Old Irish Online

Lesson 9

Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, Caren Esser, and Jonathan Slocum

The text selection for this lesson is taken from Lebor Gabála Érenn, 'The Book of the Taking of Ireland', in the edition of Stewart Macalister. Also known as 'The Book of Invasions', it is a collection of poems and prose relating the mythical origin of the Irish people and the history of Ireland through the successive waves of invasions. This fictitious, pseudo-historical work was compiled in the 11th century and exists in over a dozen manuscripts, representing five different recensions. The author is unknown, but the work can be regarded as the result of the efforts of the medieval Irish clerics to link pre-Christian history with Biblical accounts, so that we find elements of Christian literature beside old Irish lore, whose heroes are portrayed as historical persons of the remote past. This notwithstanding, up to the 17th century Lebor Gabála Érenn was often regarded as authoritative by Irish annalists and historians.

Lebor Gabála Érenn begins with the creation of the world and continues with the history of Ireland down to the time of its compilation. In its present form, in all the principal redactions, the book falls into ten separate and independent sections: I. From the Creation to the Dispersal of the Nations; II. The Ancestors of the Gaedil; III-VII. The successive invasions of Cessair, Partholón, Nemed, the Fir Bolg, and the Túatha Dé Danann; VIII. The invasion of the sons of Míl, i.e. of the Gaedil; IX. The Roll of the Kings before Christianity; X. The Roll of the Kings after Christianity.

The first invasion mentioned is that of Cessair, a granddaughter of the Biblical Noah who arrived with only three men and a multitude of women forty days before the Flood but perished soon after together with all her followers except for Fintan mac Bóchra, who survived the centuries in the shape of various animals and witnessed the whole of Irish history. Also represented as a descendant of Noah, Partholón came to Ireland from Sicily threehundred years after the Flood, via Greece, Cappadocia, Gothia and Spain, landing at Inber Scéne (identified with Kenmare in South Kerry); his followers, five thousand men and four tousand women, were killed by a plague hundred and twenty years later and are supposed to be buried in a mass grave at Tamlachta 'Pit of Tears' (Tallaght near Dublin?), their only survivor being Tuan, Partholón's nephew, who also underwent a series of animal transformations until he was finally reborn as son of a chieftain named Cairill and as such (i.e. Tuan mac Cairill) told the story of his people. Thirty years after their extintion arrived Nemed, great-grandson of a brother of Partholón's, but he and his followers were attacked and in the end subjugated by the Fomoire, a warlike group of prehistoric demons who had succesfully been fought by the Partholonians; the Nemedians were eventually wiped out by a big flood, except for thirty warriors who managed to escape by ship and were scattered to different corners of the world. From the group who managed to escape to Greece descended the Fir Bolg, who arrived twohundred and thirty years later, divided Ireland into five provinces and installed a king. From those Nemedians who had escaped to far North descended the Túatha Dé Danann, a people with magic powers who arrived thirtyseven years after the former and defeated first the Fir Bolg and later the Fomoire, prior to being defeated themselves by the next and last invaders, the sons of Míl, at Tailtiu onehundred and fifty years later and subsequently retiring to live underground in the síde or fairy mounds. The newcomers had been living in Scythia and later in Egypt before going to Spain, from where the uncle of Míl , Íth , saw Ireland: enticed by her beauty, he decided to go and live there, but was killed soon after his arrival, and his death was avenged by the Milesians, who set out to conquer the island.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Our selection is taken out of section IV and is concerned with the invasions of the Fomoire, twohundred men and six hundred women led by Cicul Gricen-choss, who spent twohundred years 'at fishing and fowling', and of Partholón, who defeated them and cleared four fields.

While many of the accounts of the invasions seem entirely fanciful, others may reflect at least an historical core. Thus, while the Fomoire are said to have lived on fish and fowl, the Partholonians are supposed to have brought with them important agricultural devices and techniques, such as ploughs, oxen, husbandry, dairy farming, etc. Since the Partolonians furthermore buried their dead in long graves made of stone heaps, they might be identified with the Neolithic farmers as opposed to the hunters-gatherers of the Mesolithic.

