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PostPosted: Wed 31 Aug 2022 5:52 pm 
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An Lon Dubh wrote:
Do you have an example? Most of what Ó Nualláin's grammar says seems fairly natural to me, i.e. the explanations don't seem like that much of a stretch.


I don't remember which it was off the top of my head, but it was one of the ones where it was like "the predicate must be felt". I get what he was saying, but it just comes across as weird. Maybe it's just how I'm interpreting the tone into his writing style. As well as how with identification you can have both PS and SP. I know he says the difference is on vocal stress and what makes logical sense, but it just seemed stretching it to me to keep things making some 'logical sense'.

Quote:
Regarding dialect, I thought they were fairly middle of the road. For example Ó Nualláin's section about the copula doesn't point out Munster specific features. Are there Ulster or Connacht forms that they label as incorrect, claiming only the Munster form is right? Even in the cases where they explicitly invoke a rare type of sentence from Ua Laoghaire, it's often as a preamble to explain a type of sentence common in 19th century Irish in general. I'm willing to be corrected here, it's about a year since I read through them, so I probably don't remember everything. Most of the cases where they say something is wrong that I remember were about learner errors.



The bigger issue is he really doesn't pull any examples from outside PUL or Keating, at least in his list of stuff he draws on. Like, he just takes their writing as implicitly 'correct', and doesn't really use anything from the other provinces. Which, in his defense, there wasn't much written from them (to my knowledge) in 1920 and as early as PUL was writing. Most Conamara stuff, at least, came later, as did Ó Grianna, etc from further North. It's just that it implicitly leads to privileging PUL's Irish over everything else, as he formed the basis of Ó Nualláin's corpus, and leads to an implicit "Well, if it doesn't match this it's wrong".

I understand that for modern Irish, given the tendencies of language death. It just seemed weird back in 1920, even if he never explicitly stated it. Reminds me of another book, on how prepositions are used, where it was basically like "Founded on the best literary and folklore sources", and it was all Munster. Just reinforcing the prestige because that's where most the writing at the time had come from.


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PostPosted: Wed 31 Aug 2022 8:22 pm 
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galaxyrocker wrote:
An Lon Dubh wrote:
Regarding dialect, I thought they were fairly middle of the road. For example Ó Nualláin's section about the copula doesn't point out Munster specific features. Are there Ulster or Connacht forms that they label as incorrect, claiming only the Munster form is right? Even in the cases where they explicitly invoke a rare type of sentence from Ua Laoghaire, it's often as a preamble to explain a type of sentence common in 19th century Irish in general. I'm willing to be corrected here, it's about a year since I read through them, so I probably don't remember everything. Most of the cases where they say something is wrong that I remember were about learner errors.



The bigger issue is he really doesn't pull any examples from outside PUL or Keating, at least in his list of stuff he draws on. Like, he just takes their writing as implicitly 'correct', and doesn't really use anything from the other provinces. Which, in his defense, there wasn't much written from them (to my knowledge) in 1920 and as early as PUL was writing. Most Conamara stuff, at least, came later, as did Ó Grianna, etc from further North. It's just that it implicitly leads to privileging PUL's Irish over everything else, as he formed the basis of Ó Nualláin's corpus, and leads to an implicit "Well, if it doesn't match this it's wrong".

I understand that for modern Irish, given the tendencies of language death. It just seemed weird back in 1920, even if he never explicitly stated it. Reminds me of another book, on how prepositions are used, where it was basically like "Founded on the best literary and folklore sources", and it was all Munster. Just reinforcing the prestige because that's where most the writing at the time had come from.

Munster Irish was accepted at the time as correct, in the way that Southern English is accepted as more correct than Northern English. I agree that from the descriptivist point of view, this is just arbitrary. Why is "wait while Tuesday" (Northern English) incorrect and "wait until Tuesday" correct? Such "value" judgements have a large dollop of social/cultural preferences. It was the case that Ua Laoghaire wrote in a manner that dovetailed with the 18th tradition -- and modern Conemara/Ulster Irish simply does not. If you read Turas na dTaoiseach nUltach as Éirinn , produced in Ulster in the 1600s, you will notice straightaway that you need Cork Irish, not Ulster Irish, in order to read this text. There are numerous features of Ulster and Connacht Irish that traditionally were seen as incorrect.

