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WordLover
115154.  Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:31 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Evening, suze. How's your Welsh?

What do you think of Gaazy's message http://www.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3795&start=102 ? The purpose of the inflections of Latin nouns is to mark them for number and case. Am I right in thinking that the purpose of Welsh mutation is almost entirely different? Certainly Welsh marks a noun for number otherwise than mutation. As for case...?

 
Gaazy
115160.  Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:49 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
and Seamas as Sheamais. ("Sh" is pronounced /h/, which explains the observation above.)

- which produces the forename Hamish, which was created by English writers due to misunderstanding the sound of the vocative case of Seamus - http://www.geocities.com/edgarbook/names/h/hamish.html

 
suze
115162.  Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:53 pm Reply with quote

My Welsh is at about the same level as my Irish - I can't speak it but I have a little knowledge of the structure of the language.

As I understand it, nouns in the Celtic languages can be marked for case by means of alterations either at the beginning or the end, or indeed both combined. Marking for number (i.e. the formation of plurals) seems to be done only by means of changes at the end of the word.

The number of possible initial mutations also differs between the Celtic tongues - Scottish Gaelic uses only one (that which is known as lenition in Irish), Irish uses two (lenition and eclipsis), while Breton and Welsh each use three (not the same three).

The grammatical contexts in which an initial mutation occurs in Welsh are many and varied, and Gaazy is far better qualified than I to expound upon them. Some are what we would regard as marking for case - for instance the preposition yn (meaning in) causes a mutation in the word following it, which might be regarded as marking for the locative case.

Some of the others may seem odd to those used to the major European languages - for instance a noun following the number chwech (six) is also subject to a mutation.

This Wiki article goes into the matter into some detail:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_morphology

 
Gaazy
115163.  Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:59 pm Reply with quote

WordLover wrote:
What do you think of Gaazy's message http://www.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3795&start=102 ? The purpose of the inflections of Latin nouns is to mark them for number and case. Am I right in thinking that the purpose of Welsh mutation is almost entirely different? Certainly Welsh marks a noun for number otherwise than mutation. As for case...?


Well Gaazy can answer for himself, thank you.

I said that Welsh mutations are to mark the function of a word in a sentence, and so they are - 'Brathodd gi' means 'he bit a dog' whereas 'brathodd ci' means 'a dog bit' (so: nominative and accusative).

'Ei gath' is 'his cat'; 'ei chath' is 'her cat', distinguishing gender within possessive pronouns.

'Cath fawr' is 'big cat'; 'gath fawr' is 'O! big cat' (as if addressing it) - so vocative.

And so on. Mutations don't have to do with number - the end of the word changes for that, except for wonderful exceptions like 'llaw' (hand) which in the plural is dwylo.

 
Lumpo31
115297.  Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:05 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
If you were speaking in Irish to go with their Irish names, yes you would in some cases. My knowledge of the Irish language is modest, but as far as I understand it you need to do two things to form the vocative case of the name.

1. If the name begins with what Irish grammars call a lenitable consonant (which is all consonants other than l, n and r), then an h is added after the initial consonant. So for instance if you had a son Padraig, when directly addressing him you would call him Phadraig. ("Ph" is pronounced /f/.) Names beginning with l, n and r or with a vowel are not subject to this addition of an h.

2. Male names in which the last vowel is a, o or u add an i after that vowel. So Donall would be addressed as Dhonaill, and Seamas as Sheamais. ("Sh" is pronounced /h/, which explains the observation above.) This addition of an i does not happen with female names.

A handful of names are "irregular" and the i is not added when it might be expected. As it happens, the most common of these is Liam - which therefore stays as Liam.


This is absolutely fantastic stuff.

As it happens, we have a Liam. So he remains the same.

But we also have a Maitias and a Declan.

So - Eilis remains the same. Not only is she female, but her name begins with a vowel. Liam also remains the same, as already established. Maitias (Maa-ty-uss) - hmmm...hard to figure how to work that extra "i" sound in...would he have an "h" added, making it Mhaitiais?

Declan = Dheclain. Brilliant!

Glad we didn't go with Donnachadh for No. 4...

Lisa

 
suze
115301.  Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:08 pm Reply with quote

Declan would in fact become Dheclain I think - I reckon both the things need to happen to that one.

