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Cross-Goidelic comparisons

Posted: 2015-03-09, 17:09
by Sectori
Rather than derailing Aisling's thread by interjecting stuff about Gaelic, I thought I'd start a new one.
linguoboy wrote:
Ciarán12 wrote:Okay, but as Teilifís atá ann and teilifís atá inti only differ in the grammatical gender of the form of i here, what would you make of it if a masculine noun were used? Say, Buidéal atá ann for example?
It would depend on the context and the speaker. If they spoke an Ulster dialect, I'd assume it was classificatory. If they were Munster, I might wonder if I was missing part of the sentence.

Ciarán12 wrote:Perhaps I've simply picked up the wrong impression of its use due to that particular usage being rarely applicable to non-humans.
Or perhaps it's me who's formed the wrong impression. If I find any examples in the wild of the dynamic meaning being applied to non-humans, I'll share them here.

For what it's worth, the Ulster structure you're talking about is standard in all varieties of Gaelic AFAIK:

’S e tidsear a th’ annad. You're a teacher.
’S e dotairean a th’ annainn. We're doctors.
’S e buidseach a th’ innte. She's a witch.
’S e daoine beaga a th’ annta. They're little people.

When talking about inanimates, while using innte with feminine singular nouns and annta with plurals might technically be correct, IME people only ever use ann:

’S e telebhisean (m.) a th’ ann. It's a television.
’S e croit (f.) a th’ ann. It's a croft. (thinking about it now, ’S e croit a th’ innte could I'm pretty sure only mean She's a croft, which sounds ridiculous)

The bi ann an (= bí i) structure exists also, but it has a more limited scope. It's used mostly for professions and similar, — Tha mi nam oileanach I am a student, e.g. — whereas ’s e...a th’ ann (an) has a much range (as in ’s e daoine beaga a th’ annta; you couldn't say tha iad nan daoine beaga).