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https://www.duolingo.com/heathermagoo

Fáinne "Gael" an Lae or a lesson in the "functional genitive"

heathermagooPlus
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Just ran across this version of Fáinne Geal an Lae called Fáinne "Gael" an Lae. I really like it!

I'm assuming that "Gael" (Irish [speaking] person), instead of "Geal" (bright), is word play and not a botún (error). Sort of "here is gaeilgeoir Ireland" in different scenes and accents. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtQeo09xOGA

UPDATE: Never assume anything! But enjoy all the brilliant tips and comments from the experts below about the "functional genitive."

Here is the takeaway for me:

The actual song title is Fáinne Geal an Lae
The Bright Ring of the Day

I thought Fáinne Gael an Lae might be intentional wordplay meaning:
The Ring of the Irishman of the Day
(the noun Gael, Irishman, substituted for the adjective Geal, bright)

But as scilling points out, you would then have two consecutive genitives: "of the Irishman" and "of the Day"

According to Grammadach na Gaeilge, two consecutive genitives call for the "functional genitive."

The form of the genitive is not used when... two nouns in the genitive directly follow one another, to avoid a double genitive. Instead the first is lenited in the nominative and only the second is in the genitive. This is the so-called "functional genitive", the first noun is "functional" in genitive relation, but keeps the nominative form and is lenited.

So if the video creators had intended word play and executed it correctly, the first genitive "of the Irishman" would be in the nominative with lenition, i.e., "Ghael" and the second genitive "of the day" would be La in the genitive, i.e., "Lae", which gives you Fáinne Ghael an Lae. Not all that neat.

Even considering inevitable exceptions and dialectical variations, I think it's safe to say that it really was just a TYPO in the title, but what a poetic triumph it could have been if the video creators had only followed the functional genitive out to scilling's super conclusion "Fáinne Ġael an Lae" with ponc séimhithe (in traditional Irish orthography lenition was indicated by a dot over the lenited letter).

1 year ago

45 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Ar fheabhas ar fad! Agus fáilte arais!

Well spotted on the title - that's subtle!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/heathermagoo
heathermagooPlus
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Thank you, Knocksedan. I still practice with the lessons every day and really appreciate all the comments from Tayto!!! One of the most important things to me when I started off on the Duolingo Irish odyssey was interacting with people who really love the language. (I remember when you first burst upon the scene, telling me the Irish-speaking dog in one of the videos didn’t speak Irish at all. LOL!)

I just read through the 65 comments on the TG4 Facebook post. A couple of people pointed out the spelling error; nobody thought it was a pun. So maybe the creators of Fáinne Gael an Lae just let a typo creep in. Either way the video was very well done and I was foolishly delighted that could hear UCM and urban dialectical variations. :D :D :D

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

I vaguely remember making that comment about the Irish speaking dog, but for the life of me I can't find it anywhere - searching is not one of Duolingo's best features (though to be honest, even google and bing have dumbed down their search syntax, and amazon's has always been deplorable, so it's not just Duolingo that doesn't really care about searching).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/heathermagoo
heathermagooPlus
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In Reddit AMA a few days ago Luis said he wanted to improve the search feature in the forums so maybe there's hope.
Here's the link to the dog
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10948367

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Go raibh maith agat - thaitin sé sin liom (arís!)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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Since Gael is a proper noun which in this title’s wordplay is “nominative in form, genitive in function”, it would work grammatically if Gael were lenited.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/heathermagoo
heathermagooPlus
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Thank you, Scilling. I see now why I abandoned the Irish forum. I become intrigued by grammar points and lavish hours of time on them. :D :D :D

Could you point me to the right place in Grammadach na Gaelige that illustrates what you are describing? I found the “functional genitive” on GnaG http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/subst2.htm

“The form of the genitive is not used when: when two nouns in the genitive directly follow one another, to avoid a double genitive. Instead the first is lenited in the nominative and only the second is in the genitive. This is the so-called ‘functional genitive’, the first noun is 'functional' in genitive relation, but keeps the nominative form and is lenited.”

But it doesn’t seem to be quite a match because it is describing avoiding a double genitive, the first noun lenited, the second in the genitive. So there has to be something more apt that I haven’t found yet.

One more question.
On teanglann.ie I found Gall-Ghael as a compound with the second element lenited as you described.

