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"Hello boy, what is your name?"

Translation:Halò a bhalaich, dè an t-ainm a th' ort?

January 8, 2020



Why is balach lenited?


It's the vocative case because you're addressing someone. I had questions about that, too, early on ☺️


Balach.... vocal Bhalaich ? Why not bhalach? Why the extra "i" ?


Look at "masculine nouns" under "Lenitable Consonants" (under the "Vocative Case" section) here:


I keep a tab open to the tips on pretty much everything I use :)


The notes describe the lenition, but not the slenderization, which was what was asked about here.

The examples, however, do show that masculine words slenderize in the vocative (tidseara thidseir, ollamhollaimh) but feminine ones do not (piuthar → a phiuthar).

For anyone interested in the history, who also knows Latin or Shakespeare, slenderization developed from endings that contained an e or i, and you see this in some Latin words, all masculine (Brutuset tu, Brute, agus tusa, a Bhrutais, 'and you, Brutus').


Thanks, that's very interesting.


Thank you ! Tapadh leat ???


What is the structural meaning of the dash in t-ainm? Is this a form of abbreviation, like the apostrophe is, or something different?


It's a bit difficult to say what it is doing. The t was originally part of the article. I cannot remember the exact Old Irish, but in modern Gaelic it would have been

ant ainm

But in Old Irish the spaces were non-existent, or too small to be clear, so, as the t was lost from most situations, people forgot where it belonged and it became

an tainm in Irish

The hyphen was then added for clarity. We always add it when we have a t, h or n stuck on the beginning of the word - these other letters are from mutations that we no longer have.

But in Irish they only use a hyphen when necessary. So if writing a title and using capitals they would write

An tAinm

whereas we would still write

An t-Ainm

So some grammars actually say that the article in this situation is an t-, which it is really.

Before they put the hyphens in or started using capitals (which they didn't in the Old Irish period) the most confusing example was

Ar nAthair 'Our Father'
Ar Nathair 'Our Snake'

which are still indistinguishable to the ear.


This is super helpful and interesting, thank you Daibhidh!

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