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  5. "Her son's book."

"Her son's book."

Translation:Leabhar a mic.

June 22, 2015



So, again, very dense here, but why is it 'mic' here, and not 'a mhac'? (I have been talking to people about 'mo mhac', and nobody corrected me. Is that just them being polite because they understood me anyway, despite my grammatical failings?)


mic is the genitive singular, which is used to show possession.


In the 1st and 2nd declension, gs. is formed by palatizing the ns., i.e. converting vowels that are broad into ones that are slender. Thus for 'mac', a 1st declension noun: 'a' (broad) becomes 'i' (slender).


Very new to Gaeilge here! Point of confusion is in the background notes on Duolingo for this module. "The genitive singular form of FEAR (FIR) is the same as the plural (FIR)"

So if I apply this to MAC, the genitive singular form should be the lenited form MHIC, compare FHIR in the table.

So why isn't the answer "Leabhar a mhic"?


There are a few things going on. In the first place, you can't always apply the singular/plural rule that way to derive the genitive, but because fear and mac are 1st declension nouns, it works in this case. It doesn't work for bean, buachaill, cailín or iníon, for example.

Secondly, the singular genitive of fear is fir. The notes only show it lenited after an (in contrast to the nominative case, where feminine nouns are lenited after an). So hata fir - "a man's hat", hata an fhir - "the man's hat".

There is no an here to cause lenition, so the lenition in leabhar a mhic would have to come from the possessive adjective a, which would make it "his" rather than "her".


Just to clarify... if it was his son's book, it would be mhic?


One more question... is this the sort of thing that just starts to get engrained when you're using the language a lot? If you said it incorrectly to a Gaeilgeoir would they understand you? Laught at you for being an idiot (which doesn't seem like an Irish think to do)? Gently correct you? Ignore the error?


Is Irish recursive in this way? In other words can you keep adding nouns as long as they're in the right case, e.g. "Leabhar chara a mic", "Leathanach leabhair chara a mic" etc. ?


You could keep adding nouns, but there are several circumstances in which a genitive noun can take a nominative form — see here under the heading “The form of the genitive is not used when:”.


Could you please post the full link for that? The shortened URLs never work on my phone :(


So does the object of possession - in this case the book - come before the possessor?


If you read it as "the book of her son", the word order in Irish may make more sense. (Though it might lead you to ask where the definite article "the" comes from, as it's not there in "her son's book").


Why is this sentence mentioned in Plurals? By that moment nobody really knows Genitive.

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