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Old Irish Online

Lesson 6

Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, Caren Esser, and Jonathan Slocum

The text selections of this lesson are taken from Audacht Morainn 'The Testament of Morann' in the edition of Fergus Kelly. It belongs to the literary genre of Speculum principum or 'Mirror of Princes', texts which give advice to a king, though it is not certain if they ever really formed part of the inauguration ceremonies of kings. Five compositions of this genre are known from Old Irish, Audacht Morainn being the oldest. Though the first paragraph of the text attributes the work to the wise judge Morann, who addressed it to his foster-son Neire, it is probable that Morann and the other characters are merely mythical figures, the author of the text being, as usual, unknown. On orthographical and syntactic grounds, a compilation date of approximately 700 A.D. has been assumed, even if major parts of the text will probably have existed before that, in oral or even written form.

The text has come down to us in three recensions represented by various manuscripts, the most accurate and complete of them being Royal Irish Academy manuscript 23. N.10, which, albeit transcribed in 1575, faithfully preserves the archaic spelling of the Early Old Irish original with only few Middle Irish orthographical modernisations.

The most important archaic linguistic features of Audacht Morainn found in our selections are the following:

  • archaic forms and spellings, such as final historical -th instead of -d (cf. ardosécath in sentence 3), the older spelling már 'great' (cf. Gaul. -maros, W. mawr) for later mór (e.g. in sentence 7), the preverbs to- and di- for later do- (cf. to-léci 'yields' in sentences 12 and 54), and the archaic infixed pronoun -de(n)- of the 3rd person singular feminine (cf. inde cluinethar 'when he hears it' and inden aici 'when he sees it');
  • archaic syntax, such as the verb-final constructions tmesis (cf. ní ... imderga 'he may not redden') and Bergins' Law (no example of this construction is contained in our selection, but cf. § 12 mortlithi márlochet di doínib dingbatar, 'plagues [and] great lightnings are kept from the people', with the verb being the prototonic form of di-ingaib, or § 21 clanda caini cain-tussimter ... 'fair children are well begotten', the verb being the prototonic form of to-fuissim), the absence of the definite article (cf. do ḟlaith 'for the ruler' in sentence 7), and the general absence of the copulative conjunction ocus 'and' (as in ... asa daingni deni dlúmaicdib 'by its firmness [and] strength in shiny artefacts' in sentence 9);
  • stylistic archaisms, such as parallelism (cf. the first two lines of our selection, where the verbs con-oí and ocaib respectively appear in the imperative in the first part of the syntagm and are repeated in the future form in the second part) and alliteration (cf. ... co foill na forráin fonnath fodrethat in sentence 5);
  • lexical archaisms (cf. the literary meaning 'runs under' of fo-reith in sentence 5, which later exclusively means 'helps'); the text is also characterised by a very low count of Latin loan-words and shows no influence of specifically Christian notions.

As usual, the author of the text is unknown. Though the first paragraph of the text attributes the work to the wise judge Morann, who supposedly composed it on his death-bed and addressed it to his foster-son Neire, it is probable that Morann and the other characters mentioned are merely mythical figures, and the paragraph in question is a later addition to the original text. Irrespective of authorship, Audacht Morainn provides us with valuable information about the role of the king in pre-Christian Irish society, which seems to be valid also for the early Christian period. Pre-Christian Irish society is generally regarded as rather violent and warlike, yet the present text paints a different picture by adopting a generally unmilitaristic attitude: the central idea is that the welfare of the king and his tribe depends on the king's justice (fír flathemon), which protects them from misfortune and ensures prosperity.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Various short passages have been selected (§ 6, 8, 22/2-5, 24, 29, 39-42, 54/a-b-c,e-f,k-m, 59, 61), which best give an impression of the whole. In the first selection the future king, who is compared to the charioteer of an old wagon, is exhorted to be just and merciful by caring for his people and avoiding violence; the second stresses the importance of the king's capacity in judging the quality of metals, first of all iron (iarn), in the production of which the Celts excelled -- so much so that their word for it was taken over by the Germanic languages, cf. German Eisen and English iron -- whereas gold is named last and as a foreign (allmar) product. The third selection gives an idea of Old Irish proverbs meant to exalt moral qualities, such as generosity and truth, while the fourth distinguishes the good from the unsuccessful leaders, who try to occupy foreign countries.

Comath fírinni, cotnofathar. [...]

