Irish: Lesson 15
In English we can make an adjective out a verb by" adding "-ed" to the end of it, and we call this adjective the verbal adjective. For example, if we take the verb "stop", we can form the adjective "stopped", e.g. "the clock was stopped". (Of course there are a number of verbal adjectives in English that don't end with "-ed", such as "broken", "lost", "drawn" etc.)
In Irish too there are a couple of different endings for a verbal adjective:
i) 1st Conjugation:
If the verb ends in "t" or "th", only "e" is added to the root, and "h" is dropped:
If the verb is one of the majority which ends in "b", "c", "f", "g", "m", "p" or "r", the verbal adjective endings are "tha" and "the", depending on whether the final vowel in the root is broad or slender, respectively:
Verbs ending in "bh" or "mh" lose these endings and take the ending "fa":
ii) 2nd Conjugation
These verbs, which typically end in "&aigh;igh", "eoigh" etc., drop the "gh" and usually add "te" or "the":
There is also a handful of verbs which take "ta" as their verbal noun ending, among them the irregular verb "déan" (do, make); hence the title of the traditional song "Tá Mo Chleamhnas Déanta" (My Match is Made).
Apart from "go dtí" (to), all prepositions of two words are called "compound prepositions" and put the noun following into the genitive case. The most common of these are:
One distinguishing feature of the compound preposition is that they can't be followed by a normal object pronoun like "mé", "thú", "é" etc. Instead, the possessive adjective corresponding to the pronoun is placed in between the two parts of the preposition. (The reason for this is because only the first part of the compound preposition is really a preposition; the second part is just a noun that has become trapped into accompanying it wherever it goes).
For example, suppose I want to say "after you". "After" is "i ndiaidh". Instead of using "thú" I have to use the corresponding possessive, which in this case is "do", and put it between "i" and "ndiaidh". Now, the reason why "diaidh" is eclipsed in "i ndiaidh" is because it comes after "i". If I put "do" between them", "diaidh" is no longer followed by "i" but by "do", which causes aspiration. So "after you" becomes "i do dhiaidh", e.g. "tháinig an madra i do dhiaidh" -- "the dog came after you". ("Diaidh" is an old obsolete word meaning "wake" or "rear". So the literal translation of "i do dhiaidh" is "in your wake").
To take another example, suppose I want to say "above us". "Above" is "os cionn". Instead of using "muid", we use the possessive "ár" (our). "Ár" causes eclipsis on nouns, and "cionn" is a noun (it's a form of "ceann", meaning "head"). So "above us" is "os ar gcionn" (meaning literally "above our head").
When counting aloud, the numbers one to twenty in Irish are as follows:
The prefix "a" (which puts "h" before a numeral beginning with a vowel) is used when counting aloud, in arithmetic, in telling the time, in naming telephone numbers, in betting, and as ordinals after nouns (e.g. seomra a dó -- Room 2; ceacht a cúig déag -- Lesson Fifteen etc.)
This prefix is omitted in card games ("an t-aon hart", the ace of hearts), in denoting frequency ("thit sé faoi dh&oeacute;", he fell twice), to specify a definite number ("scrios amach an ceathair", cross out the 4), or to indicate a choice of two numbers ("lá nó dhó", a day or two).
Before a noun, all the numbers are as above (except for "dó", which becomes "dhá", and "ceithear", which becomes "ceithre") and leave out the "h". No matter what the number is, the noun following it is always in the singular, e.g. "aon chapall", one horse, "dhá chapall", two horses, etc. (Adjectives modifying these nouns, however, are always plural). Numbers one to six cause aspiration on the noun and numbers seven to ten cause eclipsis (e.g. "seacht gcapall", seven horses). In higher numbers, the noun is placed between the two parts of the number, e.g. "trí chapall déag", thirteen horses, "ocht gcapall déag", eighteen horses. The exception to this is the multiples of ten like "fiche", twenty, "tr&ieacute;ocha", thirty, etc.; these are single words and have no effect on the following noun.
An older, more traditionally Celtic form of counting is by multiples of "fichid", twenty:
The ordinal numbers are as follows:
As with the cardinal numbers, ordinals after "tenth" put a noun in between two parts of the number, and in ordinals ending in "1st" or "2nd" have different forms. For example "the eleventh day" is "an t-aonú lá déag", "the twelfth day" is "an dóú lá déag", "the thirteenth day" is "an triú lá déag", etc.
Normally the possessive adjective isn't used with an ordinal -- instead of saying "mo chéad mhac", for instance, you would say "an chéad mhac aige".
A feature unique to Irish is the existence of numbers referring to people alone. One person can be referred to as "duine" or "aon duine amháin", but for higher numbers of people there are special numerals:
For numbers of people higher than twelve, the ordinary system of numbering is used:
"13 people" is "trí dhuine dhéag", etc.
These personal numerals can qualify a personal noun, or stand alone, e.g.:
The personal numerals can't be used in front of impersonal nouns at all, but can be used standing alone to refer to impersonal objects in counting, e.g.:
"Ceann" in counting
The Irish equivalent of the English word "one"v in counting (as used in phrases like "ten big ones", etc.) is "ceann", literally "head". The cardinal numeral two has the effect of aspirating it and numbers seven to ten eclipse it. Unlike regular nouns following numbers, "ceann" is put in the plural ("cinn") from number three up: