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Old Irish Online

Lesson 7

Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, Caren Esser, and Jonathan Slocum

The selection of this lesson is taken from Immram Brain, 'Bran's Voyage', which tells of Bran's journey to the Land of the Women. This short tale, consisting as in most cases of prose and verse, has come down to us in various manuscripts from the 11th to the 16th century A.D., but on linguistic grounds it can be dated to the early 8th century A.D., being therefore the earliest representative of the Old Irish genre of immrama or sea-voyages. The author is, as usual, unknown. The present text is based on the edition of Séamus Mac Mathúna, who attempts to reconstruct the lost archetype out of the evidence of the different manuscripts.

The term immram (lit. 'rowing about') denotes in Irish literature sea-voyages to miraculous islands beyond the inhabited world, motivated by religious reasons (cf. e.g. the Latin Navigatio Sancti Brendani) either of penitential nature or simply to come closer to God by leaving one's country and family behind. Their central aspect, however, is the rowing about between the various islands, each of them with its own characteristics and clearly distinct from the others. They represent a kind of Golden Age where the mortal inhabitants live in blissful harmony and free of sorrows, awaiting Doomsday.

A closely related genre is that of the echtrae, which also relate voyages to and subsequent adventures in the Otherworld, a miraculous place beyond the inhabited world, often located under the sea, inside the Earth, or within the boundaries of a magic mist. In the voyages of the echtrae type, there are no religious motives involved, the place is usually just one instead of several, and the inhabitants are immortals of supernatural qualities.

The version of Immram Brain as we know it contains elements of both genres, and combines pre-Christian Irish beliefs with Christian ideas. However, as Bran's voyage is referred to as an immram in the text itself, it is classified as belonging to the first genre.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text relates how a mysterious woman appearing in the fort of the protagonist, Bran son of Febal, tells him about a magic apple-tree on the island of Emain Ablach, a terrestrial paradise far away to the west of Ireland and abode of the sea-god Manannán mac Lir, which she describes as a place

    Cen brón, cen dubai, cen bás,
    cen nach galar, cen indgas [...]
    'Without sorrow, without grief, without death,
    without any sickness, without debility from wounds' [...]

Subsequently, Bran sets out to find this island with three times nine companions: on their way they encounter the sea-god, who directs them to an island inhabited by laughing people, after which they reach a different island inhabited exclusively by women. There, Bran and his retinue spend many blissful years, not noticing the passing of time. When finally Nechtan, one of Bran's companions, is overcome by homesickness, they decide to return to Ireland but are warned by the queen of the island not to set foot on Irish soil. Upon their arrival, Nechtan disregards the warning and immediately crumbles to dust, as they had spent so many years on the magic island that they were well past their dying age; Bran on the contrary remains on the boat and, after telling their adventures to some onlookers on the shore, sets out again for new adventures.

Our selection from Immram Brain consists of several verses with which the mysterious woman describes Emain Ablach to Bran (§ 4-8).

Fil inis i netarcéin

  • fil -- verb; Middle Irish present impersonal singular, absolute, of substantive verb <attá> is -- there is
  • inis -- noun; nominative singular feminine, î-stem, of <inis> island -- an island
  • i -- preposition; <in, iN> in, into -- in
  • netarcéin -- noun; nasalized dative singular neuter of <etercían> far, distant, remote -- the far distance

imme taitnet gabra réin,

  • imme -- preposition; compound form of preposition <imbL, immL> around, about; mutually + suffixed relative particle <-e> who, which -- around which
  • taitnet -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative, prototonic, of <do°aitni> shines, is refulgent -- glisten
  • gabra -- noun; nominative plural feminine, â-stem, of <gabor> (white) horse, mare -- horses
  • réin -- noun; genitive singular masculine, o-stem, of <rían> course, route; sea, ocean -- sea-

rith find friss toíbgel tonnat,

  • rith -- noun; nominative singular masculine, u-stem, of <rith> run, course -- as a... course
  • find -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <find, finn> white, bright -- white
  • friss -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular accusative neuter of <frithL, friH> against, towards -- against it
  • toíbgel -- adjective; compound of <toíb> side + nominative singular masculine of <gel> fair, white, bright -- white-rimmed
  • tonnat -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active, prototonic, of <do°sná> swims -- they swim

cetheoir cossa foslongat

  • cetheoir -- numeral; nominative feminine of <ceth(a)ir, cethéoir> four -- four
  • cossa -- noun; nominative plural feminine, â-stem, of <coss, cos> foot, leg -- legs
  • foslongat -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active, deuterotonic, of <fo°loing> supports, sustains + infixed pronoun 3rd person singular feminine <sN, s> she -- hold it up

