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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (July-September) » Archive through September 09, 2004 » Which dialect? « Previous Next »

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Roger Messier (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 64.230.21.110
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 01:36 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm starting to learn Irish and I've just discovered this site. I didn't see this mentioned anywhere so I thought I'd ask here: which dialect does this site teach? Also, does anyone know which dialect is the most common in Ireland?

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Fear_na_mbróg
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Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 52
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 05:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

This site doesn't teach! This site is just in general about the Irish language.

Where you are now is a discussion forum on Gaeilge (the name of the Irish language in the Irish language). You can ask questions and just engage in general conversation if you like about Irish.

One thing about dialects: I hear WWAAYY too much talk about dialectal difference in Irish. It's no big deal at all whatsoever. Some people say "I'm not", some people say "I ain't". Some people say "tomato", others say "tomato". Some people pronounce "three" as "tree", some pronounce "just" as "jus". The only notable difference is that you'll hear certain words more often instead of others, eg. I say "petrol", Americans say "gasoline". After that, all other changes are purely to do with people's accents, eg. I don't like the sound of "th", so I say 3 as "tree". Don't read too much into it, it's just a load of hype.

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Dáithí
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Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 6
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 10:32 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Roger,

I think you'll find a healthy mixture of dialects here at Daltai.com. I would beg to differ with Fear na Brog about teaching on this site, since I have been the recipient of much excellent teaching on this board. Perhaps Fear na Brog is being overly modest when he says this site doesn't teach, but just look through the previous posts, including Fear na Brog's, and you'll see many examples of the fine teaching available on this site.

Now regarding dialects, as a fellow beginner, I share your interest in dialects. For me, dialectical differences are very interesting and I find myself exploring all three of them. But from this beginner's viewpoint, the differences in dialects don't seem to be that important. Granted, there are words, and sentence structures that are particular to each dialect, but they're fun to learn and not overwhelming at least at the beginner level.

I recently acquired the new book "Turas Teanga," which I think does an excellent job in combining the use of the three dialects in its teaching. The accompanying DVD, available separately, is one of the most enjoyable ways (next to Daltai of course!) to learn the Irish language and also gives the learner exposure to the three dialects.

Le meas,

Dáithí

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Roger Messier (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 64.230.21.110
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 11:49 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Fear_na_mbróg and Dáithí, thank you for your answers.

Fear_na_mbróg, Daltaí might not teach in the sense of having defined lessons and exercises and such, but I've started reading some of the grammar section and it does indeed teach. As for your opinion on dialects, that's interesting. I was under the impression that the differences between, say Munster and Ulster, could be significant.

Dáithí, thank you for the reference. I'll go see if Amazon carries that book.

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 96
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 12:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Fear na mBróg may have only seen the discussion boards, and be unaware of the wider Daltaí site.

I suspect the grammar will be the standard "caighdeán oifigiúil"

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Fear_na_mbróg
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Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 55
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 01:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

For instance, I myself don't recognize any "dialects" of English, I can understand them all perfectly. Yet... one could construe that there's loads of dialects of English, as does Wikipedia:

Europe

* British English
* Hiberno-English
* Scottish English



The Americas

* American English
* Canadian English
* Caribbean English
* Jamaican English
* Newfoundland English
* Spanglish


Oceania

* Australian English
* New Zealand English


Asia

* Indian English
* Manglish
* Singlish
* Philippine English



Africa

* Liberian English
* South African English

I myself don't segregate or divide them down into dialects. They're all just English, spoken with different accents, with alternative grammar in places, and with certain words preferred over others. Now consider Irish, spoken on the island of Ireland, a very small area. If there's such little difference between English spoken in Ireland and English spoken in Australia, consider how minute the difference is between Munster and Ulster!

For instance, how many dialects of English is there in this here forum?

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 419
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 05:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I both agree and disagree with Fear na mBróg. I guess everyone is used to this by now :-)

I agree with that basic idea that no-one has to focus on learning a specific dialect. We speak Irish, we read Irish, we write Irish and so on. Whichever dialect you go for - Munster, Ulster or Connact - rest assure that it is genuine Irish. Of course there are more than just three dialects, but all other dialects are subdialects to these three. Some of us find Irish dialects interesting but those who don't have no reason to bother too much with them.

