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Subject: Re: Life force?
From: Searles O'Dubhain <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 23 Sep 2008 16:00:00 +0100

text/plain (114 lines)

On Tue, 23 Sep 2008 21:49:02 +0800, Neil McLeod 
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Searles O'Dubhain wrote:
>> the original definition I cited from eDIL had two references. The first of 
>> these listed "bríg annum" (life power) instead of "bríg anduine." 
>These are merely variant MS readings taken from copies of the one list 
>of kennings: the Bríatharogam Mac ind Óc (which is one of the three 
>distinct lists of kennings). There are five manuscripts for this list. 
>One has 'brig anduine', one has 'brig andune' and the other three have 
>either 'brig annum' or 'brig andum'. Both Calder and McManus treat the 
>readings ending in -m as deriving from an error for -ni - an easy 
>mistake for a scribe to make.

Was the mistake made in several manuscripts or is it not a mistake at all? One 

>Incidentally, I don't see how 'bríg annum' could mean "life power". I am 
>not familiar with an Old Irish word 'andum / annum' with the meaning 
>'life'. What did you have in mind?

This is probably my mind transposing annam (lifeforce in Indian terms onto 
annum). Of course, "anam" is one way of spelling life or soul in Old Irish. Others 
are anaim(m) ainim anim anman anmain etc. To borrow from your previous 
remarks, it would be just as likely to copy an "m" as an "n" as it would be to 
mistake an "m" for an "ni" IMO.

>>> (a) There are three separate lists of these kennings for the Ogam 
>>> letters. In all three of them, every single kenning consists of two 
>>> words only. So 'Brig an duine' would not fit.
>> That may be true in the list you are referencing.It is not true in other lists 
>> regarding them. 
>I was specifically referring to all three: the Bríatharogam Morainn mic 
>Moín, the Bríatharogam Mac in Óc, and the Bríatharogam Con Chulainn. In 
>all three of these each kenning is restricted to two words.

Not all the kennings come as two words that alliterate with the next line. 
Maybe about 25% of them do so. 

>This link presents such a list of *all* three:
>Yes, and it confirms what I said: that each kenning is restricted to two 
>words. (Each kenning is prefaced by the letter it describes, and is 
>followed by Middle Irish glosses - but the Old Irish kennings are 
>themselves restricted to two words.)

It only does this partially with notable exceptions:

q bríg anduine .i. ceirtech 
m marusc n-airlig .i. muin 

"Anduine" above does not alliterate with "marusc" in the next line because it is 
in the next stanza (or aicme) of kennings. "Bríg" certainly alliterates 
with "bloisc" of teh previous line inteh stanza and is much more certain. Your 
use of alliteration to pin down anduine annum, etc. seems to be not applicable 
for words at the end of stnzas in these kennings.

>>> (b)This particular kenning comes from a list in which each kenning is 
>>> connected by linking alliteration. 'Bríg an duine' would not alliterate 
>>> with the next kenning ('árusc n-airlig').
>> In the above list from UCC online CELT, there is little actual alliteration of 
>> letters and even then it is internal to the presentation and not directly 
>> from one line's end to the other's beginning.  
>Perhaps you should take another look at the website? The linking 
>alliteration in the Bríatharogam Mac ind Óc is plain to see:

The alliteration is there *in part* and not applicable in others.

>E.g. (copied from the website but with alliterating letters capitalised 
>by me for emphasis):
>gres Sáir
>Smiur Gúaile
>Cara Bloisc
>Bríg anduine

Yes, but where does "anduine" link? How is it determined to be the actual word 
out of the many possibilities using alliteration? It seems to be unrelated to 
alliteration in this case and usage.

>> Cú Chulainn: "q díghu fethail ... " (badge of rejection; 
>As 'fethail' is in the genitive here (and 'dígu' is in the position 
>expected of a nominative), this can't mean 'badge of rejection'.

OK, so it means something like 'noted rejection' or 'distictive rejection' when 
considering that one aspect of the meaning of the word. The root word fethal 
can mean 'declare; characteristic; badge; emblem; insignia; dress; ornaments; 
device; ornament; shield; halidom; appurtenances; Divine; service; pagan; 
halidoms; attestation; valuable; drinking-horn; cup; distinctive; shape; 
appearance; aspect; likeness'

The meaning would be the same no matter what color of grammar one wants 
to place upon it.

Searles O'Dubhain

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