"Your crab and our crab."
Translation:Bhur bportán agus ár bportán.
I had the same issue, it's the eclipse, "eclipse nouns that begin with a consonant". So bportán is eclipsed so it's plural bhur. Had it been do, it would have been aspirated, phortán. I had to research that from other texts and I found that quote in Collins Irish Grammar.
Here are the 3 things to look at to piece it together:
(I realize this is probably too late to help the original question-asker, but it may help others who are reading this now.)
I sympathise greatly with your confusion, I suffered badly with it at school in Ireland and just gave up on it as a kid. As far as I can guess all these spelling rules were designed to reflect how words are pronounced (in one dialect mostly) in different circumstances.
It's a bit like if the English decided that the written form of the language would reflect the accent of the North West of England. In which case the written form of "My hat" would be "me'yat".
With spoken Gaeilge I can barely hear the difference in many cases tbh, and I don't just mean on Duolingo audio, I strain on TG4 to hear the subtle differences, but it's not happening so far, …and I'm Irish, so I've no idea how other people seem to manage it. Spending a lot of time immersed in a Gaeltacht would probably help a lot, but till I can afford that luxury it's just a case of trying to memorise the Enigma Code.
Is there really such a lack of historical knowledge of the language that the country vernacular version had to be entombed in the spelling?
If you are talking about something that you own, you say "my" (1st person singular - mo), if you are talking about something that you own as part of a group, you say "our" (1st person plural - ár).
If you are talking about something that a man owns, you say "his" (3rd person singular - a+lenition), if you are talking about something that two men own, you say "their" (3rd person plural - a+eclipsis).
If you are talking directly to one person about something that that person owns, you say "your" (2nd person singular - do). If you are talking directly to more than one person about something that those people own, you also say "your" (2nd person plural - bhur).
Some dialects of English use different words for the 2nd person plural possessive adjective (yeer, y'alls, you guys's, etc). Standard English has an ambiguity (is "your" singular or plural?) that doesn't happen in Irish.
"aspirate" is indeed grammatically confusing (because it's inaccurate), but it would be a lot harder to discuss grammar without using common labels like "verb", "noun", "tense", "eclipsis", "lenition", etc. Like discussing colour without using "blue", "white", "yellow", etc.
i was just about to ask, with all respect, where did this language and its rules originate
Irish, like all the other Celtic languages, ultimately descends from Proto-Indo-European and is distantly related to most other languages of Europe. It’s commonly posited that the Celtic languages have a particularly close relationship with the Italic languages. The earliest forms of Irish then had many grammatical similarities to languages like Latin.
this could not have been a " primitive cultural development"
I don’t know what you mean by this. If you’re referring to the initial mutations their development is actually quite clear.
Let’s compare the declension of Old Irish fer (which gives modern fear “man”) with the cognate Latin word “vir”, also meaning “man”. If a form causes lenition on a following adjective I’ll denote that by appending an L to the end of the word, likewise an -N will be appended if the form caused eclipsis of a following adjective.
First the Old Irish:
We notice something striking. In all of the forms where the Irish noun causes lenition the corresponding Latin noun ends in a vowel. Similarly, in all of the instances where the Old Irish noun caused eclipsis the corresponding Latin ends in a nasal sound. Similar correspondences can be seen in other declensions and in some other settings.
Thus if we make the reasonable assumption that in an earlier form Irish had proper case endings like Latin we can draw the following conclusion: in speech the case ending of a noun caused a change in pronunciation of a following adjective. At first this would have been a feature of relaxed speech but over time became increasingly fixed in the language. At some point in Irish’s prehistory it lost the case endings, but retained the changes in pronunciation they caused, which carried all of the same information. These changes in pronunciation were then reinterpreted as being grammatical markers themselves, and so spread beyond their original domain to other constructions in the language. This is somewhat of an oversimplification, and the mutation system has seen some major changes since Old Irish, but the precise details aren’t really all that important.