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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul 2022 2:05 pm 
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Hi all,

I'm wondering can anyone point me to where I may read up on the differences between féin and -sa/-se? I feel that I only have a cursory understanding of these via dictionaries, and would benefit from going deeper.

This does tie into emphasis; of course, where we may raise our voice in English to emphasise something, Irish uses the above, among other things to emphasise something instead for the most part. I'd also like to go deeper into my understanding of emphasis in general, as well.

I'm occupying myself with Cork Irish (West Muskerry) at the moment, but I'd be interested in anything pertaining to other Munster dialects too.

Go raibh maith agaibh.


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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul 2022 2:53 pm 
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Well, where in Aithris ar Chríost Peadar Ua Laoghaire writes (translating Thomas a' Kempis) Is fíor gur Tusa mo ghrá-sa, you couldn't use féin in this sentence. You (emphatic) are the object of my devotion (emphatic).

Féin - means oneself, himself, myself, etc.

Maybe "féin" is used more frequently than "-self" in English - it may be the origin of the "-self abuse" alleged to be beloved of estate agents in England. "Is the property going to be for yourself?" instead of "for you". This is acknowledged as being poor English. But could it reflect Irish influence in cities like London that have historically seen many Irish immigrants?

É féin - this is used in Irish by a woman referring to her husband.

Neverthless, there is a difference between féin and -sa. Is liom-sa é, "it belongs to ME". Is liom féin é, "it belongs to ME MYSELF".

Maybe others can chime in on whether these are often mutually exchangeable?


Last edited by djwebb2021 on Fri 08 Jul 2022 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul 2022 7:20 pm 
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Interesting question.

But :dhera:


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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul 2022 2:17 pm 
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At a basic level "féin" tends to be for emphasis, but "-sa" tends to be for, possibly implied, contrast.
The difference is clearer with possessive pronouns where "féin" is used to mean "own": Mo chapall féin = My own horse.

Féin usually has to be used in a complex subject: Chuaigh mé féin agus Seán... = Seán and I went....
Féin also means "even". Bhí Tadhg féin ann = Even Tadhg was there.

The -sa forms often occur as disjunctive pronouns, "mise agus tusa" and with the copula "Is mise an rí".

Of course they can be combined for contrasting emphasis: Is liomsa féin é = It is my very own.

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The dialect I use is Cork Irish.
Ar sgáth a chéile a mhairid na daoine, lag agus láidir, uasal is íseal


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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul 2022 3:31 pm 
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A perfect explanation.


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