  • comath -- verb; 3rd person singular imperative active, prototonic, of <con°oí> keeps, preserves -- let him preserve
  • fírinni -- noun; accusative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <fírinne> truth -- justice
  • cotnofathar -- verb; compound form of 3rd person singular future indicative active, deuterotonic, of <con°oí> keeps, preserves + infixed pronoun 3rd person singular masculine <tN> he -- it will preserve him

Ocbath trócairi, cotnocéba. [...]

  • ocbath -- verb; 3rd person singular imperative active, prototonic, of <ocaib> raises, exalts -- let him exalt
  • trócairi -- noun; accusative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <trócaire> mercy -- mercy
  • cotnocéba -- verb; compound form of 3rd person singular future indicative active, deuterotonic, of <con°ocaib> truly raises, truly exalts + infixed pronoun 3rd person singular masculine <tN> he -- it will truly exalt him

Aranécath arid sencharpait.

  • aranécath -- verb; compound form of 3rd person singular imperative active, prototonic, of <*ar°éci> observes + infixed pronoun 3rd person singular masculine <aN> he -- let him observe him
  • arid -- noun; accusative singular masculine, dental stem, of <are, arae, ara> charioteer -- the driver
  • sencharpait -- noun; compound form of <sen> old + lenited genitive singular masculine, o-stem, of <carpat> war-chariot, wagon -- of an old chariot

Ar nícon chotli are senḟonnith.

  • ar -- conjunction; <air, ar> for -- for
  • nícon -- independent negative particle; <nícon, nicon> not -- not
  • chotli -- verb; lenited 3rd person singular present indicative, prototonic, of <con°tuili> sleeps -- does... sleep
  • are -- noun; nominative singular masculine, dental stem, of <are, arae, ara> charioteer -- the driver
  • senḟonnith -- noun; compound form of <sen> old + lenited genitive singular neuter, o-stem, of <fonnat> wheel-rim -- of an old wheel-rim

Remi déci, íarmo déci, tair sceo desiul sceo túaithbiul.

  • remi -- adverb; <remi> ahead -- ahead
  • déci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, prototonic, of <de°éci, do°écai> looks -- he looks
  • íarmo -- adverb; <íarmo> behind -- behind
  • déci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, prototonic, of <de°éci, do°écai> looks -- he looks
  • tair -- adverb; <tair> in front -- in front
  • sceo -- conjunction; <sceo> and -- and
  • desiul -- noun; dative singular masculine, o-stem, of <desel, deisel> right-hand side -- to the right
  • sceo -- conjunction; <sceo> and -- and
  • túaithbiul -- noun; dative singular masculine, o-stem, of <túaithbel> left-hand side -- to the left

Deéci, imdích, imdídnathar, arna bó
co foill na forráin fonnath fodrethat. [...]

  • deéci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <de°éci, do°écai> looks -- he looks out
  • imdích -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <im(m)°dích> defends, protects -- he defends
  • imdídnathar -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <im(m)°dídnathar> protects, releases, exempts -- he protects
  • arna -- negative; compound form of <ar-aN> so that, in order that, that + dependent negative particle <ná, na> not, nor -- so that... not
  • -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active, conjunct, of <bongid> breaks -- he may... break
  • co -- preposition; <comL, coN> with -- with
  • foill -- noun; dative singular feminine, ā-stem, of <foll, faill> neglect -- neglect
  • na -- dependent negative particle; <ná, na> not, nor -- nor
  • forráin -- noun; dative singular feminine ā-stem, of <forrán> violence -- violence
  • fonnath -- noun; accusative plural neuter, o-stem, of <fonnat> wheel-rim -- the wheel-rims
  • fodrethat -- verb; compound form of 3rd person plural present indicative, deuterotonic, syntactically relative, of <fo°reith> runs under + infixed pronoun 3rd person singular masculine <idN, dN, -N> he -- which run under him

Is tre ḟir flathemon rosaig cech dán mochtide mind suíthi. [...]

  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- it is
  • tre -- preposition; <triL, treL> through -- through
  • ḟir -- noun; lenited accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <fír> truth; right; justice -- the justice
  • flathemon -- noun; nasalized genitive singular masculine, n-stem, of <flathem, flaithem> ruler -- of the ruler
  • rosaig -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, perfective, conjunct, syntactically relative, of <saigid> seeks, obtains -- that... attains
  • cech -- pronominal; nominative singular masculine of <cach, cech> each, every, any -- each
  • dán -- noun; nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <dán> craftsman, man of art -- man of art
  • mochtide -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <mochtide> great, mighty -- great
  • mind -- noun; accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <mind> crown, diadem, summit -- the summit
  • suíthi -- noun; genitive singular masculine, yo-stem, of <suíthe> wisdom, knowledge -- of knowledge

Apair fris, ní már nairlise nimderga, ar is dortuth cecha flatho folam la foscath ó ḟini do ḟlaith fuiliche. [...]

