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The purpose of this forum is to provide a place for people who are interested in the Irish language and various Celtic languages to discuss them, to practice them, and to share information about them, particularly (but not exclusively) in the context of traditional music and culture.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:23 pm 
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Apparently this frequently gets called the "dative case", but strictly speaking, with Irish and Scots Gaelic that is actually an incorrect designation according to what I'm coming up with. Anyway, to the matter at hand: the example "bróg", and its dative (or prepositional) singular "bróig". How is the dative/prepositional used?

Encountering the title to the song "An Gréasaí Bróg", and nosing around a bit, it appears to me that there's no special genitive form for "bróg", but my little Pocket Oxford Irish Dictionary does list "(datsg bróig)" after the entry without giving examples of its use. It's not something I see all that often, so I'm curious.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:56 pm 
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"Bróg" DOES have a genitive form. The genitive singular is "bróige" ("na bróige" with the definite article). The genitive plural is "bróg" ("na mbróg" with the definite article...as opposed to the nominative singular, which is "na bróga")

The tune name "An Gréasaí Bróg" uses the plural form: The Maker of Shoes.

As far as datives go, relatively few Irish words have special dative forms anymore...we started losing those somewhere around the time that Modern Irish started emerging from Middle Irish. One of the best-known words that does, however, is the name of the country itself:

Éire: Nominative

Éireann: Genitive (for example: "Mná na hÉireann": Women of Ireland)

Éirinn: Dative (for example: "Tá mé i mo chónaí in Éirinn": "I live in Ireland")

The dative form of "bróg" ("bróig") is archaic. You may encounter it in songs and poems, but you won't typically in everyday speech, other than (possibly) in some isolated areas. Where you do encounter it, it will be used as in the above example...as the object of a preposition. Perhaps you might encounter something like "i mo bhroig" (in my shoe).

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:26 am 
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Thank you, Red.

More and more I see Oxford's not a source to count on, what with their apparent penchant for whim rather than a commitment to real information.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Thank you, Red.

More and more I see Oxford's not a source to count on, what with their apparent penchant for whim rather than a commitment to real information.


I wasn't going to say anything, but yeah...the Oxford Pocket Irish Dictionary is...well, it's sh*t. It's a shame, really, as I always think of anything under the Oxford imprint as being top of the line (comes of being an English major!), but between the typos, the misdefinitions and misinformation, and the layout issues, sometimes I wonder if it's a last-ditch effort to kill off Irish completely!

If you like a pocket dictionary, Foclóir Póca and Collins Gem are both decent. I find the type too small to read anymore, however, so my portable dictionary of choice is Foclóir Scoile (it's too big for the pocket, but it fits comfortably into a small handbag or backpack). Of course, the gold standards are Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla (Ó Donaill) and De Bhaldraithe's "English-Irish Dictionary," but they're a bit dear (especially when you factor in shipping from Ireland!)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:07 pm 
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For those of us who never studied Latin and somehow got stuck in remedial English in tenth grade (not sure what happened there; I ended up with a 103% average but it was definitely a class for the slow kids, and we didn't cover everything)...can someone explain what genitive, dative and so forth all actually mean?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:17 pm 
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avanutria wrote:
For those of us who never studied Latin and somehow got stuck in remedial English in tenth grade (not sure what happened there; I ended up with a 103% average but it was definitely a class for the slow kids, and we didn't cover everything)...can someone explain what genitive, dative and so forth all actually mean?


Sure.

"Case" refers to special forms of nouns used in certain grammatical situations.

The only cases you have to worry about in Irish are nominative, vocative, genitive and (sometimes) dative (much easier than in Latin!).

The nominative case is the form of the noun used when it's the subject of the sentence. For Irish, that's going to be the root form of the noun.

The genitive is the form of the noun that's used to show possession or, in Irish, an adjectival relationship. In English, you might show the genitive by using "apostrophe S" or the word "of," or by putting the describing noun before the noun it describes:

Teacht Sheáin: Seán's House ("Seán" is in the genitive)

Mná na hÉireann: Women of Ireland ("Ireland" is in the genitive)

Tiarna Talún: Landlord ("Land" is in the genitive. It's literally "Lord of Land").

The vocative is the form used to address someone. In English, the only time you encounter the vocative is in older, poetic, sources. It's marked by the word "O":

"O Lord, hear our prayer"

In Irish, the vocative is marked by "a" (the "vocative particle") and, sometimes, by a special spelling of the word:

A Sheáin: "Seán" (if you're speaking to him)

A ghrá: "My love" (if you're speaking to your beloved).

The dative has almost completely fallen out of use in Irish, but when you encounter it, it's because the word is the object of a preposition:

In Éirinn: "In Ireland" ("Ireland" is in the dative case)

I mo bhróig: "In my shoe" ("shoe" is in the dative case)

Does that help?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:05 am 
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It does, a great deal. Thank you! I'll be referring to this a lot until I get my head round it and memorize it.

Interesting to think of "O Lord" as vocative case. I just thought the people praying were very earnest!

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