Is lí súile, sreth íar mbúaid,

  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- it is
  • -- noun; nominative singular feminine, guttural stem, of <> beauty, lustre, glory; colour -- a delight
  • súile -- noun; genitive plural feminine, i-stem, of <súil> eye -- to the eyes
  • sreth -- noun; nominative singular feminine, â-stem, of <sreth> strewing; arrangement -- an arrangement
  • íar -- preposition; <íarN, íarmL-> after -- beyond
  • mbúaid -- noun; nasalized dative singular neuter, i-stem, of <boid, búaid> victory; excellence, special quality; advantage -- excellence

a mmag for clechtat in t(s)lúaig;

  • a -- article; nominative singular neuter of <in, aN, indL> the -- the
  • mmag -- noun; nasalized nominative singular neuter, s-stem, of <mag> plain, field -- plain
  • for -- preposition; <for> on, over -- upon which
  • clechtat -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative, conjunct, syntactically relative, of <clechtaid> practices -- exercise
  • in -- article; nominative plural masculine of <in, aN, indL> the -- the
  • t(s)lúaig -- noun; lenited nominative plural masculine, o-stem, of <slóg, slúag> troop, host, army -- hosts

consna curach fri carpat

  • consna -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, deuterotonic, of <con°sní> contends, competes -- competes
  • curach -- noun; nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <curach> coracle, skiff, boat -- the coracle
  • fri -- preposition; <frithL, friH> against, towards -- against
  • carpat -- noun; accusative singular masculine, o-stem, of <carpat> war-chariot, wagon -- the chariot

isin maig des Findarcat.

  • isin -- preposition; compound form of <in, iN> in, into + dative singular neuter of article <in, aN, indL> the -- in the
  • maig -- noun; dative singular neuter, s-stem, of <mag> plain, field -- plain
  • des -- preposition; <dess> right, south of -- south of
  • Findarcat -- toponym; dative singular of <Findarcat> White Silver -- Findargad

Cossa findruine foë;

  • cossa -- noun; nominative plural feminine, â-stem, of <coss, cos> foot, leg -- legs
  • findruine -- noun; compound of <find, finn> white, bright + genitive singular feminine, yâ-stem, of <druine> skill in craftmanship, manual dexterity -- of fair craftmanship
  • foë -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular feminine accusative of <foL> under -- under it

taitni tre bithu gnóë;

  • taitni -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, prototonic, of <do°aitni> shines, is refulgent -- it shines
  • tre -- preposition; <triL, treL> through -- through
  • bithu -- noun; accusative plural masculine, u-stem, of <bith> world; life; age, period -- ages
  • gnóë -- noun; genitive singular feminine, yâ-stem, of <gnóe> beauty -- of beauty

caín tír tre bithu batha

  • caín -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <caín> fine, excellent, beautiful -- beautiful
  • tír -- noun; nominative singular neuter, s-stem, of <tír> earth, territory, land -- a... country
  • tre -- preposition; <triL, treL> through -- throughout
  • bithu -- noun; accusative plural masculine, u-stem, of <bith> world; life; age, period -- the ages
  • batha -- noun; genitive singular neuter, u-stem, of <bath> sea, ocean -- of the sea

for snig inna hilblátha.

  • for -- preposition; <for> on, over -- on which
  • snig -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, conjunct, syntactically relative, of <snigid> pours down, flows, drops -- drops
  • inna -- article; variant of nominative plural masculine of <in, aN, indL> the -- the
  • hilblátha -- noun; compound of aspirated <il> many, numerous + nominative plural masculine, u-stem, of <bláth> flower, blossom; bloom -- multitude of blossoms

