> A Mhagaidh, a Mhicheil: an abaireadh sibh
> "Falbh mus an tig am polas!"
> "Fhalbh mus an tig am polas!"
> neo an da\?
Theirinn "Falbh mus an tig am polas
(I don't use "thalla" and "falbh" interchangeably)
> Is "thalla" really a spelling variant of "fhalbh"? There seems to be a
> defective verb (only two forms: "thalla" and "thallaibh", the 2nd
> person singular and plural imperatives) which means "come away, come
If it is, it's a very old one - since the form thallaibh exists and can't
imaginably be a spelling for "fhalbhaibh" that arose after the introduction of
the strong epenthetic (svarabakti) vowel in falbhaibh, so it must have been
formed before that - a very long time ago. Or at least I can't see any way of
making falbhaibh into thallaibh after the drawl vowel was introduced, but
then I'm no expert. So I doubt that thalla is really a variant of fhalbh. The
connection between the two is probably just flok-etymology (call it "urban
myth" if you like). But I'm guesing, I don't know for certain - as I said in my
original response to Dale, " *maybe* the book got it wrong" (Cox too, I see).
It's origin is not "fhalbh" according to Macbain (that is,
> Alexander Macbain's Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language):
> under the entry for "falbh":
> Falbh -- go
> Falbhan -- moving about, walking, waving; from Early Irish
> The verb falbh is made from falbhan.
> under the entry for "thalla":
> Thalla -- come, come along, "age"; thallaibh, plural; from Early Irish
> Note that "fhalbh" is not a normally formed imperative of "falbh", which
> is otherwise regular. "Thalla" and "thallaibh" are listed as imperative
> forms in both Dwelly and Macbain.
> Dwelly, however, claims that "falbhan" is a diminutive of "falbh".
MacBain is more likely to be right than Dwelly on derivation of words; after
all, he was trying to write about that. Dwelly's dictionary is great, but it's a
word-collector's dictionary not a scholar's dictionary.
Ni\ mi falbh and Ni\ mi falbhan have completely different meanings to me
(I will go away vs I will take a stroll) to a much greater extent than suggested
by the idea that falbhan is a diminutive of falbh.
> To complicate matters further, the usually reliable Brigh nam Facal of
> Richard Cox says
> "thalla: airson 'fhalbh', faic fo 'falbh'"
> "thallaibh: airson 'fhalbhibh', faic fo 'falbh'"
> "falbh: ...2. gluais gu a\ird sam bith: 'fhalbh dhachaidh!'"
> "Thalla(ibh)" is not mentioned among the defective verbs in MacLaren's
> Gaelic Self-Taught nor in Mackinnon's TYG (the older TYG). Calder's
> Gaelic Grammar lists "thalla(ibh)" among the defectives, but in a
> footnote on p. 175 he claims that it is derived from the preposition
> "thall"! But nowhere have I ever seen the claim that falbh has an
> irregular imperative, in spite of the example in Cox above.
Much as I dislike Calder's book, I think he makes sense here - whether it's a
direct derivation as he suggests on p. 175 or just a common root I don't
know, but a connection with thall is a perfectly reasonable idea. Certainly
thugainn/tiugainn looks as if it comes from chug, tromhad as if it comes from
troimh, so why should not thalla be related to thall?
Tom Thomson <[log in to unmask]>
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