I suppose Maitias would become Mhaitiais, but if there are any Irish speakers here perhaps they could confirm or otherwise.

 
Gaazy
115342.  Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:00 am Reply with quote

This exactly parallels how it used to be with Welsh, and still is by those of a pedantic bent, especially after the word 'Annwyl' (Dear) at the beginning of a letter.

So Deio would become Ddeio,

Peryn would become Beryn,

Tudwal would become Dudwal,

Cai would become Gai,

Gareth would become Areth,

Bryn would become Fryn,

Llew would become Lew,

Maldwyn would become Faldwyn,

and Rhodri would become Rodri.

 
Lumpo31
115349.  Sat Nov 11, 2006 4:06 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Declan would in fact become Dheclain I think - I reckon both the things need to happen to that one.

I suppose Maitias would become Mhaitiais, but if there are any Irish speakers here perhaps they could confirm or otherwise.


You must have caught me while I was editing, re Dheclain!

I think this is fabulous.

Lisa

 
samivel
115398.  Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:57 am Reply with quote

Does this mutation still apply if you're talking in Welsh or Irish to someone with, for example, an English name? So would 'Peter' become 'Beter'?

 
Izzardesque
115953.  Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:38 pm Reply with quote

Is it just me, or is it slightly odd that the ones that stay the same are called irregular?

 
suze
116019.  Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:52 am Reply with quote

Actually, it's just me being sloppy.

I referred to the ones which stay the same as being "irregular", when all I meant was that they do not follow the usual pattern for male names.

In fact, the name Liam is not really irregular - it's just that it's a masculine noun of the fourth declension while most male names ending in a broad consonant* are of the first declension. Another small handful belong to the third declension, and so also have vocative forms which do not follow the usual pattern - for instance Diarmaid becomes Dhiarmuid.

On the broader question though, I would suggest that the handful of English nouns where the plural is the same as the singular would be considered irregular - even though they stay the same where most others change. The situation with marking for case in languages which do it is analogous.


* this is a term from Irish grammar; it means a consonant preceded by the vowels a, o or u.

 
Gaazy
116107.  Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:06 am Reply with quote

samivel wrote:
Does this mutation still apply if you're talking in Welsh or Irish to someone with, for example, an English name? So would 'Peter' become 'Beter'?

Theoretically yes, though the practice of mutating a proper name used vocatively has all but died out.

However, the mutation following the preposition yn ('in' used locatively) is still alive and kicking, so 'in Cardiff' would not be 'yn Caerdydd' but 'yng Nghaerdydd'.

For places outside Wales without Welsh names*, the mutation is still standard, so 'in Birmingham' is 'ym Mirmingham'; similarly 'to Birmingham' (taking a different mutation, the soft rather than the nasal) becomes 'i Firmingham'.

'Dwi ddim isio mynd i Firmingham' ('I don't want to go to Birmingham') was a popular song in the 1970s.

*cf post 90893

 
hetch
122518.  Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:23 am Reply with quote

Lumpo31 wrote:

Declan = Dheclain. Brilliant!


The only problem with Declan is that it's not an Irish name in Irish. It's actually an English version of Déagláin.

This is similar to Patrick, considered a very Irish name but, being pedantic, it's actually Padraig that's the Irish name.

So, if you were addressing someone, in Irish, called Déagláin you'd change it to Dhéagláin but there's be no tradition of doing this with the English spelling. Likewise, I've never heard anyone say "... a Phatrick".

 
hetch
122527.  Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:37 am Reply with quote

Gaazy wrote:
The reference book I checked this up in also gave the name of the month of June as an tSamhraidh, which is pronounced a-towree.

The above is an example of the use of the urú (or eclipsis) in Irish, the other form of mutation with lenition.

The sound of the urú takes over the start of the word.

In the example above (the Irish word for Summer actually, not June. June is "Meitheamh") the initial pronunciation would have been - Samhradh: "sow" (like female pig) & "ru"

When you say "the Summer", it becomes an tSamhraidh i.e. "on" & "tau" & "ru"

 
Jenny
122628.  Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:45 pm Reply with quote

Aha - that would explain why Samhain is pronounced 'Soween'.

 

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