An diofar eadar na mùthaidhean a rinneadh air "The many functions of ə"

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(The reduced form of the preposition de)
(The reduced form of the preposition do)
 
(23 mùthadh eadar-mheadhanach le 2 chleachdaiche eile nach eil 23 'gan sealltainn)
Loidhne 1: Loidhne 1:
'''UNDER CONSTRUCTION'''
+
Certainly, from a learner's point of view, it would seem that every language has a small, annoying word which has so many possible functions. In Albanian (yes, I did Albanian for a while, I've always like Albania though I've not yet been there) this happens to be <span style="color: #6600CC;">të</span>, which can be any of the following:
 
 
 
 
Certainly, from a learner's point of view, it would seem that every languages has a small annoying word which has just too many possible functions. In Albanian (yes, I did Albanian for a while, I've always like Albania though I haven't been yet) this happens to be <span style="color: #6600CC;">të</span>, which can be any of the following:
 
 
* a short form of a second person pronoun in the dative or accusative
 
* a short form of a second person pronoun in the dative or accusative
 
* a short form of a third person pronoun in the dative or accusative - meaning that the short form "for him" and "for you" are identical
 
* a short form of a third person pronoun in the dative or accusative - meaning that the short form "for him" and "for you" are identical
Loidhne 18: Loidhne 15:
 
This <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> [ə] is placed in front of a noun or proper noun when directly addressing a thing or person. It lenites and forces the noun or proper noun into the vocative case, if the noun has a vocative case. English doesn't have a vocative case. The closest English equivalent is "oh!", but the Gaelic vocative particle doesn't sound as corny when you use it, it's just, well, normal.
 
This <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> [ə] is placed in front of a noun or proper noun when directly addressing a thing or person. It lenites and forces the noun or proper noun into the vocative case, if the noun has a vocative case. English doesn't have a vocative case. The closest English equivalent is "oh!", but the Gaelic vocative particle doesn't sound as corny when you use it, it's just, well, normal.
  
Before a vowel or fh-, the <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> disappears.
+
Before a vowel or <span style="color: #008000;">fh-</span>, the <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> disappears.
  
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
Loidhne 89: Loidhne 86:
 
| <span style="color: #008000;">Bu toigh leam cù a cheannach</span> || I would like to buy a dog
 
| <span style="color: #008000;">Bu toigh leam cù a cheannach</span> || I would like to buy a dog
 
|-
 
|-
| <span style="color: #008000;">Tha mi airson ùbhal a ròstadh</span> [R » r] || I intend to roast an apple
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">Tha mi airson ubhal a ròstadh</span> [R » r] || I intend to roast an apple
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
Loidhne 110: Loidhne 107:
 
|-
 
|-
 
| <span style="color: #008000;">theirig a Mhiùghalaigh</span> || go to Mingulay!
 
| <span style="color: #008000;">theirig a Mhiùghalaigh</span> || go to Mingulay!
 +
|-
 +
|}
 +
 +
It regularly appears across all dialects before placenames i.e. before placenames, the full form <span style="color: #008000;">do</span> is very rare:
 +
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
|-
 +
| <span style="color: #008000;">thalla a dh'Inbhir Nis</span> || away with you to Inverness!
 +
|-
 +
| <span style="color: #008000;">thig a Bharraigh</span> || come to Barra!
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
Loidhne 124: Loidhne 131:
  
 
==The relative particle==
 
==The relative particle==
The relative particle a [ə] marks a relative clause. That's it really...  
+
The relative particle <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> [ə] marks a relative clause. That's it really...  
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|-
 
|-
| cuin a sheinneas tusa? || when will '''you''' sing?
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">cuin a sheinneas tusa?</span> || when will '''you''' sing?
 
|-
 
|-
| an tè a thuit || the woman who fell
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">an tè a thuit</span> || the woman who fell
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
  
