Chun and genitive

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    cé tá chun an doras a oscailt?
    – Who is going to [about to] open the door?

    Yes, along those lines, “who should open the door?”
    I don’t think “about to” though, if I understand Ó Siadhail properly that is.

    What do you think about the dropping of the “a” from “atá” in writing?

    Bríd Mhór

    What do you think about the dropping of the “a” from “atá” in writing?

    Others languages regularly write in abbreviated speech as it is spoken. In English in particular it would look awkward if it wasn’t written that way. If a letter is left out use an apostrophe. The spoken language is more important than how it is written.


    Thank you very much, Bríd, you have raised an interesting point there.

    Séril Báicéir


    “Cé ‘tá chun an doras á oscailt?” (with the apostrophe in front of “tá” in this case)


    Cé ‘tá chun an doras á oscailt?

    Cé ‘tá chun an doras a oscailt?
    no síneadh fada on the a.


    Yeah, although there seems to me to be a sort of tendency in the writing of Irish towards not using apostrophes even where letters are omitted. Compare, e.g., this commentary from Donlevy’s 1742 Christian Doctrine, where he makes clear that the practice was by then already common enough to warrant a full-on rant against it:

    And all this Mangling and ConfuÅ¿ion without Å¿o much as an ApoÅ¿trophe (’), to let the Reader Å¿ee, that Å¿ome Thing is left out.

    Or here’s the whole passage, since I find it humorous 😛

    7. That Vowels are often Å¿uppreÅ¿Å¿ed or left out for the Sake of the Sound, and that is called Cadad, or báṫaḋ Guṫuıġeaḋ (Drowning of Vowels, or ApoÅ¿trophe) ; but not expreÅ¿Å¿ed in Writing hitherto : Yet, as ReaÅ¿on, and the Reader’s Convenience Å¿eem to require, it should be expreÅ¿Å¿ed ; it is generally done Å¿o, in this Book, after the Manner of other Languages ; for Example, d’ımıġ sé (he went away) ; wherein the (o) belonging to the Particle do, is left out : m’aınṁıan (my PaÅ¿Å¿ion), wherein an (o) belonging to the Pronoun mo, is Å¿upreÅ¿Å¿ed : This EliÅ¿ion of Vowels happens regularly, even in ProÅ¿e, when either do or mo goes before a Word beginning with a Vowel ; or with an ḟ, not immediately followed by either l, or r ; and when any of theÅ¿e PrepoÅ¿itions, o, fa, fo goes before the Particle an (the), or the Pronoun ar (our), whoÅ¿e Vowel a, although the latter, is left out : And Å¿o is a Å¿uppreÅ¿Å¿ed in an, when do comes upon it : Yet, the above PrepoÅ¿itions, o, fa, fo, being always long, may be very correctly Å¿eparated from Å¿aid an, and ar ; and Å¿o may, and commonly Å¿hould Å¿everal other SuppreÅ¿Å¿ions and Jumblings of Vowels, ConÅ¿onants, and even whole Syllables, be avoided. Poets, not the Ancient and skilful, who took Pains to render their Poems Å¿ententious and pithy without much Clipping, but the Modern Makers of Doggrel Rhymes and Ballads ; to Å¿ave Time and Labour, introduced the CuÅ¿tom of clipping and joining Words together, in order to fit them to the MeaÅ¿ure of their VerÅ¿es : Others, who wrote in ProÅ¿e, have, either in Imitation of the Poets, or through Ignorance and Want of Judgement, Å¿trangely clipped, and Å¿pelled, and huddled them together, as they are pronounced ; let the Pronunciation be never Å¿o irregular and defective ; not reflecting, that a Poetical Licence, even when JuÅ¿tifiable, is not imitable in ProÅ¿e ; or that Writing, as People Å¿peak or pronounce, is to maim the Language, to deÅ¿troy the Etymology, and confound the Propriety and Orthography : for, not only the Å¿everal Provinces of Ireland, have a different Way of pronouncing, but alÅ¿o the very Counties, and even Å¿ome Baronies in one and the Å¿ame County, do differ in the Pronunciation : Nay, Å¿ome Cantons pronounce Å¿o odly, that the natural Sound of both the Vowels and ConÅ¿onants, whereof, even according to themselves, the Words conÅ¿iÅ¿t, is utterly loÅ¿t in their Mouths. There are too many InÅ¿tances of theÅ¿e SuppreÅ¿Å¿ions and Jumblings : A few will Å¿uffice here to shew the AbuÅ¿e thereof : sgan, sgo, sme, stu, inÅ¿tead of agus gan, agus gur, agus me, or ıs me, agus tu, or ıs tu : And all this Mangling and ConfuÅ¿ion without Å¿o much as an ApoÅ¿trophe (’), to let the Reader Å¿ee, that Å¿ome Thing is left out. Again, Mac a naṫar, Cuıd a n[ḟ]ır, inÅ¿tead of an Aṫar an ḟır : The poor Particle an is divided in two, and one Half of it is joined to the Å¿ubÅ¿equent Word, for no other ReaÅ¿on but that in the Pronunciation, the (n) comes faÅ¿t and cloÅ¿e upon the following Word, as it frequently happens in all living Languages ; yet ought not to pervert, or alter the Orthography, or Order of Speech in Writing : However from this Fancy of Writing as People Å¿peak, chiefly ariÅ¿e not only the Mangling and Jumbling of Words, but alÅ¿o that puzzling DiverÅ¿ity found in the Writings even of thoÅ¿e, who know the Language in QueÅ¿tion, infinitly better than he, who has the AÅ¿Å¿urance to make theÅ¿e Remarks. But, either they have not reflected, or rather were reÅ¿olved to imitate their Neighbours, who curtail and confound the different Parts of Speech, with far greater Liberty than the Irish do ; for InÅ¿tance : I’ll, you’ll, he’ll, &c. cou’dn’t, sha’n’t, won’t, don’t, t’other, they’re, ne’er, can’t, ha’n’t, and thouÅ¿ands of that Kind, which, although very fashionable, the judicious English Writers look upon as a great AbuÅ¿e, introduced only Å¿ince the Beginning of King Charles the Second’s Reign ; and endeavour to diÅ¿credit it both by Word and Example.

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