Lenition in Adjectives

Latest post Wed, Aug 9 2017 15:56 by otuathail. 2 replies.
  • Sat, Aug 5 2017 15:44

    • Doireann97
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    Lenition in Adjectives

    Hi guys! I'm new to this forum, and as I'm learning Irish on my own over the summer (after one year of two university classes a week), I thought I'd try posting some of the questions that are always cropping up.

    The one I'm currently stuck at is what seems to be an inconsistency in adjective lenition. I'm reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as Gaeilge and here's the phrase in question: "féasóigín beag biorach, folt catach agus adharc bheag ar gach taobh" ("a pointy little beard, curly hair and a small horn on each side").

    The second "beag" is naturally lenited because "adharc" is feminine. "Catach" isn't lenited because "folt" is masculine. Why isn't the first "beag" lenited, however, since "féasóigín" is feminine? (My research told me that as long as the base word is feminine, the diminutative form is also feminine -- right?)


    Go raibh míle maith agaibh!

    • Post Points: 37
  • Sun, Aug 6 2017 10:49 In reply to

    • LauraHuntORI
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    Re: Lenition in Adjectives

    Ní féidir liom a thuiscint cén fáth go bhfuil an dara ceann séimhítear. 
    An féidir leat a thabhairt dúinn an abairt iomlán, le do thoil?
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  • Wed, Aug 9 2017 15:56 In reply to

    • otuathail
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    Re: Lenition in Adjectives

    Hi Doireann,

    Usually, words that end in -ín are masculine - cailín beag, faidhtín beag, bairín beag (all masculine) but actual diminuitves where -ín is added to the end of a word and the original meaning of the word hasn't changed, usually have the same gender as the original - beainín bheagfaidhbín bheag, fuinneoigín bheag, deoichín bheag (all feminine).

    That said, I have seen cases where one person treats a diminutive of a feminine word as masculine while another keeps the original gender. So maybe it's dialect vs standard thing. I'm guessing a translation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would have been edited according to An Caighdeáin and to be honest, I wouldn't be too well up on the rules of An Caighdeáin Oifigiúil but speaking for myself, if it's a diminutive and the meaning is unchanged, the noun gender doesn't change either. 

    P.S. While writing this, I've just heard a Conamara speaker on the radio, commenting on the weather, say níl aon fhuacht ann, gaimhín bhog déarfá.

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