> >Does the construction of the sentence sound a bit awkward to you?
> Yes, but now that you explain it I can see how the sentence is put
No wonder :-) Believe me, it took me some time to figure it out as well. I found it particularly hard to analyse "arna" as preposition "ar" + negative relative "ná" + 3rd sg.
present indicative of the copula represented by zero.
> I was very reluctant to change 'buaid' to 'bad', but I
> couldn't make heads or tails of the passage otherwise.
Since all forms of the copula are unstressed and therefore particulary prone to appear in a very reduced phonological shape, it would be extremely remarkable (even at a
time when the orthography became "corrupt") if a form of the copula would be written with a diphthong like "ua" and with a palatalised final consonant.
> >"úair" "because" has a palatalised "r"; "úar" with non-palatalised
> >"r" means "cold".
> The DIL uses 'úar as the head-word for the entry, but all the examples
> it cites use 'uair'. How did they choose the form of the word to use
> as the head-word? Oldest form? Most common?
The headword "2 úar" in DIL contains two distinct lexems of OIr. One is the noun "úar, úair" "time, point of time etc.", the other one is the causal conjunction "úair, úaire"
"because". They are the same word etymologically ("úaire" being historically the genitive of "úar"), but they have of course quite different functions. What I find remarkable
about this word is that it is a loan from Latin "hora" "hour". As such it can of course only have entered Irish at the time of the first wave of Latin loanwords in the 5th
century. Originally the conjunction must have had a temporal meaning "at the time, when, while", but already in the period of the earliest OIr. texts in the 8th century plain
"úair(e)" (without an article) had the purely causal meaning "because". That means that within 3 centuries it had undergone the change from temporal to causal conjunction.
This semantic development from temporal to causal is quite a frequent one in many languages. Just compare English "since". An example from German is "weil", which in
the modern language is exclusively causal. But it is identical with English "while", and it must have been a temporal conjunction in earlier times. There is also a noun
"weile" in German, which has the purely temporal meaning "a period of time", like the English noun "while".