  • apair -- verb; 2nd person singular imperative active, prototonic, of <as°beir> says, speaks -- say
  • fris -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular masculine dative of <frithL, friH> against, towards -- to him
  • -- independent negative particle; <ní, ni> not -- not
  • már -- noun; accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <már, mór> big, great -- a great number
  • nairlise -- noun; nasalized genitive plural feminine, yā-stem, of <airlise> forecourt, enclosure -- of fore-courts
  • nimderga -- verb; nasalized 3rd person singular present subjunctive active, prototonic, nasalizing relative, of <im(m)°derga> reddens -- that he may... redden
  • ar -- conjunction; <air, ar> for -- for
  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- is
  • dortuth -- noun; nominative singular masculine, u-stem, of <dortuth, dórtad> pouring out; destruction -- the... destruction
  • cecha -- pronominal; genitive singular feminine of <cach, cech> each, every, any -- of all
  • flatho -- noun; genitive singular feminine, i-stem, of <flaith> rule; domain; ruler -- rule
  • folam -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <folam> empty, vain -- vain
  • la -- preposition; <laH> among, by, with -- and
  • foscath -- noun; accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <foscath, foscad> shade, protection -- of the protection
  • ó -- preposition; <óL, úaL> from, by -- from
  • ḟini -- noun; lenited dative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <fine> kin -- the kin
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- for
  • ḟlaith -- noun; lenited dative singular feminine, i-stem, of <flaith> rule; domain; ruler -- the ruler
  • fuiliche -- noun; nominative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <fuiliche> bloodiness, bloodshed -- bloodshed

Admestar iarn asa thoichib túath tacarthaib.

  • admestar -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active, deuterotonic, of <ad°midethar> estimates, evaluates -- let him estimate
  • iarn -- noun; accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <iarn> iron -- iron
  • asa -- preposition; compound form of <essH, asH, aH> out of, from + possessive pronoun 3rd person singular neuter <aL> his, its -- by its
  • thoichib -- noun; lenited dative plural neuter of <toich> natural, proper -- properties
  • túath -- noun; genitive plural feminine, ā-stem, of <tóth, túath> tribe, people -- of tribes
  • tacarthaib -- noun; dative plural neuter, yo-stem, of <tacre, tacrae> pleading, declaration, dispute -- at disputes

Admestar hume asa daingni deni dlúmaicdib.

  • admestar -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active, deuterotonic, of <ad°midethar> estimates, evaluates -- let him estimate
  • hume -- noun; accusative singular neuter, yo-stem, of <(h)ume, (h)umae> copper -- copper
  • asa -- preposition; compound form of <essH, asH, aH> out of, from + possessive pronoun 3rd person singular neuter <aL> his, its -- by its
  • daingni -- noun; dative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <daingne> firmness -- firmness
  • deni -- noun; dative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <dene, deine> strength -- strength
  • dlúmaicdib -- noun; compound of <dlúm> mass, density + dative plural feminine, yā-stem, of <aicde> artefact, article -- in solid artefacts

Admestar arcat asa bethu bríg bánaicdib.

  • admestar -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active, deuterotonic, of <ad°midethar> estimates, evaluates -- let him estimate
  • arcat -- noun; accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <arcat, argat> silver -- silver
  • asa -- preposition; compound form of <essH, asH, aH> out of, from + possessive pronoun 3rd person singular neuter <aL> his, its -- by its
  • bethu -- noun; dative singular masculine, dental stem, of <bethu> life, existence -- durability
  • bríg -- noun; dative singular feminine, ā-stem, of <bríg> strength, value -- value
  • bánaicdib -- noun; compound of <bán> white, shiny + dative plural feminine, yā-stem, of <aicde> artefact, article -- in shiny artefacts

Admestar ór asa ḟorníamaib allmaraib adamraib. [...]

  • admestar -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active, deuterotonic, of <ad°midethar> estimates, evaluates -- let him estimate
  • ór -- noun; accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <ór> gold -- gold
  • asa -- preposition; compound form of <essH, asH, aH> out of, from + possessive pronoun 3rd person singular neuter <aL> his, its -- by its
  • ḟorníamaib -- noun; lenited dative plural feminine, ā-stem, of <forníam> ornament, decoration -- ornaments
  • allmaraib -- adjective; dative plural feminine of <allmar> foreign -- foreign
  • adamraib -- adjective; dative plural feminine of <adamrae> very wonderful -- very wonderful

Toléci dorche do ṡorchi.