Furthermore, while the name of Partholón is not Irish and has been probably influenced by the Christian Batholomaeus, Íth as in the existing several plains called Mag Ítha, 'The field of Ith', mirrors the Old Celtic deity Itunos/Ituna and goes back to IE *pi-tu and *pi-tu-s as in Oir. ith 'corn, grain' and, respectively, Skt. pitú- 'food'.

The first of the plains by the name of Mag Ítha mentioned in our selection, where the mythical Cicul Gricen choss was killed, is supposed to refer to the plain between Lough Foyle, Lough Swilly and the river Finn in Counties Donegal and Derry, while the second one mentioned has been identified with the plain south of Arklow, in Leinster. Mag nEthrige is supposed to be identical with Mag Tuired, anglicised as 'Moytura', near Cong in Co. Mayo, and Mag Lí to have bordered on the west bank of the river Bann, Co. Derry, given that the territory of the Ui mic Úais between Bir (the Moyola river) and Camus (Macosquin) was situated between Counties Derry and Donegal. Mag Latharna in Dál Araide has been identified with the low maritime plain near Larne, Co. Antrim, and Inber Domnand with Malahide Bay north of Dublin.

Expand All
  • is -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative, absolute, of copula <is> is -- it is
  • sund -- adverb; <sund> here -- here
  • atfedar -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative passive, deuterotonic, syntactically relative, of <ad°fét> tells, relates -- that... is told
  • sechtgabáil -- noun; compound of <secht<sup>N</sup>> seven + nominative singular feminine, ā-stem, of; <gabál, gabáil> taking, conquest -- the Taking of the Seven
  • .i. -- abbreviation of; <ed-ón> that is -- that is
  • gabáil -- noun; nominative singular feminine, ā-stem, of <gabál, gabáil> taking, conquest -- the taking
  • rogab -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect indicative active, conjunct, syntactically relative, of <gaibid> takes; proceeds; recites -- which took place
  • la -- preposition; <la<sup>H</sup>> among, by, with -- by
  • Ciccul Gricenchoss -- proper name masculine; accusative singular of <Cicul Gricen-choss> Cichol Clapperleg -- Cichol Gricen-choss
  • an -- preposition; variant of <in, i<sup>N</sup>> in, into -- in
  • Inbiur Domnand -- toponym; dative singular of <Inber Domnann> Rivermouth Domnann -- Inber Domnann

Expand All
  • .i. -- abbreviation of; <ed-ón> that is -- that is
  • cóica -- numeral; nominative singular masculine of <coíca> fifty -- fifty
  • fer -- noun; genitive plural masculine, o-stem, of <fer> man -- men
  • ocus -- conjunction; <ocus> and -- and
  • trí cóica -- numeral; compound form of masculine of <trí, tri, teoir> three + nominative singular masculine of; <coíca> fifty -- three times fifty
  • ban -- noun; genitive plural feminine, ā-stem, of <ben> woman, wife -- women
  • lín -- noun; nominative singular neuter, o-stem, of <lín> full number; number -- the full number
  • cecha -- pronominal; variant of genitive singular masculine of <cach, cech> each, every, any -- of each
  • cethraimthi -- noun; genitive singular masculine, yo-stem, of <cethraimthe> quarter, fourth part -- fourth part
  • díb -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person plural dative of <di<sup>L</sup>, de<sup>L</sup>> from, of -- of them
  • im -- preposition; <imb<sup>L</sup>, imm<sup>L</sup>> around, about; mutually -- with
  • Chicul mac Guil meic Gairb meic Túathaigh meic Gúmóir -- proper name masculine; lenited accusative singular of <Ciccul, Cic(h)ul mac Guil meic Gairb meic Túathaigh meic Gúmóir> Cichol son of Goll of the son of Garb of the son of Tuatach of the son of Gumor -- Cichol mac Guil meic Gairb meic Tuathaigh meic Gumoir
  • a -- preposition; <ess<sup>H</sup>, as<sup>H</sup>, a<sup>H</sup>> out of, from -- from
  • Sléib Émóir -- toponym; dative singular of <Slíab Émóir> Emoir Hill -- Sliab Emoir
  • ocus -- conjunction; <ocus> and -- and
  • Luth Luamnach -- proper name feminine; dative singular of <Luth Luamnach> the Fury of the Pilotage -- Loth Luamnach
  • a -- possessive pronoun; 3rd person singular masculine <a<sup>L</sup>> his, its -- his
  • máthair -- noun; nominative singular feminine, r-stem, of <máthir, máthair> mother -- mother

