Late Old Irish lenition and the modern Gaelic Verb

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Late Old Irish lenition and the modern Gaelic verb traces the development of lenition from Old Irish sources (such as the 8th- and 9th-century Würzburg and Milan Glosses) through the medieval period into the modern era. The dialect maps of the modern Gaelic languages in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man are examined in minute detail and 19 new maps are also provided. The particles ro, no and do ‘geminated’ in Old Irish (by analogy with the negative particle ní <Archaic Old Irish nís). In late Old Irish, however, these particles merged with the leniting neuter infixed pronoun a to produce the innovatory series of preverbal ro, no, do and ní leniting – although in Modern Irish ní of the copula retains older ní ‘geminating’ (now ‘h + vowel’), as does the archaic negative of the passive in certain Munster and Galway dialects.The ever-increasing popularity of lenition as a relative marker from late Old Irish onwards is also examined and used to explain the current distribution of secondary lenited independent forms thá in Scotland, Waterford and, more recently, Dingle (in the light of accompanying lenited forms dh’ól ‘drank’ and mharbh(uighe)adh ‘was killed’) as opposed to non-lenited tá, d’ól and marbh(uighe)adh in other areas of the pan-Gaelic world, such as Connaught, Ulster and the Isle of Man. Chapters are dedicated: to Rathlin Gaelic, as a frontier dialect between East and West; to explaining the occurrence of Middle Irish tuc, táinic and tarla as lenited thug ‘gave’, thainig ‘came’, tharla ‘happened’ in the modern era; while another chapter looks at the dating implications of the various developments during some thirteen centuries of historical Gaelic philology. The work may be said to be an admixture of linguistic geography and geology and will be of interest to the historical linguist in Celtic Studies and further afield.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherCurach Bhán Publications
ISBN (Print)978-3-942002-13-4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 6 Nov 2013


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