  • toléci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°léici> yields -- yields
  • dorche -- noun; nominative singular neuter, yo-stem, of <dorche, dorchae> darkness -- darkness
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • ṡorchi -- noun; lenited dative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <sorche, sorchae> light, brightness -- light

Toléci brón do ḟáilti.

  • toléci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°léici> yields -- yields
  • brón -- noun; nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <brón> sorrow -- sorrow
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • ḟáilti -- noun; lenited dative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <fáilte> joy, happiness -- joy

Toléci borb do ecnu. [...]

  • toléci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°léici> yields -- yields
  • borb -- noun; nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <borb> oaf -- an oaf
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • ecnu -- adjective; dative singular masculine, yo-stem, of <ecne, ecnae> wise -- a sage

Toléci dóer do ṡóer.

  • toléci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°léici> yields -- yields
  • dóer -- noun; nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <dóer> unfree person -- a serf
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • ṡóer -- noun; lenited dative singular masculine, o-stem, of <sóer> free man -- a freeman

Toléci dochell do chlothaib. [...]

  • toléci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°léici> yields -- yields
  • dochell -- noun; nominative singular feminine, ā-stem, of <dochell> niggardliness, inhospitality -- niggardliness
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • chlothaib -- noun; lenited dative plural masculine, o-stem, of <cloth> fame, reputation -- generosity

Toléci anflaith do ḟírḟlaith.

  • toléci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°léici> yields -- yields
  • anflaith -- noun; compound of <an-> non- + lenited nominative singular feminine, i-stem, of <flaith> rule; domain; ruler -- anarchy
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • ḟírḟlaith -- noun; compound of lenited <fír> truth; right; justice + lenited dative singular feminine, i-stem, of <flaith> rule; domain; ruler -- proper rule

Toléci debuith do chóri.

  • toléci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°léici> yields -- yields
  • debuith -- noun; nominative singular feminine, i-stem, of <debuith> conflict -- conflict
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • chóri -- noun; lenited dative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <córe, córae> peace -- peace

Toléci gó do ḟír. [...]

  • toléci -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <do°léici> yields -- yields
  • -- noun; nominative singular feminine, ā-stem, <gáu, gó> falsehood, false judgement -- falsehood
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • ḟír -- noun; lenited dative singular neuter, o-stem, of <fír> truth; right; justice -- truth

Fírḟlaith cétamus,
luithir side fri cach fó,
fristibi fírinni inde cluinethar,
cotenocaib inden aici.
[...]

  • fírḟlaith -- noun; compound of <fír> truth; right; justice + lenited dative singular feminine, i-stem, of <flaith> rule; domain; ruler -- the true ruler
  • cétamus -- adverb; <cétamus> firstly -- in the first place
  • luithir -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative passive, absolute, of <luith, luid> moves; flies -- he is moved
  • side -- anaphoric demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sude, suide> this one, the aforementioned -- this one
  • fri -- preposition; <frithL, friH> against, towards -- toward
  • cach -- pronominal; accusative singular neuter of <cach, cech> each, every, any -- every
  • -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <> good -- good thing
  • fristibi -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, deuterotonic, of <fris°tibi> smiles on -- he smiles on
  • fírinni -- noun; accusative singular feminine, yā-stem, of <fírinne> truth -- the truth
  • inde -- conjunction; compound form of conjunction <in, iN> when + archaic infixed pronoun 3rd person singular feminine <deH, den> she -- when... it
  • cluinethar -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, conjunct, of <ro°cluinethar> hears -- he hears
  • cotenocaib -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <con°ocaib> truly raises, truly exalts + archaic infixed pronoun 3rd person singular feminine <deH, den> she -- he truly exalts it
  • inden -- conjunction; compound form of conjunction <in, iN> when + archaic infixed pronoun 3rd person singular feminine <deH, den> she -- when... it
  • aici -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, prototonic, of <ad°cí, at°chí> sees -- he sees

Flaith congbále co slógaib díanechtair;
insoet a ṡlóig side,
insnádat a aidilcni,
air ní soí soithcedach sechtair.

