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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (July-September) » 2003 (July-September) » Sentence structure « Previous Next »

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Joe (217.42.53.74 - 217.42.53.74)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 11:26 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Could somebody please explain why the verb 'oscailt' goes at the end of a sentence such as 'an dtig liom an fhuinneog a oscailt?'

I've only just started to learn Irish from the book 'Now You're Talking' and this structure confuses me as I thought the verb came at the beginning of a sentence in Irish. I'm clearly missing something here, but I don't know what it is. I'd greatly appreciate any help that any of you can give me on this point.

Thanks...

Joe

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Oliver Grennan (217.155.45.122 - 217.155.45.122)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 10:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Think of it like this:

Can I the window to open?

It's different alright to constructs such as:

I opened the window
D'oscail mé an fhuinneog

But then you also have this:

I am opening the window
Tá mé ag oscailt an fhuinneog


Hope this helps,

Slan,
Oliver

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Joe (217.42.54.1 - 217.42.54.1)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 03:33 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Oliver,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I don't want to appear ungrateful, but I'm afraid your examples only serve to confirm my confusion. I still don't see why the verb goes at the end of the sentence in the example I quoted.

I understand that my problem lies somewhere in the fact that I was never very good at 'English' grammar, but I'm getting stuck on this point.

Could I therefore ask you to explain a little clearer? What I'm really looking for is an 'Idiot Guide' to the structure of an Irish sentence...

But let me say Thank You once again. I appreciate the time you've taken to help.

Joe (the thick one).

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 09:16 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Joe,

I 'm just a beginner myself, and I hope someone corrects me if I am if I misdirect you.

Building on what Oliver said, this is how I would approach it:

It helps me to try a "literal translation," that is, to have each word in the Irish have a grammatical equivalent in English.

Remember, this kind of translation will often turn a clear Irish sentence into an awkward English sentence. Do not then think that Irish speakers don’t speak or think clearly.

So, 'An dtig liom an fhuinneog a oscailt?' might best be translated as “Can I open the window? But a literal translation might be “Can there be a move towards with me the window to open?” (Wow, that does sound awful!)

tig = move towards (present form of the verb “tar”)
liom = with me
an fhuinneog = the window

I think the verb of this sentence is “dtig.” It does come first. The subject is the “mé” in “liom.” “Osclait” is the object of dtig. The object is the thing that the subject is doing the verb to. That is, I am moving towards opening.

There are times that the verb/noun order changes in Irish for emphasis, but your sentence is not an example of this.

And I hope that is not an elaborate wrong answer! By answering I hope to learn myself.

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Joe (217.42.55.109 - 217.42.55.109)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 03:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks Jim

I understand that 'tig' is the first verb of the sentence, and I can see why it comes at the beginning...

But would I be correct in translating "I'd like you to come with me" into the Irish equivalent of "I'd like you with me to come"??

Thanks again for your input.

Joe

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Maidhc Ó G. (65.128.204.44 - 65.128.204.44)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 04:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Almost. I would say that last one as,"Ba mhaith liom tú ag dul liom." - I want you coming with me.
'An dtig liom an fhuinneog a oscailt' may also be understood as, "Is there agreement with me the window (it) to open"? I think. If you took out'an fhuinneog'from the sentence, - An dtig liom a oscailt? - You'd simply have,"Is there agreement with me it opening?" or "May I open it?"
This is one of those things that I get mixed up with alot. One might ask,"Why isn't it,'An dtig liom a oscailt an fhuinneog'?" Is there agreement with me (it) opening the window? I'll often place the predicating verbal noun after the predicate, such as in the former example, and it comes off as being pretentious.
But, in certain constructions it seems to avoid run-on sentence confusion. Sometimes. I've just come to accept that it will come through practice. The more I learn, the more I realize how often confused I am. But when you get something right, or at least after someone corrects you, you can see where you went off - Man, that's cool! Just keep trying.
Le meas,
-Maidhc

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks Miaidhc,

How about this?