I don't quite agree with the description Fear na mBróg gives of dialects in general. The fact that one can understand different forms of speech does not mean that there aren't different dialects. In fact, a general view is that mutual intelligibility proves that the speakers speak different dialects of the same language. Once mutual intelligibility is lost, they speak different languages. This is in part a theoretic view, but from a purely linguistic perspective it works fine.

What I especially disagree with is the idea that the size of Ireland should have any impact whatsoever of dialectal differences. The fact that English is spoken across large areas and Irish is not tells us nothing about whether Irish or English displays greater dialectal differences. Slovenian is spoken in a small area, much smaller than Ireland, but the dialectal differences within Slovenian are enormous. Russian is spoken in a huge area but there are almost no dialectal differences within Russian. The size of a speech area tells us nothing about the dialectal differentiation within it.

But again, I agree with the core message given by Fear na mBróg. Unless you're interested in dialects you can forget them for the next years :-)

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 421
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

About 4 years ago (ba sin fadó...) a learner named Daniel asked what dialect we would recommend him to learn. I repeat my answer from back then here:
----------------------------------------
Hi Daniel!

That’s an easy question, you should learn the West Kerry dialect.
Why?
1. It is the most beautiful Irish dialect.
2. It is spoken in the most beautiful part of Ireland
3. Its speakers are extremly nice
4. The best irish books are written in this dialect.

Quite easy, don’t you think ;-)

Seriously, it is a very hard question to answer, and no short simple answers exits. Which dialect you should learn dependens solely on your own preferences, but I’ll try to give a brief introduction.

You may know that there are three main dialects of Irish: Ulster in Co. Donegal; Connacht in Co. Galway and Co. Mayo; Munster in Co. Kerry, Co. Cork and Co. Waterford.
All these three main dialects (with a number of sub-dialects) are spoken as the first, and sometimes the only, language in communities along the western seabord.

1. Ulster. This dialect is the main language in northwestern Ireland, the most important villages include Gaoth Dobhair, Bun Beag, Gort a’ Choirce, and Rinn na Féiste as well as Tory Island.
It is also spoken somewhat further south in places like Gleann Cholm Cille, Teileann and Baile na Finne, but English is the first language is these villages.
The Ulster dialect is quite different from other Irish dialects, some even claim that it is closer to Scottish Gaelic. (Then there are those who claim that Scottish Gaelic is a dialect of Irish...) Admittingly, the dialect shares many features in grammar, vocabulary and pronounciation with Scottish Gaelic, which makes it a bit hard for speakers of other dialects to understand the speakers of this dialect. The differences aren’t, however, insurmountable, but it takes some practising before a speaker (or learner) of other dialects can converse with the speakers.

2. Connacht. This is the largest dialect, and is the main language along the northern coast of Galway Bay in an area stretching from An Spidéal to Carna. Villages in this entirely Irish-speaking area include Indreabhán, An Cheathrú Rua, Tír an Fhia (where I’ve lived), Ros Muc and Cill Chiaráin; it is also the first language of the Aran Islands. A subdialect is spoken in some villages in Co. Mayo, i.e. Tuar Mhic Eadaigh and Ceathrú Thaidhg, but English has almost replaced the Irish of Mayo.
The Connacht dialect is in many aspects halfway between Ulster and Munster. This is, without doubt, the least archaic dialect: it is strikingly modern and simplified.

3. Munster. This dialect is the first language of the western part of the Dingle Peninsula (the westermost part of Europe), including villages such as Dún Chaoin, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh (where I’ve also lived and learned my Irish), Baile na nGall, Muiríoch and An Feothanach. It is also the first language of Cuil Aodha in the Cork Mountains.
The dialect is also spoken in the easten part of Dingle peninsula, in the Uíbh Ráthach peninsula, on Cléire Island and along the river Lee (Laoi) in villages such as Béal Átha an Gaorthaidh, but English dominates in these areas. A subdialect is spoken in An Rinn in Co. Waterford, and is quite strong.
The Munster dialect is in many ways the most archaic dialect (the oldest living Celtic speech, if you want). Because of this its conjugations are a little bit more complicated than the other, but at the same time it adds a certain charm.