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  • dá cét -- numeral; compound form of <dá<sup>L</sup>, dí<sup>L</sup>, dá<sup>N</sup>> two + nominative plural neuter, o-stem, of; <cét<sup>N</sup>> hundred -- two hundred
  • bliadan -- noun; genitive plural feminine, ī-stem, of <blíadain> year -- years
  • dóib -- pronominalized preposition; 3rd person plural dative of <du<sup>L</sup>, do<sup>L</sup>> to -- with them
  • ar -- preposition; <ar<sup>L</sup>, air<sup>L</sup>> before, for, in front of, east of -- at
  • íascach -- noun; dative singular masculine, o-stem, of <íascach> fishing -- fishing
  • ocus -- conjunction; <ocus> and -- and
  • ar -- preposition; <ar<sup>L</sup>, air<sup>L</sup>> before, for, in front of, east of -- at
  • énach -- noun; variant of dative singular masculine, o-stem, of <enach> bird-hunting, fowling -- fowling
  • conustoracht -- verb; compound form of 3rd person singular perfect indicative active, prototonic, of <do°roich> reaches + conjunction; <con, co<sup>N</sup>> until; so that; and + infixed pronoun 3rd person plural; <s<sup>N</sup>, s> they -- until... came to them
  • Partholón -- proper name masculine; nominative singular of <Partholón> Partholon -- Partholon
  • co -- conjunction; used as verbal particle <con, co<sup>N</sup>> until; so that; and -- and
  • rofersat -- verb; 3rd person plural perfect indicative active, conjunct, of <feraid> grants, affords, supplies, gives; performs; pours, sheds -- they fought
  • cath -- noun; accusative singular masculine, u-stem, of <cath> battle, fight -- the battle
  • Muighi hÍtha -- toponym; genitive singular of <Mag Ítha> the Field of Ith -- of Mag Itha
  • dianidh -- verb; compound form of preposition <di<sup>L</sup>, de<sup>L</sup>> from, of + relative particle; <(s)a<sup>N</sup>> that which, what + 3rd person singular present indicative, conjunct, of copula; <is> is -- from which originates
  • comainm -- noun; nominative singular neuter, n-stem, of <comainm> name, cognomen -- the name
  • sechtgabáil -- noun; compound of <secht<sup>N</sup>> seven + nominative singular feminine, ā-stem, of; <gabál, gabáil> taking, conquest -- Seven-Taking

Expand All
  • co -- conjunction; used as verbal particle <con, co<sup>N</sup>> until; so that; and -- and
  • romarbad -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect indicative passive, conjunct, of <marbaid> kills -- was slain
  • Cichul -- proper name masculine; nominative singular of <Cicul, Cichul, Ciccul> Cichol -- Cichol
  • ann -- adverb; <ann> there -- there
  • ocus -- conjunction; <ocus> and -- and
  • co -- conjunction; used as verbal particle <con, co<sup>N</sup>> until; so that; and -- so
  • rodíthaigit -- verb; 3rd person plural Middle Irish perfect indicative passive, conjunct, of <díthaigid> destroys -- were destroyed
  • Fomoraig -- proper name masculine; nominative plural of <Fomorach> Fomorach -- the Fomoraig