  • flaith -- noun; nominative singular feminine, i-stem, of <flaith> rule; domain; ruler -- the ruler
  • congbále -- noun; genitive singular feminine, yā-stem, of <congbál> occupation, holding -- of occupation
  • co -- preposition; <comL, coN> with -- with
  • slógaib -- noun; dative plural masculine, o-stem, of <slóg, slúag> troop, host, army -- hosts
  • díanechtair -- adverb; <díanechtair> from outside -- from outside
  • insoet -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <in°soí> turns, returns -- turn away
  • a -- possessive pronoun; 3rd person singular masculine <aL> his, its -- his
  • ṡlóig -- noun; nominative plural masculine, o-stem, of <slóg, slúag> troop, host, army -- hosts
  • side -- anaphoric demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sude, suide> this one, the aforementioned -- own
  • insnádat -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <in°snádi> defers, puts off -- they put off
  • a -- possessive pronoun; 3rd person singular masculine <aL> his, its -- his
  • aidilcni -- noun; accusative plural feminine, yā-stem, of <aidilcne> necessity, need -- needs
  • air -- preposition; <arL, airL> before, for, in front of, east of -- for
  • -- independent negative particle; <ní, ni> not -- not
  • soí -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active, conjunct, of <soith> turns -- does... turn
  • soithcedach -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <soithcedach> prosperous, fortunate -- a prosperous man
  • sechtair -- adverb; <sechtair> outside -- outside

Lesson Text

Comath fírinni, cotnofathar. [...]
Ocbath trócairi, cotnocéba. [...]

Aranécath arid sencharpait.
Ar nícon chotli are senḟonnith.
Remi déci, íarmo déci, tair sceo desiul sceo túaithbiul.
Deéci, imdích, imdídnathar, arna bó
co foill na forráin fonnath fodrethat. [...]


Is tre ḟir flathemon rosaig cech dán mochtide mind suíthi. [...]

Apair fris, ní már nairlise nimderga, ar is dortuth cecha flatho folam la foscath ó ḟini do ḟlaith fuiliche. [...]

Admestar iarn asa thoichib túath tacarthaib.
Admestar hume asa daingni deni dlúmaicdib.
Admestar arcat asa bethu bríg bánaicdib.
Admestar ór asa ḟorníamaib allmaraib adamraib. [...]

Toléci dorche do ṡorchi.
Toléci brón do ḟáilti.
Toléci borb do ecnu. [...]
Toléci dóer do ṡóer.
Toléci dochell do chlothaib. [...]
Toléci anflaith do ḟírḟlaith.
Toléci debuith do chóri.
Toléci gó do ḟír. [...]

Fírḟlaith cétamus,
luithir side fri cach fó,
fristibi fírinni inde cluinethar,
cotenocaib inden aici.
[...]

Flaith congbále co slógaib díanechtair;
insoet a ṡlóig side,
insnádat a aidilcni,
air ní soí soithcedach sechtair.

Translation

Let him preserve justice, it will preserve him. [...]
Let him exalt mercy, it will truly exalt him. [...]
Let him observe him, the driver of an old chariot.
For the driver of an old wheel-rim (= chariot) does not sleep:
He looks ahead, he looks behind, in front and to the right and to the left;
he looks out, he defends, he protects, so that he may not break
with neglect or violence the wheel-rims which run under him. [...]
It is through the justice of the ruler that each great man of art attains the summit of knowledge. [...]
Say to him that he may not redden a great number of fore-courts, for bloodshed is the vain destruction of all rule and of the protection from the kin for the ruler. [...]
Let him estimate iron by its properties at disputes of tribes.
Let him estimate copper by its firmness, [i.e.] strength in solid artefacts.
Let him estimate silver by its durability, [and] strength in shiny artefacts.
Let him estimate gold by its very wonderful foreign ornaments. [...]
Darkness yields to light,
Sorrow yields to joy.
An oaf yields to a sage, [...]
A serf yields to a freeman.
Niggardliness yields to generosity, [...].
Anarchy yields to proper rule,
Conflict yields to peace,
Falsehood yields to truth. [...]
The true ruler, in the first place,
He is moved, this one, toward every good thing:
He smiles on the truth when he hears it,
He truly exalts it when he sees it.
[...]
The ruler of occupation with hosts from outside:
His own hosts turn away,
They put off his needs,
For a prosperous man does not turn outside.

Grammar

26. Relative Clauses: Special Pronominal Forms

Infixed pronouns in relative clauses normally show the forms of the so-called 'class C'. These are:

1 Sg.       domL, dumL, dam(m)L
2 Sg.       datL, ditL
3 Sg.   masc.   idN (didN), dN, -N, (seldom daN)
    fem.   daH
    ntr.   idL (didL), dL, -L
1 Pl.       don, dun (din), dan(n)
2 Pl.       dob, dub (dib), dab
3 Pl.       daH

They are also used after the interrogative particle in and the conjunctions diaN 'if', araN 'in order that', coN/con 'so that'.

The relative marker n is always inserted immediately before the originally lenited d- which is then delenited.

