On Thu, 29 Jan 1998, Richard Coates wrote:
> Further to my previous reply, I am also interested in the
> following words, and wondered if anyone was prepared to accept
> the view that they contain examples of the same noun-forming
> Ir bunadhas, W dinas and (OW) camas, ScGael caolas
There's the OI masc. ending -us, mainly used to form abstract
nouns from adjectives, which Thurneysen ventured might come
from IE *-es-tu-. Examples he gives (see para. 259 of the
Grammar) include "bindius" from "bind" (melodious) and
"inruccus" from "inricc" (worthy). ScGael "caolas" would
seem to fit that pattern, based on "ca/el" (narrow). The
ending was also added less often to a noun, as to "comarbae"
(heir) to form "comarbus" (heirship), which would account
for "bunadas" [modern "bunu/s"] as a derivative of "bunad"
Thurneysen give a lot more examples, including "mo/ra/lus"
(= noun "moral, moral signification") which is interesting
in that it seems to be a late naturalization of the Latin
adjective "moralis" by means of the the native ending -us.
The noun "dorchatu" (darkness) later reduntantly takes on
the ending -us, giving "dorchatus" (darkness), so -us does
seem to remain productive fairly late. Many of these words
in -us, -as are still common in the modern language (ionracas,
faiti/os, dorchadas) and I imagine that any abstract noun
ending in -as would be a candidate. Words that spring to
mind that are not on Thurneysen's list are "ci/ocras" (OI
ci/ccaras - greed) and "di/ocas". Someone with a good search
program could perhaps examine the disc-based version of the
O/ Do/naill dictionary, or one of the on-line dictionaries
for such words, if that would be helpful.