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Subject: Re: B ETB 505
From:Liz Gabay <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 28 Sep 2006 21:13:47 +0100

text/plain (62 lines)

505] Ním thá-sa cumang duit, a Buchet, acht a aithe.

[log in to unmask] scríbas:

>"I do not myself have [that] ability for you, o Buchet,  except by 

Thanks, Crommán,

 Here are Greene’s notes:

“aithe ?”
“If the reading of [the Book of Leinster] is correct here, we can hardly 
have the verbal noun of ad-fen, which would give no sense, 
and ‘aithed’ ‘to escape’ is not supported by any manuscript.  Perhaps the 
simplest is to read ‘áithe’ ‘sharpness’ and to understand ‘I cannot help 
you except by admitting its severity’; the reading of R2 seems to be based 
on some such interpretation.  The introduction of the proverb ‘Áithiu cech 
delg is ou’ (see O’Rahilly Irish Proverbs 304)  seems somewhat forced and 
rests on only one manuscript. Another possible interpretation would be to 
read ‘a saithi’ ‘I have no help for you but their surfeit(s)’.”

My notes:
‘cumang’ translates “power, ability, strength”.    

 ‘Ním thá-sa’ looks like  

the negative particle (ní-) 

plus a 1st singular infixed pronoun (-m-) 

plus the conjunct 3rd singular present indicative of the substantive verb 
(-tá) which is lenited by the preceding infixed pronoun

 plus the 1st person singular emphatic particle (-sa).

    A literal translation is something like ‘It is not to 
    Strachan says that the infixed pronoun in this construction 
is “expressing a dative relation” and he translates ‘ní-m thá as ‘I have 
    This is somewhat similar to Modern Irish ‘níl agamsa’ which uses the 
substantive verb and a preposition and translates literally ‘it is not at 
me’.  It means ‘I don’t have’ in the sense of not possessing something.
  The phrase ‘acht a aithe’ varies between manuscripts  --
  “as aithi, Y; is aithi, H; acht as aithe cach delg as só. As tír duit, 
R; acht a galar ocum namma, R2”   where the letters designate different 

Here’s a literal translation of the line –  

“I do not have power for you, Buchet, but its aithe.”

Or maybe

“The only thing I can do for you, Buchet, is its aithe.”


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