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 coming back to. In my first investigation, I’m looking for the second comparative, which I had never seen before last weekend. Here’s an example:

Is feairrde na stamagan srubag dheth

(The stomachs are better for a wee drink in them.) It’s explained in Gillie’s Elements of Scottish Gaelic Grammar, as differing from the normal comparative (“Xer”) in that it means “Xer by that” or “Xer because of that”. If you search for a word, DASG gives you a concordance so you can look at the local context of words.

Some second comparatives in DASG: feairrd, feairrde, misd, bigid, lughaid. An ambiguous word that might be a second comparative: mòid. I look forward to a POS-tagged version of DASG.

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2 Responses to DASG and the second comparative

  1. This thing exists in Irish too: fearrde, measaide, lúide. The usual explanation is that it’s a combination of the normal comparative plus the preposition de.

    It has been made famous by the advertising slogan is fearrde thú Guinness, Guinness is good for you. I get the impression it’s falling out of productive use, though. If it’s alive and kicking in Scottish Gaelic, then I say is fearrde an teanga é, the language is all the better for it!

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