LESSON FOURTEEN -- CEACHT A CEATHAIR DE/AG
Genitive After Prepositions
As well as indicating possession, the genitive case of a noun is used
after certain specific prepositions such as "chun" (to), "cois" (beside),
"da/la" (by), "fearacht" (like, as), "timpeall" (around) and "trasna"
An Ro/imh -- Rome
--> chun na Ro/imhe -- to Rome
an domhan -- the world
--> timpeall an domhain -- around the world
an pha/irc -- the field
--> trasna na pa/irce -- across the field
The genitive is also used after all "compound" prepositions
(prepositions of more than one word), e.g. "ar fud" (throughout), "ar
son" (for the sake of), "i ndiaidh" (after), "os cionn" (above) etc.
This will be discussed more fully in another lesson.
Plural of Adjectives
Adjectives agree with nouns in case and number, which means that when
a noun is plural its adjective is plural, when a noun is genitive its
adjective is genitive, and so on. As mentioned in Lesson Three, this only
applies when the adjective directly qualifies the noun.
The most common way to form the plural of an adjective is to add "-a"
teach mo/r -- big house
--> tithe mo/ra -- big houses
caili/n o/g -- young girl
--> caili/ni/ o/ga -- young girls
If the adjective's final vowel is slender, "-e" may be added instead:
a/it ciu/in -- quiet place
--> a/iteanna ciu/ine -- quiet places
Adding these final vowels can cause the loss of the previous final
duine la/idir -- strong man
--> daoine la/idre -- strong men
Adjectives ending in "-u/il" change to "-u/la" in the plural:
duine leisciu/il -- lazy man
--> daoine leisciu/la -- lazy men
Some common irregular plurals are a/lainn (beautiful) --> a/ille; tirim
(dry) --> tiorma; uasal (noble) --> uaisle; te (hot) --> teo; brea/ (fine)
You've learned that adjectives following a singular feminine noun are
aspirated e.g. "eaglais mho/r" (big church). In the plural, adjectives
following feminine plural nouns are not aspirated, but they *are*
aspirated if they follow a masculine plural noun whose ending is slender,
i.e. whose last vowel is a slender one (e or i). Contrast the feminine
word "su/il" (eye) with the masculine word "ba/d" (boat). We want to apply
the word "gorm" (blue) to both of them in the plural:
Singular: su/il ghorm -- a blue eye
Plural: su/ile gorma -- blue eyes
Singular: ba/d gorm -- blue boat
Plural: ba/id ghorma -- blue boats
Because the plural of "ba/d", which is "ba/id", has the slender vowel
"i" at the end, it aspirates the adjective that comes after it, whereas
the feminine plural leaves the adjective unaffected -- almost the
opposite to what happens in the singular.
Genitive Singular of Adjectives
The behaviour of adjectives when they follow nouns in the genitive is
as haphazard as that of the nouns themselves, but luckily the Christian
Bros. managed to isolate the nine different kinds of adjective and
describe their genitive forms depending on whether they're following a
masculine or feminine noun. Note that feminine adjectives are never
aspirated in the genitive singular or in the plural, but masculine ones
Adjective Gen. Sing. Masc. Gen. Sing. Fem. Nom. Plural
--------- ---------------- --------------- -----------
1. ba/n, "white" bha/in ba/ine ba/na
"straight" dirigh diri/ di/reacha
3. bacach, "lame" bacaigh bacai/ bacacha
"lazy" leisciu/il leisciu/la leisciu/la
5. mall, "slow" mall maille malla
6. maith, "good" maith maithe maithe
"grateful" bui/och bui/thi/ bui/ocha
8. gna/ch, "usual" gna/ch gna/thai/ gna/cha
The usual disclaimer applies: there's little point in memorizing
these forms or worrying about them; as long as you can generally
recognize them when they appear in an Irish text you'll get used to them
Genitive Plural of Adjectives
How an adjective is declined in the plural depends on the
noun it's qualifying. In Lesson 13 we learned the difference between a
strong-plural noun and a weak-plural noun. Weak nouns have the same
genitive plural and nominative singular, but strong nouns have the same
genitive plural and nominative plural. If an adjective follows a strong-
plural noun, it has the same form for all cases of the plural, e.g.:
Nominative Plural: na caili/ni/ o/ga -- the young girls
Genitive Plural: na gcaili/ni/ o/ga -- of the young girls
But if an adjective follows a weak-plural noun, it has the same form
in the genitive plural as it does in the nominative singular:
Nominative Plural: na fir o/ga -- the young men
Genitive Plural: na bhfear o/g -- of the young men
Infinitive with Object
Previously, we learned that the infinitive form of the verb is just
the verbal noun without "ag" in front of it:
ag dul -- going
--> Ba mhaith liom dul abhaile. -- I'd like to go home.
ag caitheamh -- smoking
--> An fe/idir liom caitheamh? -- May I smoke?
