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
§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.
In like manner, decline—
§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.
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.
In like manner decline—
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.
§ 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.
After this manner the learner might exercise himself with the following, give by Neilson in his Irish Grammar:—
"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 : —
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 : —
Dó 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:
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.