Is it incorrect to say "you was" in English? Well, prescriptively it is, but descriptively this is native English. [I'll make an exception for the analytical forms of the verb, as they were accepted in the Bardic tracts and have been around for so many centuries that it makes no sense to regard them as wrong.]

I read in Cómhar (the journal) an article by a Gweedore native, Breandán Delap, which said "Beidh an SNP ag iarraidh a thuilleadh béime a chur ar an chás cultúrtha don neamhspléachas". That struck me as just wrong. I asked someone about it, as in Cork Irish "tuilleadh béime" would be required and not "a thuilleadh béime", and I was told that in Ulster Irish the distinction between tuilleadh/a thuilleadh just isn't there.

I feel about the other dialects a bit like I feel about American English. When Americans say "the other way around" instead of "the other way round", I know that a nice distinction in English preserved in England has been lost in America. It feels wrong and it feels uneducated, but then I know that people do go through the American school system learning that type of "English", and in their view it is correct (or even, in their view, British English would be incorrect).

It is clear, I think, that O'Nolan and Ó Cadhla didn't really accept the Western and Northern dialects as equal - although that is a prescriptivist view that relies on the same historical/cultural/social factors that underpin "standards" in all languages. O'Nolan himself was an Ulsterman (from Strabane) - and his autobiography Beatha Dhuine a Thoil is itself written in beautiful Irish. Ó Cadhla does include some sections on Ulster Irish in his Gnás na Gaedhilge (e.g. sections 13, 14, 22, 24).

Basically, I accept that Munster Irish is now the smallest dialect (in 1800 it was the largest in terms of the numbers of speakers), and that it would make sense to install Conemara Irish as the standard, in order to get rid of this "made up by committee" proclaimed Standard. (But my absolute favourite solution would be to say that Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne by Ó Sé is now the standard and replaces the Christian Brothers' Grammar.)


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PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep 2022 10:25 am 
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galaxyrocker wrote:
I don't remember which it was off the top of my head, but it was one of the ones where it was like "the predicate must be felt". I get what he was saying, but it just comes across as weird. Maybe it's just how I'm interpreting the tone into his writing style. As well as how with identification you can have both PS and SP. I know he says the difference is on vocal stress and what makes logical sense, but it just seemed stretching it to me to keep things making some 'logical sense'.

I think this probably relates to what Ó Nualláin calls "Identification Type III".
Here I would say he is correct, there is a difference when native speakers use (bold text meaning stress):
'Sí an fhadhb an chuisneoir
vs
'Sí an fhadhb, an chuisneoir

Today these would probably be distinguished through the use of a comma and the use of bold text as I have done. However in his day these were often not distinguished in writing, especially in older MSS that people wanted to read, so he called attention to it. In fact not noticing it does cause occasional errors in Classical Irish translations. Not only that but it's even still worth noting for Modern Irish as naively one might expect the second sentence is a misprint for something like
'Sí an fhadhb í, an chuisneoir
Where as this is actually an alternate form of the first sentence.

Quote:
The bigger issue is he really doesn't pull any examples from outside PUL or Keating, at least in his list of stuff he draws on. Like, he just takes their writing as implicitly 'correct', and doesn't really use anything from the other provinces. Which, in his defense, there wasn't much written from them (to my knowledge) in 1920 and as early as PUL was writing. Most Conamara stuff, at least, came later, as did Ó Grianna, etc from further North. It's just that it implicitly leads to privileging PUL's Irish over everything else, as he formed the basis of Ó Nualláin's corpus, and leads to an implicit "Well, if it doesn't match this it's wrong".

Ó Cadhlaigh does have Máire and Ulster and Connacht folklore amongst his sources in Gnás na Gaedhilge for example.
As for Ua Nualláin if you look at the sections on Nominal and Verbal system, he gives a rough common core of forms and lists how the three dialects vary from this core. Munster pronunciation is even noted as causing a confusion/mixing between verbal forms for do-gheibhim. Ulster Irish also comes up quite often in explaining Old Irish forms in both these sections. He even gives notes throughout his books on individual usages of specific words in the dialects. Note things like:
Quote:
(Concerning do-ghním) Instead of the past Indic. as in paradigm, dheineas-sa, etc., are usual in Munster, both Abs. and Dep.

So Munster is at variance from the paradigm
Quote:
Fuilingim, I suffer...Vb. n.-fulang, fulag, fuiling, and U. fuilstin

Quote:
Do chuaidh when prototonic gives deachaidh (U. and Conn.)

