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Old Irish Online

Lesson 5

Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, Caren Esser, and Jonathan Slocum

The story of Liadain agus Cuirithir is a tale consisting -- as usual -- of prose and poetry, which on linguistic grounds can be dated to the ninth or early tenth century, even though it has come down to us only in two late manuscripts. The theme of this romance is the love of a poet and a poetess: after an initial engagement to marry Cuirithir, Liadain -- the Grey Lady -- takes the veil. It is not clear at what point of the transmission of the text this occurred; if early, her act makes the plot a conflict between love and religion, though it might have been different in the original version of the beginning of the story, where Liadain postpones the marriage to Cuirithir because of her professional interests as a travelling poetess.

Reading and Textual Analysis

In the course of the story (i.e. after the first selection, sentences 1-9), the lovers seek the spiritual direction of St. Cummine, who first imposes a light probation upon them but then, challenged by Liadain, allows the couple more freedom. When Cuirithir breaks the vow of chastity (as told in the second part of the selection, sentence 10), he is banished to another monastery by Cummine and has to renounce love, as we see in the third part of the selection (sentences 11-13). As Liadain professes her love for Cuirithir and still seeks him (as narrated in the fourth and fifth part of the selection, sentences 14-22), Cuirithir crosses the sea while Liadain returns to the scene of their penance and his prayers and shortly thereafter dies. Cummine subsequently lays over her grave the stone where Liadain had mourned her love of Cuirithir, and upon which she died.

(N.B. In order to give a better idea of the verse form, Ruth Lehmann's poetic rendering will appear following our more literal translation of the selections for this lesson.)

Comrac Liadaine ocus Cuirithir

  • comrac -- noun; nominative singular masculine/neuter, o-stem, of <comrac> encounter; combat; collision; sexual relation -- the encounter
  • Liadaine -- proper name feminine; genitive singular of <Líadain> Liadain -- of Liadain
  • ocus -- conjunction; <ocus> and -- and
  • Cuirithir -- proper name masculine; genitive singular of <Curithir, Cuirithir> Cuirithir -- Cuirithir

Líadain ben do Chorco Duibne .i. banéces.

  • Líadain -- proper name feminine; nominative singular of <Líadain> Liadain -- Liadain
  • ben -- noun; nominative singular feminine, â-stem, of <ben> woman, wife -- a woman
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- of
  • Chorco Duibne -- toponym; lenited dative singular masculine, yo-stem, of <Corco Duibne> Corkaguiney -- Corkaguiney
  • .i. -- abbreviation of <ed-ón> that is -- that is
  • banéces -- noun; compound of <ben> woman, wife + nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <éces, éices> scholar, sage, poet -- a poetess

Luid sí for cúairt hi crích Connacht.

  • luid -- verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative, absolute, of <téit> goes -- went
  • -- personal pronoun 3rd person singular feminine of <(h)é, síL, (h)ed> he, she, it -- she
  • for -- preposition; <for> on, over -- on
  • cúairt -- noun; dative singular masculine, i-stem, of <cúairt> circle; tour, journey -- a tour
  • hi -- preposition; <in, iN> in, into -- into
  • crích -- noun; accusative singular feminine, â-stem, of <crích> boundary, territory -- into the territory
  • Connacht -- toponym; genitive plural feminine, â-stem, of <Connacht> inhabitant of Connacht -- of the inhabitants of Connacht

Cuirithir mac Doborchon, éces side dno.

  • Cuirithir mac Doborchon -- proper name masculine; nominative singular of <Cuirithir mac Doborchon> Cuirithir son of Doborchu -- Cuirithir son of Doborchu
  • éces -- noun; nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <éces, éices> scholar, sage, poet -- a poet
  • side -- anaphoric demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sude, suide> this one, the aforementioned -- himself
  • dno -- shortened from enclitic particle; <dano, dono> again, now, then -- as well

Do Chonnachtaib dó.

  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • Chonnachtaib -- proper name feminine; lenited dative plural of <Connacht> inhabitant of Connacht -- the inhabitants of Connacht
  • -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular masculine dative of <duL, doL> to -- that he belonged

Dogníther ón cuirm dísi le Cuirithir.

  • dogníther -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative passive, deuterotonic, of <do°gní> does; makes -- is made
  • ón -- indeclinable; demonstrative pronoun neuter singular <ón> this, that -- this
  • cuirm -- noun; nominative singular neuter, i-stem, of <cuirm> ale, beer; ale-feast, entertainment -- an ale-feast
  • dísi -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular feminine dative of <duL, doL> to + emphasizing particle 3rd person singular feminine <(h)é, síL, (h)ed> he, she, it -- for her
  • le -- preposition; <laH> among, by, with -- by
  • Cuirithir -- proper name masculine; accusative singular of <Curithir, Cuirithir> Cuirithir -- Cuirithir

"Cid ná dénaimni óentaid, a Líadain?" ol Cuirithir.

  • cid -- stressed interrogative pronoun; neuter; <cidL, cedL> what; why -- why
  • -- dependent negative particle; <ná, na> not, nor -- not
  • dénaimni -- verb; 1st person plural present indicative active, prototonic, of <do°gní> does; makes + emphasizing particle 1st person plural <ni> we -- do we... make
  • óentaid -- noun; accusative singular masculine, dental stem, of <oentu> unity, alliance, sexual union -- a union
  • a -- particle; introduces vocative; <aL> o -- o
  • Líadain -- proper name feminine; vocative singular of <Líadain> Liadain -- Liadain
  • ol -- indeclinable; <ol> says, said -- said
  • Cuirithir -- proper name masculine; nominative singular of <Curithir, Cuirithir> Cuirithir -- Cuirithir

"Ropud án ar mac ar ndís".