 
==The first part of various adverbs==
 
==The first part of various adverbs==
Which is sadly relevant because of some GOC nonense. For some arcane reason, they took offence to the hyphen in an-seo, an-sin and an-siud and re-spelled them as an seo, an sin and an siud. As if Gaelic didn't have enough words that look like an...  
+
Which is sadly relevant because of some GOC nonense. For some arcane reason, they took offence to the hyphen in <span style="color: #008000;">an-seo, an-sin,</span> and <span style="color: #008000;">an-siud</span> and re-spelled them as <span style="color: #008000;">an seo, an sin</span> and <span style="color: #008000;">an siud</span>. As if Gaelic didn't have enough words that are written <span style="color: #008000;">an</span>...  
Anyway, this means that people who have a tendency to write everything exactly as they say it and who follow GOC a bit too religiously sometimes reduce the an to a:
+
Anyway, this means that people who have a tendency to write everything exactly as they say it, and who follow GOC a bit too religiously, sometimes reduce the <span style="color: #008000;">an</span> to <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> [ə]:
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|-
 
|-
| an-seo [əˈʃɔ] || a-seo [əˈʃɔ] || an seo [əˈʃɔ] || a seo [əˈʃɔ]
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">an-seo</span> [əˈʃɔ] || <span style="color: #008000;">a-seo</span> [əˈʃɔ] || <span style="color: #008000;">an seo</span> [əˈʃɔ] || <span style="color: #008000;">a seo</span> [əˈʃɔ]
 
|-
 
|-
| an-sin [əˈʃin] || a-sin [əˈʃin] || an sin [əˈʃin] || a sin [əˈʃin]
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">an-sin</span> [əˈʃin] || <span style="color: #008000;">a-sin</span> [əˈʃin] || <span style="color: #008000;">an sin</span> [əˈʃin] || <span style="color: #008000;">a sin</span> [əˈʃin]
 
|-
 
|-
| an-siud [əˈʃid] || a-siud [əˈʃid] || an siud [əˈʃid] || a siud [əˈʃid]
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">an-siud</span> [əˈʃid] || <span style="color: #008000;">a-siud</span> [əˈʃid] || <span style="color: #008000;">an siud</span> [əˈʃid] || <span style="color: #008000;">a siud</span> [əˈʃid]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
Yes, the n is almost always deleted in spoken Gaelic. If you pronounced it '''very''' carefully, it would be [əNʲˈʃɔ].
+
Yes, the <span style="color: #008000;">n</span> is almost always deleted in spoken Gaelic. If you pronounced it '''very''' carefully, it would be [əNʲˈʃɔ].
  
==The letter a==
+
==The letter <span style="color: #008000;">a</span>==
To confuse matters, when a represents just the letter a, this is mostly read the English way i.e. "ay" even though Gaelic has very old indigenous names for the letters. But there are a few people who know the old names of the letters.
+
To confuse matters, when <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> represents just the letter <span style="color: #008000;">a</span>, this is mostly read the English way i.e. "ay" even though Gaelic has very old indigenous names for the letters. But there are a few people who still know the old names of the letters.
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|-
 
|-
| a, b, c || [ɛj biː siː]]
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">a, b, c</span> || [ɛj] [biː] [siː]
 
|-
 
|-
| a, b, c || ailm, beith, coll
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">a, b, c</span> || <span style="color: #008000;">ailm</span>, <span style="color: #008000;">beith</span>, <span style="color: #008000;">coll</span>
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
  
==A dialectal form of e==
+
==A dialectal form of <span style="color: #008000;">e</span>==
In some dialectal writings, people use a where you'd expect e in order to represent the regional pronunciation of it, [a].
+
In writing, in some dialects, people use <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> where you'd expect <span style="color: #008000;">e</span>, in order to represent the regional pronunciation of it, [a].
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|-
 
|-
| chonaic sinn a || [xɔNɪgʲ ʃiNʲː a]
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">chonaic sinn a</span> || [xɔNɪgʲ ʃiNʲː a]
 
|-
 
|-
| chualaig a caile || [xuaLɪgʲ a kalə]
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">chualaig a caile</span> || [xuaLɪgʲ a kalə]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
  