But I also found:
Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, the Gaelic Athletic Association
Fine Gael, Fine Gael political party
Tiarnaí Gael, the lords of the Gael
clanna Gael, the Gaels

What do you think is going on there? If you don’t have time to answer I totally understand! Just putting it out there.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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For a Gramadach na Gaeilge reference, see here, in point 6 for nouns, with the Lá Fhéile Pádraig example. Unfortunately, it isn’t the clearest example, since the genitive form of féile is also féile, and the genitive form of Pádraig is also Pádraig ; but since this Féile is actually the nominative form, it gets lenited because of its genitive function and its definiteness, and the usual lenition of genitive Pádraig (because it’s always a proper noun, and thus always definite) is not applied because of the lenition of Fhéile.

By “avoiding a double genitive”, what is really meant is “avoiding consecutive genitive forms”, which is why the first noun is described as a “functional genitive”; it’s still genitive, despite having a nominative form. This would also apply to a first-declension vocative noun in a similar situation, since its normal form is identical to the genitive form; a “functional vocative” (i.e. a first-declension vocative noun immediately followed by a genitive noun, e.g. the Chnoc in a Chnoc Siáin) would still be vocative, despite taking a (lenited) nominative form.

The Gael in Gall-Ghael is lenited because it’s the second part of a compound noun, not because it’s genitive.

All of the other Gael examples above show the genitive plural Gael (i.e. “of (the) Gaels”) rather than the nominative singular Gael. Note that the Lúthchleas in Cumann Lúthchleas Gael is a “functional genitive”, since its genitive singular form is Lúthchlis. It’s a proper noun in this case, and thus definite, and so would have been lenited if L had a written lenited form.

EDIT: Added analogous “functional vocative” information.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/heathermagoo
heathermagooPlus
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I hit the jackpot here! :D
All clear, but I would never have gotten there on my own!!!
Thanks, scilling.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

The FGB entry for lúthchleas also points to comhthionól (a gathering or assembly) which includes this example:
comhthionól fhear Éireann - "a gathering of the men of Ireland"
but fear is either the nominative singular or the genitive plural - if it was "nominative in form but genitive in function", shouldn't it use the lenited nominative plural fhir?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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The definiteness determines whether it’s lenited or not, rather than whether the nominative form is used for the genitive or not.

§§ 9.24–9.36 of GGmBC note quite a few situations in which the nominative form is used instead of the genitive form for a genitive noun — yes, there are still more layers for us to discover — but as far as I can tell, none of them apply to the comhthionól fhear Éireann example in the FGB. I looked in my printed FGB, in case it was a transcription mistake on teanglann.ie, but the same text is in the book. Short of AnLonDubhBeag chiming in with an explanation (e.g. is there dialectal variation on when nominative forms are used for genitive nouns?), it seems to be a mistake in the FGB. Tá tabhairt faoi deara ionat, a Chnoc Shiáin!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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It would depend on whether fhear were definite or not. If it’s definite, then I’d expect fhir rather than fhear ; if it’s indefinite, then fhear is correct, but then the English translation should be “a gathering of men of Ireland”, without the “the”. Since the Irish phrase uses Éireann rather than na hÉireann, I’d say that the English translation shouldn’t have the “the”.

EDIT: No, that’s not the right explanation — since fhear is the governing noun of the definite genitive noun Éireann, fhir should have been used for “of men”. I’ll have a look at Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí to see if there’s an explanation for using fhear there.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Why would the definiteness or otherwise of fear make a difference?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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See my edit above.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

I saw your edit, but that doesn't explain why definiteness makes a difference. (Figuring out genitive constructions is hard enough as it is - is there yet another layer to this onion that I don't know about?)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Replying to my own post here, just to make sure that this is documented

Why would the definiteness or otherwise of fear make a difference?

GnaG includes the following in it's list of situations that cause lenition:

masculine nouns in the genitive after the article an

It sounds like this rule applies if the noun is definite, even without the presence of an actual definite article an.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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Yes, that’s the case — see point 5 for nouns at the Gramadach na Gaeilge lenition page that was linked above, e.g. muintir Cháit.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

Just to elaborate, as Scilling showed, it applies regardless of gender too, as long as the noun phrase following is definite.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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(This is a reply to your comment below on the use of an indefinite “employee of the month”.)

Other instances for when an indefinite “employee of the month” would be used are in sentences like “She was an employee of the month at three different companies” and “He should speak to an employee of the month to find out how a manager bestows the title”.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

That's all very well in English - the question is would an Irish speaker use the straight genitive or the partitive genitive to say “She was an employee of the month at three different companies” or “He should speak to an employee of the month to find out how a manager bestows the title”.