  • ropud -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect subjunctive, conjunct, of copula <is> is -- would be
  • án -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <án> splendid, brilliant; splendour -- brilliant
  • ar -- possessive pronoun; 1st person plural <arN> our -- our
  • mac -- noun; nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <macc, mac> son -- son
  • ar -- conjunction; introduces relative; <ar-aN> so that, in order that, that -- whom
  • ndís -- verb; nasalized 2nd person singular present subjunctive active, prototonic, of <do°icc, tic(c), tig> approaches; gets; comes -- you would beget

"Ní dénaimni ón", ol sise, "ar ná loiti mo chúairt immum.

  • -- independent negative particle; <ní, ni> not -- not
  • dénaimni -- verb; 1st person plural imperative active, prototonic, of <do°gní> does; makes + emphasizing particle 1st person plural <ni> we -- let us... do
  • ón -- indeclinable; demonstrative pronoun neuter singular <ón> this, that -- so
  • ol -- indeclinable; <ol> says, said -- said
  • sise -- emphatic personal pronoun 3rd person singular feminine <(h)é, síL, (h)ed> he, she, it -- she
  • ar -- conjunction; introduces relative; <ar-aN> so that, in order that, that -- so that
  • -- dependent negative particle; <ná, na> not, nor -- not
  • loiti -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, conjunct, of <lottid> injures, spoils, destroys -- it does... spoil
  • mo -- possessive pronoun; 1st person singular of <moL, mL> my -- my
  • chúairt -- noun; lenited accusative singular masculine, i-stem, of <cúairt> circle; tour, journey -- tour
  • immum -- pronominalized preposition; 1st person singular accusative of <imbL, immL> around, about; mutually -- for me

Día tís ar mo chend dorísi dom thig, doregsae lat." ...

  • día -- conjunction; <diaN> when; if -- if
  • tís -- verb; 2nd person singular present subjunctive, prototonic, of <do°icc, tic(c), tig> approaches; gets; comes -- you might come
  • ar -- preposition; <arL, airL> before, for, in front of, east of -- for
  • mo -- possessive pronoun; 1st person singular of <moL, mL> my -- ...
  • chend -- noun; lenited accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <cenn> head, front; end -- me
  • dorísi -- adverb; <dorísi, dorís> again, once more -- again
  • dom -- preposition; compound form of preposition <duL, doL> to + suffixed possessive pronoun 1st person singular <moL, mL> my -- to my
  • thig -- noun; lenited dative singular neuter, s-stem, of <teg, tech> house, dwelling -- house
  • doregsae -- verb; 1st person singular future indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°tét, do°téit> comes; goes + emphasizing particle 1st person singular <se, sa> I -- I shall come
  • lat -- pronominalized preposition; 2nd person singular accusative of <laH> among, by, with -- with you

Foit in oidchi sin. ...

  • foit -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active, absolute, of <foad, foid, foaid> sleeps together -- they sleep together
  • in -- article; accusative singular feminine of <in, aN, indL> the -- that
  • oidchi -- noun; accusative singular feminine, yâ-stem, of <adaig> night -- night
  • sin -- anaphoric demonstrative pronoun; <sin> this, that, those, the aforementioned -- very

Rucad som íarum do chill aili.

  • rucad -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect passive, deuterotonic, of <do°beir> brings -- was brought
  • som -- emphasizing particle; 3rd person singular masculine <seom, som> he, it -- he
  • íarum -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular neuter dative of <íarN, íarmL-> after -- then
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • chill -- noun; lenited dative singular feminine, â-stem, of <cell> cloister, monastic settlement -- monastery
  • aili -- pronominal; dative singular feminine of <aile> other -- another

Is and asbert som:

  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- it is
  • and -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular neuter dative of <in, iN> in, into -- there
  • asbert -- verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative active, deuterotonic, syntactically relative, of <as°beir> says, speaks -- that... said
  • som -- emphasizing particle; 3rd person singular masculine <seom, som> he, it -- he

"Di chíanaib
ó roscarus fri Líadain,
sithithir cech lá fri mí,
sithithir mí fri blíadain." ...

  • di -- preposition; <diL, deL> from, of -- of
  • chíanaib -- noun; lenited dative plural feminine, â-stem, of <cían> long time; period -- late
  • ó -- conjunction; <ó> since -- since
  • roscarus -- verb; 1st person singular perfect indicative active, conjunct, of <scaraid> separates, parts -- I have parted
  • fri -- preposition; <frithL, friH> against, towards -- from
  • Líadain -- proper name feminine; accusative singular of <Líadain> Liadain -- Liadain
  • sithithir -- adjective; equative of <síth> long -- as long
  • cech -- pronominal; nominative singular neuter of <cach, cech> each, every, any -- each
  • -- noun; nominative singular neuter, yo-stem, of <láaN, láN> day, daylight -- day
  • fri -- preposition; <frithL, friH> against, towards -- as
  • -- noun; accusative singular masculine, s-stem, of <> month -- a month
  • sithithir -- adjective; equative of <síth> long -- as long
  • -- noun; nominative singular masculine, s-stem, of <> month -- a month
  • fri -- preposition; <frithL, friH> against, towards -- as
  • blíadain -- noun; accusative singular feminine, î-stem, of <blíadain> year -- a year

Luid sium didu co mboí hi Cill Letrech i tír na nDésse inna ailithri.