“Ba mhaith liom é thiocfa tú liom.”


Le meas,

Jim

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:47 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

"thiocfa" should be "thiocfá"

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Dawn (66.19.56.114 - 66.19.56.114)
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 01:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Verbs change position in English also, depending on whether the sentence is declarative or interrogative.

declarative- I can open the window.

interrogative- Can I open the window?

Knowing grammar rules is very useful. I would insist upon it myself (which actually annoyed some of my language teachers). However, often times the easiest way to recall how to say something is to simply think of what sounds right. Of course, to do this requires much time spent listening to the language (which is rewarding labor indeed :) ).

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:36 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I worked on "I'd like you to come with me." a little more. It sn't that I think that Maidhc's answer is wrong, but I was trying to use the verb "tar."

I see now that my earlier post is definitely wrong and would like to have another try at it.

How about:

"Ba mhaith liom go dtaga tú liom."

Can anyone tell me if this is correct, Ma's é do thoil é?

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Aonghus (62.77.191.130 - 62.77.191.130)
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:57 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ba mhaith liom go dtiocfá liom - please come with me

Ba mhaith liom dá dtiocfá liom - I'd be pleased if you came with me

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Joe (217.42.54.23 - 217.42.54.23)
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:53 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Thank you all for your input. I'll try to digest it all...

Joe (the confused one)

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Maidhc Ó G. (65.128.208.19 - 65.128.208.19)
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 04:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

See? Mine, though unintentionally, comes across as if the other person is already along with me for the trip. Aonghus' version is the way I meant.
I was wondering too. Is,"An dtig liom an fhuinneog a oscailt?" really a more amicable way of asking without actually requesting permission?
I thought of this later. Me and another person are sitting in a room. The weather is warm and the window is closed. I gesture towards the window and say,"So, what do you say? Is the window opening?" To which he nods and I then open the window.
Another example might be,"An dtig liom mo chara linn a dul?" It's not like I'm asking permission for him to go, but it's not as if I'm just saying that he's coming and that's that. (Though, depending on the situation, it's not the most polite way of asking either.) Am I very far off on this?
-Maidhc.

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agaibh to all, especially Aonghus!

Maidhc, your insights are remarkable!

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Maidhc Ó G. (65.128.200.161 - 65.128.200.161)
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 11:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agat freisin, Jim. I'm still going to go back and take another look at my verb grammar though.

-Maidhc.

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Aonghus (159.134.63.243 - 159.134.63.243)
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 03:54 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

An dtig liom mo chara linn a dul?" - An dtig le mo chara dul linn? - can my friend come with us

Ar mhiste leat má thagann mo chara linn? Do you mind if my friend comes with us?

I'd avoid "tig" in this context, it really means "to be able".

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Aonghus (159.134.63.243 - 159.134.63.243)
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 03:57 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

PS To go back to Joe's original post:
an dtig liom an fhuinneog a oscailt?'

An Fhuinneog a oscailt - To open the window
Fuinneog a oscailt - to open a window

This stays as a block when prefixed with an tig liom, and that is why the verb is at the end.

I usually avoid giving grammar advice - I speak the language, and I usually start making mistakes when I try to conciously think about the grammar. But I'm confident the above is correct

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 01:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I think Aongus has put his finger on it.


In “An Fhuinneog a oscailt,” “a oscailt” is a verbal noun. That is, a noun based on a verb that often behaves as verb. The English equivalent is to take the verb “to open” and transform it with an “ing” ending to opening.

For example in this sentence,

“He is opening the window.”

The subject is “he.” The verb is “is.” The object is the phrase “opening the window.” In phrases like these, when an action is the object (I think they are called relative clauses) we use the verbal noun. This indicated as Béarla by adding “ing,” in Irish by using the preposition “a” and the verbal noun. Oh, and verbal nouns in Irish come after the nouns they are working with- as Aongus pointed out. In Irish this sentence would be:

“Tá sé an fhuinneog a oscailt.”