Fil and bile co mbláthaib

  • fil -- verb; Middle Irish present impersonal singular, absolute, of substantive verb <attá> is -- there is
  • and -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person singular neuter dative of <in, iN> in, into -- there
  • bile -- noun; accusative singular neuter, yo-stem, of <bile> (ancient and venerated) tree -- an ancient and venerated tree
  • co -- preposition; <comL, coN> with -- with
  • mbláthaib -- noun; nasalized dative plural masculine, u-stem, of <bláth> flower, blossom; bloom -- blossoms

fors ngairet éoin do thráthaib,

  • fors -- preposition; compound form of <for> on, over + infixed pronoun 3rd person plural of <sN, s> she -- on which
  • ngairet -- verb; nasalized 3rd person plural present indicative active, conjunct, syntactically relative, of <gairid> calls -- call
  • éoin -- noun; nominative plural masculine, o-stem, of <én> bird -- the birds
  • do -- preposition; <duL, doL> to -- to
  • thráthaib -- noun; lenited dative plural neuter, u-stem, of <tráth> period of time, (canonical) hour -- the hours

is tre choicetal is gnáth

  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- it is
  • tre -- preposition; <triL, treL> through -- through
  • choicetal -- noun; lenited accusative singular neuter, o-stem, of <co(i)cetal> harmonious music -- harmonious music
  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, syntactically relative, of copula <is> is -- that it is
  • gnáth -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <gnáth> usual, customary; known -- usual

congairet uili cach tráth.

  • congairet -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active, deuterotonic, syntactically relative, of <con°gair> calls together -- that they... call together
  • uili -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <uile> all, whole -- all
  • cach -- pronominal; accusative singular neuter of <cach, cech> each, every, any -- every
  • tráth -- noun; accusative singular neuter, u-stem, of <tráth> period of time, (canonical) hour -- hour

Taitnet líga cach datha

  • taitnet -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative, prototonic, of <do°aitni> shines, is refulgent -- shine
  • líga -- noun; nominative plural feminine, guttural stem, of <> beauty, lustre, glory; colour -- colours
  • cach -- pronominal; genitive singular neuter of <cach, cech> each, every, any -- every
  • datha -- noun; genitive singular neuter, u-stem, of <dath> colour; hue, tint -- of... hue

tresna maige moíthgnatha;

  • tresna -- article; compound form of <triL, treL> through + accusative plural neuter of <in, aN, indL> the -- throughout the
  • maige -- noun; accusative plural neuter, s-stem, of <mag> plain, field -- plains
  • moíthgnatha -- adjective; compound form of <moíth> gentle, tender + accusative plural neuter, o-stem, of <gnáth> usual, customary; known -- famously smooth

is gnáth sube, sreth imm chéul,

  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- is
  • gnáth -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <gnáth> usual, customary; known -- continuous
  • sube -- noun; nominative singular neuter, yo-stem, of <subae> joy, pleasure, happiness -- joy
  • sreth -- noun; nominative singular feminine, â-stem, of <sreth> strewing; arrangement -- a display
  • imm -- preposition; <imbL, immL> around, about; mutually -- with
  • chéul -- noun; lenited dative singular neuter, o-stem, of <céol> music -- music

isin maig des Arcatnéul.

  • isin -- preposition; compound form of <in, iN> in, into + dative singular neuter of article <in, aN, indL> the -- in the
  • maig -- noun; dative singular neuter, s-stem, of <mag> plain, field -- plain
  • des -- preposition; <dess> right, south of -- south of
  • Arcatnéul -- toponym; dative singular of <Arcatnél> Silver Cloud -- Argadnel

Lesson Text

Fil inis i netarcéin
imme taitnet gabra réin,
rith find friss toíbgel tonnat,
cetheoir cossa foslongat

Is lí súile, sreth íar mbúaid,
a mmag for clechtat in t(s)lúaig;
consna curach fri carpat
isin maig des Findarcat.

Cossa findruine foë;
taitni tre bithu gnóë;
caín tír tre bithu batha
for snig inna hilblátha.

Fil and bile co mbláthaib
fors ngairet éoin do thráthaib,
is tre choicetal is gnáth
congairet uili cach tráth.

Taitnet líga cach datha
tresna maige moíthgnatha;
is gnáth sube, sreth imm chéul,
isin maig des Arcatnéul.

Translation

There is an island in the far distance
Around which sea-horses glisten:
As a fair, white-rimmed course they swim against it,
Four legs hold it up.
It is a delight to the eyes, an arrangement beyond excellence,
The plain upon which the hosts exercise:
The coracle competes against the chariot
In the plain south of Findargad.
Legs of fair craftmanship under it,
It shines through ages of beauty:
A beautiful country throughout the ages of the sea,
On which the multitude of blossoms drops.
There is an ancient and venerated tree with blossoms there,
On which the birds call to the hours:
It is through harmonious music that it is usual
That they all call together every hour.
Colours of every hue shine
Throughout the famously smooth plains:
Joy is continuous, a display with music,
In the plain south of Argadnel.