  • luid -- verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative, absolute, of <téit> goes -- went
  • sium -- emphasizing particle; 3rd person singular masculine <seom, som> he, it -- he
  • didu -- particle; <didiu, didu> now, therefore, then -- therefore
  • co -- conjunction; used as verbal particle; <con, coN> until; so that; and -- until
  • mboí -- verb; nasalized 3rd person singular preterite indicative of substantive verb <attá> is -- he was
  • hi -- preposition; <in, iN> in, into -- in
  • Cill Letrech -- toponym; dative singular feminine, â-stem, of <Cell Letrech> Cloister Letrech -- Cell Letrech
  • i -- preposition; <in, iN> in, into -- in
  • tír -- noun; dative singular neuter, s-stem, of <tír> earth, territory, land -- the land
  • na -- article; genitive plural of <in, aN, indL> the -- of the
  • nDésse -- proper name; nasalized genitive plural masculine, i-stem, of <déis> vassal -- Deisi
  • inna -- preposition; compound form of preposition <in, iN> in, into + suffixed possessive pronoun 3rd person singular masculine <aL> his, its -- on his
  • ailithri -- noun; dative singular feminine, yâ-stem, of <ailithre> pilgrimage -- pilgrimage

Doluid sí for a íarairsom ocus dixit:

  • doluid -- verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative, deuterotonic, of <do°tét, do°téit> comes; goes -- went
  • -- personal pronoun 3rd person singular feminine of <(h)é, síL, (h)ed> he, she, it -- she
  • for -- preposition; <for> on, over -- on
  • a -- possessive pronoun; 3rd person singular masculine <aL> his, its -- his
  • íarairsom -- noun; accusative singular feminine, â-stem, of <íarar, íarair> search + emphasizing particle; 3rd person singular masculine <seom, som> he, it -- search
  • ocus -- conjunction; <ocus> and -- and
  • dixit -- Latin; <dixit> said -- said

"Cen áinius
in chaingen dorigenus:
an rocharus rocráidius. ...

  • cen -- preposition; <cenL> without -- without
  • áinius -- noun; accusative singular masculine, u-stem, of <áinius> pleasure -- pleasure
  • in -- article; nominative singular feminine of <in, aN, indL> the -- the
  • chaingen -- noun; lenited nominative singular feminine, â-stem, of <caingen> deal, bargain -- bargain
  • dorigenus -- verb; 1st person singular perfect indicative active, deuterotonic, syntactically relative, of <do°gní> does; makes -- which I have made
  • an -- relative pronoun; <anL> what, that what -- that what
  • rocharus -- verb; 1st person singular perfect indicative active, conjunct, syntactically relative, of <caraid> loves -- I have loved
  • rocráidius -- verb; 1st person singular perfect indicative active, conjunct, of <cráidid> torments, vexes, afflicts -- I have vexed

Mé Líadain,
rocharussa Cuirithir:
is fírithir adfiadar.

  • -- independent personal pronoun; 1st person singular <> I -- I
  • Líadain -- proper name feminine; nominative singular of <Líadain> Liadain -- Liadain
  • rocharussa -- verb; 1st person singular perfect indicative active, conjunct, syntactically relative, of <caraid> loves + emphasizing particle 1st person singular <se, sa> I -- I who have loved
  • Cuirithir -- proper name masculine; accusative singular of <Curithir, Cuirithir> Cuirithir -- Cuirithir
  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- it is
  • fírithir -- adjective; equative of <fír> true -- true exactly as
  • adfiadar -- verb; present indicative impersonal singular, deuterotonic, of <ad°fét> tells, relates -- it is told

Gair bása
hi coimthecht mo Chuirithir:
frissom ba maith mo gnássa.

  • gair -- adjective; accusative singular neuter, i-stem, of <gair> short; a short time -- a short time
  • bása -- verb; 1st person singular preterite indicative, absolute, of substantive verb <attá> is + emphasizing particle 1st person singular <se, sa> I -- I was
  • hi -- preposition; <in, iN> in, into -- in
  • coimthecht -- noun; dative singular feminine, â-stem, of <coimthecht> company -- the company
  • mo -- possessive pronoun; 1st person singular of <moL, mL> my -- my
  • Chuirithir -- proper name masculine; lenited genitive singular of <Curithir, Cuirithir> Cuirithir -- of... Cuirithir
  • frissom -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular masculine accusative of <frithL, friH> against, towards + emphasizing particle 3rd person singular masculine <seom, som> he, it -- with him
  • ba -- verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- was
  • maith -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <maith> good -- good
  • mo -- possessive pronoun; 1st person singular of <moL, mL> my -- my
  • gnássa -- noun; nominative singular feminine, â-stem, of <gnás> intercourse + emphasizing particle emphasizing particle 1st person singular <se, sa> I -- intercourse

Céol caille
fomchanad la Cuirithir
la fogur fairce flainne.

