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Go n-éirí an bóthar libh?
Posted: 04 July 2016 11:01 AM   Ignore ]  
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Dia daoibh uile go léir!  I got to wondering about whether I should modify a saying I intend to deliver to a group of people, specifically “Go n-éirí an bóthar leat,” agus araile.  Should I change the leat to libh?  I suppose if I do I should also change other words to ag bhur gcúil (or perhaps gcúla-is this a place for that usage?), ar bhur n-aghaidheanna, ar bhur ngoirt, and the final thú to sibh.”  Is this ever done???  Or is my gut instinct right that everyone knows that things like this are addressed to each person individually and I should just leave the whole thing alone (maybe with an introductory “do ghach aon agaibh” or the like)?

Another question, not related to the above, regarding the expression “le chéile:” I’m trying to get into the finer points of grammar now, and I’ve always wondered why céile is lenited in this phrase, as it’s made clear that “le” is one of the prepositions that never mutates its object, but I’ve never once seen it written “le céile.”  Of course I suppose it’s just a matter of usage over the years (like “ar dtús” instead of “ar thús”), but maybe I’m missing some grammatical rule and I need someone to set me straight.

Go raibh maith agaibh arís faoin chabhair!

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Posted: 05 July 2016 02:31 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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When you’re addressing multiple people, yes, you change the pronoun to the plural.  The only time you sometimes don’t is, for instance, in advertising or on the internet where the “audience” is obviously multiple people but you are addressing it to each individual viewer.  It depends on the situation though.  I’m probably not good at explaining it.  But for addressing multiple people in person, you should use the plural. 


As far as “le chéile” goes, I have no explanation.  There are many examples of Irish phrases which defy the ordinary mutation rules.  I assume it is just for historical reasons.  Often what we see/hear now is not what the phrase originally was.  Like, why is “chuile” lenited by itself - because it comes from “gach uile” and got shortened to “‘ch uile”.  I can only assume that something similar is going on with “le chéile”.  Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it specifically understanding stuff like this, I’d just learn it as a set phrase.

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Posted: 05 July 2016 10:02 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thank you for both your answers; that pretty much settles each of my questions.  I had suspected that le chéile was something that “just happened” over the years, but was always wondering if there was something obvious that I was missing.  And yes, chuile was another thing I had been curious about.  Thanks again for the input.

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Posted: 06 July 2016 12:28 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Duncan - 04 July 2016 11:01 AM

Another question, not related to the above, regarding the expression “le chéile:” I’m trying to get into the finer points of grammar now, and I’ve always wondered why céile is lenited in this phrase, as it’s made clear that “le” is one of the prepositions that never mutates its object, but I’ve never once seen it written “le céile.”  Of course I suppose it’s just a matter of usage over the years (like “ar dtús” instead of “ar thús”), but maybe I’m missing some grammatical rule and I need someone to set me straight.!

le chéile = le + a chéile
It consists of the preposition le and the phrase “a chéile” which is used as a reciprocal pronoun (“each other”)

It is the mute and no longer written possessive adjective “a” (lit. “his”) which causes lenition.


Today le + a = lena, so: lena chéile

But in the older language -n- occured only in eclipsing environments, e.g. i n-a chéile.
But “le a chéile” etc. was without -n-
The possessive “a” is mute after another vowel, so: le chéile.

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Posted: 06 July 2016 02:47 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Very interesting!  To tell you the truth, I had wondered whether this might have something to do with a possible reference to “leis an gcéile” while omitting the article.  But I had never considered the possibility that the phrase “a chéile” is simply used as as the object of “le,” with the “a” skipped today.  Thanks for pointing out this connection; the lenition now makes perfect sense.  I appreciate the information.

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