Just examples of Ulster and Connacht forms being given without any indication of being wrong. He even gives meanings of specific Ulster words found in MSS.

In terms of forms, it seems to me that Ua Nualláin and Ó Cadhlaigh are both just explaining the generic type of 19th century Irish common in prose in their day and note common written dialectal deviations. They even note Clare and Scottish Gaelic forms. Also very heavily Munster dialectal forms that didn't come up in writing back then are not given. Since various dialectal forms are given I don't think the implication here is that other dialects are wrong.

The syntax section of Nualláin's grammar focuses on grammar common to all Irish dialects and I think here Ua Laoghaire is used by Ua Nualláin since his writing was pedagogic and so specific points of grammar are purposefully isolated in a natural sentence and Ua Laoghaire was the only large corpus with an author actively giving detailed explanations. Doubly so at the time this was written and since he knew PUL he has permission to quote him. However I don't see it as an attempt to logically explain Ua Laoghaire alone or even to be honest much of an overly rigid attempt to formalise the language in general. Ua Nualláin gives several exceptions, alternate formations and rare examples throughout.

I genuinely think Ua Nualláin is equally useful for reading older Connacht and Ulster material as it is for older Munster material. Some Mayo novels come out around this time and display pretty much identical features to Ua Laoghaire as quoted in the syntax section. Seán Ua Ruadháin and Mac Héil's writing is pretty well described by Ua Nualláin for example. The focus of the book to me is that sort of lightly dialectal generic 19th century Irish.

What both of them are less useful for is modern writing, e.g. contemporary usage of the case system. Several aspects of modern dialectal Kerry Irish (copular system for example) aren't explained in Ua Nualláin. My impression is that it is an old book more than a Munster book.

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PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep 2022 11:51 am 
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That's a fair point, and it's probably me comparing it to later Conamara/Ulster Irish (even though Pádhraic Óg Ó Conaire was writing in the 20s) that gives it more of the impression of being Munster-biased (and just the fact that so much of that period seemed to be, in large part due to how prolific PUL was; makes me jealous of how much good stuff there is for advanced Munster Irish thanks to PUL). I'll likely give it another shot at some time, even if I don't shake the feeling of it being forced at places. You're right that it'd be super handy.

I'm still going to give Learning Irish a full go-through (I surprisingly haven't done this yet) to solidify the little things grammatically about Conamara, but then maybe I'll tackle GÓN again.

Makes me wish someone would do a more modern (~1960s) copular study, to look at how it's diverged in all the dialects. Surely there's enough texts from most areas to get a good grasp of it. But there's very little dialectology work going on at all in Irish, sadly, and even less going on in morphosyntax. It's all focused on phonology, as usual. But everyone's been converted to sociolinguists.


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PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep 2022 12:09 pm 
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galaxyrocker wrote:
That's a fair point, and it's probably me comparing it to later Conamara/Ulster Irish (even though Pádhraic Óg Ó Conaire was writing in the 20s) that gives it more of the impression of being Munster-biased (and just the fact that so much of that period seemed to be, in large part due to how prolific PUL was; makes me jealous of how much good stuff there is for advanced Munster Irish thanks to PUL). I'll likely give it another shot at some time, even if I don't shake the feeling of it being forced at places. You're right that it'd be super handy.

I'm still going to give Learning Irish a full go-through (I surprisingly haven't done this yet) to solidify the little things grammatically about Conamara, but then maybe I'll tackle GÓN again.

Makes me wish someone would do a more modern (~1960s) copular study, to look at how it's diverged in all the dialects. Surely there's enough texts from most areas to get a good grasp of it. But there's very little dialectology work going on at all in Irish, sadly, and even less going on in morphosyntax. It's all focused on phonology, as usual. But everyone's been converted to sociolinguists.


The X is é é construction is not commented on much in older grammars. Ár múinteóir is é é. Also one area of study must be whether the copula is giving rise to constructions with tá. There are sometimes rival constructions: tá gá agam leis vs. is gá dhom é. I wonder if the copular options are declining?