  • céol -- noun; nominative singular neuter, o-stem, of <céol> music -- the music
  • caille -- noun; genitive singular feminine, î-stem, of <caill> wood, forest -- of the woods
  • fomchanad -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active, deuterotonic, of <fo°cain> accompanies with song, sings to, chants + infixed pronoun 1st person singular <mL, mmL> I -- would sing to me
  • la -- preposition; <laH> among, by, with -- with
  • Cuirithir -- proper name masculine; accusative singular of <Curithir, Cuirithir> Cuirithir -- Cuirithir
  • la -- preposition; <laH> among, by, with -- together with
  • fogur -- noun; accusative singular masculine, o-stem, of <fogur> sound -- the voice
  • fairce -- noun; genitive singular feminine, yâ-stem, of <fairrge> sea -- of the... sea
  • flainne -- adjective; genitive singular feminine of <flann> blood red -- purple

Doménainn
ní cráidfed frim Chuirithir
do dálaib cacha ndénainn.

  • doménainn -- verb; 1st person singular past subjunctive active, deuterotonic, of <do°moinethar> thinks -- I would have thought
  • -- independent negative particle; <ní, ni> not -- not
  • cráidfed -- verb; 3rd person singular conditional active, conjunct, of <cráidid> torments, vexes, afflicts -- there would... result torment
  • frim -- preposition; compound form of preposition <frithL, friH> against, towards + suffixed possessive pronoun 1st person singular <moL, mL> my -- to my
  • Chuirithir -- proper name masculine; lenited accusative singular of <Curithir, Cuirithir> Cuirithir -- Cuirithir
  • do -- preposition; variant of <diL, deL> from, of -- from
  • dálaib -- noun; dative plural feminine, â-stem, of <dál> meeting, encounter -- the encounters
  • cacha -- pronominal; dative plural feminine of <cach, cech> each, every, any -- all
  • ndénainn -- verb; 1st person singular past subjunctive active, prototonic, syntactically relative, of <do°gní> does; makes -- which I might have arranged

Ní chela!
ba hésom mo chride(s)erc,
cía nocharainn cách chenae.

  • -- independent negative particle; <ní, ni> not -- not
  • chela -- verb; lenited 1st person singular subjunctive active, conjunct, of <celid> conceals, hides -- I may... conceal
  • ba -- verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative, absolute, relative, of copula <is> is -- that it was
  • hésom -- personal pronoun; 3rd person singular masculine of <(h)é, síL, (h)ed> he, she, it + emphasizing particle 3rd person singular masculine <seom, som> he, it -- him indeed
  • mo -- possessive pronoun; 1st person singular of <moL, mL> my -- my
  • chride(s)erc -- noun; lenited compound of <cride> heart + lenited nominative singular feminine, â-stem, of <serc> love -- heart's love
  • cía -- conjunction; <cía> although, even if -- even if
  • nocharainn -- verb; 1st person singular past subjunctive active, conjunct, of <caraid> loves -- I might have loved
  • cách -- pronominal; accusative singular masculine of <cách> everybody, everyone -- everybody else
  • chenae -- pronominalized preposition; lenited 3rd person singular neuter accusative of <cenL> without -- besides

Deilm ndegae
rotethainn mo chridesae,
rofess nícon bíad cenae."

  • deilm -- noun; nominative singular neuter, n-stem, of <deilm> loud, rumbling noise -- the roaring
  • ndegae -- noun; nasalized genitive plural feminine, i-stem, of <daig> flame, fire; pang -- of the blaze
  • rotethainn -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect indicative active, conjunct, of <teinnid, tennaid> cuts, cracks, breaks -- has shattered
  • mo -- possessive pronoun; 1st person singular of <moL, mL> my -- my
  • chridesae -- noun; lenited accusative singular neuter, yo-stem, of <cride> heart + emphasizing particle 1st person singular <se, sa> I -- heart
  • rofess -- verb; perfect impersonal singular, deuterotonic, of <ro°fitir> knows -- it is certain
  • nícon -- independent negative particle; <nícon, nicon> not -- not
  • bíad -- verb; 3rd person singular conditional, conjunct, syntactically relative, of substantive verb <attá> is -- that it might... exist
  • cenae -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular masculine accusative of <cenL> without -- without him

Lesson Text

Comrac Liadaine ocus Cuirithir Líadain ben do Chorco Duibne .i. banéces. Luid sí for cúairt hi crích Connacht. Cuirithir mac Doborchon, éces side dno. Do Chonnachtaib dó. Dogníther ón cuirm dísi le Cuirithir. "Cid ná dénaimni óentaid, a Líadain?" ol Cuirithir. "Ropud án ar mac ar ndís". "Ní dénaimni ón", ol sise, "ar ná loiti mo chúairt immum. Día tís ar mo chend dorísi dom thig, doregsae lat." ...

Foit in oidchi sin. ...

Rucad som íarum do chill aili. Is and asbert som:

"Di chíanaib
ó roscarus fri Líadain,
sithithir cech lá fri mí,
sithithir mí fri blíadain." ...


Luid sium didu co mboí hi Cill Letrech i tír na nDésse inna ailithri. Doluid sí for a íarairsom ocus dixit:

"Cen áinius
in chaingen dorigenus:
an rocharus rocráidius. ...


Mé Líadain,
rocharussa Cuirithir:
is fírithir adfiadar.