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  • ceithri -- numeral; nominative neuter of <ceth(a)ir, cethéoir> four -- four
  • moigi -- noun; nominative plural neuter, s-stem, of <mag> plain, field -- fields
  • roslechtad -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect passive, conjunct, of <sligid> strikes, slays; clears -- were cleared
  • la -- preposition; <la<sup>H</sup>> among, by, with -- by
  • Partholón -- proper name masculine; accusative singular of <Partholón> Partholon -- Partholon
  • ind -- preposition; <in, i<sup>N</sup>> in, into -- in
  • Érind -- toponym; dative singular, n-stem, of <Ériu> Ireland -- Ireland
  • .i. -- abbreviation of; <ed-ón> that is -- that is
  • Magh nEthrige -- toponym; nominative singular of <Mag nEthrige> the Field of Ethrag -- the Field of Ethrag
  • la -- preposition; <la<sup>H</sup>> among, by, with -- in the territory of
  • Condachto -- proper name feminine; accusative plural of <Connacht> Connacht -- the Connachtmen
  • Magh nÍtha -- toponym; variant of nominative singular of <Mag Ítha> the Field of Ith -- the Field of Ith
  • la -- preposition; <la<sup>H</sup>> among, by, with -- in the territory of
  • Laigniu -- proper name masculine; accusative plural of <Laigni> Leinstermen, Leinsterwomen -- the Leinstermen
  • .i. -- abbreviation of; <ed-ón> that is -- that is
  • Ítha -- proper name masculine; genitive singular of <Íth> Ith -- of Ith
  • gilla -- noun; genitive singular masculine, yo-stem, of <gillae> servant, armed man -- the companion
  • Parrtholóin -- proper name masculine; genitive singular of <Partholón> Partholon -- of Partholon
  • do -- preposition; <du<sup>L</sup>, do<sup>L</sup>> to -- in
  • réighigh -- Middle Irish verbal noun; dative singular of <réidig> leveling, smoothing; clearing (land) -- clearing the land
  • Magh Latharna -- toponym; nominative singular of <Mag Latharna> the Field of Lathairn -- the Field of Lathairn
  • la -- preposition; <la<sup>H</sup>> among, by, with -- in the territory of
  • Dál nAraidhi -- toponym; accusative singular of <Dál Araide> the district of Arad -- Dal Araide
  • Mag Lii -- toponym; nominative singular of <Mag Lí> the Field of Beauty -- the Field of Lii
  • la -- preposition; <la<sup>H</sup>> among, by, with -- in the territory of
  • hÚa mic Úais -- proper name masculine; aspirated accusative plural of <Ó mac Úais> the grandson of the son of the Noble one -- the Ui mic Uais
  • etir -- preposition; <eter> between, among -- between
  • Bir -- toponym; accusative singular of <Bir> Bir -- Bir
  • ocus -- conjunction; <ocus> and -- and
  • Chamus -- toponym; lenited accusative singular of <Camus> Camus -- Camas

Expand All
  • secht -- numeral; nominative plural of <secht<sup>N</sup>> seven -- seven
  • mbliadna -- noun; nasalized genitive plural feminine, ī-stem, of <blíadain> year -- years
  • íar -- preposition; <íar<sup>N</sup>, íarm<sup>L</sup>-> after -- after
  • ngabáil -- noun; nasalized dative singular feminine, ā-stem, of <gabál, gabáil> taking, conquest -- the conquest
  • hÉrenn -- toponym; aspirated genitive singular of <Ériu> Ireland -- of Ireland
  • do -- preposition; variant of <di<sup>L</sup>, de<sup>L</sup>> from, of -- by
  • Phartholón -- proper name masculine; lenited dative singular of <Partholón> Partholon -- Partholon
  • atbath -- verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative active, deuterotonic, of <at°baill> dies -- died
  • in -- article; nominative singular masculine of <in, a<sup>N</sup>, ind<sup>L</sup>> the -- the
  • cét -- adjective; <cét> first; fresh, new -- first
  • fer -- noun; nominative singular masculine, o-stem, of <fer> man -- man
  • dia -- preposition; compound form of preposition <di<sup>L</sup>, de<sup>L</sup>> from, of + suffixed possessive pronoun 3rd person singular masculine; <a<sup>L</sup>> his, its -- of his
  • muindtir -- noun; dative singular feminine, ā-stem, of <muinter> family; party, followers; retinue, company -- retinue
  • .i. -- abbreviation of; <ed-ón> that is -- that is
  • Fea mac Tortán meic Srú meic Esrú -- proper name masculine; nominative singular of <Fea mac Tortán meic Srú meic Esrú> Fea son of Tortan of the son of Sru of the son of Esru -- Fea mac Tortan meic Sru meic Esru
  • bráthair -- noun; nominative singular masculine, r-stem, of <bráthir, bráthair> brother -- brother
  • athar -- noun; genitive singular masculine, r-stem, of <athir, athair> father -- of the father
  • do -- preposition; <du<sup>L</sup>, do<sup>L</sup>> to -- to
  • Partholón -- proper name masculine; dative singular masculine of <Partholón> Partholon -- Partholon