Examples are in ben atomgladathar 'the woman who speaks to me' and in fer atomgladathar 'the man who speaks to me' in Lesson 2, dianom berthasa 'even if I myself were thrown' and dianat chluine Mael Fothartaig 'if Mael Fothartaig should hear you' in Lesson 8, conda rodart in Donn Cúailngi 'so that the Brown Bull of Cuailgne has mounted her' in Lesson 3.

27. The Verb: Past Tenses of the Indicative
27.1. Different Forms for Different Functions

The iterative preterite is expressed by the imperfect (hence normally denoting repeated or customary actions, and at times used in descriptive passages or for simultaneous actions), as opposed to past actions or states which are not characterized as repeated and hence expressed by the simple preterite.

The above-mentioned uses of the imperfect can be appreciated in no tathigtis 'they used to frequent', na gelltis 'they used to devour it', °fácbatis 'they used to leave' (all in Lesson 5), coN sliged 'so that it dragged', and fo-m-chanad 'would sing to me' (in Lessons 2 and 5).

To underline the result of a past action or state, the verbal particle ro is inserted into the simple preterite to form a new Celtic (i.e. post-Indo-European) perfect. Its semantic content is thus opposed to that of the narrative preterite. Although its position seems to vary depending on the structure of the specific sentence, ro is always placed immediately before the first stressed syllable, be it the verbal root itself or a preverb, although in the older instances it appears petrified before the verbal root.

Examples of preterites with inserted ro, i.e. of ro-perfects, are i.a. ro°cúala 'I have heard' (Lesson 2), ro°carus 'I have loved', ro°cráidius 'I have vexed', ro°scarus 'I have parted', do°ri°genus 'I have made' (all in Lesson 5), ro°gabais 'you have taken' (Lesson 8), ro°dart 'has mounted' and ro°tethainn 'has shattered' (Lessons 3 and 5).

Note, however, that some verbs express their perfect by means of different preverbs (e.g. tongid 'swears' with to and com as in du°cuitig 'has sworn' or, in Lesson 9, do°roich 'reaches' with the preverb oss/uss in the perfect con-us°toracht 'until he had come to them' in Lesson 9); or by means of altogether different verbal roots (e.g. beirid 'carries' uses ro°uc(c)- and do°beir 'brings' to°uc(c)-, cf. r°ucad 'he had been brought' and do°ucus 'I have brought' in Lesson 5 and 3; téit 'goes' and do°tét 'comes' use di°cued and to°di°cued, cf. co n-dechuid 'so that had gone' in Lesson 2; fo°ceird and °cuirethar 'puts, throws' use ro°lá- etc).

27.2. Morphology of the Imperfect

The imperfect indicative has no special inflection forms for deponent verbs nor for the so-called absolute inflection: even if its very forms may appear in poetry without any introducing preverb whatsoever, in prose at least the preverb no is preposed to the forms of the imperfect.

móraid 'magnifies', suidigedar 'sets', berid 'bears':

Active   A I   A II   B I
1 Sg.   mór(a)in(n)   suidigin(n)   berin(n)
2 Sg.   *mórtha   suidigthea   ---
3 Sg.   mórad, -ath   suidiged, -eth   bered (berad)
             
1 Pl.   mórm(a)is   suidigmis   beirmis
2 Pl.   *mórth(a)e   *suidigthe   ---
3 Pl.   mórt(a)is   suidigtis   beirtis (bertis)
             
Passive            
General Form   mórth(a)e   suidigthe   berthe
3 Pl.   mórt(a)is   suidigtis   beirtis (bertis)
27.3. Morphology of the Preterites

Apart from those preterites which are built from a completely different verbal root (such as the suppletive preterites at°bath 'he died' to at°baill, luid 'he went' and do°luid 'she came' to téit and do°tét in Lessons 9 and 5), there are preterites which go back to Indo-European aorist formations and preterites which go back to IE perfect formations.

From a descriptive point of view, some preterites are formed by adding a new morpheme, others by reduplicating the verbal root, and others again by lengthening the root vowel or inserting a new one.

