Imatges de pÓgina

26. Some other adjectives seem to form the degrees of comparison irregularly; as, irioll, low, nior isle, lower, &c., but, as these are only contractions for the full words, they may be better learned by practice.

Fogur, near, compar. foigre, may be added to this list.

27. These are the names of the numerals, as now expressed. In former times the higher decades were expressed by single words; as, Trioċad, thirty, ceatraċad, forty, noċad, ninety, &c.; and the ordinals were formed accordingly; but these words are no longer generally intelligible, and it would only perplex the learner to exhibit obsolete words, which may be easily learned in reading ancient writings.

28. In the north of Ireland, mun is commonly said, instead of bur, your; but it is never used in correct writings.

29. The use of these abbreviations is to avoid that hiatus which is occasioned by a concurrence of vowels; and it is a principle upon which the euphony of this, and every other polished language is founded.

30. The simple and original relative is 4 who which, for which do or noc, is often used in writing. An te, properly means the male person (who understood); and an ʊi, the female person. Ce be, is a contraction for cja, ce or ci, who, bad, were, and é, he, she, or it. But in all these expressions the relative 4, who or which, is either expressed or understood.

31. Creud is more used in writings of some age, than in familiar conversation. 50 de, as it is commonly written, and pronounced, may be only an abbreviation for gud, (Latin quid) é, what is it? And it has been ingeniously observed by Mr. Stewart, that the pronoun should be distinguised here by the termination; viz., that in speaking of males, we should say, guo é―of females guid j, but this distinction is not observed in ancient writings.

32. Sú, yonder is frequently used insead of ú, after pronouns of the third person; as 'se súd an fear ceadna yonder is the same man or when put absolutely, the noun being understood; as, le rúd with yon; a brajc tu súd; do you see yon?

33. liom, leat, &c. These compound pronouns are read, in books and writings of some antiquity, (as they are still retained in the Scottish Galic,) njom, riot, ris, riñ, rib, riu.

34. It may be sufficient to mention here, once for all, that there is some variety in the orthography of these pronouns, even among the most correct writers. Thus, the third persons singu

lar, feminine, ajce, aisde, ċuice, &c., might be more correctly terminated in as, aici, aisdi, čujci, &c., being formed by the combination of the prepositions with j, she. But as this orthography never was generally practised, it was not thought advisable to deviate from the written standards of the language.

Thus ljom is frequently written leam; uirre, uirthi,; oma, uadfa, uabża, and the like; but in all these instances, the original and radical sounds are preserved; the only licence being in the use of the adventitious letters.

35. There is a peculiar delicacy and beauty in the use of the increase in Irish, which it is hardly possible to express in any other language. The utmost accuracy is observed, even by the most illiterate native, in thus distinguishing the leading, or most prominent subject in the sentence. Sometimes, in order to mark a peculiar emphasis, the word fein, self, is used instead of the terminations usually added; as, riñe me fein é, I myself did it.

36. This subject is so very important, that the learner, who desires to become a proficient in the Irish language, should not rest satisfied with the few examples here exhibited; but retrace the declensions, combining nouns, adjectives and pronouns, in every variety, and marking accurately the distinctions of meaning produced by the emphatical increase.

37. Some respectable Irish grammarians represent the inflexions of verbs as much more simple than they are here exhibited; but it is much to be questioned whether through a too great eagerness for simplifying, they do not occasion more obscurity than the most tedious examples would produce. The inquisitive student will wish to see the various modes of thought and action fully expressed and he can content himself with committing to memory those that are radically different; and which are distinguished by being inflected through all the persons.

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It is proper to observe, that all the inflexions of the verbs, (particularly the terminations of the second and third persons plural,) are not equally used, in common writing and conversation, throughout every part of Ireland. But, as it would be impossible to specify all the local idioms, it appeared sufficient to omit only such words as are obsolete, and to insert such as are understood in general, adopting the best Irish authors as the criterion of propriety.

Some writers on Irish grammar deny the existence of an infinitive, and say that the place of it is supplied by a verbal noun; but this is only quibbling about names; the infinitive and par

ticiple, imply the force of nouns, in Irish, as in all other languages.

39. These, and the like, may more properly be considered as participial phrases, composed of the infinitive, and a preposition, than as simple participles.

40. This second form of the present tense is the original and correct one; the first is nothing more than the simple verb, with 4 prefixed; but they are both very commonly used, both in writing and speaking.

41. In all interrogations, an? is either expressed or understood; sometimes it is pronounced 4, on account of the following consonant; sometimes it is entirely omitted, as in the present instance; and sometimes before b. it is changed into m; as. a mbuailir ? wilt thou strike ?

42. This form of the preter tense differs from the preceding in the omission of the sign do. The sign of the preter was anciently written no or ad, as well as do; but in modern speaking and writing, it is very often omitted, and the tense is ascertained by the form of the verb.

