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Subject: Echtra Nerai II.19
From: David Stifter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 10 Feb 2004 09:46:27 +0100

text/plain (54 lines)

Liz wrote:

> >a)  "Cid armod in dias uccott dotathuiged?" ol Nero.
> >
> >a1) ...  armad ...            nothathaiged
> >
> >b)  "Cid ar mbad in dias ucudh oca taighid?" ol Nera.
>  "Cid ar mbad in das ucut occa taithigid?" ol Nerae.

dias is disyllabic in classical OIr., that means it doesn't contain the diphthong /ia/ but the hiatus /i:@[log in to unmask] I would suggest 
to use <ia> in normalised spelling in order to differentiate the hiatus orthographically from the diphthong <a>.

>   I chose the verb construction in source (b) with the verbal
> noun "taithigid" because it made the most sense to me and I could not
> find an object pronoun in the other two sources.

That's correct. The "object pronoun" of the verbal noun "taithigid" is contained in the 3rd sg. fem. possessive pronoun "-
a" attached to "oc", i.e. "at it's (= lit. her, the well's) visiting".

> I didn't exactly understand the grammar in the phrase "cid ar mbad",
> although I found a similar phrase in DIL C 168,64.  I concluded that
> "bad" was the relative form of the past subjunctive substantive verb,
> because I didn't think the copula would fit in the sentence.  

One has to pay very careful attention to the shape of the verbs "to be". Of course, it's easy to tell "att" from "is", but in 
all those paradigmatic forms where both begin with a "b-" it's a little bit more difficult. The rule of thumbs is that when 
the vocalism of the word is "full", i.e. when a vowel with a non-reduced quality like "e, , , o, , a hiatus, etc." is used, it 
is the substantive verb. When, however, the quality of the vowel is reduced to schwa (usually spelt "a", sometimes 
"e"), it is the copula (the reduction is due to the fact that the copula is never stressed). 

"-bad" in our sentence is a clear case of the copula. This is further supported by the fact that even the shape of the 
preceding conjunction "ara-" "(so) that" has been reduced to "ar". Since the copula is not stressed, but is enclitic to a 
preceding conjunction, I'd spell the whole complex as "armbad" "so that it is/was/etc..."

The question now is whether "-bad" is the 3rd sg. past subjunctive (the substantive verb would be: "bed") or the 3rd 
sg. conditional (subst. verb: "biad"). I think the conditional "would be" makes more sense.

> Also, I kept the nasalization because it is in all three sources 
> and it could be a nasalizing relative.

The nasalisation has nothing to do with a nasalising relative construction, but it rather due to the nasalising effect of the 
conjunct "ara".

>  The strangest thing about this sentence (if I translate it
> correctly) is that it doesn't fit into the story.  Nera has already
> asked the woman why the men went to the well and has already 
> gotten an answer.

I think the solution lies in the use of the copula and not the subst. verb, how you translated it. The question doesn't aim 
at the verbal action "why would they visit?", but rather at the subject "why would it be yonder pair, that is visiting...?"


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