I think
B'Fhostaí na Míosa í ar trí chomhlacht éagsúil í
is the best rendition of the first sentence - I'm not sure about the second - how would you translate “He should speak to an employee of the month to find out how a manager bestows the title” ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

To Knocksedan: I think it'd need to be B'í (Ba í?) Fostaí na Míosa ar trí chomhlacht éagsúla í , though the second í could come before the ar phrase I feel. But the first one needs to come before the definite noun phrase. And GnaG says that between 2-10 the adjective needs to be lenited and in the plural.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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I’d contrast “Employee of the Month” (a definite noun phrase, i.e. a title for the winner of an award, and by extension a particular person who holds the title at a particular company) with “employee of the month” (an indefinite noun phrase, i.e. any person who has ever held the title at any company). I’d say that “She was Employee of the Month …” would call for an Irish identificational copular statement, which would use the genitive (such as your translation), and “She was an employee of the month …” would call for an Irish classificational copular statement, which would use the partitive dative.

I’d translate the “He should speak …” sentence as Is ceart dó a labhairt le fostaí den mhí a fháil amach conas a bhronnann bainisteoir an teideal, using the partitive dative.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

I don't think that that actually says that he should talk to someone who has been awarded the title of employee of the month, though - I would interpret that as a monthly employee, even though there are other ways to say monthly employee.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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Would that sense of “monthly” use the definite month found in den mhí ? Wouldn’t an indefinite genitive would be used for that meaning, e.g. fostaí míosa ?

EDIT: Somewhat surprisingly, the EID has ticéad mí for “monthly ticket”; that’s explained by Dinneen, who’d listed as one of three genitive declensions for nominative .

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

What if Éireann isn't a governing genitive but a genitive acting like an adjective? So that it was fir Éireann. Which would be definite as it'd clearly be the men of Ireland, even without the article (though I think it sounds nicer with it). Then the use of comhthionól before that causes it to go from just the plural to the genitive plural, with lenition because of the definiteness ? That's really the only way I could see not having na hÉireann

Or would that still require the double genitive rule, even though the latter isn't a governing genitive per se? Teanglann does have fir Éireann as 'the men of Ireland', made definite without the article because Éireann is definite. Like why you'd say rí Sasana as opposed to Rí na Sualainne

Edit: Moving it out so you can reply.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

I've read a few grammars and found the answer to all of this, just bear with me, it'll be a few days before I have enough time to write it all out.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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Would Éireann be used as an adjective, since the adjective Éireannach exists?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I had a longer reply typed out to you, but my computer crashed and I lost it, sadly. But, yes, it looks like it can be used, as there are other examples besides fir Éireann, such as Dáil Éireann There's also Is í rogha ban Éireann í, which, at first, seems to be similar but is missing the lenition. So I wonder if it'd be parsed as [[rogha ban]Éireann], but I dunno.

I do find it weird that the article is missing, as GnaG says "in the case of Éire for official terms, often no article" but mentions that it precedes Éire generally in the genitive.

This discussion on ILF seems to suggest the same thing, if it were to mean 'the men of Ireland' as opposed to 'Irish men', but it also mentions that Éireann is roughly interchangable with Éireannach as an adjective. So my best guess would still be on Éireann somehow making it definitive. I think I'm gonna make a thread there asking.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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I think that it’s fair to say that the translation given in the FGB

Is í rogha ban Éireann í, she is the flower of Irish women.

is not a literal translation, since a literal translation would be closer to “She is the choice(st) of the women of Ireland”. Since ban was used, the parsing must be (rogha ban) Éireann ; but since ban is genitive and Éireann is definite and genitive, I’d have expected rogha mhná Éireann (if not rogha mhná na hÉireann) there.

This discussion notes the part of GGmBC that discusses when Éireann is used instead of na hÉireann.

EDIT: A footnote to §9.25 of GGmBC notes some exceptions without giving a rule to explain them; the examples there are teach pobail Anagaire and foireann leadóige na Fraince. A genitive placename doesn’t make a difference in e.g. pobal chathair Phort Láirge, and the article doesn’t make a difference in e.g. hata fhear an tí in considering whether genitive forms are adjacent, so can some other rule be at work? (Anagaire is a village in Donegal; its nominative and genitive forms are identical.) I’ll be interested to learn if the folks on ILF can provide enlightenment on the topic.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

That s very true, if the parsing were to be (rogha ban) Éireann. Though, what's confusing about that one is why it's rogha ban and not rogha bhan if ban is attached to the second one.