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PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep 2022 12:46 pm 
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galaxyrocker wrote:
even though Pádhraic Óg Ó Conaire was writing in the 20s...that gives it more of the impression of being Munster-biased

I actually do know what you mean and I think Ó Conaire is a good example to take. My analysis is that the book is actually based on 19th Century Irish, but that kind of 19th Century style gets associated with Munster because PUL was still writing in that manner and he's prolific and obviously a "famous Munster author". However Mac Héil and Ua Ruadháin basically have the same style of Irish as PUL. Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge has people from all over the country writing in similar way.

Ó Conaire however didn't write that way, but neither do "modern" Munster writers. Whereby "modern" I mean post-1950s. So for example Ó Conaire's Irish is far more like that of Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé and Muiris Ó Súilleabháin than either are like the Irish of Ua Nualláin's grammar, Ua Ruadháin, Mac Héil etc. Not in dialectal forms, but in the types of syntax on display. So there are tons of constructs related to prolepsis, relatives and so forth that you won't see in Ó Sé.

Ó Cadhlaigh is separate though. I really think his sections on clauses is just useful across the board and an up to date version should be in modern grammars.

galaxyrocker wrote:
I'm still going to give Learning Irish a full go-through

Actually only recently did this myself to better understand Cois Fharraige Irish. Like I understand it when spoken, but there's still little points one doesn't fully realise until it is pointed out.

djwebb2021 wrote:
The X is é é construction is not commented on much in older grammars. Ár múinteóir is é é. Also one area of study must be whether the copula is giving rise to constructions with tá. There are sometimes rival constructions: tá gá agam leis vs. is gá dhom é. I wonder if the copular options are declining?

The actual modern case system*, avoidance of adjectives in attributive position and the formation of a "true" perfect, e.g. Tá sé fágtha an cholaiste, are other examples. Bríd gave an example years ago on Daltaí were the natural way of saying a complex identification sentence in Ceantar na nOileán would be a TSF error according to older grammars. Maidhc Dainín also has plenty of copular and verbal structures not found in older grammars.

*For example "ag pógadh na mná" but "ag pógadh an bhean rua". Also "Rás na gcapaill" not "Rás na gcapall". Ó Siadhail is very good for this, but there is much more to say.

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PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep 2022 12:47 pm 
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An Lon Dubh wrote:
Today these would probably be distinguished through the use of a comma and the use of bold text as I have done. However in his day these were often not distinguished in writing, especially in older MSS that people wanted to read, so he called attention to it. In fact not noticing it does cause occasional errors in Classical Irish translations.

Funny, similar issues happen with explanations and translations of Old Irish too. Eg. in his chapter on Early Irish in the Celtic Languages book Stifter (the modern authority on OIr.!) translated (when making a point about pronoun agreement in copular clauses) Críst, didiu, is sí in chathir literally as ‘Christ, then, she (!) is the city’, which is nonsense; the sentence means literally ‘Christ, then, [he] is her, the city’ and the pronoun agreement with in chathir makes perfect sense. There is no explicit subject pronoun since explicit subject pronouns did not exist in OIr., is on its own means ‘he is’ here.

There has been a very nice article written about this in Old and Classical Gaelic by Damian McManus recently, Identification copula clauses linking substantives of different gender in Early and Classical Irish, doi:10.1353/cel.2021.0012.

As for GÓN, he does seem to me to have a few biases in his presentation, but I’m not sure I’d say it’s specifically Ua Laoghaire bias.

Like, I don’t think he ever mentions sentences like this:
An Lon Dubh wrote:
'Sí an fhadhb í, an chuisneoir

(btw, I really like the use of the comma here! It very nicely shows the structure and that this pronoun isn’t completely necessary to make a grammatical sentence)
or like in Fiche Blian ag Fás:

Níl aon bhaol ná gur breá í an óige

or from PUL himself (note all have adjectives as predicates, except the second one, but still I guess you could argue dá shuaraí has an “adjectival force”):

Is olc é an t-éiridhe anáirde.
Dá shuaraidhe é an t-é go ndéanfir an éagcóir (…)
Is fann é an féithleann.
Is olc í an mhioscais.

In the whole presentation of classification sentences by Ó Nualláin the case with the pronoun intervening directly before the definite subject is not mentioned at all. But they definitely are part of the educated 19th century Irish, as you can see from PUL’s usage or from the 1890 edition of Keating’s Trí bior-ghaoithe an bháis which seems to indicate the pronoun is obligatory in Modern Irish in the grammar section (but also gives only adjectival examples).