Now, which dialect is easiest to learn?
1. Ulster. The pronounciation may present some problems when learing this dialect, but apart from that it sould be quite easy to learn, and once learned it should be easy to converse with other speakers of the same dialect. (as well as speakers of other dialects with a little effort)

2. Connacht. This dialect has one huge advantage for learners, the best book for beginners is written in it: Learning Irish by Mícheál Ó Siadhail. On the whole, it is quite easy to learn this dialect with it’s simplified grammar BUT unlike the other dialects, you might have problems conversing with its speakers even once you’ve learned it. The reason is that in normal speech most endings are reduced to a simpel schwa-sound (like e in english the, french le). In addtion, many other sounds are frequently dropped. This gives the dialect a sound like where it spoken deep down in the throat. Actually, it IS spoken deep down the throat. Because of this, native speakers of this dialect can be tricky to understand for beginners. When I first came to Connemara I spoke Irish, but I still had trouble the first weeks.

3. Munster. As said, the conjugations make this dialect slightly harder, but they can easily be mastered in a day or two (they are perfectly regular). The advantage with this dialect is that its speakers normally are well-articulated and don’t speak as fast as in some other dialects. This contributes to making the speakers of this dialect the easiest to converse with for a learner.

Then about the beauty. I can, of course, only speak for myself here.
1. Ulster. When asked the question “which dialect is the most beautiful” many native speakers will answer Ulster, regardless of which dialect they speak themselves. Part of the reason is that is sounds somewhat exotic to other Irish speakers, but I guess that most English speakers think that all dialects sound exotic.

2. Connacht. To the mentioned question “which dialect is the most beautiful” hardly any speakers will answer Connacht. The deep-throat sounds combined with reductions do have their charm, but they are not commonly appreciated. Another reason may be that Ulster and Munster speakers reject the simplification of the grammar.

3. Munster. Once again, many Irish speakers, regardless of their own dialect, think this is the most beautiful. The archaic forms and stress-pattern do have a certain appeal, it certainly gives it a more musical sound.

Well, there's some information of the dialects from my personal point of view.

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Fear_na_mbróg
Member
Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 56
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 06:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Grammar simplifications in Connacht Irish? Can you give an example?

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James
Member
Username: James

Post Number: 18
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 09:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Roger,

I would say the Connacht dialect is probably the easiest to learn for all the reasons so excellently outlined by Jonas.

But, having said that...don't get hung up on dialects! Just learn Irish!!! The dialect issue will sort itself out easily enough.

I speak Spanish rather fluently and have travelled and worked in Latin America on a fairly intense basis. Can I understand the Spanish of Panama...sure can. Can I understand the Spanish of Venezuela...not a problem. Can I understand the Spanish of Argentina....well, after a day or two to get accustomed to the unusual treatment they give some words...sure. How 'bout in Spain....again...give me a day or two to get used to the "castillian lisp" and I'm up and running.

Irish will be similar for you (and me!) in time. I can listen to RnaG and recognize different words or treatments, for lack of a better term. Mar sampla..I know Táim and Tá mé are the same. Más é do thoil é and Le do thoil both mean "Please." Conas tá tú and Cad é mar tá tú both are asking "how are you." Now, how do I know this? Partly by devouring anything and everything I can find on or about An Gaeilge and partly by participating almost daily on this site. Forget about dialects...find a good resource that "fits" for you and immmerse yourself.

As far as what dialect this site "teaches", I'd have to side more with FnamB. Jonas and Aonghus et al not withstanding. Don't expect this site to "teach" but allow it to guide you as you learn. You'll teach yourself and this site will get you through the sticky parts (and there are PLENTY of them!!) If you are really, truely just stuck and can't see the forest for all the trees we'll put in front of you then yes...on occasion you will be taught. But, you'll get the most from this site if you let it point you in a direction and you find the answer on your own!!