Gair bása
hi coimthecht mo Chuirithir:
frissom ba maith mo gnássa.


Céol caille
fomchanad la Cuirithir
la fogur fairce flainne.


Doménainn
ní cráidfed frim Chuirithir
do dálaib cacha ndénainn.


Ní chela!
ba hésom mo chride(s)erc,
cía nocharainn cách chenae.


Deilm ndegae
rotethainn mo chridesae,
rofess nícon bíad cenae."

Translation

Liadain, a woman of Corkaguiney, that is, a poetess; she went on a tour into the territory of the inhabitants of Connacht. Cuirithir son of Doborchu, a poet himself as well; (it was) to the inhabitants of Connacht that he belonged. This is made, an ale-feast for her by Cuirithir. "Why do we not make a union, o Liadain?" said Cuirithir. "Brilliant would be our son whom you would beget." "Let us not do so", said she, "so that my tour is not spoiled for me. If you might come for me again, to my house, I shall come with you." [...]
They sleep together that very night. [...]
He was brought then to another monastery. It is there that he said:
"Of late,
since I have parted from Liadain,
each day (is) as long as a month,
a month as long as a year." [...]
He went, therefore, until he was in Cell Letrech, in the land of the Deisi, on his pilgrimage. She went on his search and said:
"Without pleasure
(is) the bargain which I have made:
what I have loved, I have vexed. [...]
"I (am) Liadain,
I who have loved Cuirithir:
it is true exactly as it is told.
A short time (only)
I was in the company of my Cuirithir:
my intercourse with him was good.
The music of the woods
would sing to me (when) with Cuirithir,
together with the voice of the purple sea.
I would have thought
that there would not result torment to my Cuirithir
from all the encounters which I might have arranged.
I may not conceal (it)!
It was him indeed (who was) my heart's love,
even if I might have loved everybody else besides.
The roaring of the blaze
has shattered my heart:
it is certain that it might not exist without him."
(N.B. Ruth Lehmann's rendering, which follows, is intended to convey the poetical devices employed by the Irish author but not the literal content of the verses; also, our selection includes verses not included by her selection and excludes, with [...], verses included by her "Nachdichtung" because these are, in the primary lesson author's opinion, later Christian additions to the original pagan text.)
No pleasure
in deed done to loving-one;
tormenting without measure.
What madness
not to give him happiness,
though fear of God feed sadness.
No ruin,
his affair desirable
through pain heaven pursuing.
Cause slender
through me troubled Cuirithir,
though I was gentle, tender.
I'm Liadan;
it is I loved Cuirithir;
truly, though said by heathen.
Brief hour
together with Cuirithir;
our closeness then a dower.
Woods singing
to me beside Cuirithir
with somber sea-sounds dinning.
I wonder
it would trouble Cuirithir,
any deal made asunder.
No hiding:
he was my heart's true lover,
though I loved all beside him.
Flames flowing
burst my heart, now desperate, dead without him - this knowing. No.

Grammar

21. Relative Clauses: Special Verb Forms

It has been mentioned in lesson 4, section 16.1, that simple verbs in absolute inflection have special relative forms for the 3rd persons and generally also for the 1st person plural. The endings of these relative forms were originally characterised by a final -e, which goes back to a petrified form of the old relative pronoun *yo-. This -e has generally been preserved in the following relative forms:

  • in the 1st person plural active of all tenses, ending in -me (deponent -mer);
  • in the 3rd person plural active of all tenses, ending in -te (deponent and impersonal/passive -tar), as in the present indicative active toingthe, toingte in lesson 4;
  • in the 3rd person singular present indicative active of the irregular verb téit 'goes' (téte) and of the substantive verb attá 'is' (file);
  • in the 3rd person singular indicative active of the t-preterite, ending in -t-e, as in berthae in lesson 2;
  • in the 3rd person singular indicative active of the suffixless preterite, ending in -e;
  • in the 3rd person preterite impersonal/passive, ending in -th(a)e.

Otherwise, the relative form of 3rd person singular active ends in -s(s), i.e. in the present indicative of all verbs other than téit and attá, in the â-subjunctive, as well as in the f-future, in the normal reduplicated future, and in the future formations of certain other verbs.

22. The Verb: Absolute and Conjunct

In most tenses and moods, all personal forms of finite verbs can have either absolute or conjunct inflection, that is, they have two different sets of endings. Thus, a weak verb such as 'leaves' has the 3rd person singular present indicative active lécid in the absolute inflection vs. léci in the conjunct inflection, with corresponding impersonal/passive forms léicthir and léicther; for the strong verb 'bears, carries', the absolute and conjunct forms are berid and be(i)r in the active vs. ber(a)ir and berar in the passive, and similarly the deponent verb 'places' has the absolute and conjunct forms su(i)digidir and suidigedar in the active vs. suidigthir and suidigther in the impersonal/passive. Whether a personal form takes absolute or conjunct inflection is determined by the form of the verb itself (simple or compound) and by the element preceding it, as the following subparagraphs will show.

22.1. Absolute vs. Simple Conjunct

The absolute forms are used where the verb is neither compounded with any preposition or verbal particle (ro, no), nor preceded by a so-called conjunct particle (see below). Instances of personal verbal forms in absolute inflection from this lesson include the 3rd person preterite indicative active luid, the 3rd person plural present indicative active foit, the 3rd person present indicative active is, the 3rd person singular conditional active cráidfed, etc.

