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 5 - The Verb

§33. —Of the Verb in General

The Irish verb has four moods : — the Indicative, Imperative, Conditional, and Infinitive. The Infinitive is used with the particles ag, iar, or ar tí, the sense of present, past, and future participles respectively.

There are five tenses, viz. : — the Present, Consuetudinal Present, Past, Consuetudinal Past, and the Future. The con- suetudinal tenses might very properly be classified as a separate mood.

The conditional mood is chiefly used in expressing a condition, and has frequently the particle , if, expressed before it. Other particles often precede it, especially g0. It may sometimes be rendered by the Latin imperfect subjunctive, but frequently has a sort of conditional future signification. Examples may be found in Matt. xiii 15; xiv. 15, 36; xx. 19; Acts vii. 19 &c.

In the ancient language the consuetudinal past and present were alike. The consuetudinal past has, in the modern language, retained the ancient synthetic, or personal form, while the present has adopted the analytic, or impersonal.

The indicative mood is often used in the sense of a subjunctive, but the latter is not distinguished by any peculiar endings. Initial changes, however, frequently take place, but these are owing to the influence of the particles preceding.

The root of the verb, for practical purposes, may be considered to be the second person singular imperative active, from which all the other parts of the verb can be formed by affixing certain terminations. Changes also take place in the beginning, but they are generally phonetic, and caused by certain particles prefixed, which serve to mark out some of the moods and tenses, and are sometimes not expressed, but understood.

The persons of the verb are formed in two different ways, analytically and synthetically. The analytic mode expresses the various persons by the third person singular of the verb and the personal pronouns. The synthetic, which is the mode generally used in the ancient language, in Irish as elsewhere, expresses the persons by terminational endings. Thus, in the analytic mode, the verb is the same throughout, the different pronouns marking the various persons and the number. In the synthetic, the verb has distinct terminations for each person except the third person singular. Thus the analytic form of the present indicative of Bi is —

Singular   Plural  
tá mé I am tá sinn we are
tá tú thou art tá siḃ you are
tá sé he is tá siad they are

But the synthetic—

Singular   Plural  
táim I am támaoid we are
táir thou art táṫaoi you are
tá sé he is táid they are

The analytic is generally used in asking a question ; e.g., an laḃrann tú Gaoiḋilge? Do you speak Irish ? But in answering, the synthetic ; laḃriam, I speak. The pronoun should not be used separately after the synthetic form, which would be a repetition of the pronoun; as deanfaid siad, they, they will do.

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§34. — Formation of Moods and Tenses.

A. — Active Voice.

The simplest form is the second person singular imperative active ; as, burnl, strike.

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The Conditional Mood is formed by adding finn, and the various terminations given in the table, to the root ; as, buail, buailfinn. When, however, the future ends in oċad, the conditional is formed from it by changing the ad of the future into ainn, the terminations being the same, with this exception, as in regular verbs; e.g., foillseoċainn, foillseoċá, tc.

The Infinitive is formed

  1. by adding aḋ to the root and prefixing do, which generally aspirates the initial mutable: this is the most usual mode, but it is
  2. sometimes like the imperative; as sgrios, infinitive, dosgrios, to destroy.
  3. Some verbs drop a slender vowel; as cuir, inf. do ċur, to place.
  4. Those in uiġ form their infinitive by adding the usual termination aḋ, only dropping the i; as. beannuiġ, infinitive do ḃeannuġaḋ, to bless. Those in form it in the usual mode, only inserting a broad vowel after the i, generally u; as foillriġ, infinitive, d'ḟoillsiuġaḋ, to show. These changes it should be borne in mind, are only euphonic, arising from that oft-repeated rule caol le caol, 7c.
  5. Some add t to the root, but as O'Donovan says, these have a second form; agair, infinitive, d'againt, or d'agraḋ, to reprovel.
  6. Some add aṁuin; as creid, infinitive, do creideaṁuin, to believe.
  7. Some add áil; as admuiġ, infinitive, d'adṁáil, to confess. O'Donovan remarks: "in all verbal nouns borrowed from the English this termination is used in the corrupt modern Irish; as boxáil, to box, cicáil, to kick, rolláil, to roll, smúdáil, to smooth" &c.
  8. Others, aṁ; as déan, infinitive do ḋéanaṁ, to do
  9. Others, again, aċd; as éisd, infinitive, d'éisdeaċd, to listen.
  10. Some few end in sin; as feic, d'ḟeicsin, to see. And lastly, some are so irregular that they can be reduced to no rule; as iarr, d'iarraiḋ, to ask; glaoḋ, infinitive, do ġlaoḋaċ, to cry out. These last must be learnt by practice, or by consulting the Dictionary.

The so-called participles, as has been reamrked in §33, are merely the infinitive used with certain particles for the present a or ag, for the psat, iar, which eclipses the initial mutable, and ar tí, or le for the future. These are frequently used as verbal nouns.

B. — Passive Voice.

In the Passive Voice the analytic mode of forming the persons prevails ; there is, therefore, only one terminational ending to be learned for each tense.

The Imperative is formed by adding tar. to the root. It has a first person singular.

The Present Indicative is formed by adding the same terminational ending.

There is no separate form for the Consuetudinal Present.

The Past is formed by adding aḋ, and prefixing do, which in this voice makes no change in the initial mutable.

The Consuetudinal Past is formed by adding taoi or : as when the particle do is prefixed, it does not affect the initial letter.

