Geraldine, a chara,
I would advise you if you haven't already, to elicit new responses for your modern Irish data set and scrap the stuff McNamara analysed for ModIr. There were numerous fundamental problems with the informants used by McNamara as well as their responses. 1) None were modern Irish specialists 2) None were native speakers of Irish 3) None were dialect speakers. Any investigation into morpheme retention in Irish ought to take at least three modern Irish data sets from the remaining traditional varieties of Irish (although 4 or 5 might be more sensible).
The most fundamental problem with taking just one data set is that it implies that Old Irish is the direct genetic ancestor of ALL modern Irish dialects (to say nothing of Scottish Gaelic and Manx). This is unikely be the case, so what McNamara called morpheme retention may be better described as morpheme correspondence. Although if done in a more rigorous way than McNamara did it this could potentially tell us alot about the relationship of Old Irish to the modern dialects. Similarly, it will have something to tell us about how comutational analysis of diachronic linguistic material can and cannot be analysed. Lexical material in particular has been left out in the cold for Irish, to a certain extent and so would offer a fresh perspective.
Feel free to contact me, I'd be glad to hep if I can. If nothing else I'd be extremely interested in the results.
Peadar Ó Muircheartaigh
--- On Wed, 8/12/10, Ger Herbert <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Ger Herbert <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [OLD-IRISH-L] Morpheme Retention in Irish
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Wednesday, 8 December, 2010, 14:00
I am replicating a study that was done on Morpheme Retention in Irish by Leo
F. McNamara in 1961. The McNamara study uses Swadesh's 100-item list , as
the basis from which a list of Old and Modern Irish forms was compiled. From
this list Morphemic cognates are determined, i.e. words that have a common
etymological origin were identified. The modern forms were obtained from three
scholars in the language. Each recorded, what in their judgment, were the
most commonly used modern Irish equivalents for the English words listed.
In the new study 200 words are used and the modern forms have been
Below is a sample
Index Lemma Notes Old Irish (600-900) Modern Irish (2010)
1 all (pl.) uili uile
2 and ocus agus
3 animal anmandae ainmhí
4 arrow saiget saighead
I am looking for volunteers to scan the list of 200 words and indicate which, in
their opinion, are not composite cognate pairs. In addition, if there are Modern
Irish words more commonly used than the ones chosen, I would be grateful if
this could also be indicated.
All suggestions help etc will be credited fully in any publication or conference
paper that arises from this work. If you would be willing to participate please
contact me off list and I can supply the original article and the list.
Many thanks for you time
Computational Linguistics Group,
School of Computer Science
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