Lesson Text

Is sund atfedar sechtgabáil, .i. gabáil rogab la Ciccul Gricenchoss an Inbiur Domnand: .i. cóica fer ocus trí cóica ban lín cecha cethraimthi díb, im Chicul mac Guil meic Gairb meic Túathaigh meic Gúmóir a Sléib Émóir, ocus Luth Luamnach a máthair. Dá cét bliadan dóib ar íascach ocus ar énach, conustoracht Partholón, co rofersat cath Muighi hÍtha, dianidh comainm sechtgabáil. Co romarbad Cichul ann, ocus co rodíthaigit Fomoraig [...]. Ceithri moigi roslechtad la Partholón ind Érind, .i. Magh nEthrige la Condachto, Magh nÍtha la Laigniu, .i. Ítha, gilla Parrtholóin do réighigh, Magh Latharna la Dál nAraidhi, Mag Lii la hÚa mic Úais etir Bir ocus Chamus. Secht mbliadna íar ngabáil hÉrenn do Phartholón, atbath in cét fer dia muindtir, .i. Fea mac Tortán meic Srú meic Esrú, bráthair athar do Partholón.


It is here that the Taking of the Seven is told, that is, the taking which took place by Cichol Gricen-choss in Inber Domnand: that is, fifty men and three times fifty women [was] the full number of each fourth part of them, with Cichol mac Guil meic Gairb meic Tuathaigh meic Gumoir from Sliab Emoir, and Loth Luamnach, his mother. Two hundred years with them at fishing and at fowling, until Partholon came to them and they fought the battle of Mag Itha, from which originates the name 'Seven-Taking'. And Cichol was slain there and so the Fomoraig were destroyed.
Four fields were cleared by Partholon in Ireland, that is the Field of Ethrag in the territory of the Connachtmen, the Field of Ith in the territory of the Leinstermen -- that is of Ith, the companion of Partholon in clearing the land --, the Field of Lathairn in the territory of Dal Araide, the Field of Lii in the territory of the Ui mic Uais, between Bir and Camas.
Seven years after the conquest of Ireland by Partholon, the first man of his retinue died, that is Fea son of Tortan of the son of Sru of the son of Esru, brother of the father to Partholon.


41 Subordination
41.1 Final Clauses

Final clauses are mostly expressed by the subjunctive, either preceded

  • by coL/coN/con
  • or by araN, actually ar-aN, as in ar-na bó 'so that he might not break' in Lesson 6.

The latter, however, can also occur with the indicative as in ar ná loiti mo chuairt immum (Lesson 5) 'so that my tour is not spoiled for me'. The possibility of expressing a final clause without a finite verb is demonstrated by the selection of lesson 8, where the preposition for governs a verbal noun with a possessive adjective expressing the direct object: for a h imgabáil 'in order to avoid her' (lit. 'for her avoiding'). Cf. also do ḟégad a uird 'to observe its structure' (lit. 'to the observation of its structure') in Lesson 10.

41.2 Consecutive Clauses

Consecutive clauses are introduced by coL/coN/con and expressed by the indicative or the subjunctive, depending on the semantics of the whole sentence. In our selections we find always the indicative, either preterite or even perfect (cf. co riacht in n-airidin 'so that he reached the bench', co n-dechuid geinn trít 'so that a wedge went through it', and co slíged lár 'so that it dragged on the ground', all in Lesson 2) or future (cf. co m-ba éccomlonn mór 'so that it will be a very unequal combat' and co m-mema do ṡúil 'so that your eye shall burst'), depending on the perspective.

