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Subject: Re: Final Prophesy line 1
From: Neil McLeod <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 9 Sep 2008 10:36:58 +0800
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1   Ni acus bith

The first thing to note is that I mistyped this. It should have read

1    Ni accus bith (with –cc-).

Sorry about that. I did proof it three times, but there you go.

Liz wrote:

 >Ní•accus - negative particle plus possible 1st singular future
 > conjunct form of 'ad•cí' (see DIL A 41.74)

Well spotted. That is how Gray took it (as did Stokes before her). But 
DIL is here citing the Final Prophesy itself, and it prefixes a question 
mark to the form.

Thurneysen discusses the future forms of ad-cí at Grammar §655. The 
future stem is ad-cich-. Compounds in –cí take either the reduplicated 
future or the reduplicated s-future. (The s-future takes the form of the 
s-subjunctive, but with a reduplicated stem, here ‘ad-cich-’.) The form 
‘accus’ would, presumably, be an s-future, but where is the 
reduplication? I am pretty grim at this sort of thing, but I would 
expect something like ‘ní aiccigius’ (for the u-quality of the final -s, 
see Thurneysen §624). Now ‘accus’ might be a syncopated form of that, 
but is that an option?

Quite apart fromt he form there is a problem with the sense. Gray 
translates the opening two lines as:

‘I shall not see a world
Which will be dear to me’

I think that would be a rather unnatural and inexact way of saying ‘I 
shall see a world which is not dear to me’. It also sounds odd following 
her first prophesy which states that a wonderful world is now in place 
(so she is already seeing it).

David’s suggestion fixes all that:

1 Ní accus bith
The world is not near

This fits very well. The Morrigan has just finished her first prophesy – 
which states that all is now right with the world. It makes good sense 
that this happy state of affairs means that the evil decline of the 
world (described in the final prophesy) has been put off into the far 
future; it is no longer at hand.

Neil

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