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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

Vocative of names beginning with F

OK, this may be explained somewhere but I can't see it, and I can't make out a pattern in the usage. We have four names beginning with F in regular use - Fearghas, Frìseal, Fionnlagh and Flòraidh. I can figure out the vocative case for all of the actual names, that's fine, no problem.

All of the vocative names obviously begin with Fh. What has me completely stumped is when there is an "a" in front of the name and when there isn't. Sometimes I put it in and I'm marked wrong, sometimes I put it in and I'm marked right. And vice versa. Even more confusingly, sometimes I do what must be the wrong thing, but it's accepted as "another correct answer".

Is it something to do with the second letter? Is there a rule someone could explain to me before I gnaw my hand off or something?

February 22, 2020

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zia177448

It's in the tips and notes for "Names". ;) And yes, you guessed correctly that it has to do with the second letter:

  1. Names that begin with F

Names that begin with F followed by a consonant follow pattern number 1.

e.g.

Frìseal > Halò, a Fhrìseil.

Flòraidh > Halò a Fhlòraidh.

Names that begin with F followed by a vowel follow a slightly different pattern. The vocative particle a is omitted. Masculine names lenite and slenderise. Female names only lenite.

e.g.

Fionnlagh > Halò, Fhionnlaigh.

Fearghas > Halò, Fhearghais.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

Thank you. I had a vague memory I must have seen it somewhere. Hopefully I will remember it now.

That still doesn't entirely explain why sometimes the wrong choice (I think it's a wrong choice to include the "a") is sometimes passed as "another right answer", but I guess we can let that go as a software quirk.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joannejoanne12

That still doesn't entirely explain why sometimes the wrong choice (I think it's a wrong choice to include the "a") is sometimes passed as "another right answer", but I guess we can let that go as a software quirk.

It shouldn't be, that would be a mistake on our end. Do you have any examples I could have a look at?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

I can't remember off-hand, but I thought Silmeth adequately explained this below, when he said that "in older spelling it is often written before vowels too, and Akerbeltz also recommends writing it, even though that’s no longer standard practice". I thought he meant it was accepted to put it in as an alternative because this older usage did it that way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

It is used in older spelling but I don’t think the Duolingo course accepts it – AFAIK it consistently requires you to not use a before vowels.

Maybe in some sentences it treats it as a typo and accepts regardless, like it sometimes accepts the pronoun e instead of i, etc.?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

Could be that, although it didn't say it was a typo, it said it was "another correct answer".

Sometimes it accepts wrong answers (e for i is certainly one) without even saying there is a typo, so who knows. I've often looked down at a so-called "you were correct" answer and thought, oh no I don't think so. One time I was on my phone and fumbled it half way through an answer so only half the sentence was submitted, and that was accepted as correct, so it's a bit buggy in places. But at least I understand my original question now so thanks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

Yup, and it’s basically the same pattern as with all other names/nouns when you realize that lenited F disappears entirely in speech (Fhionnlaigh is pronounced as if written ionnlaigh, Fhrìseil as if written rìseil).

When it begins with a vowel, don’t write a (Fhionnlaigh, athair, eich, Anna), when it begins with a consonant, write it (a Fhrìseil, a charaid, a Mhòrag).

You can think of it as the a being grammatically there (in older spelling it is often written before vowels too, and Akerbeltz also recommends writing it, even though that’s no longer standard practise), but is so much not stressed that it gets devoured by the following vowel. ;-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

Thank you. There may be a point where I realised this but I lost the plot again, confusing it with whether or not an initial S is lenited, which also seems to depend on the following consonant.

I'll get it right now.

Now if only I could figure out why there are some slenderised endings I keep getting wrong too...

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