abair vs deir
Can please someone tell me when to use abiar? I haven't found a good explanation yet. It seems that almost always deir or its derivates seems to be used. The only clear example seems to be the imperative, but is that all?
In older writings, abair had a separate set of dependent forms, and all of its dependent forms (as well as the imperative and the present subjunctive) excepting the past autonomous began with either abr, abar, or abair.
It's interesting to note that some dialects still use these. According to Leabhar Mór Briathra na Gaeilge, they're used in the Cois Fharraige area as well as in Donegal
Yes, abair is the imperative, and deir is the present tense form in the Caighdeán. It's a highly irregular verb, but abair is really only used in the imperative in the Caighdeán.
e.g. 'abair leis an bord a leagadh' 'abair liom cad a tharla duit' ('tell him to set the table' 'tell me what happened you')
And a phrase that is particularly familiar to people who are learning Irish from a teacher - abair arís é - "say it again".