Grammar

31. Negative Sentences

Negative sentences are introduced by:

  • nícon(L)/nicon(L), a somewhat emphatic negative particle only used in principal clauses: cf. nícon bhíad 'I might not exist [at all]', nícon chotli 'he does [indeed] not sleep', nico-t bhia ícc 'there will be no cure [whatsoever] for you' in Lessons 5, 6, and 4;
  • /ni, the unmarked negative particle used in principal sentences (such as ni cumgai 'you cannot' and ní ... noscarfamais 'we would not have parted' in Lesson 3, ní chomraicfind 'I would not meet' in Lesson 8, ní chéla 'I may not conceal' and ní dénaim 'let us not do' in Lesson 5) and also in some types of subordinate clauses (such as air ní soí 'for he does not turn', ní ... nimderga 'that he may not redden', and ní cráidfed 'that there would not result torment' in Lessons 6 and 5). Quite often it introduces a focussed element of the sentence to which the rest is then attached by means of a relative clause: cf. ní dam ass áil 'not with me that there is desire' in Lesson 8, meaning 'it is not me who desires';
  • /na, nád/nad, nách-/nach-, allomorphs of the specifically secondary negative particle: they are used before the imperative (ná hapair 'don't tell!' in Lesson 8) or after the conjunctions araN 'in order that'(ar ná loiti 'so that it does not spoil' in Lesson 5), coN 'so that' (con-ná facbatis 'until they left nothing' in Lesson 1), aN 'when, while', and, respectively, in relative and interrogative clauses (cid na dénaim 'why don't we make?' in Lesson 5) and before infixed pronouns; for nach cf. also cid nach é 'why it is not him?' and úair nach dénaim 'since it is not that I do' in Lessons 2 and 9. The secondary negative particle is also employed to introduce a negative disjunctive: e.g. ... na fer ná lossa '... nor grass nor herbs', ní bid clad ná airbe 'there would not be a dyke nor a fence', ní bó charat na choicéli 'it is not the cow of a friend nor of a companion', ar-na bó co foill na forráin 'so that he may not break with neglect or violence', nach in n-ech 'not with regard to the horse' in Lessons 1, 2, 6, 3.

Finite verbal forms always apppear in their conjunct inflections. Copula and the substantive verb are either implicit in the negative particles (ní dír '[it is] not fitting', ní fóelid '[it is] not happy', ní sechbaid '[it is] not wrong' in Lessons 2 and 8) or use special forms. In particular, the substantive verb is mostly supplied by fil and related forms, which govern the accusative of the logical subject since they correspond to W. gwelet 'to see' (see Lesson 3, point 12.2); cf. ni-s-fil 'they are not' as opposed to ni-s-tá 'they have not'.

One of the expressions used for the autonomous negative is naicc as in Lesson 3: naicc ní i n-neoch 'nothing anywhere'.

32. The Verb: Present Indicative

Apart from the usages of the present indicative most commonly known from other Indo-European languages, Old Irish employs it as a narrative tense (praesens historicum), cf. Inlaat noí cairptiu [] láa n-and 'One day then they yoke nine chariots' and Fo-s-rumat ind euin remib 'The birds go before them' in Lesson 1 or Tíagait ass árum 'They set out after this' in Lesson 2.

The present indicative can also be preceded by the preverb ro- in order to indicate either an action already completed at the time another action takes place, or a more general perfective present as in Lesson 6 is tre (f)ir [...] ro-saig [...] mind 'it is through justice that he attains the summit'. The preverb ro can also convey the meaning of possibility, althought this is more often achieved by prefixing it to a subjunctive (see point 37 in Lesson 8).

móraid 'magnifies':

A I   Active Absolute   Active Conjunct   Passive Absolute   Passive Conjunct
1 Sg.   mór(a)im(m)   °mór(a)im(m)        
2 Sg.   mór(a)i   °mór(a)i        
3 Sg.   mór(a)id/-(a)ith   °móra   mórth(a)ir    
Rel.   móras(s)       mórthar    
General Form               °mórthar
1 Pl.   mórm(a)i   °móram        
Rel.   mórm(a)e            
2 Pl.   mórth(a)e   °mór(a)id/-(a)ith        
3 Pl.   mór(a)it   °mórat   mór(a)itir/mórt(a)ir   °móratar/°mórtar
Rel.   móraite/-ate/-ite       móratar/mórtar    

lécid 'leaves':

