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Bailte biataigh or biatach?
Posted: 07 June 2015 03:44 PM   Ignore ]  
Comhalta
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Dia daoibh!
I wonder could someone help. I am looking for the correct modern Irish spelling for the word anglicised as ‘ballybetagh,’ both singular and plural.
I am pretty sure I have the singular version correct: Baile biataigh (nominative singular and genitive singular). The problem is the plural version.
Bailte is the nominative plural yes? But do I use biataigh (the genitive singular) or biatach (the genitive plural), in other words, my confusion arises from whether or not the gentitive should be singular or plural (‘towns of the victualler’ or ‘towns of the victuallers’?) if you get my drift…

Míle buiochas daoibh roimh ré  smile

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Posted: 07 June 2015 06:47 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Comhalta
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What context do you need to use it in? You might not even need to use a plural form in Irish. In any case, though, sometimes the qualifying noun in the genitive will change to the plural when the head noun becomes plural, like saor cloichesaortha cloch, maide coisemaidí cos, but madadh crainn (= squirrel) → madraí crainn, muc mharamuca mara

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Posted: 07 June 2015 07:00 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I am writing about the Gaelic landholding system pre-colonisation of Ulster. If I want to refer to many ballybetaghs, I am not sure if it is bailte biatach or bailte biataigh. That is what confuses me, is it just sometimes the qualifying noun changes to the plural if the head noun does so, or always, and if sometimes, what determines when it does so?

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Posted: 08 June 2015 04:59 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I had never heard this term before, but it might be worth noting that a Google search for “bailte biatach” returns nothing, while “bailte biataigh” returns 1 (well, 2, but they are identical) result.  Not that Google is 100% trustworthy on these matters, but could be significant.

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Posted: 08 June 2015 05:36 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Yes sorry, I should have explained it a bit better. A ‘ballybetagh’ was a land unit in Gaelic areas prior to the plantations. It was basically the unit from which a Gaelic ruler would gather food dues and hospitality from the surrounding area, hence the name ‘town of the food provider’. It was sub-divided into the baile bó. There were usually around 16 bailte bó in one baile biataigh. The English (based on the mistaken belief that the bailte bó were of uniform 60 acres size) believed that the baile biataigh was 960 acres in size, but they were wrong. I am pretty much certain ‘baile biataigh’ is the correct singular form.
I’m basically just wondering (and this goes for other nouns too) if there is any rule for determining whether or not the qualifying genitive noun turns plural when the head noun is plural.

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Posted: 08 June 2015 06:08 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Yeah I looked it up.  I actually have a poor knowledge of older and historical terms and history in general, so it makes sense I wouldn’t have heard of it.  And yes, “baile biataigh” is definitely the correct singular because it’s in Ó Dónaill’s.  I think the correct plural is “bailte biataigh” but can’t be sure. 

I don’t think there is a definite rule as to when the genitive would be singular or plural, except in cases where logically it definitely refers to more than one thing.  With muc mhara vs. muc mara, for example, the animals aren’t living in multiple seas (well, technically they could in that they could migrate to what is called, on a map, a different sea, but they live in “the sea”).  With “baile biataigh” I could see it going either way, because it is a “town of (a) land-owner”, so I guess it could theoretically be genitive plural since if you’re talking about multiple balleybetaghs, you would likely have multiple owners, however, I think it’s more likely that it’s genitive singular because “towns of land-owners” might suggest that each town were co-owned by multiple owners, if that makes sense.  I don’t know if this is correct, but it’s what (theoretically) makes sense to me. 

So I guess, to summarize, just try to use logic and available examples where you can.  I think when the genitive acts almost like an adjective, it’s likely going to stay singular, which is more common in general, I’d say.

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Posted: 08 June 2015 06:43 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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On balance bailte biataigh makes more sense I think.
Good to know how to say porpoise in Irish as well. You learn something new every day smile
Go raibh maith agat as do cabhair!

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Posted: 08 June 2015 07:49 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Yeah I learned a couple new terms here.  As I said, I had never heard “bailte biataigh” before, but I also didn’t know “maide coise”, which I assumed was the same as “maide croise” (“crutch”) but apparently means something slightly different (“stretcher”), so fair play to Cúnla for that.