Ó Dónail’s “Foclóir Gaeilge- Béarla” contains the phrase under its heading for “A”: Ba mhaith liom iad a bheith ann.

And here is another verbal noun from Ó Dónail’s “Foclóir Gaeilge- Béarla”:
“Síol a chur.” = To sow seed. = To be sowing seed. (this last version is mine)


Bhuel, I learned a lot. Joe, I hope your still with us!


Mise le meas,

Jim

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Jonas (213.243.177.78 - 213.243.177.78)
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 02:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jim, what are you talking about?
You can't say anything like "Tá sé an fhuinneog a oscailt", it's absolutely wrong. The sentence "He is opening the window" in Irish becomes:
"Tá sé ag oscailt na fuinneoga."

If you want to say "He would like to open the window" you say:
"Ba mhaith leis an fhuinneog a oscailt."

The English "-ing sentences" are formed by "ag" + the verbal noun and the following noun is put in the genitive. The verb preceedes the noun, not the other way around.

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Joe (217.42.53.81 - 217.42.53.81)
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 03:53 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Let me start today by thanking all of you for your time and effort. I really do appreciate it.

There's a later example in the book "Now You're Talking" which translates 'I'm sorry to hear that' into 'Tá brón orm sin a chloisteáil' (there's sorrow on me that to hear). Would I be very wide of the mark to think that, if an English sentence contains 'to + verb', as in my first example, the verb will be at the end?

Thank you all once again for your patience.

Joe

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 03:59 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas,

Perhaps I'm missing something but Ó Dónail’s “Foclóir Gaeilge- Béarla” under the "A" heading gives as an example of the verbal noun this phrase:

“Síol a chur.” = to sow seed.

The verbal noun obviously follows the noun in this kind of construction.

My English dictionary says that adding the “ing” forms the verbal noun in English.

If we follow that logic we might try and translate
“Síol a chur,” into an "ing" phrase. Might it not be "sowing seed?"

I guess the "ag" + the verbal noun is another example of the use the verbal noun. Thanks for pointing that out. In the "ag" phrases the verb comes first, as you said. It is also, I understand, the usual way one translates an “ing” phrase.

Now, having said all that, is it incorrect to say

"Tá sé an Síol a chur." or “Tá sé an fhuinneog a oscailt..”?

It may very well be and thanks for pointing that out to me. I overstepped my learning when I composed those phrases. I guess I put 2 and 2 together and got 5.

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Jonas (213.243.177.78 - 213.243.177.78)
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 04:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jim, I'll try to be more precise. There are some mistakes you are making, but I appreciate that you are trying. It is far better to try to construct new, more complex sentences than just repeating what one has learned. Your attitude is absolutely right.

síol a chur = to sow sead. No question about that, but please note that it is an infinitive, not a verbal noun. I should have pointed out the difference in my first message. The problem is that, of course, English and Irish are not very similar in their structures. What in English becomes a question of using "to sow" (infinitive) or "sowing" (verbal noun) is in Irish a question of both word-order and particles. Note that the verb stay the same, in both cases a verbal noun is used.
1."ag"+verbal noun when English uses a verbal noun.
2."a"+verbal noun when English uses the infinitive.
I should point out that the first of these two rules is true in most cases, whereas there are many other ways to convey the English infinitives. Unfortunately (for the learner) these different cases are not different variants that are equally correct. It depends. If I explained it all here.. well, this message would be much to long ;-)
Don't worry about it, once you start to speak Irish more often it will come naturally. I never ever start to think about which forms to use these days, but just like you I was trying to get them into my head a few years ago. They'll come to you too.

On to the examples:
1a. He would like TO SOW sead.
"to sow" is in the infinitive.
1b. Ba mhaith leis síol A chur.
Infinitive in English, A+verbal noun in Irish.