A II   Active Absolute   Active Conjunct   Passive Absolute   Passive Conjunct
1 Sg.   lécim(m)   °lécim(m)        
2 Sg.   léci   °léci        
3 Sg.   lécid/-ith   °léci   léicthir    
Rel.   léces(s)       léicther    
General Form               °léicther
1 Pl.   léicmi   °lécem        
Rel.   léicme            
2 Pl.   léicthe   °lecid/-ith        
3 Pl.   lécit   °lécet   [other verbs with ending -itir are attested]   °lécetar/(°air-léicter)
Rel.   léicde/léicte/lécite       *lécetar/léicter    

suidigedar 'sets':

A II   Deponent Absolute   Deponent Conjunct   Passive Absolute   Passive Conjunct
1 Sg.   [other verbs with ending -iur are attested]   °suidigur        
2 Sg.   suidigther   °suidigther        
3 Sg.   suidigidir   °suidigedar   suidigthir    
Rel.   suidigedar       suidigther    
General Form               °suidigther
1 Pl.   suidigmir   °suidigmer        
Rel.   suidigmer            
2 Pl.   suidigthe   °suidigid/-ith        
3 Pl.   suidigitir   °suidigetar/-eddar   suidigtir   °suidigter
Rel.   suidigetar/-eddar       suidigter    

berid 'bears':

B I   Active Absolute   Active Conjunct   Passive Absolute   Passive Conjunct
1 Sg.   biru   °biur        
2 Sg.   biri   °bir        
3 Sg.   berid/-ith   °beir   ber(a)ir    
Rel.   beres(s)       berar    
General Form               °berar
1 Pl.   berm(a)i   °beram        
Rel.   berm(a)e            
2 Pl.   *beirthe   °berid/-ith        
3 Pl.   ber(a)it   °berat   bert(a)ir   °bertar
Rel.   berd(a)e/bert(a)e       bertar    
33. The Noun: Consonantal Stems

Roughly the same Indo-European consonantal-stem inflection is shared by Old Irish:

  • r-stems (a few nouns, masculine or feminine, indicating family members, such as athir 'father', bráthir 'brother', máthir 'mother', i.a. in Lesson 8);
  • n-stems (numerous nouns, of all three genders, belonging to historically different subgroups, some of them productive; cf. ainm 'name', aride 'bench', brú 'belly', deilm 'loud noise', Ériu 'Ireland', flathem 'ruler', forim 'chase', géim 'roaring', im 'butter', íriu 'land', talam 'earth', ursa 'door-post' in Lessons 3, 2, 3, 5, 1 and 9, 6, 1, 2, 10, 1, 1 and 10, 10);
  • nt-stems (lexicalized participles such as carae 'friend' and a few other words such as fiche 'twenty', respectively in Lesson 2 and 1; mostly masculine and neuter, since the old feminines showed Common Celtic *-ntî);
  • dental stems (masculine and feminine: agentive nouns such as are 'charioteer', eirr 'chariot-fighter', genn 'wedge', tene 'fire', tuga 'thatch' in Lessons 1 and 6, 1, 2, 8, 10, together with some derivatives with productive suffixes such as bethu 'life' in Lessons 3 and 6);
  • guttural stems (masculine and feminine: originally just some extant Indo-European root-nouns, such as 'beauty' or rig 'fore-arm' in Lessons 7 and 4 and 'king', from which the inflection analogically expanded to other stems).

For the inflection cf. respectively ath(a)ir 'father', brithem (masc.) 'judge' and ainm (ntr.) 'name', car(a)e 'friend', teng(a)e 'tongue', 'king':

Singular   'father'   'judge'   'name'   'friend'   'tongue'   'king'
Nom.   ath(a)ir   brithem   ainm   car(a)e   teng(a)e  
Voc.   ath(a)ir   brithem   ainm   car(a)e   teng(a)e  
Acc.   ath(a)ir   brithem(o)in/-main   ainm   car(a)it   teng(a)id   ríg
Gen.   athar   brithemon/-man   anm(a)e   carat   tengad   ríg
Dat.   ath(a)ir   brithem(o)in/-main   anmaimm/ainm   car(a)it   teng(a)id   ríg
                         
Plural   'father'   'judge'   'name'   'friend'   'tongue'   'king'
Nom.   a(i)thir   brithemoin/-main   anman(n)   carait   teng(a)id   ríg
Voc.   *aithrea   brithemna       cairtea/-dea        
Acc.   aithrea/athra   brithemna   anman(n)   cairtea/-dea   tengtha   ríg
Gen.   aithre/athr(a)e   brithemon/-man   anman(n)   carat   tengad   ríg
Dat.   aithrib/athr(a)ib   brithemn(a)ib   anman(na)ib   cairtib/-dib   tength(a)ib   ríg(a)ib
                         