41.3 Related Speech

In our selections there are three examples of related speech:

  • governed by an imperative and expressed by a negated subjunctive present without further conjunctions, as in apair fris ní ... n-imderga... 'say to him that he may not redden...' (Lesson 6);
  • governed by a preterite indicative and expressed by a past subjunctive introduced by araN, as in asbert ... ara scortis ... ocus ara cortis... 'he said that they should unyoke ... and that they should put...' (Lesson 1);
  • without finite verbal form, expressed by a verbal noun in the genitive governed by the verbal noun of a verbum dicendi (i.e. of a verb of speaking, uttering); cf. Ingen Echdach oc báig mo marbtha frim in Lesson 7, which corresponds to *"E's daughter at threatening of my killing to me," but means of course "E's daughter threatens me that she will kill me."
42 The Verb: Future Tense

As already stated in Lesson 1, point 3.3, the future tenses are formed from a special stem which is independent from that of the present. Even if there is some interference between the different types, with weak verbs showing typically strong formations and strong verbs adopting the modern (i.e. exclusively Goidelic) f-future stem, and also many cases of suppletive stems (such as rega- to téit 'goes', i.a. in Lesson 8), weak verbs normally add a morpheme -f- to their basic form; their future stem is hence called f-future.

Strong verbs usually form their future stem according to their root. As with the subjunctive, those verbs whose root ends in a dental or guttural stop or spirant, or show geminated -nn- in their present and preterite, have a sigmatic future stem; in addition, some of them show reduplication of the root. All other strong verbs have an asigmatic future stem, inflecting the root as an Indo-European ā-subjunctive; again, some of them also show root reduplication. In many cases, what is left of the reduplication is just a long root vowel -é-, so that from a descriptive point of view there is also an é-future stem, which is moreover a productive type in later texts.

Only the first two types are presented in the following tables (léicid 'leaves', suidigidir 'puts', guidid 'prays'), given that the inflection of the asigmatic future is identical with that of the ā-subjunctive in all forms (see Lesson 8, point 37). Examples of asigmatic future stems are didma- from daimid 'tames' (1 Sg. °didam, 2 Sg. °didmae, 3 Sg. °didma, 3 Pl. °didmat), íba- from ibid 'drinks' (1 Sg. íba, 2 Sg. °íb, 2 Sg. °íba, 3 Pl. íbait), cech(a)na- from canid 'sings' (1 Sg. °cechan, 2. Sg. °cechnae, 3. Sg. °cechna etc.), céla- from celid 'conceals', géba- from ga(i)bid 'takes' and also béra- from berid 'bears, carries': Active 1 Sg. °bér, 2 Sg. °bér(a)e, 3 Sg. béraid vs. °béra, 3 Sg. Rel. béras, 1 Pl. °béram, 2 Pl. bér(a)id, 3 Pl. °bérat; Passive General Form °bérthar, 3 Pl. °bértar; Secondary future 3 Sg. bérad, 1 Pl. bérmais, 2 Pl. bérth(a)e, 3 Pl. bért(a)is.

Primitive Future Active Absolute

    A II (Act. & Dep.)   Strong Verbs (sigmatic)
1 Sg.   léicfea, suidigfer   *gigsea
2 Sg.   léicfe, suidigfider   ---
3 Sg.   léicfid/-fith, suidigfithir/-fidir   gigis
3 Sg. Rel.   léicfes(s), *suidigfedar   giges
1 Pl.   léicfimmi, *suidigfimmir   gigsim(m)i
1 Pl. Rel.   léicfimme, *suidigfemmar   *gigsim(m)e
2 Pl.   *léicfithe/-fide, *suidigfide   gigeste
3 Pl.   léicfit, *suidigfitir   gigsit
3 Pl. Rel.   léicfite, *suidigfetar   gigsite