2a. He is SOWING sead.
"sowing" is a verbal noun.
2b. Tá sé AG cur síl.
Verbal noun in English, AG+verbal noun in Irish

In the same way
3a. He would like TO OPEN the window.
"to open is in the infinitive.
3b. Ba mhaith leis an fhuinneog A oscailt.
Infinitive in English, A+verbal noun in Irish.

4a. He is OPENING the window.
"opening" is a verbal noun
4b. Tá sé AG oscailt na fuinneoga.
Verbal noun in English, AG+verbal noun in Irish


The difference is that in Irish the noun (sead, window) has to be in the genitive in sentences like this, that is why we get "síl" (genitive of síol) and "na fuinneoga" (genitive of an fhuinneog). As you may know, "ag" also means "at". What we're actually saying in 2b and 4b is "He is at the sowing of the sead" and "He is at the opening of the window".

Then to answer your questions:
1. Not only it "ag" the usual way to translate "ing-phrases", it it THE way to do it. I hope I've managed to explain why.

2. Yes, it is absolutely incorrect to say either "Tá sé an síol a chur." or “Tá sé an fhuinneog a oscailt.”. I hope I've managed to explain why.


As I said in the beginning, it is far better to try out new sentences and get it wrong sometimes than not trying at all. I could write the longest message in the history of Daltaí with all the stupid (and I mean really stupid) mistakes I made when I started to actually speak Irish. The only way to succeed is to keep talking, three summers in a Gaeltacht made a huge difference for me. No book or course can give you the kind of practice that comes with speaking the language from morning to evening each day.

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Jonas (213.243.177.78 - 213.243.177.78)
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 04:40 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Joe, contrary to being wide of the mark in your conclusion you are being right on it. As I wrote above, there is no 100% correspondency between Irish and English and I would be lying if I said that the verb ALWAYS goes to the end if the English verb is an infinitive, "to + verb". Still, it is a good rule of thumb that will serve you right in most cases.

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 08:09 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas,

It was very kind of you to take the time to help me with this grammatical point! I hope by interacting with other daltaí to make more progress than I have by myself.

Go raibh maith agat!

Jim

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Maidhc Ó G. (65.128.200.58 - 65.128.200.58)
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 08:33 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Maith Thú, Jonas! I've made these exact mistakes myself and you've cleared away alot of the fog. I've often used the example given in the dictionary and wound up getting it backwards.And the info about the changing the predicate noun to genetive was very helpful. This thread should be marked down for future reference by many of us. I could never figure out why I always seemed to get the nouns wrong in these. It was 'ag'(at the -ing OF THE GEN.).
Le Meas Mór Mór,
-Maidhc.

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 09:24 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde,

I prepared this for the conversation link, but I didn't want to bog them down with incorrect grammer. Would anyone like to comment on the correctness of these two sentences? Go raibh
maith agaidh!


Is léachtóir (college professor) mé. Tá mé i mo chónaí i Nua Eabhrac. Ta mé ag múineadh bíochemic. (buíochas le Jonas!)

( I am teaching biochemistry.)
or

Ba mhaith liom go bíochemic a mhúineadh.

(I would like to teach biochemistry.)

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Joe (217.42.53.90 - 217.42.53.90)
Posted on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 10:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jim, a chara,

Nach bhfuil 'college professor' Ollamh coláiste?

Agus nach bhfuil 'biochemistry' bithcheimic?

'gus cén fáth 'go' i ba mhaith liom go bíochemic a mhúineadh?

Joe (the curious one)

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Seosamh Mac Muirí (193.1.100.104 - 193.1.100.104)
Posted on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 10:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Tá mé ag múineadh na bithcheimice.

( I am teaching biochemistry.)
or

Ba mhaith liom an bhithcheimic a mhúineadh.

(I would like to teach biochemistry.)
nó le casadh beag air:

Ba mhaith liom a bheith ag teagasc na bithcheimice.

Tá tú ag déanamh go maith a Shéamais. Go n-éirí sé leat.


