Three sorts of PP

Le means “with”, roughly, but if you want to say “with X”, there are three different ways of doing it.

  1. le Alasdair: “with Alasdair”. This is the form used before a noun phrase that doesn’t begin with a definite article.
  2. leis an nurs: “with the nurse”. Le becomes leis before a noun phrase beginning with a definite article.
  3. leam: “with me”. This is a PP all of its very own, and there’s one for each personal pronoun, including, confusingly, leis for “with him”.

So this means that for a full grammar we need to mark the NP with whether it begins with certain determiners. Leis, and friends gus, ris and anns don’t in fact go with all determiners in Gaelic. They go with gach “each”, as in Leis gach dèagh dhùrachd “with every good wish” and mo “my” but not, say, numbers.

Let’s, then, provisionally type the forms of le as follows:

  • le: PPle/NPAN−
  • leis: PPle/NPAN+
  • leam: PPle,1s

Reminder: we need the features like le to keep track of what sort of preposition it is for agreement with words like toil (to like), and 1s to keep track of who it is liking what.

More on this, with, I hope, a shorter temporal gap before the next post than this time round.

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