suggest, if you're undertaking to learn Irish, that you get a comprehensive grammar text as a supplement to whatever learning tools you may be using. But, it's best to start with basic conversation skills through the use of some audio aids.

Árd mór ort,
Pádraig

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Dave (155.198.17.120 - 155.198.17.120)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 10:59 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Thank you. Can you recommend a good grammar text I could use?

Is eclipsis the same then as an uru (or seimhiu, I can't remember which is which)!!

Thanks for your help.

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Pádraig Mac G. (205.244.12.214 - 205.244.12.214)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 11:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Dhabhí, A Chara,

úru is eclipsis
séimhiú is aspiration (lenition)

It's difficult to recommend a grammar text without knowing where you are with reference to Irish as well as your proficiency with English grammar. Things tend to be easier if you have some experience with an inflected language such as Latin even though one is a far cry from the other in many respects.

You might look into "New Irish Grammar" by The Christian Brothers (C.J.Fallon Publishing: Dublin, 1994). Although it's not for beginners and it requires some Irish vocabulary, it is an excellent capsulization of the rules of Irish. It's written in English and is relatively inexpensive.

You might check it out at your local library before you lay out the money.

You will need a good Irish-English dictionary. This site (click on Shop) offers Foclóir Póca at a very reasonable price.

Hope this helps.

Slán
P.

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Dave (155.198.17.120 - 155.198.17.120)
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 05:31 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agat.

I studied Irish at school, but like most students, I hated it from the age of 4. Why? Becuase it was taught as a set of rules rather than as a live language. Anyway, my vocabulary is reasunta.... apart from not having a clue about fada's!! Is there any general rule about fada's?

Do you think New Irish Grammar would be a good idea for someone like me?

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Max Matthews (62.254.0.7 - 62.254.0.7)
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 05:44 am:   Edit Post Print Post

fadas simply make short vowels long. Indeed the word fada means long

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Dave (155.198.17.120 - 155.198.17.120)
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 07:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Yes, I know what is does, but I don't know if there is a general rule as to when and where it is used? I know it is present in many words, but why? Can one know that a particular word contains a fada by exdamining the structure of the word?

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P. (63.175.172.208 - 63.175.172.208)
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 09:21 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I suspect the rule to follow is if you can say it, you can spell it. The trouble there is that not everyone pronounces things alike.

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