 
==The interrogative particle==
 
==The interrogative particle==
The reduced form of an [ən], appears only before bheil:
+
The reduced form of <span style="color: #008000;">an</span> [ən], appears only before <span style="color: #008000;">bheil</span>:
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|-
 
|-
| a bheil thu tinn? || are you ill?
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">a bheil thu tinn?</span> || are you ill?
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
Loidhne 179: Loidhne 186:
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|-
 
|-
| A, sin agad e || Ah, there you go
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">A, sin agad e</span> || Ah, there you go
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
  
==The preposition á==
+
==The preposition <span style="color: #008000;">á</span>==
This has an acute of course (well, a grave these days) but just for completeness. The acute/grave on á do not, in this instance only, make it long. It's just there to distinguish it from other particles written a and which are pronounced [ə], whereas á has a clear (but short) [a].  
+
Of course, this has an acute - well, a grave these days - but added just for the sake of completeness. In this instance only, the acute/grave on <span style="color: #008000;">á</span> does not make it a long vowel. The acute is just there to distinguish it from other particles written <span style="color: #008000;">a</span> which are pronounced [ə], whereas <span style="color: #008000;">á</span> has a clear, short [a].  
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|-
 
|-
| Thàinig mi á Peairt || I came from Perth
+
| <span style="color: #008000;">Thàinig mi á Peairt</span> || I came from Perth
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}

Am mùthadh mu dheireadh on 12:07, 29 dhen t-Samhain 2018

Certainly, from a learner's point of view, it would seem that every language has a small, annoying word which has so many possible functions. In Albanian (yes, I did Albanian for a while, I've always like Albania though I've not yet been there) this happens to be , which can be any of the following:

  • a short form of a second person pronoun in the dative or accusative
  • a short form of a third person pronoun in the dative or accusative - meaning that the short form "for him" and "for you" are identical
  • a particle which forms the conjunctive
  • a particle which forms the future conditional
  • a particle which forms the jussive (i.e. it helps form a kind of imperative)
  • a particle needed for some infinitive constructions
  • the definite article before a noun

Once you get into it, it's not too bad but can still be a head-scratcher.

Of course, Gaelic has one too - a. This covers an even wider range of options than Albanian , so here's a list which hopefully will help you make a bit more sense of it.

The vocative particle

This a [ə] is placed in front of a noun or proper noun when directly addressing a thing or person. It lenites and forces the noun or proper noun into the vocative case, if the noun has a vocative case. English doesn't have a vocative case. The closest English equivalent is "oh!", but the Gaelic vocative particle doesn't sound as corny when you use it, it's just, well, normal.

Before a vowel or fh-, the a disappears.

Seumas [ʃeːməs] » a Sheumais! [ə heːmɪʃ]
James » (oh) James!
fir [firʲ] » fheara! [ɛrə]
men » (oh) men!
Mórag [moːrag] » a Mhórag! [ə voːrag]
Morag » (oh) Morag!

The leniting article

Technically, this is not just a but a' [ə], with an apostrophe, but I included it, nonetheless. This leniting article takes the form a' and it lenites the following word. It appears before feminine singular nouns in the nominative and before masculine singular AND feminine singular nouns in the prepositional case, before b c g m p.

a' bhròg the show
air a' bhalach on the boy

The participle-forming particle

Similarly, this a also takes an apostrophe, a' [ə], but I've included it because as the leniting article, in spoken Gaelic, it also comes out as [ə]. This isn't Borge's spoken punctuation you know :)

It is the reduced form of ag and appears before anything that is not a vowel and not r. It appears before b c d f g l m n p s t, for example:

tha mi a' bualadh I am hitting
tha mi a' lagachadh I am weakening

The masculine possessive pronoun

No apostrophe this time, just a [ə], and it lenites everything.

