Daltai na Gaeilge
Proverbs

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Briseann an dúchas trí shúile an chait.

Heredity breaks out in the eyes of the cat.

Note: The argument of nature vs. nurture has been raging for centuries. Here is a seanfhocal for those on the nature side of the debate. It can be argued that at least some of the attributes of the cat must me ascribed to nature, like the feline eye. The cat clearly has a predatory instinct to kill. Like the cat, man's propensity for cruelty and savagery has been imputed by Tennyson to "Nature, red in tooth and claw." In Memoriam, (1850), Conclusion, 56, st.4. Unfortunately, current events may be proving Tennyson's thesis.

Note also: The dative case has all but disappeared from Modern Irish conversation. A few years ago, this seanfhocal would have used the dative plural case of the word 'eye,' 'shúilibh.' A number of prepositions used to require the dative case in Old Irish, e.g., the precursors of de, do, ag, and ó. These prepositions are typical of indirect object constructions requiring the dative case in a number of Indo-European languages. The accusative case that used to govern the direct object of a sentence is also gone from the Irish language. All that is left is the nominative, genitive and vocative cases. Be grateful that there are not as many inflections of Irish nouns to learn as there used to be.

Return to Nature.