My Own Seanfhocail...

Latest post Wed, Nov 22 2017 11:00 by Dale D. 7 replies.
  • Fri, Jan 18 2013 17:57

    • Dale D
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    My Own Seanfhocail...

    Hello.

    I am trying to translate the expression "Little strokes fell great oaks" as I thought it would be an interesting exercise.

    So, I started with the verb "leag" -- "fell, cut down" -- and determined that the nature of the expression includes an implied future tense, i.e., "Little strokes will fell great oaks."  Consequently, I began with "leagfaidh"

    A stroke or a chop is "buille" and "small" is "beag", so "Leagfaidh buille beag..."

    ...and "oak" is "dair" and "mór" is "big" (or "great" in size) so I proceeded with "dair mór" at the end:

    "Leagfaidh buille beag dair mór."

    Now for the hard part, meaning the part I still don't fully understand.  Lenition and eclipsis.

    I have gathered in doing some reading that noun cases seem to change when treated as subject or object.  So is the "genetive" case the "objective" mode?  And what would that mean in the present instance?

    And does the adverb following the noun change as well?

    So instead of "dair mór". would it be "dhair mhór"?

    Or am I completely off base?

    Lastly, the English expression uses plurals (strokes, oaks) so if someone can help me on the pluralization, that would be great as well....

    Thanks for the help!

    Dale

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  • Sat, Jan 19 2013 5:44 In reply to

    Re: My Own Seanfhocail...

    buille beaga

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  • Tue, Jan 22 2013 20:10 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: My Own Seanfhocail...

    Hi Dale, That's really a very good effort. Yes, it would be dair mhór, although in general people usually say "crann dara". So leagfaidh buille beag crann mór dara or leagfaidh buille beag crann dara mór or leagfaidh buille beag dair mhór are all fine. Maith thú!

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  • Wed, Jan 23 2013 17:05 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: My Own Seanfhocail...

    Thanks, Seán!  I haven't heard from you for a while...but then, I experienced a period of "black-out" where I couldn't seem to post anywhere on the Talk Irish site.  Glad that seems to have been fixed!

    I guess your reply coaxes a few more questions out of me!

    The first reply suggested using "beaga" instead of just "beag", but you didn't include that.  Any reason?

    I am used to Spanish (somewhat) where adjectives and adverbs tend to follow the word they are modifying, and while that doesn't necessarily appear to be a hard and fast rule in Irish, it seems fairly predominant, with the exceptions of "very" (an-) which is a hyphenated prefix as opposed to a stand alone word, and probably a few others I'm not aware of.    So I would have thought it more or less a rule that "mór" (or mhór) would follow dair or dara.

    Since Crann becomes the direct object when used in the expression, I assume then that "dara" is the form of "dair" needed to be used as an adjective.  Is that actually the genetive form, or is it an adjectival form?  Or are they the same thing, in essence?

    Sorry for so many questions.  I find understanding the rules for using the cases of nouns and the rules for lenition and eclipsis all very confusing.  I may hae mentioned this before, but my first text on the Irish language was a "Teach Yourself" series book "Teach Yourself Irish", by Miles Dillon and Donnchadh ó Cróinín, which I purchased in Cork in 1974.  I learned a lot from reading it, although probably not as much as I should have, and I got sidetracked from it when a friend exclaimed to me, "You'll never learn Irish readin' that!" and gave me her copies of Buntus Cainte.  Anyway, in "Teach Yourself Irish", the authors had quite a list of rules for when either lenition (which they referred to as "aspiration") or eclipsis should be applied.  For us died-in-the-wool English speakers, it must be pretty daunting to make sense of it.  I may have to go back and do as they suggested, and memorize each rule.  I'm wondering if the rules are taught that formally in ordinary Irish language instruction in schools?  It also seems like they need to be intuitively adopted.  In English, we often hear a mother correct a child for incorrect grammar, when the child says, "I are going to school now", and the mother replies "I am going to school now!"  I am envisioning something where the rules for lenition and eclipsis are picked up in a similar fashion?

    Sorry to get so long-winded there, but it's a subject that's both frustrating and fascinating at the same time.  It's hard to get the full picture of what those changes do or what information they convey.  Irish is the only language I've experienced where a poem can be constructed with the same word at the end of two different lines, but in two different cases so that it forms a legitimate rime!

    Thanks again for all your help, seano!  You've been a most consistent responder, and I appreciate it!

    Dale

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  • Wed, Jan 23 2013 20:27 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: My Own Seanfhocail...

    Hi Dale, No problem! I have been a bit lazy of late. I was very busy there before Christmas and I now have a bit more time, so I have decided to start contributing to TalkIrish more often and at greater length. There are a few points to clarify here. First, the beaga. The other person who contributed probably thought that buille is a plural, in which case the adjective would have to agree. But in fact, buille is singular, so it's just beag. If you made it plural "buillí beaga" you would have to make the adjective plural. As for where you put the adjective in the phrase "big oak tree" people get very exercised about these matters and some people will tell you flatly that you should put the adjective between the two nouns - thus siopa mór leabhar (a big book shop) instead of siopa leabhar mór (whch they claim means a shop of big books). In reality, there is a tendency for phrases like siopa leabhar to be treated like individual words and so the adjective usually comes after, whatever the usage might have been a hundred years ago. Darach is the genitive of dair. While I would say dara, I've just remembered that officially it's spelled darach (we tend not to pronounce a ch at the end of a word in Ulster) so I misled you there! Sorry about that! Yes, people just pick séimhiú and urú up, though unfortunately some people now are very sloppy about these points of grammar. Any other questions, let me know! Beir bua! Seáno

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  • Wed, Jan 23 2013 21:38 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: My Own Seanfhocail...

    Hi, Seáno, thanks for the clarifications, and for the admissions!  Not everyone will do that, you know....

    So if I take the buille and make it buillí for plural, and hence beaga to make them agree, thenit would make sense for dair to be plural as well  Is there a plural for mór?  (Or mhór?)  Does it get an "a" added as well?

    Latest version:  Leagfaidh buillí beaga dairí mhór.

    Dale D

    PS:  Are you familiar with the delineation of rules for lenition and eclipsis I mentioned?

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  • Fri, Jan 25 2013 20:35 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: My Own Seanfhocail...

    Hi Dale, Well, when your limitations are obvious, you don't have much choice but to admit them! Big Smile

    Here are some examples of nouns with adjectives in the plural:

    tithe móra

    cait bheaga

    lánaí caola

    fir chiallmhara

    deochanna searbha

    buillí troma

    laethanta fada

    laethanta gearra

    Hope these help. Any other questions! As I say, I'm much more available now so I'll do my best to give a proper, full answer. All the best, Seáno.

     

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  • Wed, Nov 22 2017 11:00 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: My Own Seanfhocail...

    Was this really necessary?  You just quoted what seáno said earlier.  Why for how come?

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