Primitive Future Active Conjunct

    A II (Act. & Dep.)   Strong Verbs (sigmatic)
1 Sg.   °léiciub, °suidigfer   °gigius
2 Sg.   °léicfe, *°suidigfider   °gigis
3 Sg.   °léicfea, *°suidigfedar   *°gig
1 Pl.   °léicfem, *°suidigfemmar   °gigsem
2 Pl.   *°léicfid, *°suidigfid   °gigsid
3 Pl.   °léicfet, °suidigfetar   °gigset

Primitive Future Passive Absolute

    A II (Act. = Dep.)   Strong Verbs (sigmatic)
3 Sg.   léicfidir   [other verbs with ending -stir are attested]
3 Sg. Rel.   léicfider   gigestar
3 Pl.   léicfitir   [other verbs with ending -saitir are attested]
3 Pl. Rel.   léicfiter/-fetar   ---

Primitive Future Passive Conjunct

    A II (Act. = Dep.)   Strong Verbs (sigmatic)
General Form   °léicfider   [other verbs with ending -astar are attested]
3 Pl.   °léicfiter/-fetar   [other verbs with ending -siter/-satar are attested]

Secondary Future Active

    A II (Act. = Dep.)   Strong Verbs (sigmatic)
1 Sg.   léicfin(n)   [other verbs with ending -sain are attested]
2 Sg.   léicfeda   ---
3 Sg.   léicfed/-feth   gigsed
1 Pl.   léicfimmis   ---
2 Pl.   *léicfide/-fithe   ---
3 Pl.   léicfitis   [other verbs with ending -saitis are attested]

Secondary Future Passive

    A II (Act. = Dep.)   Strong Verbs (sigmatic)
General Form   léicfide/-fithe   [other verbs with ending -astae are attested]
3 Pl.   léicfitis   [other verbs with ending -st(a)is are attested]

Many future forms appear in the reading selections of Lessons 3 and 4.

43 Nominal Composition

One of the most archaic Indo-European composition patterns documented in our selections is the dvandva or copulative compound gaisced (Lesson 4), in which the substantives corresponding to 'spears' and 'shields' are simply juxtaposed to express the collective 'weapons'. In crideṡerc 'heart's love' (Lesson 5), the substantive cride 'heart' is subordinated to another substantive (serc 'love') according to a well-known type called tatpurusha in Sanskrit grammar.

Very frequent is the pattern found in firflaith 'the true rule' (Lesson 6), in which an adjective specifies the following substantive, cf. also sencharpat, senfonnat, bánaicde, dlumaicde (all in Lesson 6), findruine (in Lesson 7), and even lérgním and mórthimchell in Lesson 10.

Although formally similar, allmar (literally equal to French outre-mer) in Lesson 6 belongs to a quite different type, given that the whole compound qualifies something outside the compound itself, which is why they are called "exocentric compounds."

But while allmar as well as the other compounds listed up to now belong to the inherited Indo-European type with the Determinatum (here the substantive muir 'sea') being preceded by its Determinans (here the adjective all 'other'), the exocentric compound toíbgel in Lesson 7 belongs to a more recent Celtic Layer, in which the qualifier gel is postponed to the substantive to which it refers (toíb). It is noteworthy, therefore, that the late text of selection 10 still uses compounds with the inherited syntactic order: perhaps to add a learned, archaic flavor to the satire?

Another way of forming new words is by prefixing them, cf. in Lesson 7 co(i)cetal, equivalent to Latin concinnitas, from cétal 'song', or the negative compound anflaith in Lesson 6, a negated form of flaith 'rule' (i.e. *un-rule) to convey the meaning 'anarchy'.

44 Indefinite Pronouns
44.1 'each, every'

There are basically three forms:

  • a full stressed form which is used for 'everyone': cách (Nom/Acc/Dat.), cáich (Gen.), as in ocus cách olchenae 'and everybody else' (Lesson 1) or in no°charainn cách chenae 'I might have loved everybody else besides' (Lesson 5);
  • the originally unstressed cach/cech, which is used adjectivally for 'each' and whose initial stays unlenited in environments requiring lenition, cf. cech dán 'each man of art', cech lá 'each day', cach tráth 'each hour', fri cach fó 'toward every good thing', liga cach datha 'colors of every hue' (Lessons 6, 5, 7, 6, 7). The only marked forms are the genitive singular and the plural forms, all ending in -a (cacha/cecha) as in dortut cecha flatho 'the destruction of all rule', lín cecha cethraimthi 'the number of each fourth part', and do dálaib cacha 'from all the encounters' (Lessons 6, 9, 5). With the numerals, it conveys a distributive meaning, cf. cach fiche 'each unit of twenty' and cach dá én 'every two birds' in Lesson 2;
  • the indeclinable substantival element cechtar 'each (of two)' as in cechtar in-da rann 'each of the two parts'.
44.2 'any'