Dual   'father'   'judge'   'name'   'friend'   'tongue'   'king'
Nom/Acc.   *athir   brithemoin/-main   ainm   car(a)it   teng(a)id   ríg
Gen.   athar   brithemon/-man       carat   tengad   ríg
Dat.   aithrib/athr(a)ib   brithemn(a)ib   anman(na)ib   cairtib/-dib   tength(a)ib   ríg(a)ib
34. Comparison of the Adjective: the Equative Grade
34.1. The Regular Formation

The equative is a special grade of comparison which developed from an old Indo-European comparative and came to signify that a person or thing has a quality in the same grade as another one.

The normal equative suffix is -ithir, used after monosyllabic stems, whereas polysyllables take -idir.

Cf. suthainidir from suthain 'lasting' as opposed to sithithir ... fri 'as long as' and to fírithir 'as true', both in lesson 5.

34.2. Other Formations

Apart from a few irregular equatives like lir 'as many' and móir 'as big' to il and, respectively, már/mór, an older type of equative is found, which Irish shares with Gaulish and Brittonic: this is a compound formation, obtained by prefixing com- to the genitive of a substantive and later on also to the nominative of an adjective; cf. coimchliss ... friut 'as skilled as you' (lit. 'of the same skill [cless] to you') and, respectively, comthrén friut 'as strong [trén] as you', together with many others in Lesson 4.

34.3. Syntax

None of these forms shows any traces of inflection. Like the other comparison grades, the equatives are also used only in nominative constructions and not as attributes.

35. Pronouns Suffixed to Prepositions

Pronouns coalesce with prepositions in a way that makes the former almost completely unrecognizable. While the traditional handbooks call the result "conjugated prepositions," we prefer to speak, for the sake of clarity, of "pronominalized prepositions." They are very frequent since, apart form introducing the subject of verbal nouns (dóib 'with them' in Lesson 9) and the agent as well as all kind of indirect objects (such as dam 'to me' and 'for me', duit and fort 'against you', fri(u)t 'to you', immum 'for me' in Lessons 3, 2, 4, 8, 5) and other complements (i.a. airi and de 'from it', cenae 'without him', dib 'from them' and 'of them', dit 'off you', etarru 'between them', foa 'under it', fris 'with him', leu 'with them', re(i)mib 'before them', trít 'through it' in Lessons 8, 3 and 4, 5, 1 and 9, 4, 1, 2, 5, 1, 1 and 2, 2), they are also used as adverbs (cf. i.a. and 'there' and 'then' in Lessons 5, 7, 1, 8, ass 'out' in Lesson 2, iarum/íarum 'afterwards' and 'then', but originally 'after it' in Lessons 2, 3, 5, 8) and even help to substitute the missing verb 'to have' (e.g. immi 'on him' and impe 'around her' in Lesson 2, dam 'with me', duit 'with you' and dóib 'to them' in Lessons 8 and 1, leu 'with them' and 'on her' in Lesson 1 and 2). In other cases they can substitute a possessive pronoun (duit 'to you' in Lesson 2) or introduce the second element of comparison after an equative (duit 'as you' in Lesson 4). Cf. also lem 'with me' and let 'with you' meaning 'in my/your opinion' in Lesson 8, lem 'by me' meaning 'through my intervention' and úaim 'from me' meaning 'on my part' in Lesson 3 and 4, or 'to him' meaning 'that he belonged' in Lesson 5.

The inflection may be differentiated according to the case governed by the preposition; in the following, la 'with' is given as an example of preposition governing the accusative, di 'from' of those governing the dative, and for 'on' of those which can govern both dative and accusative:

Singular   'with'   'from'   'on'
1st   lem(m)/lim(m)/leim/lium(m)   dím   form
2nd   lat(t)   dít   fort
3rd masc.   leiss/les(s)/lais(s)   de   for vs. foir/fair
3rd fem.   lee   di   fuiri vs. forrae
3rd ntr.   leiss/les(s)/lais(s)   de   for vs. foir/fair
             
Plural   'with'   'from'   'on'
1st   linn/leinn/lenn   dín(n)   fornn
2nd   lib   díb   fuirib/fo(i)rib
3rd   leu   diib/díib/díb   for(a)ib vs. forru