a bhalla his wall
a mhàthair his mother
a mhàthair [N » n] his snake

The feminine possessive pronoun

This is the reduced form of a h-, which you get before feminine nouns beginning with vowels. The only other difference from the masculine possessive pronoun is that this one doesn't lenite the noun. It's also pronounced [ə]:

a balla her wall
a màthair her mother
a nathair [N » N] her snake

The infinitive particle

Please see Habemus infinitivum necne for a full exposé on what's with the infinitive in Gaelic. Here, I'm just giving a couple of brief examples. Also pronounced [ə], it appears in certain types of sentences before a verbal noun and it prompts lenition:

Bu toigh leam cù a cheannach I would like to buy a dog
Tha mi airson ubhal a ròstadh [R » r] I intend to roast an apple

The counting particle

The reduced form of a h-[ə h] appears before numbers up to twenty, starting with a consonant. It's used when counting numbers but not objects.

a còig five
a seachd seven

The reduced form of the preposition do

The preposition do often reduces to just a [ə]. It lenites consonants, and before vowels and fh it gets reduplicated as do dh' and also a dh'. And yes, it overlaps, almost completely, with de. In many dialects, even the full forms do and de are pronounced [də].

thoir a Mhurchadh e give it to Murdo!
theirig a Mhiùghalaigh go to Mingulay!

It regularly appears across all dialects before placenames i.e. before placenames, the full form do is very rare:

thalla a dh'Inbhir Nis away with you to Inverness!
thig a Bharraigh come to Barra!

The reduced form of the preposition de

The preposition de often reduces to just a [ə]. It lenites consonants, and before vowels and fh it gets reduplicated as de dh' and also a dh'. And yes, it overlaps with do, almost completely. In many dialects, even the full forms do and de are pronounced [də].

sguir a sheinn stop singing!
dèan truinnsear a chlach make a plate from stone!

The relative particle

The relative particle a [ə] marks a relative clause. That's it really...

cuin a sheinneas tusa? when will you sing?
an tè a thuit the woman who fell

The first part of various adverbs

Which is sadly relevant because of some GOC nonense. For some arcane reason, they took offence to the hyphen in an-seo, an-sin, and an-siud and re-spelled them as an seo, an sin and an siud. As if Gaelic didn't have enough words that are written an... Anyway, this means that people who have a tendency to write everything exactly as they say it, and who follow GOC a bit too religiously, sometimes reduce the an to a [ə]:

an-seo [əˈʃɔ] a-seo [əˈʃɔ] an seo [əˈʃɔ] a seo [əˈʃɔ]
an-sin [əˈʃin] a-sin [əˈʃin] an sin [əˈʃin] a sin [əˈʃin]
an-siud [əˈʃid] a-siud [əˈʃid] an siud [əˈʃid] a siud [əˈʃid]

Yes, the n is almost always deleted in spoken Gaelic. If you pronounced it very carefully, it would be [əNʲˈʃɔ].

The letter a

To confuse matters, when a represents just the letter a, this is mostly read the English way i.e. "ay" even though Gaelic has very old indigenous names for the letters. But there are a few people who still know the old names of the letters.

a, b, c [ɛj] [biː] [siː]
a, b, c ailm, beith, coll

A dialectal form of e

In writing, in some dialects, people use a where you'd expect e, in order to represent the regional pronunciation of it, [a].

chonaic sinn a [xɔNɪgʲ ʃiNʲː a]
chualaig a caile [xuaLɪgʲ a kalə]

The interrogative particle

The reduced form of an [ən], appears only before bheil:

a bheil thu tinn? are you ill?

The exclamation

This comes out as a clear [a]. Nothing much else to say about it really.

A, sin agad e Ah, there you go

The preposition á

Of course, this has an acute - well, a grave these days - but added just for the sake of completeness. In this instance only, the acute/grave on á does not make it a long vowel. The acute is just there to distinguish it from other particles written a which are pronounced [ə], whereas á has a clear, short [a].

Thàinig mi á Peairt I came from Perth


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