Category Archives: grammar

Numbers

(1) Dìreach aona mìos deug roimhe sin… “Just eleven months before that”. In my annotation guidelines I have blithely stated “Attributive numbers are N/N“, which is fine for aona, but less so for deug, which I am going to treat … Continue reading

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Resumptivity resumed

I said (four years ago) that Gaelic doesn’t have resumptive pronouns. However, while scouring William Lamb’s Scottish Gaelic for unusual uses of agus, I found these examples, with the resumptive bit in bold. sin an gille a shuidh Cèit air (that is the … Continue reading

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Interrogative frequencies in DASG

One aspect of Gaelic I want to look at more closely is interrogatives. Just as all the wh- words in English (who, when, why, what, how) go to the front of the sentence, so do all the c- words in … Continue reading

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DASG and the second comparative

If you haven’t come across Dachaigh airson Stòras na Gàidhlig/Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic you should stop what reading this and go straight there. … Welcome back. It contains eight and a half million words and is a resource I keep … Continue reading

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Headline passive

I read the news today. To be precise, I’ve been looking at the BBC website’s news in Gaelic and I’ve spotted a grammatical theme among a large proportion of the headlines and standfirsts: Fiosrachadh ga shireadh mu ghoid charbad phoilis “information sought about … Continue reading

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The Coordinate Structure Constraint: evidence from Irish

Previously. Ross’s 1967 MIT thesis Constraints on Variables in Syntax introduced, among other things, the Coordinate Structure Constraint, which is a generalization of the intuitive notion that coordinators (in English, “and”, “but”, “or” and so on) coordinate nouns with nouns … Continue reading

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An interesting case of coordination

A few weeks ago I spotted this from @BBCAimsir (the weather in Gaelic) on Twitter: Tha i blàth agus sinn air 20C a ruighinn an Glaschu agus na Criochan. Ach frasan trom is dealanaich air nochdadh mu thimcheall Inbhir Nis. — … Continue reading

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What particles do

Most words in categorial grammar are functions. In English, a transitive verb such as “eats” is a function that takes two NP arguments and gives you a clause, S, back. The notation for this is (S/NP)\NP. (Aside: This is rather … Continue reading

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What the meaning of “is” is

This is the Scottish Gaelic is, often pronounced and written ‘s, not the English “is”. It’s a copula, and you can say things like Is mise Càilean, or ‘S math sin, but usually the constructions are more complicated than that and … Continue reading

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Hope, expectation, responsibility

Even though bi is the verb for “to be”, you can’t usually use it with two noun phrases, certainly not to say that one of them is the order. But there is a class of nouns that go quite happily with another … Continue reading

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