p h o u k a   h o m e i r i s h   l e s s o n s   h o m e


Part I
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Part II
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Part III
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5



Chapter 3 - The Adjective

§16. — The Adjective in General

There are four declensions of adjectives. The changes that the adjective undergoes when connected with a noun will be treated of in § 21. We give the adjectives in their simple form, and have omitted the aspirations as not rightly belonging to them in that state, for these aspirations do not occur when an adjective is the predicate of a sentence.

With regard to their inflexions, it must be noted that the termination iti of the dative plural is never used unless the adjective be used substantively. The dative plural in adjectives is identical in form with the nominative plural. In the
older form of the language, however, iḃ occurs with adjectives as well as substantives.

§17.— The First Declension.

The first declension consists of adjectives ending in consonants having the vowel of the last syllable broad.

In the masculine the inflexions are the same as those of the first declension of nouns, except that the nominative plural ends in a.

In the feminine the inflexions are the same as those of the second declension of nouns.

    Caol slender    
  Singular     Plural  
  Masc Fem   Masc and Fem  
Nom. caol caol Nom. caola  
Gen. caoil caoile Gen. caol  
Dat. caol caoil Dat. caola  
Voc. caoil caol Voc. caola  

In like manner, decline—

árd high mór great
duḃ black bán white

§18 — Second Declension.

This declension consists of adjectives ending in consonants, and having the vowel of their last syllable slender.

The genitive singular masculine does not change, but the genitive singular feminine and nominative plural have a slender increase in e.

    Mín smooth    
  Singular     Plural  
  Masc Fem   Masc and Fem  
Nom. mín mín Nom. míne  
Gen. mín míne Gen. mín  
Dat. mín míne Dat. míne  
Voc. mín mín Voc. míne  

Decline as examples: ársaiġ, ancient, and tais, tender.

§19. — Third Declension.

Adjectives ending in aṁuil belong to this declension.

The genitive singular, and nominative, vocative, and dative plural, are syncopated, and take a broad increase in a.

  geanaṁuil lovely    
  Singular   Plural  
  Masc and fem   Masc and Fem  
Nom. geanaṁuil Nom. geanaṁla  
Gen. geanaṁla Gen. geanaṁuil  
Dat. geanaṁuil Dat. geanaṁla  
Voc. geanaṁuil Voc. geanaṁla  

In like manner decline—

fearaṁuil manlyu geanaṁuil lovely
banaṁuil womanly daṫaṁuil handsome

This termination, aṁuil, means like (akin to saṁail, Lat. similis) ; e. g., fearamnhuil, , like a man, manly; glasamuil, greenish (from glas, green); mnáṫaṁuil, effeminate (from the inflected form of bean). This termination occurs in nouns formed from these adjectives by adding the abstract termination aċd, or aċt, as daṫaṁlaċd, comeliness; fearnaṁlaċd, manliness; mnáṫaṁlaċd, effeminacy; saoiṫeaṁuil, generous, saoiṫeaṁlaċt, generosity.

§ 20. — Fourth Declension.

This declension consists of adjectives ending in vowels : they are alike in all cases, genders, and numbers.

  aosda aged    
  Singular   Plural  
  Masc and fem   Masc and Fem  
Nom. aosda Nom. aosda  
Gen. aosda Gen. aosda  
Dat. aosda Dat. aosda  
Voc. aosda Voc. aosda  

§ 21. — Adjectives declined with Nouns.

Adjectives beginning with mutable consonants are aspirated in the nominative singular feminine, in the genitive singular masculine, in the vocative case singular of both genders, and in the plural in the nominative masculine if the noun ends in a consonant ; they are also aspirated in the dative singular masculine.

An fear geal the white man
  Singular   Plural
Nom. an fear geal Nom. na fir geala
Gen. an fir ġil Gen. na ḃfear ngeal
Dat. do'n ḟear ġeal Dat. do na fearaiḃ geala
Voc. a ḟir ġil Voc. a ḟeara geala

An ḃean ġeal the white woman
  Singular   Plural
Nom. an ḃean ġeal Nom. na mná geala
Gen. na mná gile Gen. na mban ngeal
Dat. do'n ṁnaoi ġil Dat. do na ṁáiḃ geala
Voc. a ḃean ġeal Voc. a ṁná geala

After this manner the learner might exercise himself with the following, give by Neilson in his Irish Grammar:—

Masc   Fem  
an la fuar the cold day an ṁaidin ḟuar the cold morning
an crann mór the great tree an ċloċ ṁór the great stone

"Consonants" as O'Donovan remarks, "are aspiratedin the plural merely for the sake of euphony, and not to distinguish the gender; for whenever the noun to which the adjective belongs terminates in a vowel, thei nitial consonant of the adjective retains its natural sound; as, ceolta binne, sweet melodies.

§22. — The Degrees of Comparison.

In both the comparative and superlative the form of the adjective is the same, and they are distinguished from one another only by the particle affixed, or the context.

The comparative is formed by putting níos before the genitive singular feminine of the positive, and the superlative by putting is , or as , before the same ; as geal, white; níos gile, whiter ; as gile, whitest.

Is is generally used before a slender vowel, as before a broad. Níos is probably a contraction for níḋ as , thing which is, as in certain collocations nios cannot be correctly used ; as, do ṫaḃarsainn duit é dá m-biaḋ sé níḋ ḃfeárr, I would give it to you, if it were better, where nios (níḋ as?) becomes níḋ baḋ .

