Teddie wrote:Also, my teacher has never used the gaelic accents in class, so i'm not sure whether she is going to teach us them later (though i can't see a reason for this).
akerbeltz.org wrote:Meaning and use of ri are a bit more tricky. Rather than do what most textbooks do which is to give you a long list of ways in which this preoposition can be translated depending on context and the verbs it is used with, we will try to give you an idea of what concept(s) ri entails within Gaelic.
The primary meaning of ri is best summed up as "interaction between two participants in which some form of feedback or resistance is exhibited." Think of a man holding his head in front of a fan blowing at full force and you're not far off the concept. And contrary to some grammars, it *can* involve physical motion.
The reason for not just giving you a list of possible translations is that such a long list would suggest that it's a very convoluted preposition when it really isn't. We're just trying to get away from the English speaking point of view for a bit.
If you open your dictionary of Old Irish, you will see that the above definition squares largely with the original meaning of the word and is most commonly translated as 'against,' e.g. fri fál 'against a wall.' A look into your etymological dictionary will tell you that ri is most likely connected to the Indo-European root of *vṛti meaning to turn and is connected to Latin versus and the English suffix -wards. You're probaly getting a pretty good idea of the fundamental meaning of the word already. So, meaning number one is 'against' both in a physical and metaphorical way. This covers phrases like the following:
tha fàradh ris a' bhalla - there is a ladder leaning against the wall
geug a' gnogadh ris an uinneig - a branch knocking against the window
sheas i ris a' chàr - she leaned against the car
déan strì ri nàimhdean - to fight against enemies
croch ri craobh - to hang from a tree
air neo bidh mi riut! - or else you'll get it!
tha an ite maoth ri m' aghaidh - the feather is soft against my face
shuidh e r' a thaobh - he sat next to him
So why is 'hang from a tree' in there? Think of it - the rope has to be attached to something, doesn't it? Something is keeping it from falling to the ground and that is the tree.
This is where some grammars get into really hot water because they look at ri from the English point of view. But staying with the definition that ri is used for the "interaction between two participants in which some form of feedback or resistance is exhibited" the following are quite logical:
tha e a' dol ris a' ghaoith - he is going against the wind
shnàmh i ris an t-sruth - she swam upstream/against the current
bha e ris a' ghréin - it was exposed to the sun
shreap sinn ris a' bhruthach - we ascended/went up the slope
The last one incidentally forms a nice pair with leis a' bhruthach which means exacatly the opposite. Notice how in English we have to use different idiom because English looks at the world from a different angle - but in Gaelic we're still in the same system. This usage of ri is old too - Old Irish has words like fresngabál meaning 'ascent' (lit. 'taking against').
For the next meaning group we are simply going to state that in Gaelic you "compare against" rather than "with" - not as strange, think of the English idiom "to measure against!"
tha e coltach ri cù - he is similar to a dog
tha seo mór an taca ris an té sin - this is big in comparison with that one
tha e cho glas ri càl Obar Dheathain - it is as green as grass
tha e an aon dath ri mo phlangaid - it is the same colour as my blanket
This use again is old and existed as far back as Old Irish. For the next group, we get closer to the meaning 'against' again. You can think of the following as "against, tackling," still staying within the Gaelic definition of ri:
tha e ris an iasgach - he's fishing (for a living)
bha i ri ùrnaigh - she was praying
dé tha thu ris? - what are you up to?
tha iad ri trod - they're having a fight
bha iad ris a-rithist - they were at it again
So where exactly is the difference between bha i ag ùrnaigh and bha i ri ùrnaigh? Not much - some dialects even use ri instead of ag with verbal nouns - slightly more emphasis on the action taking place than in phrases with ag.
The next group also stays quite close to home - even though it gets translated into English by a word whose meaning is seeminlgy unrelated - 'with.' Again, it's a question of your point of view. The physical reality of leaning against a wall and standing side by side with somebody aren't miles apart (unless you're trying to push the wall over of course ...) and in Gaelic they are just that:
chaidh mi ann còmhla ris - I went there with him
bha iad ann maille rithe - they were there alongside her
tha iad ri chéile a-nis - they are together now
rinn mi deasbad riutha - I argues with them
It still is the same concept in Gaelic. The next group is even more obvious as "two participants whith some form of feedback or resistance:"
thachair mi ri muc-mhara - I met a whale
coinnichidh mi rithe - I will meet her
tha mi a' fuireach ris - I am waiting for him
If you look back the picture with the fan and compare it to this one, you'll notice an interesting coincidence - the same "symbol" is used in both cases to represent the action going on:
thuirt mi ris gun a dhéanamh - I told him not to do it
dh'éisd mi ruibh - I listened to you
eughaidh mi ris - I will yell at him
And then there is the remainder of expressions and idioms which use ri which are perhaps best just learned, things like réidh ri Dia 'at peace with God' where you could somehow invoke the above, but only with difficulty. Here's a list of usages which are difficult to predict but thankfully not that tricky to learn:
ri + Verbal Noun
> to be V-PAST
ri ithe - to be eaten
ri ràdh - to be said
ri dhèanamh - to be done
aig + ri > have to [present/non-tense]
tha agam ri èisteachd - I have to listen
tha aca ri bruidhinn - they have to speak
ri + Temporal Adverb
ri linn Jingis Khan - during the age of Jingis Khan
ri a latha - in his day
ri aimsir theth - in hot weather
And then there is a number of verbs which take ri for reasons best known to themselves which you just have to learn such as feitheamh ri 'waiting for' and gabh ri 'to accept', but then every language has annoying constructions which don't fit into the pradigm easily.
Im afraid Id put about as much faith in learning good (written) Gaelic from someone whos never using accents as Id put in learning good English from someone whos never using the apostrophe.
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