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  5. "Leabhar leabharlainne."

"Leabhar leabharlainne."

Translation:A library book.

August 28, 2014



And yet more questions from me;

Here we have "leabharlainne" which looks like the nominative plural, but given that we're doing a lesson on the tuiseal ginideach I am guessing that it is in fact the genitive singular in this sentence.

If this is the case, they why is the English not "a library's book" ? That is, why is "library" used like an adjective (to describe the book), as opposed to being the possessor (to own the book)?


Putting a noun in the genitive is how you turn a noun into an adjective in Irish.


I think "a library's book" is also accepted (or at least it should be, although it makes for awkward English). The words are different but the meaning is the same.


By the way, "a library's book" is not accepted, so I have just reported it. As you say, it sounds a little odd in English, but it does make sense. The book belongs to the library after all.


Hmmm, yes, I suppose they do mean the same thing...

The question then becomes when do we use the "'s" in English?

Would it simply be whenever it doesn't make sense to leave it out, such as, "a library cat" which sounds better as "a library's cat" ?


My rule of thumb has been "whatever sounds least ridiculous", but I suppose "a noun's noun" is probably always going to be correct.


Ok, great. Thank you!


Sorry to grave dig, but in.case anyone wants a conclusion to this discussion... It seems to me that "a library's cat" is 'library' being used as a noun in the genitive with the apostrophe 's'. Where as "a library-cat" (or an alley-cat, etc.) is using 'library' as a noun adjunct, or adjective-noun. So we have genitive-noun + noun versus noun-as-adjective + noun. In English only the first one needs the genitive form but in Irish they both do. The fact that English has two ways to form a 'genitive' is likely because the true English genitive is dying out - crushed to death under the weight of greengrocers' apostrophes.


I love this language.


Sounds like that cat after being lost every night !!!!


......do the irish ever shorten this? Because of the redundancy?


It's not considered redundant. And, no, I doubt they'd simplify it any.


Oh, just saw this reply! Sorry for the recitation in my other post.


How is it redundant? Do you mean because the two words sound simailar? And how would one shorten it?

The nearest thing I can think of to illustrate the question in English is 'the bookshop's book.' You might use it in a sentence like 'The bookshop's book about Irish grammar.' I can't think of a way to shorten that. Or in French maybe 'la Bible de la bibliotheque' as in 'the library's Bible.' (sorry, I can't get that French accent which looks like a backward fada over the first 'e'.) There is no way to change those sentences in either language without subtly changing the meaning of the sentence. And in each case they are grammatically correct.

(I hope the above doesn't sound too pompous - I hate that the internet makes discussion appear dry. I honestly am not trying to be a git here, I really am trying to work through nuances, and this is an interesting question.)


Which device and operating system do you use? It might not be too difficult to set it up to be able to type è.


If you have an Irish keyboard, the key just left to "!" and "1" is an accent grave. Just type it and then type your a / e / u.


"the book of the library" - is that right too? The lack of articles seems to allow this interpretation, but I amn't sure.


The book of the library would be leabhar na leabharlainne. The lack of articles makes it indefininte (i.e. a library book/a library's book/a book of a library)


Leabhar isn't books??? Plural???


Leabhar is the nominative singular, leabhair is the nominative plural


It's my first time hearing the "l" in "leabhar" pronounced like a "y" - is this just the Connacht dialect?

  • 1351

It's not pronounced like a "y" - there is a noticeable "y" sound after the "l", but the "l" sound is quite clear.


Leabharlann f

declension 2 f (except im, teach and slaibh) gs. palatalisation + -e

ns. leabharlann gs. leabharlainne,  npl. leabharlanna [strong because no palatisation like gs. and ending in -anna?].

For gpl. teanglann shows only a squiggle. That, in dictionaries, normally means it's equivalent to the main entry, which would here mean that gpl. = ns, that is gpl. leabharlann But that's only the case for weak plurals :(

Who can confirm npl. and gpl. of leabharlann, or knows where teanglann.ie is hiding it's dictionary preface that explains its unconventional notation?

  • 1351

The nominative singular is leabharlann, the nominative plural is leabharlanna - that is a weak plural.

Teanglann.ie has a Gramadach/Grammar tab that provides the declension of nouns and adjectives and the conjugation of verbs.

The preface for the FGB is written in Irish.

The third page has a section entitled Comhartaí that includes this line:

~ ag seasamh don cheannfhocal slán agus é á athlua san alt mínithe

(standing for the intact headword when it is repeated in the explanatory paragraph).

If you want an explanation in English, have a look at that the "Look inside" selection for the book "A Learners Guide to Irish" on Amazon. The "Look Inside" includes a section on "The Ó Dónaill Dictionary" (aka FGB) that explains the key symbols used in the dictionary.

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