Conjunct forms, on the other hand, are used where the verb is either compounded with a preposition or a verbal particle (ro, no), or is preceded by a conjunct particle. These particles are called conjunct particles because they demand the conjunct form of a following verb (simple or compound). The conjunct particles are:

  1. the negative particles ní/ni, nícon/nicon, ná/na, nád, nacon and their compounds;
  2. the interrogative particle in, and sometimes also the interrogative pronoun cía;
  3. prepositions in combination with the relative particle (s)aN (cf. lesson 4, section 16.1);
  4. the nasalising preposition iN, hiN in relative use ('in which');
  5. the nasalising conjunctions araN 'in order that', diaN 'if, when', coN, conN 'so that'.

Three different types of conjunct forms can be distinguished: simple conjunct, conjunct deuterotonic and conjunct prototonic. Their use depends on the element preceding them. Simple conjunct forms occur with non-compounded verbs only. They are employed:

  1. where a simple (i.e. non-compounded) verb follows a conjunct particle (instances from this lesson include the 3rd person singular present indicative active loiti after , the 1st person singular present subjunctive active chela after , and the 3rd person singular conditional bíad after nícon); and
  2. where a simple verb is preceded by the verbal particle ro or no (as e.g. in the 3rd person singular past subjunctive ropud, the 3rd person singular perfect indicative passive rucad, the 1st person singular perfect indicative active roscarus, and the 1st person singular past subjunctive active nocharainn in this lesson).
22.2. Conjunct Deuterotonic vs. Conjunct Prototonic

Compound verbs (i.e. verbs compounded with a preposition) have either deuterotonic or prototonic form (the difference in accentuation between deuterotonic and prototonic forms has already been explained in lesson 1, section 1.2).

Deuterotonic means that the stress falls on the second element of the compound, so that verbs compounded with one preposition bear the stress on the first syllable of the verbal root (e.g. the 3rd person present indicative passive dogníther from do°gní, or the 3rd person preterite indicative active asbert from as°beir in this lesson), while verbs compounded with two or more prepositions bear the stress on the second preposition.

Prototonic means that the stress falls on the first element of the compound, which is invariably the first preposition, thus implying important phonological changes in the verbal compound. Prototonic form is required:

  1. After the conjunct particles mentioned in 22.1 (cf. in this lesson the 1st person plural present indicative active dénaim from do°gní, or the 2nd person singular present subjunctive active tís from do°icc)
  2. In the imperative (cf. the 1st person plural imperative active dénaim, from do°gní, in this lesson)
  3. Occasionally where the verb introduces a relative clause (cf. the nasalised 1st person singular past subjunctive active relative ndénainn, from do°gní, in this lesson)
  4. In the archaic construction where the verb stands at the end of its clause (on this phenomenon cf. lesson 1, section 2.3).
23. The Noun: u-, i-, and î-Stems

The inflection of u-stems corresponds to that of the i-stems: both are characterised by the Irish ending -o -a in the genitive singular and dual; the nominative, vocative, accusative and dative singular, and the nominative, accusative dual have no ending, from a descriptive point of view, while the final consonant of these cases is neutral in the u-stems and palatal in the i-stems; the dative plural and dual of both stems end in -ib, the genitive plural ends in -e. Both stems differ in the plural, however, where the masculine u-stems end in -e, -a or -i and the neuters either show u-quality in the final consonant or have the ending -a while the i-stems show the ending -i in the nominative, vocative and accusative masculine and -e in the neuter.

23.1. u-Stems

These comprise masculines and neuters; they are represented, first, by the masculine mug 'serf':

    Singular   Plural   Dual
Nom.   mug   mog(a)e, moga   mug
        mog(a)i    
Voc.   mug   (*mugu)   mug
Acc.   mug   mugu   mug
Gen.   mogo, -a   mog(a)e   mogo, -a
Dat.   mug   mog(a)ib   mog(a)ib

...and u-Stems are represented, second, by the neuter dorus 'door':

    Singular   Plural   Dual
Nom.   dorus   dorus, doirsea   dorus
Voc.   dorus   doirsea   dorus
Acc.   dorus   dorus, doirsea   dorus
Gen.   doirseo, -ea   doirse   *doirseo,-ea
Dat.   dorus   doirsib   *doirsib

Instances of u-stems in this lesson include the accusative singular masculine áinius and the compound genitive singular masculine comhchrotha; in lesson 4, the dative singular masculine áth; in lesson 3, the compound accusative plural masculine mórchathu; in lesson 1, a neuter form in the dative singular collud.

23.2. i-Stems

All three genders are found, though neuters are rare. As masculines and feminines of this declension are inflected alike, the following will suffice.

For example, the feminine súil 'eye':

    Singular   Plural   Dual
Nom.   súil   sú(i)li   súil
Voc.   súil   sú(i)li   súil
Acc.   súil   sú(i)li   súil
Gen.   súlo, -a   sú(i)le   súlo, -a
Dat.   súil   sú(i)lib   sú(i)lib

For example, the neuter muir 'sea':

    Singular   Plural   Dual
Nom.   muir   mu(i)re   muir
Voc.   muir       muir
Acc.   muir   mu(i)re   muir
Gen.   moro, -a   mu(i)re   moro, -a
Dat.   muir   mu(i)rib   mu(i)rib

Instances are found in this lesson in the dative singular masculine cúairt, in the nominative singular neuter cuirm, in the accusative singular neuter of the substantivized adjective gair, and in the nasalised genitive singular feminine ndegae.