Le meas,

James

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Fear_na_mbróg
Member
Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 59
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 04:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

At the end of the day, don't be reluctant to ask questions, I for one enjoy answering them!

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 424
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 04:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Grammar simplifications in Connacht Irish? Can you give an example?

I can give many. One of most striking is of course the almost total deletion of verbal conjugations.
Instead of the traditional
bhíos - cheannaíos - dhúnas
bhís - cheannaís - dhúnais
bhí sé - cheannaigh sé - dhún sé
bhíomair - cheannaíomair - dhúnamair
bhíobhair - cheannaíobhair - dhúnabhair
bhíodar - cheannaíodar - dhúnadar


we have the following simplified system in Connacht
bhí mé - cheannaigh mé - dhún mé
bhí tú - cheannaigh tú - dhún tú
bhí sé - cheannaigh sé - dhún sé
bhí muid - cheannaigh muid - dhún muid
bhí sibh - cheannaigh sibh - dhún sibh
bhí siad - cheannaigh siad - dhún siad


Of course there are many more simplifications, this one is just an example. The syntax shows a great deal of simplification too. Finally, let me add that no value - neither positive nor negative - should be attached to grammatical simplifications. English grammar is simplified beyond belief - together with Farsi the most simplified of all Indo-European languages - but I don't claim that English is superior nor inferior because of this.

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Fear_na_mbróg
Member
Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 61
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 05:32 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I wouldn't necessary say that that's a grammatical simplification. You'll hear me say:

I'm
You're
He's
She's
We're
Yiz're
They're

But that doesn't mean you'll never hear me say:

I am
You are
He is
She is
We are
Yiz are
They are

Can you mention any other grammatical simplifications? I myself know of none whatsoever. In all areas, nouns are conjugated, put into cases, as are adjectives. Verbs are conjugated into tenses. The "rules" for séimhiú and urú are the same everywhere, except that in Ulster some people say:

ar an bhord
sa bpáirc

And the whole D T S issue:

sa tír
sa thír

I'm all ears!

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 425
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 06:57 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I wouldn't necessary say that that's a grammatical simplification.

I have to disagree, those are definitely simplifications. The examples you gave are not. I'm, you're he'setc. are a contractions of I am, you are, he is but they are not simplifications. Simplifications of the examples you gave would be I's, you's, he's. Simplifications and contractions are not the same thing.

As you say, you'd use both I am and I'm. The situation in Irish is not identical; the Irish forms are not used interchangeably by speakers. A Munster speaker would use more archaic forms, a Connacht speaker the more simplified forms. Again, this says nothing of the quality of either dialect.

As for other grammatical simplifications in Connacht: the difference between the nominative and the dative isn't really upheld any more - they have merged with each others, simplifying the case system.

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Fear_na_mbróg
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Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 62
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 08:24 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Okay, one simplification:

Not having special datives, eg.:

an subh, don suibh
an teach, don tigh

I'd say that "Dhúnas" is to "Dhún mé" as "I'm" is to "I am".

I myself readily switch between "Dhúnas" and "Dhún mé", mostly to make the sentence more or less abrupt. For example, in my Irish Oral:

An raibh tú i nGaeltacht riamh?
Ní rabhas.

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 426
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 08:33 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I don't quite understand this, I'm afraid. Are you seriously claiming that the simplified verbal system in Connacht is not a grammatical simplification?? In that case I'm much interested in knowing what you consider grammatical simplifications. The Irish verbal system is an archexample of how grammar is being simplified.

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Diarmo
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Username: Diarmo

Post Number: 26
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 08:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

In what areas are the forms listed below common?

bhíos - cheannaíos - dhúnas
bhís - cheannaís - dhúnais
bhí sé - cheannaigh sé - dhún sé
bhíomair - cheannaíomair - dhúnamair
bhíobhair - cheannaíobhair - dhúnabhair
bhíodar - cheannaíodar - dhúnadar

le meas

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Fear_na_mbróg
Member
Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 64
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 09:35 am:   Edit Post Print Post

What's with the following spellings:

Bhíomair, Cheannaíomair, Dhúnamair

Are they typos for:

Bhíomar, Cheannaíomar, Dhúnamar ?

