Can you use the superlative in a figurative sense to express a great degree of something in Irish, the way you can in English? In this case, does the phrase only literally mean “the wine she drinks is the nicest wine there is”, or can it also mean “she drinks very nice wine”?
This sentence could mean either “She drinks the nicest wine (that there is)” or “She drinks the nicest wine (of the ones that we’ve been discussing)”. Irish would probably use an intensifying prefix rather than a superlative to mean “She drinks very nice wine”, e.g. Ólann sí fíon an-deas/fíordeas/rídeas.
No. Regular comparative and superlative adjectives use the feminine genitive singular form, and deas is regular because deise is its feminine genitive singular form. An example of an irregular one is beag, níos lú, and is lú (“small”, “smaller”, and “smallest” respectively), because lú is used instead of bige, the feminine genitive singular form of beag.
I can understand Becky being confused.It seems to me that we need a lot more instruction of the genative case with lots of words with their genative equivalents.The genative was brushed over too quickly.If we had more of the genative,the comparison section might make more sense.For those of us who have had no prior Irish Learning its like trying to be a mind reader.Thank you Scilling for making us aware of this
While the comparative and superlative forms usually match the feminine singular genitive form, I really wouldn't advise thinking of them as genitives, and trying to work them out that way. If anything, you're more likely to remember the feminine singular genitive form because you already know the comparative/superlative form.
Note that nouns don't have both masculine and feminine genitive forms, that issue only comes up because adjectives can be applied to either masculine or feminine nouns, and the attributive adjective follows it's associated noun in number, case and gender, (except for plural genitives!) and you're probably more likely to use the comparative than the genitive form of an adjective anyway.
You don't need to know what the "feminine genitive singular form" means. Just learn that the superlative ("nicest") is is deise and the comparative ("nicer") is níos deise, just as you would any other piece of vocabulary.
If you're the kind of person who learns the feminine genitive singular forms of nouns, (most people aren't), then you won't have to look up the comparative/superlative form of a noun, because in most cases they're the same.
Well, I think my question is that if it doesn't fit into one of the Groups outlined in the lesson notes, then how are we to know how to conjugate it?
For example, one might think "deas" falls into Group 3 so it would change to "níos deaise"... unless the slender vowel replaces the last broad vowel, which wasn't mentioned and there are plenty of contradictions to, such as "naomh" becoming "níos naoimhe"
Is just a sort of learn-by-encountering situation?