To the first group belong the so-called s- and t-preterites: both continue an IE sigmatic aorist and their name depends on the shape assumed by the original sigmatic aorist in combination with the various Celtic roots. Their formation is reserved to weak verbs (s-preterite) and to strong verbs in l/-r and sometimes -m/-g (t-preterite), as in the following paradigms of the verbs móraid 'magnifies', léicid 'leaves', suidigedar 'sets', beirid 'bears':

Active Conjunct   A I   A II (act. & dep.)   B I
1 Sg.   mórus   léicius, suidigsiur   biurt
2 Sg.   mór(a)is   lécis, suidigser   birt
3 Sg.   mór   léic, suidigestar   bert
             
1 Pl.   mórsam   léicsem, suidigsemmar   bertam(m)ar
2 Pl.   mórs(a)id   léicsid, suidigsid   ---
3 Pl.   mórsat   léicset, suidigsetar   bertar, bertatar

As for the active absolute inflection, it seems to have mostly existed in the 3rd person (cf. mór(a)is 'he magnified', eissistir 'he besought', birt 'he carried', berte 'who carried', cars(a)it 'they loved', cretsit 'they believed', tuilsitir 'they slept', geltatar 'they fed', berta(ta)r 'who carried'), even if a few other persons are attested for the s-preterite of active verbs.

The other strong verbs are rather unpredictable with regard to their preterite formation: in those verbs which neither adopt the t-preterite nor show root reduplication, the root vowel -i- is mostly replaced by long -í-, whereas either long -í- or long -á- replace a root vowel -e-. An example of the different types is given in the following (verbs ro°clu(i)nethar 'hears', con°rig 'binds', gu(i)did 'prays', midithir 'judges'), but for more details one will have to look up the complete lists in the handbooks (cf. Lesson 10, point 50).

Active Conjunct   A I   A II   B I
1 Sg.   cúala, rerag   gád   mídar
2 Sg.   cúala, rerag   gád   ---
3 Sg.   cúal(a)e, rer(a)ig   gáid   míd(a)ir
             
1 Pl.   cúalammar, rergammar   gádammar   ---
2 Pl.   cúal(a)id, *rerg(a)id   *gádid   ---
3 Pl.   cúalatar, rergatar   gádatar   mídatar

Also for the suffixless preterite, almost no specific absolute flexion is attested; only in the 1st and 3rd there are some forms in -ir alternating with those in -ar (e.g. lotir 'they moved, they flew' as in Lesson 1, which was emended by a later hand into the more usual lotar). Noteworthy is the existence of a 3rd singular relative form in -e (gáde 'who prayed').

No distinctions are made in the passive, whose forms, albeit felt as verbs, go back to the Indo-European verbal adjective in *-to-/tā (cf. also Lesson 1, point 3.4).

Passive Absolute            
3 Sg. & Rel.   mórth(a)e   léicthe   breth(a)e
3 Pl.   mórth(a)i ?   léicthi ?   ---
             
Passive Conjunct            
General Form   °mórad, -ath   °léced, -eth   °breth
3 Pl.   °mórtha   °léicthea   °bretha
28. The Noun: s-Stems

This class of inherited neuter nouns is preserved quite well in Old Irish, where it is also often adopted by landscape terms. To it belong leth 'side, direction' (in Lessons 1 and 2), mag 'plain, field' (in Lessons 1, 2, 7, 9 and 10), síd 'fairy fort' (in Lesson 3), teg/tech 'house, dwelling' (in Lessons 1, 5 and 10), tír 'earth, territory, land' (in Lessons 1, 5, 7).

For the inflection cf. glenn 'valley':

    Singular   Plural   Dual
Nom/Acc.   glenn   glinne   glenn
Voc.   glenn        
Gen.   glinne   glinne   glinne
Dat.   glinn   glinnib   glinnib

Note that the dative singular of mag is maig/muig whereas leth has genitive singular le(i)the and dative singular leith; for teg/tech, forms with -ai- are attested together with those with regular -i-: genitive singular taige, dative singular taig, nominative plural taige.

29. Comparison of the Adjective: the Comparative Grade
29.1. The Regular Formation

The normal comparative suffix is -(i)u with palatalization of all Old Irish palatalizable environments, since it goes back to IE *yōs; cf. airdirciu 'more famous' from airdirc 'renowned' in Lesson 3, together with siniu from sen 'old', déniu from dían 'swift', and ardu from ard 'high'.

29.2. Irregular Formations

Some adjectives have a comparative in -a (i.a. letha from lethan 'broad', sía from sír 'long', tressa from trén 'strong'); others use altogether different roots and formations, such as ferr 'better' (in Lesson 8) as opposed to maith 'good' or messa 'worse' as opposed to olc 'bad'.

29.3. Syntax

Both regular and irregular forms show no traces of inflection. They are used in nominative constructions, but not as attributes, and relative sentences are used instead of substantivized forms (such as intí as siniu 'he who is older' for 'the older').