Anyway here's the ILF thread. An Lon Dubh suggests it's possiby a holdover from Classical Irish, and Labhrás suggests it's weird (which we can both agree on, I'm sure)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

The reference to leadóige reminded me of this discussion that also touched on the idea of implied definiteness, which also ties in with the other example here of "Employee of the Month", which also has an implied definiteness - the implication is that there is only one "employee of the month", and "an employee of the month" doesn't really make sense, except in a sentence like "The company has an employee of the month award".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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Well, at least we’re not the only ones scratching our heads about it at this stage. If the cause turns out to be seanleaganacha, then the rule is “because it’s grandfathered in”. ;*) (The ILF URL contains an ampersand, so a little tweaking is needed to get it to point in the right direction.)

Regarding the two GGmBC examples above, I wonder if the common theme is that pobail and leadóige are both being used as adjectives, and thus retain their genitive forms instead of using nominative forms? (That wouldn’t explain the fhear and ban examples, though, since neither fhear nor ban is being used as an adjective.)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

Thanks for pointing that out; link has been fixed now. It does look like that Éireann is being used as an adjective, which makes fir definite, and then fir shifts to fear and lenites because of being definite after comhthiondól.

But, as you mentioned, GGmBC mentions that usage of Éireann as seanleagan, so it's unlikely to be productive among modern speakers.

As to leadóige and pobail, I'd wager that at least pobail in that case is an adjective. I'm sure you know this, but teach pobail is a term for 'church' for those who aren't aware, and it seems like it's suggesting it's a specific kind of teach in this case (one of pobal). Same with leadóige. So I do think those two wouldbe parsed as

[[foireann leadóige] na Fraince] and [[teach pobail] Anagaire]. Maybe like "The tennis team of France" (France's tennis team, where the team is of type tennis) and "The public house (church) of Angaire".

That said, it still doesn't explain the is í rogha ban Éireann í, unless it is rogha ban, followed by Éireann at the end, which makes it definite (as showcased by the í before it). So it could be like:

"She is the choicest women of Ireland", with ban being used over mná because they're comparing her to all the women of Ireland. That's my only guess, really. Basically, ban is with rogha and not Éireann.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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But if it were originally fir Éireann, that would mean that fir wasn’t originally genitive, so there would be no reason to change the nominative fir to fear to fhear. Since the English translation uses “… of the men of Ireland” (or alternatively “… of the Irish men”, if Éireann is seen as having adjectival use), it would have to start from the genitive plural fear rather than start from the nominative plural fir.

EDIT #1: The English name for Anagaire is “Annagry”. Its English Wikipedia article states that Anagaire came from Áth na gCoire.

EDIT #2: I remember teach pobail by thinking of a Quaker “meeting house”; they distinguish a “church” (a community of believers) from a “house” (a building where the church meets; they’d call a typical church building a “steeple house”). Dinneen noted that the article was used in his day — {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}teaċ an ṗobail.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

Why would it have to start from the genitive? It'd start from the nominative, and then the nominative would change to the genitive when needed, such as after chomhthiondól. So then you'd get chomhthiondól fhear Éireann, using the genitive plural of fear.

It's like how you can say fir mhóra but teach na bhfear mór, applying appropriate genitive rules. At least, I think it is.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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How can “a gathering of men” start from comhthionól fir ? It would always start from comhthionól fear, since comhthionól fir would mean “a gathering of a man”.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I'm thinking starts from fir Éireann, as 'the men of Ireland', not comhthionól fir. Then the comhthionól is added to the front, which causes fir Éireann to require the genitive plural (since it's already plural, you shift to the genitive).

Though, I guess you could also say it starts as fear Éireann, and then when you add comhthionól it requires that to go to the genitive plural, and then the lenition for genitive of definite nouns, giving comhthionól fhear Éireann.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

I was going to ask the same question, but I think that what scilling was getting at is that Gael and lae are both in the genitive, and therefore, Gael has to shift back into the nominative (Gaeil, because it's plural) and then be lenited - Fainne (Ghaeil an lae) - "the ring of the daytime Irish" (as against the nighttime Irish).

Without the part, Fáinne Gael is right (Gael is the genitive plural). I'm not quite sure how you would differentiate between "the daytime (Irish ring)" and " "the ring of the daytime Irish", but I imagine there must be a way (and I don't think den lá is the solution, even though it was my first thought).