23.3. î-Stems

These are feminine only. The inflection of î-stems is basically like that of the yâ-stems (cf. lesson 4, section 18); it differs however both in the nominative and vocative singular and in the nominative and accusative dual, where the î-stems have no apparent ending and show palatal quality in the final consonant. The inflection of î-stems is exemplified by the noun setig 'female companion, wife':

    Singular   Plural   Dual
Nom.   sétigL   séitchi   sétigL
Voc.   sétigL   *séitchi   sétigL
Acc.   séitchiN   séitchi   sétigL
Gen.   séitche   séitcheN   *séitcheL
Dat.   séitchiL   séitchib   *séitchib

The present lesson provides two examples: the accusative singular blíadain, and the genitive singular caille.

24. The Adjective: Declensions of the Adjective

It has already been mentioned in lesson 3, section 14, that adjectives are inflected in certain syntactic positions. Five different classes of adjectival declensions can be distinguished:

  1. o- and â-stems;
  2. yo- and yâ-stems;
  3. i-stems;
  4. u-stems;
  5. consonantal stems.

The distribution of genders corresponds to that of the substantives, so that classes 3-5 contain all three genders (in the u-stem adjectives, the feminine inflection survived, whereas original Indo-European feminine u-stem nouns were incorporated into the â-stems), while masculine and neuter adjectives belonging to classes 1 or 2 inflect as o- or yo-stems and the corresponding female forms inflect as â- or yâ-stems. Classes 1-3 contain numerous adjectives, while those belonging to class 4 are less common, and of class 5 only few remnants exist.

The declensions are the following:

24.1. o- and â-stems

For example, bec(c) 'small':

Singular   Masc.   Fem.   Ntr.
Nom.   becc   becc   becc
Voc.   bicc   becc   becc
Acc.   becc   bicc   becc
Gen.   bicc   bicce   bicc
Dat.   biucc   bicc   biucc
             
Plural   Masc.   Fem/Ntr.
Nom.   bicc   becca
Voc.   biccu   becca
Acc.   biccu, becca   becca
Gen.   becc   becc
Dat.   becc(a)ib   becc(a)ib

Examples of adjectives following this declension are the masculine nominative singular án and the feminine genitive singular flainn in this lesson, the compound comtrén, the masculine nominative singular mór, the feminine nominatives singular of the colour adjectives glass, finn and derg (in the compound áuderg) and the feminine dative singular deiss in lesson 4, the feminine nominative singular doltach and the masculine nominative singular of the colour adjective donn in lesson 3.

24.2. yo- and yâ-stems

For example, u(i)le 'all, whole':

Singular   Masc.   Fem.   Ntr.
Nom.   u(i)le   u(i)le   u(i)le
Voc.   u(i)li   u(i)le   u(i)le
Acc.   u(i)le   u(i)li   u(i)le
Gen.   u(i)li   u(i)le   u(i)li
Dat.   u(i)liu   u(i)li   u(i)liu
             
Plural   Masc/Fem/Ntr.
Nom.   u(i)li
Voc.   u(i)li
Acc.   u(i)li
Gen.   u(i)le
Dat.   u(i)lib

Examples of yo-/yâ-stem adjectives are found in the feminine accusative singular clí and in the feminine nominative singular uile in lesson 4, as well as in the masculine dative singular inneltiu in lesson 2.

24.3. i-stems

For example, maith 'good':

Singular   Masc/Ntr.   Fem.
Nom.   maith   maith
Voc.   maith   maith
Acc.   maith   maith
Gen.   maith   ma(i)the
Dat.   maith   maith
         
Plural   Masc/Fem/Ntr.
Nom.   ma(i)thi
Voc.   ma(i)thi
Acc.   ma(i)thi
Gen.   ma(i)the, maith
Dat.   ma(i)thib

Examples of adjectives following this declension are the neuter accusative singular gair and the feminine nominative singular maith in this lesson, the compounds comfobaid and coméscaid in lesson 4, as well as the neuter accusative plural réidi and the masculine nominatives singular hálaind and caín in lesson 1.

24.4. u-stems

For example, dub 'black':

Singular   Masc/Ntr.   Fem.
Nom.   dub   dub
Acc.   dub   duib
Gen.   duib   dub(a)e
Dat.   dub   duib
         
Plural   Masc/Fem/Ntr.
Nom.   dub(a)i
Acc.   dub(a)i
Gen.   dub
Dat.   dub(a)ib

An example of an adjective following this declension is found in the masculine nominative singular dub in lesson 3.

As adjectives following the consonantal declension are very rare, and since only single forms exist, no paradigm is given here.