Tá an-snáithe cruthaithe anseo agaibh a chairde. Molann an obair go mór sibh.

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 08:51 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Joe,

Thanks for your help!
Your right, the “go” makes no sense. Thanks for pointing out “bithcheimic,” that will come in handy! “Ollamh” sounds good. I’m not sure about “coláiste.” My brother-in-law went to a secondary school in Mayo, which he refers to as a “college.” Does “college” mean “college” in Ireland and England? I hesitate to say “ollscoil” because we are not a university. Perhaps only educators would quibble about these details- we are very sensitive about rank!

Seosamh,
I’m grateful for your assistance! You seem to be very knowledgeable. Could you help me a little more? Why did you use the definite article “na?” Why not “an?” Why use a definite article at all? On pg. 92 of “Learning Irish,” “an” is used in referring to academic subjects- that may be a different context.
Why didn’t you put “bithcheimice” in the genetive? Is it because it isn’t a definite noun? (I’m referring to pg. 73 of Learning Irish)


I’ve got to go to work! Go raibh maith agaibh!

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Joe (217.42.55.133 - 217.42.55.133)
Posted on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 12:52 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jim, a chara,

I can't speak for Ireland, but in England a college is the 'intermediate' stage between secondary school and university. Having said that, there is at least one university college here in the north-west. Some secondary schools are also called sixth-form colleges.

Given 'the rank structure', your original 'léachtóir' would then, I think, be safer to use, rather than my suggestion. I was just trying to get closer to 'college professor' than lecturer. 'Léachtóir' doesn't specify college or university :)

Joe

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Seosamh Mac Muirí (193.1.100.104 - 193.1.100.104)
Posted on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 01:43 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I’m grateful for your assistance!
Tá fáilte romhat a Shéamais.

>>>You seem to be very knowledgeable.

Chas mé leis na scoláirí (I bumped into a few scolars on the road, that's all!)

>>>Why did you use the definite article “na?”

You shall hear many reasons given as to why one should consider a noun either masculine of feminine. One should keep it simple:

A fem. is one that takes 'na' in genitive.

A masc. is one that takes 'an' in genitive.

There are many other guides to help one in dealing with gender, but the basic rule is that just given for the system. That's the primary distinguishing fact. To recap:

Firinscne = 'an' sa tuiseal ginide;
Bainiscne = 'na' sa tuiseal ginide.

>>>Why not “an?”

'Bithcheimic' is baininscneach.

>>>Why use a definite article at all? On pg. 92 of “Learning Irish,” “an” is used in referring to academic subjects- that may be a different context.

Languages are more and less articley-inclined than others and are also more definite/indefinite than each other. (Forgive my English-bending!)

English-English can almost be Slavonic on occasion: Are you going to shop', very often, does not mean 'are you going shopping', but rather = 'are you going to THE shop')
As against that, Irish has very rampant definicy:
An Ghearmáin (The!) Germany, An Iodáil (The!) Italy, An Ghréig (The!) Greece, An Bhitheolaíocht (The!) Biology, An Fhealsúnacht (The! Philosophy, rivers, languages and so many ordinary matters of speech.

>>>Why didn’t you put “bithcheimice” in the genetive? Is it because it isn’t a definite noun? (I’m referring to pg. 73 of Learning Irish)

It may be best that I classify the sentences as I'm not sure of the particular instance in the post that is causing the problem (Níl 'Learning Irish' lem' ais anseo):
1. Tá mé ag múineadh na bithcheimice. (Tuis. ginideach anseo)

or

2. Ba mhaith liom an bhithcheimic a mhúineadh. (Tuis. Ainmneach anseo/Nominative here)

nó le casadh beag air:

3. Ba mhaith liom a bheith ag teagasc na bithcheimice. (Tuis. ginideach anseo arís)

Sentence no. 2. doesn't take a genitive. Compare nos. 2 & 3. Féach an difríocht atá eatarthu.

