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Subject: Past subj, smaointi/ fa/nacha eile
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Date:Mon, 30 Aug 93 18:36:00 GMT

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The original of Seaghan Mac Meanman's "Sge/alta Goiride Geimhridh" does
indeed read "da/ dtiocfadh liom".
Somehow "da/ dtigeadh liom" doesn't sound right, although "da/ dtigeadh"
is more than acceptable in the usual sense of "if .. were to come". A
line from the song about the Profumo affair by that other Sea/n Ba/n
(Mac Grianna) comes to mind: "Da/ dtigeadh sean-Hannrai/ i re/im..."
Se/amus O/ Searcaigh in "Coimhre/ir Ghaedhilge an Tuaiscirt" concurs with
the Christian Brothers' Grammar on the question. And whatever about other
verbs, the past subjunctive is practically required with the verb to be:
da/ mbi/odh. Brian Mac Giolla Pha/draig (whose grammar was quoted) was a
Co Derry man (Kilrea), not that you'd ever know it from his books.
The Scottish Gaels use the form of the past subjunctive, not only in the
cases that we are discussing, but for the actual conditional as well.
Returning to Mac Meanman's book, I suppose it's a hopeful sign that
editors, instead of silently and ruthlessly standardising, now feel
constrained to insert an appendix saying "I tried to standardise but
ended up retaining this or that dialect feature." Perhaps some day
they'll take the further step and leave well enough alone. Having said
that, I've just seen a book of children's stories from central Donegal
which is full of "madra"s. They wouldn't recognise themselves.
A propos of nothing in particular, I saw a furniture removal van in
Belfast last week. It came from the Isle of Man, and the name on the side
was "Corkhill" or maybe "Corkill". This is a Gaelic surname based on a
Norse personal name - Mac Thorcuil. Fascinating or what?
Ciara/n O/ Duibhi/n.

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