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Re: "cétach" (was Indo-European Poetry & Myth)


Dennis King <[log in to unmask]>


Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>


Wed, 8 Aug 2007 18:33:55 -0700





text/plain (45 lines)

Hi Clodagh & List,

>> "Atá fled chaurad dait sund trâ," ol Medb. "Daromle corbat cétach
>> cétbliadnach ar bêlaib óc nUlaid uli."

>> The problem I see is in the copula "corbat" (con + ro + -bat), which
>> looks like the 3rd plural form of the present subjunctive of "is".

> I think this could be a 2 sg. form, with the -t ending representing
> the 2 sg. pronoun rather than the historical 3 pl. verbal ending.

Perfect. GRMA! Fuair mé samplaí eile den fhorás seo in _Stair na

nídat < nída + t = níl tú

>> "cétach cétblíadnach"

> (For what it's worth, I would be inclined to go with P. L. Henry's
> interpretation, but I'm a bit fuzzy as to why exactly... Would you
> expect an adverb to modify cétbliadnach, something like 'fo chét'
> maybe, rather than another adjective??)

Good point. Can an adjective standing before another adjective act
adverbially to modify it? "Glé" (clear, bright, etc.) comes to mind as
an example of an adjective that (gradually?) came to have adverbial
force. Compounded with another adjective, it can behave as an
adjective used in coordination (glé-gel = clear-bright, bright white),
or as an adverb (glé-dána = very daring). The beginning of this
adverbial usage seems to go back as far 900, to judge from entry # 1091
in Sanas Cormaic:

"Buideréid dano, moel a cend uile i ssuidiu co mmbi glelomm."

= 'Yellow-smooth' [the name of a type of tonsure] then, all the head in
this case is shorn so that it is entirely bare [lit. "bright-bare"].

This "glé" of course eventually ends up in Scottish Gaelic as the
common adverbial intensifier, the equivalent of "very", or "án-" in
Modern Irish.

But could "cétach" behave like "glé"??


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