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 Post subject: Identification Clauses.
PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug 2021 4:59 pm 
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:wave: Hi! If anyone can help me, I was wondering:

1. For “A woman is the teacher,” would it be technically correct to say, “Is í an múinteoir bean.”? ... I know this is an awkward way to phrase it and that it would probably be preferable to say, “Is bean í an múinteoir.” (“The teacher is a woman”) ...but I’m just wondering if it’s theoretically correct.

2. To say “Rubies are my favorite gems,” would “Is iad rúibíní na seoda is fearr liom,” be an appropriate way to word it? I know, technically, “rubies” is indefinite (so you’d think it’d be “Is iad na seoda is fearr liom rúibíní.” But, like in the first paragraph above, I’m just not sure if that’s a valid format.

Thank you! :GRMA:


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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug 2021 5:17 pm 
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Rosie_Oleary wrote:
:wave: Hi! If anyone can help me, I was wondering:

1. For “A woman is the teacher,” would it be technically correct to say, “Is í an múinteoir bean.”? ... I know this is an awkward way to phrase it and that it would probably be preferable to say, “Is bean í an múinteoir.” (“The teacher is a woman”) ...but I’m just wondering if it’s theoretically correct.

2. To say “Rubies are my favorite gems,” would “Is iad rúibíní na seoda is fearr liom,” be an appropriate way to word it? I know, technically, “rubies” is indefinite (so you’d think it’d be “Is iad na seoda is fearr liom rúibíní.” But, like in the first paragraph above, I’m just not sure if that’s a valid format.

Thank you! :GRMA:


I've found these sentences in the Irish of Peadar Ua Laoghaire:
1. duine buile is eadh an stracaire seo
2. bean is eadh an duine sin a bhí ar an gcarraig

The is eadh way of saying it is common in Munster.

I follow Ua Laoghaire's Irish. So if you don't want is ea in there, it would be is bean an múinteóir, with no í.
I think you need to think about what the logical predicate of a copula sentence is. If you are saying "rubies are my favourite gems", is the "information" you are trying to give "rubies" or "my favourite gems"? However it's worded in English it seems that the fundamental meaning is "my favourite gems are .... rubies". Rubies is the faisnéis and so goes after the copula. Is rúibíní na seóda is feárr liom. Or you can delete the copula. Rúibíní na seóda is feárr liom. Or Is iad seóda is feárr liom ná rúibíní, a sentence in which it is preferable (as per Ua Laoghaire's comments in Papers on Irish Idiom) not have an article before seóda (these cases are where a definite noun is contextually defined).

In Notes on Irish Words and Usages p47, Ua Laoghaire said:

Quote:
On the other hand é is sometimes inserted when it ought not. Is maith an fear é Tadhg, for instance, is not said. The correct form is is maith an fear Tadhg.


I think that there may have been a difference between Muskerry Irish and Conemara Irish on this point? Or that learners were confused by the copula and thought you had to insert a definite article before every definite noun in a copular sentence? Or even a combination of the two (a dialectal difference seized on learners as it was easier for them to implement)?


Last edited by djwebb2021 on Mon 02 Aug 2021 5:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug 2021 5:47 pm 
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I wrote a long piece (a review of Gerald O'Nolan's works) in Éigse, which included a long section on his views on the copula. You can read it at https://corkirish.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/nolan_book_review13.pdf

Nolan argued that the subpredicate pronoun was inserted to stop the copula from standing next to the subject. For this reason, ea is inserted in ainmhí is ea capall and é is inserted in ’Sé is mian leis an Eaglais fearg Dé do mhaolú. The fundamental rule is that the copula cannot stand next to the subject of the copula.

However, there is a quirk owing to syntactical contamination or confusion between different types of sentences, that a subpredicate has crept in in sentences like is é an saol so an t-earrach, where an saol is the predicate, and yet has a subpredicate pronoun.

Nolan's presentation is at variance with Graiméar Gaeilge, but fits the evidence better, as there are sentences where a definite noun comes straight after the copula (in sentences like is é an Tiarna is Dia againn, where Dia is definite), and so Graiméar Gaeilge's claim that a definite noun cannot stand after the copula is false.

V = verb (the copula)
S = subject
P = predicate
p -= subpredicate

The general form is VPS - is ainmhí capall (a horse is an animal)

ainmhí is ea capall - this is PVpS, with the p inserted to stop the V coming directly before the S.

