I had a question from someone & thought I would post my reply
seperately to the list as a whole.
"Na" is the plural form of the definite article (the) for all
cases of nouns in Irish (nominative, dative, genitive). However, the
effect that this article has varies with the case.
In the nominative case, it causes "h" to be prefixed before vowels
(provection or sandhi h) and does not affect the consonants.
na ballai/ (the walls) na hoifigi/ (the offices)
In the genitive case, the article causes uru/.
na mballai/ (of the walls) na n-oifigi/ (of the
Note that the genitive form on its own does not imply the definite
article. "Ballai/" used in genitive fashion without "na" means "of walls,"
as "piobairi/" used genitively without the article would mean "of pipers"
(not "of the pipers" which would be "na bpiobairi/"). Have I done all your
heads in yet?
Sla/n is beir bua,
On Thu, 3 Jun 1999, Lachlan Whalen wrote:
> A chairde,
> > > bPíobaírí? = of the pipers (genitive plural) . If anybody wants to
> > >tackle the explanation of aspiration/lenition or whatever that converts
> > >the P to a bP, batter UP! (pun intended)
> Strictly speaking, the genitive/nominative plural is "pi/obairi/."
> The only reason that the "b" appears is as a result of the definite
> article (na) that presumably preceeded the word in question. This causes
> uru/ (eclipsis) in the noun following it.( For example: Cumann na mBan.
> "Ban" receives uru/ from the preceeding article.) Were the article not
> there, uru/ would not occur, and the "b" and "m" would not appear.
> Morphologically yours,