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Aaron Shaw ( -
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 01:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Greetings all-

I am just curious, being a newcomer to the Irish Language whether Irish possesses a "true" infinitive form or if various renditions of the gerund are always used. Any help (with examples :D) would be most appreciated.

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Seosamh Mac Muirí ( -
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 05:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Aaron a chara,

You're title and the matter of your question probably dictate the lack of answering until now!

(: a sentence which probably renders what you're looking for in Irish English: )

Is dóigh gurb é teideal agus ábhar do cheiste a chinn easpa do FHREAGARTHA go nuige seo.

'f(h)reagartha' in this instance is the gen. singular of the 'verbal noun', 'freagairt', your gerund.

'freagartha' in other circumstances would be the past participle of the verb.

(Apart from those, the noun, 'freagra', has no change of form in genitive and is classed as a 4th. declension.)

The argument can, very occasionally, take place as to a 'verbal noun' being a verb or a noun. It can be either depending on the immediate circumstance. This is why one may decide to call it occasionally 'briatharainm' / briathar ainm(fhocail)' / 'nominal verb' as against 'ainmbhriathar' / 'ainm briathartha' / 'ainm briathair' or 'verbal noun'. Both you and I are now the two people in the world who describe it such!
(You know that the verbal noun of other languages = English infinitive.)

I have certain reservations in discussing such heavy metal grammar which is at some remove from the aims of a discussion board for learning Irish. Grammar does arise occasionally in language learning, but I would prefer that it have a back seat as against attempts at sentence completion and other more basic efforts of fluency.
(I was impressed and I wasn't impressed, some 12 yrs. ago when teaching Irish abroad. In the first five minutes I was asked 'Do you wish us to pronounce intervocalic h?')

Grammatically, Irish can be very interesting, but I generally curtail the grammarian minority in the Irish-to-English stages of learning the language. When in the all-Irish discussion scene (e.g. the final yr. of 3rd. level in Ireland) where a sizeable minority are trying to iron out their final unsolved mysteries, it can be very beneficial to indulge that important few into their last plunge. It can impress the others present of the work still to be done.

In a situation like this here, Aaron a chara, I would ask you to go easy on the lumpen proletariat of learners who are struggling along with perhaps a lone grammar book.

Chuirfinn fáilte roimh cheist den chineál seo ar chlár Gaeilge Dhaltaí na Gaeilge am ar bith.
Ní maith a dhéantar le róchlaonadh na gramadaí anseo scaití.

Learners of Irish should realise that one can learn Irish in some instances WITHOUT having to resort headlong into a grammar plunge. I know one person from the Derry/Antrim who took to Irish without learning to spell, English or Irish! Reading has now been taken on board by this person as an outcome of being handed A4s as visual aids in class.

Ádh mór.

aguisín: example D?

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