GÓN somehow manages to give only examples of VPS without the pronoun and never mentions that VPsS sometimes is used.

On a side note, I’m also not a fan of how on one hand he presents sentence like is breá an lá é saying they are elliptical – but on the other he never gives the full form whose ellipsis they are. I guess it would be something like is breá an lá is é é (with is é é being relative ‘that it is’, the first é being subpredicate referring back to an lá, necessary to separate the subject é from the copula – but GÓN never says it explicitly, and the only non-elliptical example he gives is is olc an aimsir atá ann).


Last edited by silmeth on Thu 01 Sep 2022 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep 2022 12:54 pm 
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An Lon Dubh wrote:
I actually do know what you mean and I think Ó Conaire is a good example to take. My analysis is that the book is actually based on 19th Century Irish, but that kind of 19th Century style gets associated with Munster because PUL was still writing in that manner and he's prolific and obviously a "famous Munster author". However Mac Héil and Ua Ruadháin basically have the same style of Irish as PUL. Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge has people from all over the country writing in similar way.

Ó Conaire however didn't write that way, but neither do "modern" Munster writers. Whereby "modern" I mean post-1950s. So for example Ó Conaire's Irish is far more like that of Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé and Muiris Ó Súilleabháin than either are like the Irish of Ua Nualláin's grammar, Ua Ruadháin, Mac Héil etc. Not in dialectal forms, but in the types of syntax on display. So there are tons of constructs related to prolepsis, relatives and so forth that you won't see in Ó Sé.

Ó Cadhlaigh is separate though. I really think his sections on clauses is just useful across the board and an up to date version should be in modern grammars.



That's a fair point. I guess it's more of what I've been exposing myself to, mostly P. Óg Ó Conaire (I don't tend to read the other one, as he only lived in the Gaeltacht ~10 years and wasn't raised there; apparently there are some weird things with his Irish from a few articles I've read) and folklore stuff collected and mostly transcribed from mouth at the early-mid 20th century. So it's probably more that I was reading outside the literary tradition that GÓN, PUL, et al. were writing in. Will give Ó Cadhlaigh another shot though, especially if I can find the cheap version of Gnás na Gaeilge I once saw at a used bookstore here in Dublin (maybe €15 at Ulysses, but their basement is closed)



Quote:
Actually only recently did this myself to better understand Cois Fharraige Irish. Like I understand it when spoken, but there's still little points one doesn't fully realise until it is pointed out.


Yep, that's how I am roughly. I understand pretty much everything that's said in Baile an Droichid (except when Joe Steve decides to slur his words and mumble), but there's a lot of it I couldn't create on my own. If I decide to take the C1, having gone through this would be great for me.


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PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep 2022 12:56 pm 
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Surely TSF errors are just that - errors - reflecting the gradual decline of the Irish language? Or, also very probable, that when a native speaker is asked to put a very strange sentence into Irish, the native speaker can become a bit confused, because the original sentence is odd in any case. (If you think of the number of people asking here how to say "I am enough" in Irish, which doesn't make sense in English, and the suggested is leór me isn't likely to be idiomatic Irish or necessarily even mean anything to an old-style native speaker). So TSF errors are just the confusion where asked to translate something odd.


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PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep 2022 1:11 pm 
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silmeth wrote:
In the whole presentation of classification sentences by Ó Nualláin the case with the pronoun intervening directly before the definite subject is not mentioned at all. But they definitely are part of the educated 19th century Irish, as you can see from PUL’s usage or from the 1890 edition of Keating’s Trí bior-ghaoithe an bháis which seems to indicate the pronoun is obligatory in Modern Irish in the grammar section (but also gives only adjectival examples).


Well, PUL wrote in Notes on Irish Words and Usage (a collation of his comments by Dónall Ó Mathúna) "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".

As you say, PUL does use the pronoun where there is an adjectival predicate (is breá í an fhoighne), so his statement here isn't fully true.

And PUL's usage was not necessarily reflective of all Munster or all Muskerry. In Aodh de Róiste, we read "cad é an saghas na trínsí?", and in An Músgraigheach (the PDFs of which An Lon Dubh fished out some years ago) Dónall Bán Ó Céileachair objected to the sentence, claiming it should be cad é an saghas IAD na trínsí? Presumably An Gúm altered his text - but in that case his syntax varies from that of PUL....


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