There is no direct object in these sentences. When one is added,
the infinitive changes in form slightly -- it is aspirated when possible
and is prefixed by "a". If we change the second sentence in the example
above and add "toiti/n" (a cigarette) as the direct object, we get
An fe/idir liom toiti/n a chaitheamh? -- May I smoke a cigarette?
Note how the infinitive then gets pushed to the end of the
sentence. Some other examples:
ag fa/il -- getting
--> Bhi/ se/ ag iarraidh radharc maith a fha/il.
-- He was asking to get a good view.
(lit: he was asking a good view to get)
ag di/ol -- selling
--> Ba mhaith le/i an teach a dhi/ol.
-- She would like to sell the house.
(lit: she would like the house to sell)
The present subjunctive is a tense that isn't even covered in some
Irish textbooks, but is one that learners find very useful, because it
covers the idea of wishing something and so appears in some famous Irish
proverbs and blessings. It's considered an old-fashioned tense for daily
speech (except in set phrases) but still appears often in print.
The subjunctive is normally formed from "Go" (which eclipses, and
adds "n-" to a verb beginning with a vowel), plus the subjunctive form of
the verb, plus the subject, plus the thing being wished for. For
instance, the subjunctive form of "teigh" (go) is "te/":
Go dte/ tu/ sla/n. -- May you be well.
(lit: may you go well)
Or again, the subjunctive of "tabhair" (give) is "tuga":
Go dtuga Dia ciall duit. -- May God give you sense.
Or to take a third example, sometimes the wish is also a curse, like
this one from Tory Island in Donegal:
Go nde/ana an Diabhal toirneach de d'anam in Ifreann.
-- May the Devil make thunder of your soul in Hell.
The Irish phrase for "thank you" -- go raibh maith agat -- uses the
subjunctive of "bi" and literally means "may there be good at-you".
The subjunctive of regular verbs is as follows:
a) "mol": mola me/, tu/, se/, si/; molaimid; mola sibh, siad.
b) "bris": brise me/, tu/, se/, si/; brisimid; brise sibh, siad.
a) "beannaigh": beannai/ me/, tu/, se/, si/; beannai/mid; beannai/ sibh,
b) "bailigh": baili/ me/, tu/, se/, si/; baili/mid; baili/ sibh, siad.
E.g. "go mbeannai/ Dia thu/" -- May God bless you.
Three Irregular Verbs
Over the next few lessons I'll gradually give the forms for the ten
Irish verbs that are at least partly irregular. The three I'll give
today are feic, "see", tabhair, "give", and abair, "say".
1) Root: "feic"; Verbal Noun: "ag feicea/il"
Present Tense: feicim; feiceann tu/, se/, si/; feicimid; feiceann sibh,
Past Tense: chonaic me/, tu/, se/, si/, muid, sibh, siad.
Past Tense, Negative: ni/ fhaca me/, tu/, se/, si/, muid, sibh, siad.
Future Tense: feicfidh me/, tu/, se/; feicfimid; feicfidh sibh, siad.
Conditional Tense: d'fheicfinn; d'fheicfea/; d'fheicfeadh se/, si/;
d'fheicfimis; d'fheicfeadh sibh; d'fheicfidi/s.
Present Subjunctive: feice me/, tu/, se/, si/; feicimid; feice sibh, siad.
Past Passive: chonachthas ("was seen").
2) Root: "tabhair"; Verbal Noun: "ag tabhairt"
Present Tense: tugaim; tugann tu/, se/; tugaimid; tugann sibh, siad.
Past Tense: thug me/, tu/, se/, si/, muid, sibh, siad.
Future Tense: tabharfaidh me/, tu/, se/, si/; tabharfaimid; tabharfaidh
Conditional Tense: thabharfainn; thabharfa/; thabharfadh se/, si/;
thabharfaimis; thabharfadh sibh; thabharfaidi/s.
Present Subjunctive: tuga me/, tu/, se/, si/; tugaimid; tuga sibh, siad.
Past Passive: tugadh ("was given").
3) Root: "abair"; Verbal Noun: "ag ra/"
Present Tense: deirim; deir tu/, se/, si/; deirimid; deir sibh, siad.
Past Tense: du/irt me/, tu/, se/, si/, muid, sibh, siad. (Also "dubhairt").
Future Tense: de/arfaidh me/, tu/, se/, si/; de/arfaimid; de/arfaidh sibh,
Conditional Tense: de/arfainn; de/arfa/; de/arfadh se/, si/; de/arfaimis;
de/arfadh sibh; de/arfaidi/s.
Present Subjunctive: deire me/, tu/, se/, si/; deirimid; deire sibh, siad.
Past Passive: du/radh ("was said")