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mealeabeach ( -
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 12:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Please to explain to the Irish challenged when to use mo chara vs. a chara and explain WHY they may or may not change. Is the "a" in "a chara" a morpheme (check this a bad use of linguistic terms) or is it a differnt word all together? I can't really spell in Irish but go raibh ...uh...mahagat?!! :) Sorry, I dont mean to offend if I do.


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Aonghus ( -
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 12:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chara is the vocative, and is used when directly addressing somebody. The "A" is sometimes translated a "O"; as in "O, friend".

Mo Chara - my friend

go raibh maith agat

fáilte romhat

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An mac Díobhlásach ( -
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 12:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

This is really simple but at first it may seem confusing because there are a lot of factors involved. I'm going to try to explain it as best I can. If I wind up confusing you more, let me know and I'll try to clear it up in smaller, more concise portions.

A Chara is in the vocative case. It's like saying "Oh, friend". It sound archaic to the native english speaker but it's perfectly normal in Irish. Mo Chara, is saying "My friend" just as we would in english.

You'll encounter the vocative in addressing people by their names as well. It would be like saying "Oh, Brian" (A Bhrían) Oh, Mary (A Mháire).

The "A" of the vocative always causes lenition which ithe adding of an "h" after the initial consonant if the name begins with a consonant. There are vocative cases for names that begin with vowels such as Aonghus (vocative: Aonghuis if I remember correctly)but I think this is something you just have to learn. There may be a rule for it, but I don't know that rule yet.

Mo is a possessive adjective. Most of the singular possessive adjectives cause lenition.

My = Mo

Your = Do

His =a

Hers = a also but it causes a prefixing of an "h" rather than lenition. That's how you know the difference between a = his and a = hers. If it's a = his there is no impact on a following vowel and if it's a = hers it prefixes the vowel with "h" (a héan = her bird vs a éan = his bird)

The plural possessive adjectives cause a condition known as eclipsis (Úru in Irish) and there is a whole list of what consonants and what vowels get eclipsed and by what do they get's a lesson all in and of itself and I don't want to overwhelm you with too much. If you want more, just post and I'll get out my texts and do what I can for you. I'm still learning this language myself (have been for almost 4 years now) so most of what I post is coming out of a text book rather than off the top of my head.

Don't worry about being "Irish challenged." If it ain't challenging then it ain't Irish!!

Le meas,

An mac Díobhlásach

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Fear na mBrog ( -
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 12:53 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I won't go into the precise grammar, but if you want to address some-one/something, then just stick "a + séimhiú" on it:

a bhuachaill
a chailín
a chara
a mhadra

Stop reading now.

For others, here's the exact grammar:

Only change it if it's Group 1:


a fhir
a bháid
a chapaill
a chaisleáin

That's the singular

Here's the plural:

a fheara
a bháda
a chapalla
a chaisleána

Only Group 1!

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