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Posted: 09 June 2015 06:45 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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The term “baile biataigh” does not crop up in Focal, but a number of other terms containing “baile” do. Most of them take singular, such as “baile garastúin” (“garrison town”) and “baile ollscoile” (“university town”), but there’s also “baile seantán” (“shanty town”), which takes plural. The use of plural is no doubt explained by the fact that a shanty town is by definition made up of a large number of such dwellings. Based on these examples, I would also go with the singular “bailte biataigh”, as has already been suggested by Gerry himself.

PS. I also had a quick look at the eDIL electronic dictionary which has “baile bíattaig” (Old Irish spelling for “biataigh”), but apparently not combined with “bíattach”. This is of course not conclusive, but perhaps gives you some more reassurance.

Go n-éirí leat!

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Posted: 10 June 2015 04:42 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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baile biataigh = 4 ceathrú = 16 baile bó = 32 seisíoch


bailte biataigh in Ulster became baronies under English rule.

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Posted: 10 June 2015 09:01 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Dia dhuit a Labhrás!
Just a few corrections there. A little lecture on the organisation of land under the Gaelic system if anyone is interested smile
Firstly, the equation of “baile biataigh = 4 ceathrú = 16 baile bó = 32 seisíoch” I’m afraid, does not really reflect how the units were used in relaity. If only it was that simple!
It is true there were 4 ceathrú in a baile biataigh, yes. However, the number of bailte bó in a baile biatach was only 16 on average. In fact, it varied, sometimes widely. This might seem like a minor detail but it actually led to soe fairly major misunderstandigs. The whole system was not as uniform as believed by the English who surveyed Ulster at the time of the plantation. The idea that there were 16 bailte bó, and that they were 60 acres in size, led to them mistakenly thinking each baile biatach was 960 acres,  but there was neither regularity in the number of bailte bó in a baile biatach, nor the size of these. Instead of being a unit of measurement, the baile bó was the unit of land that could feed a defined number of cows or people-i.e.the larger bailte bó were of poorer-quality land, the smaller ones better quality. This misunderstanding led to the English making huge miscalculations in their allocation of land to colonists, usually granting them far more in reality than they believed they had. They were imposing their own ideas of regularity and measurement on an alien system.
Furthermore, different names were used in different parts of Ulster. In Fermanagh and Monaghan, for example, the baile bó was referred to as a ‘tate’ and in Cavan, as a ‘poll.’ The seisígh which you mentioned above were (as I understand it) a 6th part of a quarter, so a baile biatach would have had 24 of them, but I suspect again that this was not uniform. In Cavan, a ‘gallon’ served the same purpose as the seisíoch, and half a gallon was a ‘pottle.’
Whereas in most parts of Ulster, the baile bó was the basis for what became the townlands of English administration, most of the townlands in Donegal seem to have evolved from the larger ceathrúna.
One final correction: the bailte biataigh did not become baronies. They were much smaller than that. So, for example, the 1591 survey lists 74 bailte biataigh in Monaghan. These would be distributed by English administrators among 5 baronies.
These baronies were generally based on the terrritorial units of Irish rulers, which English writers have referred to as a lordship, but which the Irish referred to as an oireacht. So, in Monaghan, for example, the five baronies generally approximate the areas ruled over by the various rival branches of the McMahons, but this is not necessarily the case over the whole of Ulster. Antrim and Down were shired as counties a long, long time before the rest of Ulster, for example.
Le gach dea-ghuí

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Posted: 11 June 2015 02:18 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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gerrynobody - 10 June 2015 09:01 AM

Dia dhuit a Labhrás!
Just a few corrections there. A little lecture on the organisation of land under the Gaelic system if anyone is interested smile

Go raibh maith agat.

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Posted: 27 June 2015 08:41 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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With regards to Monaghan a good read is the following:
“Social and Spatial Order in the MacMahon Lordship of Airghialla in the Late Sixteenth Century”—Patrick J. Duffy

Can be found in: “Gaelic Ireland, C.1250-c.1650: Land, Lordship and Settlement”

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gaelic-Ireland-C-1250-c-1650-Lordship-Settlement/dp/1851828001/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435412346&sr=8-1&keywords=gaelic+ireland+c.1250

Detailed book with regard to Territorial and Economic Divisons is:
“Medieval Ireland
Territorial, political and economic divisions”

By Paul McCotter

http://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/2014/medieval-ireland/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Medieval-Ireland-Territorial-Political-Divisions/dp/1846825571/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435412487&sr=8-1&keywords=medieval+ireland+territorial

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