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Subject: Echtra Nerai III.20
From: David Stifter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 1 May 2004 13:01:30 +0200

text/plain (84 lines)

Liz wrote:

> >a)  "A ingnad tra, can dodeochaid in bo sai?"
> >     "Dodeochaid em," ol in ben, "a Cuailngne
> >      iarna tair don Donn Cuailngne."
> >
> >a1) ... dodechaid ... dunn chuailgne
> "A n-ingnad trá, can do·dechuid in bó-so?" ol Nerae.
> "Do·dechuid éim," ol in ben, "a Cúailngi íarna dáir don Donn
> Cúailngi."
>    I thought the copula was understood in the first sentence. I
> thought 'a' was the neuter singular nominative article and that 'A n-
> ingnad trá' might be a type of interjection or a common phrase used to
> express surprise.

I doubt that. Firstly, because in phrases which express astonishment, "ingnad" is usually used without the article, e.g. "is ingnad", "ba ingnad" etc. (DIL I 262.6 ff.).
Secondly it seems very unlikely to me that the "n" of the article would get lost. I couldn't find a parallel to that expression in DIL, but I wonder if it could be the neuter
possessive pronoun + the substantival usage of "ingnad", meaning something like "its wonder indeed" = "there is wonder in it indeed". But I am not sure.

> The verb 'do·dechuid' is cited as 'has come' by Thurneysen in GOI
> on p. 533 so I used it. 'Has come' in English is clearly a 3rd person
> form. But I couldn't find this exact form in any paradigms. It looks like
> a form of 'do·tét' (comes).

Yes, it is. It is the suppletive augmented preterite of "do·tét". Other forms are cited in DIL D 379.47 ff.

> I added "ol Nerae" because I thought it made the narrative
> flow smoother.

I'd be careful with additions like that that are based on our modern stylistic feeling. Remember for example the second part of the dialogue at the beginning of "Comracc
Líadaine + Cuirithir" between Cuirithir and Mac Da Cherda, which we read last year:

'Déna mo lessa,' ol Cuirithir. 'Ben mór file thall, apair frie triat chéill féin tudecht cosin topur-so.'
'Cía a h-ainm?'
'Cía th'ainm-siu?'
'Cuirithir mac Doborchon.'
'Maith,' or sé.

> I found 'Cúalngiu' as the dative of Cúalnge in DIL C 573.34.

Alright. I think I said in some earlier mail that Cúailnge might be feminine (judging by the tale "Táin Bó Cúailnge", where the genitive to my knowledge is always (?) written "-
e"). But a dative "Cúailngiu" of course points to masculine/neuter gender. What's more, we have "Donn Cúailngi", the "Brown one of C." Does anybody know more about it?

> There is a dot above the 'n' in the dictionary entry and I don't
> know what it means.

The dot over "n" and "m" in some MSS means that the nasal represents the nasalisation of the following voiced consonant. For our name it means, that "ng" doesn't stand
for two separate phonemes /n/ + /g/, but that "ng" represents the single phoneme /ng/, the guttural nasal linke in English "king" (which cannot be appropriately represented
in e-mail).

> I thought 'íarna' was the preposition 'íar' plus the female possessive
> pronoun and that 'tair' was the same as 'dáir' (bulling, breeding),
> which looks like the verbal noun of 'dáirid' (bulls).

The passage is odd, as it is found in the MS. As it stands, "tair" looks like the local adverb "(in the) east". But this cannot stand after "íarna", a preposition + possessive
pronoun, which demands a verbal noun after itself. On the other hand, simply writing "tair" instead of "dáir" would be odd, too. I can't think of mis-spellings like that
(certainly our scribe doesn't exhibit them). Maybe the solution could be that between "íarna" and "tair" a verbal was omitted by the scribe through haplology, that is,
because it looked similar to the following word. Possible candidates are "dáir", suggested by you, and "táin". Both make sense:

"Do·dechuid éim ... a Cúailngi íarna dáir tair don Donn Cúailngi."
"She has come indeed from C. after her being bulled in the east by the D.C."


"Do·dechuid éim ... a Cúailngi íarna táin tair don Donn Cúailngi."
"She has come indeed from C. after her being driven east to the D.C."

> I thought that 'Donn Cuailngne' might be a compound where 'donn'
> was treated like a prefix and therefore not inflected and 'Cúailngi'
> was put into the dative because of the preposition 'do'. Alternatively,
> the phrase could translate as 'by the Brown (bull) of Cuailgne' in
> which case 'donn' should be in the dative ('dunn??') and 'Cuailngne'
> should be put into the genitive which would make the phrase "don dunn
> cúailngni',

It's the latter. The name consists of elements, "Donn" "brown one" and the genitive of Cúailnge. So we should probably write "don Dunn Chúailng[i/e]". But possibly "Donn
Cúailnge", being a proper noun, was immune against normal grammatical phenomena like raising and lenition.


writing on a truly historic day.

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