The particle nios is, however, sometimes omitted, e. g., in interrogative sentences ; as, measaiḋ féin an córa a ḃfiaḋ-nuise Dé, do you consider it is right in the presence of God? Acts iv. 19. Similar is the usage when the assertive verb is or as begins the sentence, in which case nios , as O'Donovan remarks, is never used, as in the example cited by him, is féarr me ioná ṫu , I am better than thou.

In the ancient language we meet with a comparative ending in ther, thir (Greek rtpoe, Sansk. [], tara), and a superlative in em ; but these terminations have disappeared in the modern language. The slender increase in niof gile is really the comparative inflexion; compare the old Irish comparative in iu, Sansk. lyas, Lat. ior, ius, Greek i\av. The as or is added to the superlative is in reality nothing but the substantive verb, the superlative being formed similarly to that in French by the addition of the article to the comparative form. That the a and e are really comparative and superlative inflexions is evident from a comparison of the Cornish, where both degrees, without distinction, terminate in a and e. — Vid. Norris's Cornish Grammar, p. 22.

The adjective in the comparative and superlative undergoes no change, but is treated as an adjective of the fourth declension.

§23. — Irregular Comparison

The following adjectives are irregular in their comparison, that is, they form their comparatives, and some their superlatives, from adjectives now obsolete : —

Positive   Comparative Superlative
beag little níos luġa is luġa
fada long níos faide, níos sia is sia
furus, urus easy níos usa, fusa is usa
fogus near níos foigse, foisge is foigse
gar near níos goire, gaire  
geárr short níos giorra  
luat quick níos túisge is t úisge
maiṫ good níos feárr is feárr
minic often níos mionca  
mór great níos mó is mó
olc bad níós measa is measa
teiṫ hot níós teo is teo

Luaṫ has also a regular comparative and superlative, laiṫe. The irregular comparative is borrowed from tús, a beginning. There is another form, taosga, now in disuse. When túisge is used it enerally expresses order of time, and is used somewhat adverbially, e.g., mise an fear ba ṫúisge, I was the first man to do anything; mar ba ṫúisge é ná mise, for he was beforeme, John i.30—Keane's Irish Testament. So níos túisge ná ṫángadar a ngar dá ċéile, before they came together, Matt. i18—Keane's translation. (taosga is the form usedin O'Donnell's translation.)

§24 — The Numerals

The following is a list of the numerals : —

Value Cardinal Ordinal
1 aon céad
2 ḋá, dó dara
3 trí treas, tríoṁaiḋ
4 ceiṫre, ceaṫair ceaṫnaṁaḋ
5 cúig cúigṁeaḋ
6 seisṁeaḋ, séiṁeaḋ
7 seaċt seaċtṁaḋ
8 oċt oċtṁaḋ
9 naoi naoiṁaḋ
10 deiċ, déag deiċṁeaḋ
11 aon-déag aonṁaḋ déag
12 dó-ḋéag dara déag
13 trí-déag tríoṁaḋ déag
20 fiċe, fiṫċe fiṫċeadṁaḋ, fiṫċeaḋ
21 aon a's fiċe, aon ar fiċid aonṁaḋ ar ḟiċd
30 deiċ ar ḟiċid trioċad tríoċadṁaḋ, deiċṁeaḋ ar ḟiṫċid
40 dá ḟiċid dá ḟiċeadṁaḋ
50 caogad, caoga, deiċ a's dá ḟiċid deiċṁeaḋ ar dá ḟiċid
60 trí fiċid trí fiċidṁeaḋ
70 deiċ is trí fiċid deiċṁeaḋ ar ṫrí fiċid
80 ceiṫre fiċid, oċtṁoġad ceiṫre fiċidṁeaḋ, oċtṁoġadṁaḋ
90 nóċad, deiċ is ceiṫre fiċid deiċṁeaḋ ar ceiṫre fiċid, moċadaḋ
100 ceud, céad ceudaḋ, céadaḋ
1000 míle míleaḋ
1000000 milliún milliúnaḋ

and ceaṫair are never used with the noun, as they express the numbers in the abstract

The following lurals are used: fiċid, twenties, céadta, hundreds; but in the enumeration of the hundreds, 200, 300, etc, the singular form is used. So míle; pl. mílte; gen. mílteaḋ. The singular míle is used also in the enumeration of thousands, e.g., seaċt míle fear, seven thousand men.

Fiċe is inflected thus: gen. fiċead; dat. fiċid. Céad makes it gen céid. Milliún is inflected like a noun of the first declension.

Aon, one, and ḋá, two, aspirate the initial mutables of the nouns to which they are prefixed. Seaċt, Oċt, naoi, deiċ eclipse the initial mutables of their nouns and prefix n to thenouns beginning with a vowel. The eclipsis arises (vid. §7) from their forms orignially being seċten, oċten, noin, deċen.

The following nouns, with the exception of beirt, are formed from the cardinals:

dís, beirt two persons seaċtar, móirṡeisear, seven persons
triúr three persons oċtar eight persons
ceaṫrar four persons naonḃar nine persons
cúigear five persons deiċneaḃar ten persons
seisean six persons    

Most of these are compounded of the cardinals, and the noun fear, a man; but this has long been forgotten in practice, as they are applied to women as well as men, and fear itself is sometimes expressed in addition, as John iv. 18, óir do ḃádar cúigear fear agad, for thou hast had five husbands.







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Grammar of modern irish - Wright - 1860
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