>>>I’ve got to go to work!
Glac go réidh é. Not all work a Shéamais, tá súil agam.

Ádh mór.

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 08:05 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Seosamh,

Go raibh maith agat, arís!

I think I almost understand. Is “bithcheimice” the genitive of “bithcheimic?”

I’ve just been looking over pg 139 of “Learning Irish” where Ó Siadhal discusses nouns that end in vowels and I understand that there are irregular genitives.

Are there any general rules for forming the genitive of a noun that ends in a consonant?

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Seosamh Mac Muirí (193.1.100.104 - 193.1.100.104)
Posted on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 12:01 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Sheosaimh, a chara,

Sea a Sheosaimh, 'bithcheimice' is the gen. of 'bithcheimic'.

Rinne mé cuardach anseo ar ball ar 'ginide'.
Sáfaidh mé an t-eolas isteach taobh thíos anseo. To help on genitive, I'm including some old posts below.

We are left with a basic four ways of making genitive in Mod. Irish. Considering the fact that some nouns remain the same, this then leaves us with five declensions:

1. c > c', as in doras > dorais;
2. c > c'+e, as in fuinneog > fuinneoige;
3. c' > c+a, as in doirseoir > doirseora;
4. ín (or) v > ín (or) v, (i.e., no change);
5. in/il/ir (and others!) that, sometimes, gain a consonant as in traein > traenach, triail > trialach, cathair > cathrach.

Examples of no. 4: cailín & gloine.

Slán go fóill a Sheosaimh.

Older posts on the same:


Genitive

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The Discussion Boards of Daltaí na Gaeilge: Archive: Genitive
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By JP (149.61.50.56) on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 10:34 am:

What is the "genitive?" Do other languages have this feature?


By Seosamh (1cust35.tnt52.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.46.57.35) on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 01:07 pm:

The long and the short of it: a noun that modifies another noun is in genitive relation to it. Most languages (I wanted to say all but then I thought of one possible exception) therefore have a genitive function. Many languages have special forms to indicate the genitive. A great many Indo-European languages, like English (barely)and Irish, are like this.

If you say 'my father's coat', 'father' is in genitive relation to 'coat'. The first noun modifies (or limits) the second. 'Sheila's new job' -- 'Sheila' is in the genitive. Other examples: 'a winter coat', 'a wool coat', 'a savings account', 'a milk carton', 'a summer day'. In English, we usually indicate the genitive by word order but we still show the genitive by ' 's ' too.

In Irish, there is often no special genitive form: tae, caife, bainne (tea, coffee, milk) stay as is: pota tae, muga caife, bosca bainne. Many others, however, do change in form:

an leabhar (the book), but: céad leathanach an leabhair (the book, the first page of the book)

Síle (Sheila): post nua Shíle (Sheila's new job)

fíon (wine): buidéal fíona (a bottle of wine)

biabhóg (rhubarb): gas biabhóige (a stalk of rhubarb)

Note that the describing (i.e., genitive) noun precedes the noun in English but follows it in Irish.


By Seosamh Mac Muirí (caroldowling.staff6.ul.ie - 136.201.145.201) on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 02:23 pm:

JP, a Chara,

If some of the jargon causes a problem, which it can, take a dip into the free on-line dictionaries. This is from 'A Web of Online D.s' :
...............................................
of, relating to, or constituting a grammatical case marking typically a relationship of possessor or source -- compare POSSESSIVE
2 : expressing a relationship that in some inflected languages is often marked by a genitive case -- used especially of English prepositional phrases introduced by of
- genitive noun
..........................................

So, JP's car = Carr JP.
(Your ending 'P' shows no inflection of course, but we still regard it as being 'in genitive'.)

But, an carr = the carr.

And JP of the car,
i.e. the JP gal/guy/fellow/stócach/girseach who is the owner of the said car = JP an chairr.

Those 'rr's are sounded and written so, i.e. they are inflected to let the listener know of this JP-car relationship. The 'i' which is inserted, shows us the change in quality of what is sounded. Sin agat an tuiseal ginide! That's the genitive, and nothing more.

