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PostPosted: Sat 23 May 2020 7:28 pm 
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I have a questions to those better knowing Middle Irish or having a copy of Stair na Gaeilge (which seems to be impossible to get online).

What is the origin of the analytic present-tense ending -(e)ann? In later Early Modern Irish/Classical Gaelic, ie. Keating’s times, it seems that it already was the regular dependent present-tense ending different to the independent -(a)idh and relative -(e)as, eg. molaidh ‘he/she praises’ vs ní mholann ‘he/she does not praise’ vs (a) mholas ‘who praises / whom he/she praises’. Irish later generalized the dependent -(e)ann to all positions (except for those regions where relative -(e)as still exists; and Ulster story-telling where older -aidh might still be used).

But earlier it was molaidh, ní mhol, mholas; or in Old Irish (other verbs since molaithir was deponent back then): beirid ‘carries’, marbaid ‘kills’; ní beir ‘doesn’t carry’, ní marba ‘doesn’t kill’; beires ‘that carries; whom carries’, marbas ‘that kills; whom he/she kills’ without any -(e)ann nor *-enn/*-ann. I cannot find any such ending for 3rd.sg. in Old Irish grammars.

Scottish Gaelic still has molaidh, cha mhol which merged with the future tense for ‘praises, will praise; doesn’t praise, won’t praise’.

But then Wikipedia claims, giving Stair na Gaeilge as the source:

History of the Irish language on English Wikipedia wrote:
The ending ''-ann'', today the usual 3rd person ending in the present tense, was formerly found only in the imperfective. Thus Early Modern Irish contrasted molaidh "[he] praises [once]" from molann "[he] praises regularly", both contrasting with the zero-marked dependent form used after particles such as the negative as well as with an overt pronoun (cf. mol sé "he praises", ní mhol sé "he doesn't praise"), whereas Modern Irish has molann sé and ní mholann sé.


But nowhere else on the Internet I can find anything about imperfective or habitual ending -(e)ann. I can’t even find anything else claiming that Irish would have a separate imperfective/habitual present tense ever in its history (the only imperfective/habitual I find references to is past). Everything I find (the Introduction to Stories from Keating’s History of Ireland, léamh.org, even Wikipedia article on dependent verb forms) just says it is (an alternative, later) dependent present ending and I cannot find why it appeared and replaced older zero ending (as in mol instead of molann).

Can anyone verify this claim – that E.Mod.Ir. had a distinction between habitual -(e)ann as in molann an fear ‘the man praises [regularly]’ vs molaidh an fear ‘the man is praising/praises once’?

And – where did this ending come from anyway? Why is there no sign of it in Sc. Gaelic?

EDIT: after posting this I found this on Gramadach na Gaeilge which also claims that -(e)ann used to be only for habitual…


Last edited by silmeth on Mon 25 May 2020 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat 23 May 2020 10:05 pm 
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Is it possible to me to take a photo of the page of Stair na Gaeilge and to upload it here so that you can see it?
I don't know how on can post a photo (from my computer) in a message here...

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PostPosted: Sun 24 May 2020 11:07 am 
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Not sure if you can upload an image to the forum, but you can save it in Google Drive, Dropbox, or some other cloud drive and post a share link here. Or use imgur.com or other image hosting.


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PostPosted: Sun 24 May 2020 4:14 pm 
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silmeth wrote:
Can anyone verify this claim – that E.Mod.Ir. had a distinction between habitual -(e)ann as in molann an fear ‘the man praises [regularly]’ vs molaidh an fear ‘the man is praising/praises once’?


Some 19th century grammars claimed so, whysoever. (e.g. P.W. Joyce, A Grammar of the Irish Language, 1878)


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PostPosted: Mon 25 May 2020 12:23 pm 
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Labhrás wrote:
silmeth wrote:
Can anyone verify this claim – that E.Mod.Ir. had a distinction between habitual -(e)ann as in molann an fear ‘the man praises [regularly]’ vs molaidh an fear ‘the man is praising/praises once’?


Some 19th century grammars claimed so, whysoever. (e.g. P.W. Joyce, A Grammar of the Irish Language, 1878)


Interesting – from quick glance, this grammar on page 52 claims for 19th c. Irish (not older classical one) buailim, buailidh sé for regular present and buaileann mé, buaileann sé for habitual, without any distinction between dependent and independent forms.

That’d suggest that first there were independent molaidh, buailidh forms and dep. ní mhol, ní bhuail, ní mholann, ní bhuaileann (up to roughly Keating’s times), and later the independent -(a)idh and dep. -(e)ann got generalized (the former becoming archaic and restricted to story-telling) in Irish with a bit different meanings (at least in some prescriptive grammars).

Basing on that I’d guess that the ending -(e)ann was always used in habitual meaning (because in newer language that’s what the present tense is used for) while -(a)idh and synthetic forms – although also generally used as habitual (as synthetic forms today in Munster, or in Connacht in echo-responses) – were present in older stories using archaic language where the present tense could also be used non-habitually (instead of ag + verbal noun). Hence over-interpretation of that in 19th c. grammars, but, I’d guess, in reality both were always the same single present tense.

(And so, I’d guess, there was never any distinction between habitual and non-habitual present tenses in the history of Scottish Gaelic dialects which never had the -(e)ann ending.)


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PostPosted: Mon 25 May 2020 3:12 pm 
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Here is what they say in Stair na Gaeilge:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rsaxkng829gp ... xgOKa?dl=0

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Agus is í Gaeilg Ġaoṫ Doḃair is binne
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PostPosted: Mon 25 May 2020 7:28 pm 
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Lughaidh wrote:
Here is what they say in Stair na Gaeilge:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rsaxkng829gp ... xgOKa?dl=0


Go raibh míle maith agat as seo! :)

So, summarizing:

  1. the origin is generalized conjunct ending from n-stem verbs (BIV in Thurneysen’s GOI, S3 in Stifter’s Sengoídelc) like benaid, ní·ben, for·ben;
  2. it confirms that initially it was just an alternative conjunct/dependent ending and spread fairly late to independent positions (first in 15th c., wins over -(a)idh in 17th c.);
  3. nothing about it being more habitual than -(a)idh.

Interesting how did 19th c. grammars come up with the idea that -(e)ann is more habitual then (as I wrote in the previous post – I guess that’s because of archaic stories with -(a)idh used non-habitually and they had to somehow explain the contrast?) and Wikipedia wording should be changed as a separate present imperfective/habitual doesn’t seem to be a thing in Nua-Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach, and at least not a claim to be found in Stair na Gaeilge


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