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PostPosted: Sat 04 Sep 2021 2:11 pm 
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Hi, I am starting to study Irish (first year) as a foreign primary teacher in Ireland, and have the following question:
I was taught that the feminine possessive adjective [a] did not call for a séimhiú on the following noun, but I found this translation on learning materials from the Marino Institute:

Níor chríochnaigh sí a hobair bhaile fós.

Could anyone explain why this is?

Go raibh maith agaibh!
: )
Tom


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PostPosted: Sat 04 Sep 2021 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat 03 May 2014 4:01 pm
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Tom Drogheda wrote:
Hi, I am starting to study Irish (first year) as a foreign primary teacher in Ireland, and have the following question:
I was taught that the feminine possessive adjective [a] did not call for a séimhiú on the following noun, but I found this translation on learning materials from the Marino Institute:

Níor chríochnaigh sí a hobair bhaile fós.

Could anyone explain why this is?


a obair bhaile = his homework
a hobair bhaile = her homework
a n-obair bhaile = their homework

prefixed h in front of vowels occurs where there is neither lenition nor eclipsis:

a huncail = her uncle, a húll = her apple, a hoinniún = her onion, a hathair = her father


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PostPosted: Sat 04 Sep 2021 5:56 pm 
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A Labhrás

Thank you for your explanation. I expected possessive adjectives to be straightforward enough, but this is Irish, right?
At least I can make sense of it now : )

Slán go fóill!


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PostPosted: Sat 04 Sep 2021 6:56 pm 
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It is pretty straightforward, though. :)

There is no lenition nor eclipsis after it, and it itself ends in a vowel, thus it prefixes h- to vowels – that’s a common pattern. And generally when something causes the h- prefix, then it does not cause lenition or eclipsis.

For example le behaves this way (le Máire, le Pól, but le hÚna), go meaning ‘to’ (go Corcaigh but go hÉirinn), or chomh (even though in writing it has a final consonant, but pronounced /xo(ː)/, chomh beag, chomh hard), to some extent the negative copula (in the standard it’s limited to pronouns and some words, eg. ní hé, ní hamháin, in older texts, proverbs, and some dialects you’ll see the h- appearing before all kinds of stuff beginning in a vowel).

So it’s either lenition or h- before vowels, never both. ;-)

(And the historical reason for this is that most Irish words ending in a vowel that don’t cause lenition or eclipsis, in pre-Old Irish times used to end in -s, this -s got lenited to h and dropped before consonants – but blocked lenition – and survived only before other vowels. The ones which originally didn’t have the s, but did not cause lenition or eclipsis, started appending h- by analogy to the other ones.)


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PostPosted: Sat 04 Sep 2021 11:58 pm 
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Thank you, Silmeth for explaining the origin of this.
I'm in the middle of writing a long academic article on lenition. This is what my article says on this (my article takes the synchronic approach - examining Irish as it is now - and not the diachronic approach):

Quote:
Firstly, lenition or non-lenition and the presence or absence of h-prefixation are related phenomena. This is because lenition—a word that fundamentally means “smoothening of articulation”—is a smooth liaison between words or morphemes. Non-lenition is blocked liaison. Where non-lenition would otherwise be required, but a word begins with a vowel, h-prefixation is often required, in order to block liaison. Thus we have, in leniting context, aL athair and aL mháthair. AL requires smooth liaison in the meaning of “his father” and thus the pronunciation is /ahirʹ/ (the common mispronunciation as /ə ˈʔahə/ ruptures smooth liaison by inserting a consonant—the English glottal stop—and also fails to pronounce the r). In “her father” and “her mother”, a| blocks liaison, and gives us a| hathair and a| máthair.


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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep 2021 9:21 pm 
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Silmeth , djwebb2021
Thank you for these in-depth explanations, that went far beyond what I was expecting to find out. This forum is amazing!
:clap:

Tom


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PostPosted: Tue 14 Sep 2021 4:29 am 
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djwebb2021 wrote:
Thank you, Silmeth for explaining the origin of this.
I'm in the middle of writing a long academic article on lenition. This is what my article says on this (my article takes the synchronic approach - examining Irish as it is now - and not the diachronic approach):

Quote:
Firstly, lenition or non-lenition and the presence or absence of h-prefixation are related phenomena. This is because lenition—a word that fundamentally means “smoothening of articulation”—is a smooth liaison between words or morphemes. Non-lenition is blocked liaison. Where non-lenition would otherwise be required, but a word begins with a vowel, h-prefixation is often required, in order to block liaison. Thus we have, in leniting context, aL athair and aL mháthair. AL requires smooth liaison in the meaning of “his father” and thus the pronunciation is /ahirʹ/ (the common mispronunciation as /ə ˈʔahə/ ruptures smooth liaison by inserting a consonant—the English glottal stop—and also fails to pronounce the r). In “her father” and “her mother”, a| blocks liaison, and gives us a| hathair and a| máthair.


Yes, a very nice explanation. Learning more every day. :)


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