’sé is mian leis an Eaglais fearg Dé do mhaolú - this is VpSP. The predicate is put at the end because of the complexity of the sentence. The S is "(rud) is mian leis an Eaglais" and the P is "fearg Dé do mhaolú".

is é an saol so an t-earrach - Nolan argued that in older Irish the subpredicate was not present in such sentences, and has crept in by analogy with VpSP sentences. This sentence is VpPS.

is é an Tiarna is Dia againn - the "is Dia againn" bit is VP, although it is in a relative clause governed by the preceding clause. No p is required because Dia is not the subject, even though it is a definite noun.

is bean an múinteóir: this is VPS. As bean is not the subject, no subpredicate is required. There is even less reason to insert one before the subject, which isn't even next to the copula.

Note: Nolan's presentation fits the evidence better than other presentations. However, I am not so clear that his statement about the historical origin of the subpredicate in VpPS sentences is right. To use technical terms, he may have it right synchronically, but may not have researched the diachronic origin as deeply as he claimed?


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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug 2021 7:59 pm 
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Rosie_Oleary wrote:
:wave: Hi! If anyone can help me, I was wondering:

1. For “A woman is the teacher,” would it be technically correct to say, “Is í an múinteoir bean.”? ... I know this is an awkward way to phrase it and that it would probably be preferable to say, “Is bean í an múinteoir.” (“The teacher is a woman”) ...but I’m just wondering if it’s theoretically correct.


No.
As David already pointed out you first have to find out what's the predicate, the new information.
In this sentence it is "a woman".
"The teacher" is old information because it is definite (has a definite article). So it must be the subject.
You say something about the teacher. And what you are saying is that the teacher is surprisingly a woman.

In English you can change freely: The teacher is a woman / A woman is the teacher.
But so you can't in Irish. Irish has a very strict word order.
Irish is almost always copula-predicate-subject. (in a "normal" sentence)

So, the only way to put this in a "normal" copula sentence is:
Is bean í an múinteoir.

There are of course alternative constructions in Irish to render different nuances of meaning like in the English sentence ("A woman is the ..."):
Bean is ea an múinteoir (lit.: "A woman, the teacher is it")
Is é (an) múinteoir é sin ná bean. (lit. "What the teacher is, (is) a woman")
Bean atá sa mhúinteoir. (lit. "A woman, which is [in [the position of] the teacher", very lit.: "A woman that is in-the teacher")
and so on.
Those aren't "normal" copula sentences but altered in different ways.

Quote:
2. To say “Rubies are my favorite gems,” would “Is iad rúibíní na seoda is fearr liom,” be an appropriate way to word it? I know, technically, “rubies” is indefinite (so you’d think it’d be “Is iad na seoda is fearr liom rúibíní.” But, like in the first paragraph above, I’m just not sure if that’s a valid format.

Thank you! :GRMA:


Again, rúibíní is the predicate.
It is indefinite. So the normal structure is a classification sentence (not an identification sentence as the subject line suggests)
The predicate is always first in classification sentences.
So:
Is rúibíní iad na seoda is fearr liom.

Again there are different ways to alter this:
Rúibíní is ea na seoda is fearr liom.
Is iad (na) seoda is fearr liom ná rúibíní. *
Rúibíní atá sa seoda is fearr liom.



*) Grammatically, such "pseudo-cleft sentences" are identification sentences - notwithstanding the fact that rúibíní is indefinite.


Last edited by Labhrás on Tue 03 Aug 2021 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug 2021 10:08 pm 
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Another interesting point is that Ua Laoghaire didn't have a subpredicate where the predicate was a noun in sentences like:

Quote:
is bean an múinteóir


but he did have a subpredicate where the predicate was an adjective:

Quote:
is maith í an fhoighne


I don't believe O'Nolan ever commented on this or explained why. It does considerably complicate O'Nolan's claim that the subpredicate only exists to stop the verb coming before the subject. Analogical developments mean that, however you present the syntax of the copula, whether O'Nolan's way or the GGBC way, you have to have a series of exceptions appended to the explanation.


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PostPosted: Fri 06 Aug 2021 5:29 pm 
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Thank you both (DJWebb2021 and Labhrás! :GRMA: ). :clap: Extremely helpful info. And (to DJWebb2021) I saved the link to your paper on the copula to my favorites. :D ...


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