Category Archives: grammar

Geàrr Ghràmar na Gàidhlig

Tha mi air a bhith a’ leughadh Geàrr Ghràmar na Gàidhlig le Richard A. V. Cox. Tha e glè dhlùth, mhionaideach is 492 duilleagan a dh’fhaide is e anns a’ Ghàidhlig air fad. Mar sin tha sanas bhriathar ann is … Continue reading

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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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