30. Demonstrative Pronouns and Pronominals; the Article
30.1. Demonstrative Pronouns

The demonstrative adjectives of other languages are expressed in Old Irish by postponing to a substantive with its article some adverbs of place or, rather, locative particles. Hence:

    'this'   =   article + substantive + so/sa
            (se/seo/sea after palatal consonant)
    'the above mentioned'   =   article + substantive + sin
            (Note that in both cases the s- is always unlenited)
    'that near you, the yonder'   =   article + substantive + ucut
    'that, the yonder'   =   article + substantive + tall

Examples of the first type are (i)na bó so 'of this cow' in Lessons 2 and 3 as opposed to the palatalized in mboin se 'this cow (acc.sing.)' and forsin grellaig se 'on this bog' (both in Lesson 3).

Examples of the second type are ind amsir sin 'at that time', a llá sin 'on that day', in oidchi sin 'that night' (Lessons 1, 4, and 5), issind áth sin 'in that ford' (Lesson 4), and ba hiat sin 'it was them indeed' (Lesson 10).

For the third type cf. in fer ucut 'that yonder man, that man near you' in Lesson 8.

Emphasized forms are obtained by placing stressed () before the enclitic locative particle, cf. din Tháin í sin 'through this very cattle-raid' in Lesson 3. In such cases, -siu replaces -so as in in fer (h)í-siu 'this very man'.

For the demonstrative pronouns, the sequences with í but without substantive are used, e.g. int-í-siu or ind-í-siu 'this one', as°beir-som anísiu 'he says this', int-í-sin or int-í-thall 'the above'. Cf. also cinnas conicfaesu anní sin? 'how will you be able to do this?' in Lesson 4.

After prepositions, se is used for the accusative, siu for the dative, and sin with those prepositions which admit both accusative and dative (cf. íar sin 'after that' in Lesson 2).

A frequent anaphoric pronoun is su(i)de (yo-/-yā-stem) with the neuter sod(a)in and side, neuter són in the enclitic forms. Cf. ol-ṡu(i)de 'said he' and as°bert side 'the latter said', together with ocus óenchoss fo suidiu 'and a single leg under the just mentioned', immach do suidiu 'outside with him' (both in Lesson 2), Cuirithir mac Doborchon, éces side dno 'Cuirithir son of Doborchu, a poet himself as well' (Lesson 5), firḟlaith cétamus: luithir side fri cach fó 'the true ruler in the first place: he is moved, this one, toward every good thing', insoet a ṡlóig side 'his own (i.e. of the aforementioned) hosts turn away' (both in Lesson 6).

30.2. Other Demonstrative Elements

The deictic stressed í can also be used enclitically after the forms of the article, to express the antecedent of a following relative clause, as e.g. in frecre dondí as°robrad 'an answer to what has been said'.

30.3. The Article

Old Irish has no indefinite article. From recently discovered Gaulish texts, it appears that the creation of a definite article is an innovation isogloss shared by Goidelic with Gaulish and Brittonic, even if the use of the definite article is still avoided in the oldest Irish language and in poetry. It is also avoided whenever a substantive is determined otherwise: by its semantic content (e.g. talam 'the earth', as in i dalam 'on the earth' or in for aislingi fer talman 'upon the vision of all the men of the earth', Lessons 1 and 10), by a possessive pronoun (cf. mo chúairt 'my tour' and ar mac 'our son' in Lesson 5 or com chleittíniu 'with my javelin' in Lesson 4), or by a genitive (as can be appreciated first of all in story titles such as Compert Con Culainn 'The Conception of Cu Chulainn', Táin Bó Regamna 'The Cattle Raid of the Important Calf', Comrac Liadaine ocus Cuirithir 'The Encounter of Liadain and Cuirithir').

In Irish, its forms are suppletive: while nominative and accusative singular of the neuter retain an older demonstrative saN, all other cases and genders are based on a new compound stem sindo-, albeit more or less reduced due to its proclitic position. Note that final -d# always becomes t before #s.

Singular   Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom.   in(t)   indL   aN
Acc.   (-s)inN   (-s)inN   (-s)aN
Gen.   in(d)L   (in)naH   in(d)L
Dat.   -(s)in(d)L   -(s)in(d)L   -(s)in(d)L
             
Plural   Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom.   in(d)L   (in)naH   (in)naH
Acc.   (in)naH, -snaH   (in)naH, -snaH   (in)naH, -snaH
Gen.   (in)naN   (in)naN   (in)naN
Dat.   -(s)naib   -(s)naib   -(s)naib

The nominative and accusative singular neuter may still be used as an antecedens with the meaning 'that (which), what' before a leniting relative clause, cf. an ro°scribus 'what I have written' and nebchretem a n-ad°ḟíadar 'not to believe what is declared'.