The declension according to which an adjective inflects depends on its stem formation. New adjectives can be formed:

  1. by composition of nouns or adjectives, without adding a suffix (as in lesson 3 in adjectival compounds of the type comtrén 'of the same strength' (prefix 'same' + adjective 'strong'), comchrotha 'of the same shape' (masculine genitive singular of comchruth, preposition 'same' + noun 'shape'), etc., or in the feminine nominative singular áuderg 'red-eared' (noun 'ear' + adjective 'red') in lesson 4);
  2. by derivation from nouns or adjectives by means of the suffix -d(a)e, inflecting as yo- and yâ-stems;
  3. by derivation from nouns or adjectives by means of the suffix -ach, inflecting as o- and â-stems (as in the feminine nominative singular doltach 'pernicious' from dolud 'distress, loss, damage' in lesson 3);
  4. by derivation from transitive verbs by means of the suffix -the (-te -de -se), serving as past participle passive (as in inneltiu in lesson 2, masculine dative singular of inneltae, from the verb in°lá 'arranges, adjusts').
25. Infixed Pronouns

The difference between independent and dependent personal pronouns has already been mentioned in lesson 2, section 10 (the independent forms having been discussed in detail in lesson 3, section 15.1). The proclitic dependent forms of the personal pronoun are used with verbs and, being attached to a pretonic preverb, are considered to be infixed in the verbal form.

The exact position of the infixed pronoun depends on the pretonic element(s) preceding the verb, which cause the infixed pronoun to be integrated into the verb in one of the following manners:

  1. Where the verb (compounded or not) is preceded by one or more conjunct particles (cf. above, 22.1), the pronoun is generally attached to the last of these, and the stress falls on the immediately following element (as in nicotL bhia in lesson 4, where the infixed pronoun tL of the 2nd person singular is attached to the negative particle nicon, or in conda rodart in lesson 3, where the infixed pronoun daH of the 3rd person singular feminine is attached to the conjunction con and precedes the verb dairid; the same conjunction is found with attached infixed pronoun idL of the 3rd person singular masculine in the form conidcorastar in lesson 2, where the verb is fo°ceird).
  2. If the verb is not preceded by any conjunct particles but is compounded with a preposition or a verbal particle, the pronoun is generally attached to the first of these (as in fomchanad, where the infixed pronoun mL of the 1st person singular is attached to the preverb fo of the compound verb fo°cain, in this lesson, or in fortatnesabsu, where the infixed pronoun tatL of the 2nd person singular is attached to the preverb for of for°nesa).
  3. If the verb is neither preceded by a conjunct particle nor compounded, the semantically void verbal particle no is prefixed to the verb, and the pronoun is attached to this particle (as in notLbenabsu, in lesson 4, where the infixed pronoun tL of the 2nd person singular is attached to the verbal particle no in order to serve as infixed pronoun with the simple verb benaid).

Infixed personal pronouns may serve the following syntactic purposes:

  1. They express the direct object when attached to active or deponent forms of transitive verbs (e.g. dotLucai 'brings you' in lesson 3, where the infixed pronoun tL of the 2nd person singular serves as direct object of the verb do°beir 'brings', or similarly in condarodart in lesson 3, where the direct object of dairid is represented by the infixed pronoun daH of the 3rd person singular feminine).
  2. They express the indirect object when attached to forms of the verb 'to be' (e.g. nicotLbhia in lesson 4, where the infixed pronoun tL of the 2nd person singular serves as indirect object of the substantive verb attá).
  3. The infixed pronouns of the 1st and 2nd persons indicate the subject when attached to passive forms.

Formally, the infixed pronouns fall into three different classes, termed A, B and C in traditional grammar. Since the use of class C infixed pronouns is determined by syntactical rather than phonological aspects -- as in the case of classes A and B -- they will be discussed separately, in lesson 6, section 26.

25.1. 'Class A' Infixed Pronouns

These are used after all particles and most prepositions which originally ended in a vowel, i.e. ro, no, do, di, fo, ar, im(m) and the negative particle ní/ni (also after cetu, cita 'first'). Their forms are:

1 Sg.       mL, mmL
2 Sg.       tL
3 Sg.   masc.   aN (-N)
    fem.   sN, s
    ntr.   aL (-L)
1 Pl.       n, nn
2 Pl.       b, f
3 Pl.       sN, s

After the negative particle ní/ni, which itself causes spirant mutation (cf. lesson 2, section 6.3), the a of the 3rd person singular masculine and neuter is regularly ommited; the presence and form of an infixed pronoun can therefore only be determined by the effect ní/ni has on a following initial (spirant mutation meaning ní/ni without attached pronoun, lenition meaning ní/ni + infixed pronoun 3rd person singular masculine, and nasalisation meaning ní/ni + infixed pronoun 3rd person singular neuter).

Instances of verbs with class A infixed pronouns include manimLdergaissu and notLbenabsu in lesson 4.

25.2. 'Class B' Infixed Pronouns

These are characterised by an initial d- in all forms, which is never lenited (hence often written t). They are used after prepositions originally ending in a consonant, i.e. for and etar, also frith- and com- (which combine with the initial d- of the infixed pronoun to give frit- and cot-), and ad-, aith-, ess-, in-/ind-, oss-, all of which combine with the initial d- to give at- (occasionally written ad-, add-, atd-). Their forms are:

1 Sg.       domL, dumL, tomL, tumL, dam(m)L, tam(m)L
2 Sg.       totL, tatL, tL
3 Sg.   masc.   tN, taN
    fem.   daH, taH
    ntr.   tL
1 Pl.       don, ton, tan(n)
2 Pl.       dob, dub, tob (tof), tab
3 Pl.       daH, taH

Instances of verbs with class B infixed pronouns include atomLgládathar, from ad°gládathar, in lesson 2, as well as atatLchomhnaic, from ad°cumaing, and condaHrodart, from dairid, in lesson 3.