There are a few other ways to make a genitive :
.............
Ciall = sense.

mórán céille = a lot of sense.
..............................
dochtúir = a doctor.

saol dochtúra = a doctor's life (or = life of a doctor)
..........................................................
geata = a gate.

druidim geata = closing of a gate (or = a gate's closing)
.......................................................
cathair = a city.

lár cathrach = a city center (or = center of a city)
.....................................................

Notice that 'geata' behaves like your 'P'; no change! That is to say, in total we are talking about four changes. The four changes to remember are :

carr > cairr
ciall > céille
dochtúir > dochtúra
cathair > cathrach

We can make those simple :

(And remember the none-change, 'geata', 'JP'.)

...r > ...ir
....l > ...ile
......ir > ......ra
.....ir > ....-r+ach

Simpler still, let C = any consonant :

> ..iC
> ..iCe
> ..Ca
> ..-+C


That's the guts of the Irish system. Four changes and a none change = Cúig Dhíochlaonadh = 5 declensions. Maybe 60% of Irish nouns behave like the first two, First and Second. Just look at those two and let the others come to you as you meet them.
.......................................................

While those rules can help to understand plurals, it is best to just forget them. That is, forget about declension when you cross into plural. Just think about two things : Weak and Strong!
For genitive in plural, we mostly, look to what we call 'strong'/tréaniolra and 'weak'/lagiolra plurals.

Weak means that it cannot maintain its plural form in plural genitive. It reverts to another form. (which happens to be singular!) Strong, of course, can keep its plural form through any mayhem of case.

Now, you don't have to remember the Strong plurals! Howcome? Just remember that there are two weak plurals; the narrowing of consonant type, like carr > cairr, and the addition of a final '-a' type :

...+a (as in 'fuinneog' > 'fuinneoga' = windows)

...iC (as in 'cairr' = cars)

Hence :

fuinneoga = windows;
plabadh fuinneog = slamming of windows;
plabadh na bhfuinneog = the slamming of the windows.

cairr = cars;
luas carr = speed of cars;
luas na gcarr = the speed of the cars.


You don't have to learn the others. You know if they're not weak, then, (difficult, isn't it?), yes, they're strong and can maintain their plural form :

na ceachtanna = the lessons;
foghlaim na gceachtanna = the/ learning of the lessons.

etc.

Some of us like to allow irregularity into the system, if it's there already in areas of speech, so, if JP has more than one carr and I'm describing JP as such :

JP na gcarr = JP of the cars;

or, if I'm into strong plurals today, to accomodate a listener :

JP na gcarrannaí = JP of the cars.

Both are fine.


Go n-éirí an Ghaeilg leat


By Seosamh Mac Muirí (caroldowling.staff6.ul.ie - 136.201.145.201) on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 02:28 pm:

Gabh mo leithscéal, a Sheosaimh, bail ó Dhia ort. Ní fhaca mé ansin thú nuair a thug mé faoi ar ball.

An Seosamh thoir.


By Seosamh (2cust33.tnt48.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.46.55.161) on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 06:48 pm:

Bhail, ní thig leis a rá nach bhfuair sé freagra ar a cheist! We aim to please.

An Seosamh thiar

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 07:42 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Seosamh, a chara,

Go dtuga Dia fairsinge do chroí i gcónaí duit!

le meas,

Jim

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Jim (67.81.112.165 - 67.81.112.165)
Posted on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 07:57 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Sheosamh, a chara,

Go dtuga Dia fairsinge do chroí i gcónaí duit!

le meas,

Jim

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Seosamh Mac Muirí (193.1.100.104 - 193.1.100.104)
Posted on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 12:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go mo leithscéal, a Shéamais, nár thug mé faoi deara gur tú a scríobh ar an ábhar inné, Dé hAoine agus go raibh maith agat féin.

Ádh mór.

Seosamh

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