The Future is formed by adding ar, or far. to the imperative active.

The Conditional Mood is formed by adding fiḋe to the. root.

The Infinitive is formed by adding the termination ta or te, and prefixing the infinitive of the verb to be ; as do ḃeiṫ buailte, to be struck.

The Participle is formed by adding ta or te.

The Passive voice may also be formed, as in English, by the various parts of the verb to be, and the passive participle; as, tú mé buailte, or táim buailce, I am struck.

§35. — Aspirations and Eclipses.

In order to account for the various changes in the initials of the verb, we shall here give a list of such particles as aspirate and eclipse.

A. — Those that Aspirate.

1. Ar, whether? (compounded of an, whether, and ro, sign of the past tense). It is only prefixed to the past tense.

2. Do and ro signs of the past tense, and do the sign of the infinitive.

3. Gur, that (compounded of g0, that, and ro, sign of the past). It is only used with the past tense. O''Donovan points out an exception, gurab é, that it is he.

4. , if; prefixed to the indicative mood.

5. Mar, as, like as.

6. Náċar, which not (compounded of náċ, that not, and ro, sign of the past) ; prefixed to the past. It is generally contracted into nár

7. ,, not; prefixed to the present and future. sometimes eclipses, as ní ḃfuair mé, I have not found, Luke xxiii. 14, Ream's version ; ní ḃsuilim, I am not.

8. Níor, not (compounded of ni, the preceding particle, and ro) ; prefixed to the past.

B. — Those that Eclipse.

On eclipsis, see § 7.

1. An, whether? The eclipsis, perhaps, arises from the influence of the n.

2. Go that; the ancient form of this was con, which explains the ellipsis.

3. , if; prefixed to the conditional mood. The original n is seen in the old form dian. Vid. Zeuss, p. 670.

4. Iar, after ; only prefixed to participles. The full form was iarn.

5. The relative a (anciently an) when preceded by a preposition, either expressed or understood, as ó a d-táinig from whom came ; unless the particle ro, the sign of the past, or an abbreviation of it follows, in which case the verb is regularly aspirated ; e.g., Aḋáṁ ór ḟásamar, Adam from whom we have sprung.

6. Mar a, where, in which; as Mar a ndúḃairt, where he said. The ellipsis is here caused by the relative a; see preceding paragraph.

7. Muna, unless; compounded of , if, and na, not. The eclipses arise from the na, which appears in the form nan, nam, i.e., compounded with the relative an (Zeuss, p. 702); see No. 5. Its ancient form was mani.

8. Naċ, which not. In the past tense this is compounded with ro, and becomes nár, náċar ; it then aspirates, the aspiration arising, not from naċ, but ro. Zeuss (p. 703) does not seem to offer an explanation of the eclipsis ; but it may, perhaps, arise from the relative an being inherent in the word.

§ 36. The Regular Verb.

The following table contains the paradigm.

    Active Voice  
    Singular Plural
Imperative Mood 1.... 1...buailimís
    2. buail 2. buailíḋ
    3. buaileaḋ sé 3. buailidís
  Present Tense 1. buailim 1. buailimíd
  2. buailir 2. buailtí
  3. buailiḋ sé 3. buailid
Consuetudinal Present 1. buaileann mé 1. buaileann sinn
  2. buaileann tú 2. ḃuaileann siḃ
  3. buaileann sé 3. buaileann siad
Past 1. do ḃuaileas 1. do ḃuaileanar
  2. do ḃuailis 2. do ḃuaileaḃar
  3. do ḃuail sé 3. do ḃuaileadar
Consuetudinal Past 1. do ḃuailinn 1. do ḃuailimís
  2. do ḃuailṫeá 2. do ḃuailtí
  3. do ḃuaileadj sé 3. do ḃuailidís
Future 1. buailfead 1. buailfimíd
    2. buailfir 2. buailfíḋ
    3. buailfiḋ sé 3. buailfid
Conditional Mood 1. ḃuailfinn 1. ḃuailfimís
    2. ḃuailfeá 2. ḃuailfíḋ
    3. ḃauilfeaḋ sé 3. ḃauilfidís
Infinitive Mood, do ḃualaḋ Participle, ag bualaḋ

    Passive Voice  
    Singular Plural
Imperative Mood 1. buailtear mé 1. buailtear sinn
    2. buailtear ṫu 2. buailtear siḃ
    3. buailtear é 3. ḃauiltear iad
  Present Tense 1. buailtear mé 1. buailtear sinn
  2. buailtear ṫú 2. buailtear siḃ
  3. buailtear é 3. buailtear iad
Consuetudinal Present    
Past 1. do buaileaḋ mé 1. do buaileaḋ sinn
  2. do buaileaḋ ṫú 2. do buaileaḋ siḃ
  3. buailtear é 3. buaileaḋ iad
Consuetudinal Past 1. do buailtú mé 1. do buailtí sinn
  2. do bauiltí ṫú 2. do buailtí siḃ
  3. do buailtí é do buailtí iad
Future 1. buailfear mé 1. buailfear sinn
    2. buailfear ṫú 2. buailfear siḃ
    3. buailfear é 3. buailfear iad
Conditional Mood 1. buailfiḋe mé 1. buailfiḋe sinn
    2. buailfiḋe ṫu 2. buailfiḋe siḃ
    3. buailfiḋe é 3. buailfiḋe iad
Infin. a ḃeiṫ duailte Part. buailte


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Grammar of modern irish - Wright - 1860
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