43. Instead of raib siad, in the third person plural, rabadar was commonly in use some time since; but it is hardly understood at present.

44. These persons are indifferently written bjañ, or bioñ, (See note 10.) This consuetudinal tense, (which some writers make a separate mood), is very much used in all verbs, to denote an usual or habitual state of acting or being.

45. The interrogative an? is here changed into m, for sonnd's sake, the a being usually omitted. (See note 41.)

46. The second person plural is sometimes written bejċ, instead of bejo, ye shall be.

47. In such expressions as these, the relative a, who, is always expressed or understood.

48. Muna is most correctly the sign of this tense; and mun, which is also used, is nothing more than a rapid and vulgar manner af expression.

49. This also may be written bjas; or, as it is sometimes pronounced, beadas.

50. Mun is frequently used instead of muna, in this tense, as in the present, negative, subjunctive.

51. These expressions are literally translated, it were good with me that I were; and, it were better with me that I were. Many such phrases are used; as, bud ṁian liom, I desire; r truaż ljom naċ rajb me, am sorry I was not.


52. The potential can hardly be called a simple mood in Irish, as it is always formed by the combination of two or more words. These forms of expression, however, are extremely common, and necessary to be well understood. And, as they are equivalent to the compound moods and tenses of the English, and other languages, it seems proper to arrange them under the title of a separate mood.

53. Many regular verbs might be exhibited as examples, all differing in some minute particulars; but a remarkable proof of that which is chosen being one of the most proper is, that is the same which has been adopted by Mr. Stewart, in his Galic grammar, published long since this was written.

54. In these expressions, (as in those noted 47,) the relative 4, who, which, is always expressed or understood.

55. The sign do is frequently omitted in this tense,; and the personal terminations are seldom used in vulgar conversation. In the Erse dialect, they are entirely omitted.

In old manuscripts, the termination seam, or sjom, is sometimes written in the first person plural; as, do buailseam, for do buaileamar, we struck.

56. To these may be added the preter interrogative, negative, naċar buail me, did I not strike ? Nap is sometimes written for načar, by mistake.

57. The second person plural is sometimes written buailfide; and the third person, buailfid. The F, in the first form of the future, is introduced in order to give more strength to the expression; and the termination is written indifferently ead, or 10, when the penult ends in a small vowel; as, brisfead, or, brisfid, I shall, or will break.

But if the penult be broad, 40 only is used; as, carfad, I shall, or will twist. There are many verbs, however, which do not admit y in the future.


58. The same observation, with respect to the relative, which is made, notes 47 and 54, is to be conunued here.

59. When the penult ends in a broad vowel, the termination of this tense is regularly pain; as, da gcasfaiñ.

But more usually a broad vowel is inserted, before in to correspond with that in the penult; as, da gcasfaiñ or, gcasfuiñ, had I twisted.

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The is frequently omitted in this tense, except in the second person singular: and the second person plural is frequently used, without the pronoun. The orthography of the several

persons is various, in different manuscripts, but still the radical sounds are retained; as,

Had I, or if Da gcuirea-Had we sent.

I had sent;

Da gcuiriñ,


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Da gcurtaoi,

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Da gcuiread se, had he sent; Da gcuiridis, had they sent. 60. It will be a useful exercise for the learner, here, to form a number of potential phrases, by combining jom leat, &c., dai, duit, &c., with such words as those exhibited in these examples.

61. The simple participle is buailte. The termination is somewhat various, in different verbs, see page 66, Formation of the passive voice. Thus, when the last vowel of the penult is broad, the termination is ta; as, casta, twisted; or an 1 is inserted in the penult; as, brug brugte, bruised. When the termination of the imperative is a soft guttural, the is often aspirated, for sound's sake; as, giomujg, shorten, giomuiżte, or rather giomujġġe, shortened.

62. This termination is often lengthened by poetic invention, oh being inserted before the last syllable; as, buailfidear, for buailfear.

63. The preter negative may be formed thus; muna be gur bualad me, or muna mbuailfid me.

64. These verbs nearly correspond, in their nature, to those commonly denominated neuter. But they are not so numerous, as none of them are used to denote any strong exertion, even when the action does not fall upon another object.

65. The observation made on the letter 4, with respect to the preposition an, is fully exemplified here, and throughout these verbs. See also page 79, rule 10.*

66. This interrogative can hardly be used, in the first person, but is exhibited here, for the sake of uniformity.

67. As it has been more than once observed, in other notes, there is some variety in this tense, as spoken in different places; thus,

Ni ċoidealam, ni ċoidealfad, or ni ċoideala me, I will not sleep.

A gcoidealfad ? a gcoidealam ? &c., shall I sleep &c.

68. As the potential mood is formed, in these verbs, by aid of the same words that are already exhibited in b1, and buail, it is

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