Even given that, I wouldn't rule out a deliberate pun - I don't think that the grammatically correct version would have been as interesting at all.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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I took Gael as being the “nominativized” form of the genitive singular Gaeil, so I saw Fáinne Ghael an Lae as being the intended form — “The Ring of the Irishman of the Day”, using the same structure as e.g. “the picture of the employee of the month”, rather than “The Ring of the Daytime Irishman”.

Since Gael is only a noun, I’d imagine that fáinne Gaelach or fáinne Éireannach would be needed for “Irish ring”.

Using a ponc séimhithe instead of an h might have helped with the interest level of the grammatically correct version of the pun — Fáinne Ġael an Lae.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

I presume "Employee of the month" is Fostaí na míosa? (even though "employee of the company is fostaí de chuid an chomhlachta)

I just used "Irish ring" as a shorthand for "ring of Irishmen" (or "ring of Gaels", to keep it simpler) - Fáinne Gael, like Fine Gael or the other examples that heathermagoo provided.

But your reference to "employee of the month", reminds me that there is actually a 3rd construction in play - besides "the ring of (daytime Gaels)" and "the daytime (ring of Gaels)" there is also "(the ring of Gaels) of the day" (using daytime for "of the day", versus "of the night").

Are 3 different ways to say these in Irish?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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I’d use fostaí na míosa to translate “the employee of the month”, and fostaí den mhí to translate “employee of the month” (without a leading “the”).

Thanks for clarifying the shorthand. I’d considered leaving a footnote in my translation of Gael as “Irishman” to make explicit that I’d meant “Irishman” in its epicene sense, but my hope was that it would be understood in that sense implicitly.

X an lae could be interpreted as either “X of the day” or “daytime X”. I suppose that X i rith an lae could be used for an unambiguous “daytime X”, but that structure would be something of a detour from the wordplay in the song title.

To deconstruct the three translation possibilities, I’d start from the parenthesized content and work my way out:

  • If “daytime Gaels” is Gaeil an lae, then “the ring of (daytime Gaels)” would be fáinne Ghael an lae (without a leading an, since the embedded an would cover the entire phrase);

  • If “ring of Gaels” is fáinne Gael, then “daytime (ring of Gaels)” would be fáinne Ghael an lae, as would “the daytime (ring of Gaels)” (again, no leading an required);

  • If “the ring of Gaels” is an fáinne Gael, then “(the ring of Gaels) of the day” would be an fáinne Gael den lá (I think that the partitive quality of this parsing would call for the dative rather than the genitive, so I’d distinguish “(the ring of Gaels) of the day” from “the ring of (Gaels of the day)” — but that’s only my view! A partitive genitive also exists, e.g. roinnt ime).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/heathermagoo
heathermagooPlus
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Focusing intently and minutely on a subject really does bring inspiration. Fáinne Ġael an Lae. What a great idea! If the video creators weren't striving for a conceit they should have been.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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After all this, we can only hope that it wasn’t just an earráid chlóscríofa on their part. ;*)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

For the question with go dtí in the other thread you linked (the one concerning Wimbledon), it isn't generally definiteness that requires go dtí to be used, as evidenced by go hÉirinn, go Meiriceá, etc. It's only when it is directly followed by the article that go dtí is required to be used. That said, and I forgot where I read this, but go dtí can be used with out the following article. I'm going to see if I can dig that source back up, as it was fairly intriguing.

It's mentioned in Nancy Stenson's Basic Irish, but I feel I read it in an older book as well. Basically, go dtí is required before the article, but can be used without it, even if go is more common. She mentions specifically both go Gaillimh and go dtí Gaillimh.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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Since Gaillimh is a proper noun, it’s also a definite noun, so that might have obviated the need for an article following go dtí.

Dinneen’s entry has the following examples of go dtí (with different meanings) followed by indefinite nouns:

up to the point of, until, as far as (of time or place): {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}ó ndé go dtí ndiu, from yesterday till to-day;

and

except: {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}an t-airgead go dtí scilling, the money all but a shilling;

( is the old dative form of dia (“day”), which survives in the adverbial weekday forms; diu was a veritable fossil, akin to Latin die, the (temporal) ablative of dies. The ancestors of inné and inniu were i ndé and i ndiu respectively. Since Dinneen’s other examples aren’t with nouns without articles, it’s unclear whether all such nouns used to be eclipsed following go dtí.)

1 year ago