This also has basically three forms:

  • a full stressed form meaning 'someone/something, anyone/anything' and 'nobody/nothing' after the negative particle: nech (Nom/Acc. animate), (Nom/Acc. neuter), neich (Gen.), neuch/neoch (Dat.), as in naicc ní i n-neoch 'nothing anywhere', literally 'not anything in any place' (Lesson 3), or in co°gúalae ní 'he heard something' and co°n-accae ní 'and he saw something' (Lesson 2);
  • an originally unstressed nach with naH for the neuter, which is used as an adjective for 'any' and whose only marked forms are the genitive feminine and plural neuter nacha (cf. the accusative nach rainn 'any part' vs. the genitive nacha rainne), all other cases being distinguished only by means of the sandhi effects on the following substantive;
  • the indeclinable substantival element nechtar 'either (of two)', which is always followed by a genitive.
44.3 'other'

This is expressed by the yo-stem adjective aile, which is postposed to the substantive to which it refers, cf. do chill aili 'to another monastery' in Lesson 5.

The same element can be substantivized by means of the article or of the above mentioned nach (e.g. int aile, nach aile 'the other, another').

There is also a reduplicated substantival form alaile with alaill for the neuter and other variants.

45 The Expression of Reflexivity and Middle Voice
45.1 féin

One of the pronouns meaning 'own, self' is féin, which is found in Lesson 8 (do lessu féin 'your own bidding' and acht co comrís féin fris 'provided that you should meet yourself with him') and in Lesson 3 (ina charpait feissin 'onto his own chariot'). It does not distinguish different cases, but only person and, in part, gender:

1&2 Sg.   féin
3 masc/ntr.   fé(i)ssin/fe(i)ssin, fé(i)sin/fe(i)sin, féin
3 fem.   fé(i)sine/fe(i)sine, féisne/feisne, féis(s)in/feis(s)in, fissin
1 Pl.   fésine/fesine
2 Pl.   féis(s)ne/feis(s)ne, fésin/fesin
3 Pl.   fés(s)ine/fes(s)ine, féis(s)ne/feis(s)ne, fé(is)sin/fe(is)sin

Another pronoun of this type is fadéin, which appears in the later text of Lesson 10 as fodén, cf. i n-a beólu fodén 'into his own lips'.

45.2 imm

To express reciprocity, imm is usually added to a verb or substantive, cf. imbúalad 'mutual smiting', imcháinid 'mutual complain', imchlaidbed 'fighting mutually with swords', imdiupart 'mutual cheating', imḟrecrae 'correspondence', imguin 'reciprocally wounding or slaying' and many others, each with a corresponding verb as e.g. imm°freccair 'corresponds' or imm°goin 'fights (mutually)'.

45.3 Deponent Inflection

Among the Irish verbs with deponent inflection we find the same types which in Indo-European languages tend to adopt the middle voice. One group is constituted by the so-called verba sentiendi, such as ro°cluinethar 'hears', ro°fitir 'knows < *has seen', midithir 'judges', do°moinethar 'thinks', mebraigidir 'remembers'; another is formed by verbs expressing a change in the qualities of the subject, such as imdaigidir 'increases (intransitive)', whose future is in fact used for glossing the Latin deponens uberabitur, and fris°dorchaigedar, which glosses Latin obtenebrari, or senaigidir 'grows old'; in any case, they express a particular involvement of the subject, e.g. ro°laimethar 'ventures, dares'. In such cases, many modern European languages employ a reflexive pattern such as me atrevo 'I dare', me alegro 'I rejoice'.

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