You'll hear them most commonly in Munster, just as you'll hear "gasoline" more commonly in America, but that doesn't mean you won't hear "gasoline" in Dublin. I myself am in Dublin and I say "Dhúnas".

The Past Habitual and Conditional Mood tenses haven't been "simplified" though. You'll hear the following all over Ireland:

Dhúnfainn
Dhúnfá
Dhúnfadh sé
Dhúnfadh sí
Dhúnfaimis
Dhúnfadh sibh
Dhúnfaidís
Dhúnfaí


Dhúnainn
Dhúntá
Dhúnadh sé
Dhúnadh sí
Dhúnaimis
Dhúnadh sibh
Dhúnaidís
Dhúntaí

Also, in all tenses, you'll hear all over Ireland:

Dhúnamar
Dúnaimid
Dúnfaimid

Plus:

Dúnaim

**

Is the following right:

Ulster: sa teach
Connacht: sa theach
Munster: sa tigh

Or do they say "sa tigh" in Ulster?

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 427
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 12:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Diarmo, those forms are common in West Munster. Most speaker there would consider forms such as "bhí mé" etc. to be bad Irish. In East Munster (read: An Rinn), you'll hear both forms.


Bhíomair, Cheannaíomair, Dhúnamair
Are they typos for:
Bhíomar, Cheannaíomar, Dhúnamar?


No, they are the correct rendering for the Munster pronunciation. The final "r" is slender, not broad.

Also, in all tenses, you'll hear all over Ireland:

Dhúnamar
Dúnaimid
Dúnfaimid


Not really. You can hear it in Connacht, true enough, although not that often. You won't hear it in Ulster.

Is the following right:

Ulster: sa teach
Connacht: sa theach
Munster: sa tigh


No, in Connacht sa eclipses so you'd get sa dteach

As for Ulster, I'm not sure but I'd expect sa teach

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Diarmo
Member
Username: Diarmo

Post Number: 28
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:42 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ní rabhas: I was not. (Synthetic form of the verb, an fhoirm tháite past tense, aimsir chaite first person singular, an chéad phearsa uatha. While the synthetic form of the verb is not used in the official standard, (with some exceptions, such as the first person singular and plural present tense) it was common in O'Conaire's day and is found often in older Irish language literature and poetry. It is still common in the Munster dialects (Kerry, Cork, An Rinn, etc.). Since Deoraíocht is narrated in the form of a diary the past tense, first person singular is used very often. The endings are: -eas, -as, or -os (used when there is an "i" at or close to the end of the root, for example: bhíos, I was). Some other examples: cheapas = CHEAP MÉ; thosaíos = THOSAIGH MÉ; chuas = CHUAIGH MÉ; lasas = LAS MÉ, etc.)

so where does the -as or -os ending come from??

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Fear_na_mbróg
Member
Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 71
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 06:36 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Where does "ain't" come from?!

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 103
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 07:25 am:   Edit Post Print Post

see http://www.dictionary.com

Contraction of am not.
Used also as a contraction for are not, is not, has not, and have not.

Usage Note: Ain't has a long history of controversy. (see the site for the rest of the note )

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 428
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 07:56 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I think Fear_na_mBróg's question is rhetorical, right? He's pointing out the very valid fact that if we really start to ask where everything comes from we're soon in problem. Of course we can trace the Irish endings back to Old Irish and often, by comparison with other languages, even back to Proto-Indo-European. But what came before that, where did Indo-European come from. In truth, there is a very small number of words of which we know the origin.
"mama" is found in one form or another in a huge number of languages - simply becuase toddlers can easily say it.
"Drip-drop", "bang" etc. are sounds describing the actual sound. Apart from that, we're often in the dark. We can trace the origins of the word back to how it first looked but why did it appear in that form in the first place? Impossible to say, I'd guess.



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