'ri' as verbal particle?

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
Eòs Buidhe
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:30 pm
Language Level: Beginner
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: North Carolina, USA

'ri' as verbal particle?

Unread post by Eòs Buidhe » Sat May 03, 2014 3:48 pm

What does it mean when ri is used with verbal nouns? The following two examples jump out at me: 1.) Dè ghabhas tu ri ithe? 2.) Bha e ri càradh brogan. If I had to guess, I'd say the first example pairs ri with ithe so that they function like an infinitive. If that is the case would it be odd to use the infinitive form a dh'ithe here instead?
In the second example, ri seems to be taking on the role of the particle ag/a'. Does ri lend the statement a different nuance or are ri and a' interchangeable in this sentence?



faoileag
Maor
Posts: 1459
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:19 am

Re: 'ri' as verbal particle?

Unread post by faoileag » Sun May 04, 2014 12:34 am

'ri' has many uses in Gaelic, but basically they all reflect an interface between two elements - where X meets Y, practically or metaphorically.
Learn the uses gradually as you meet them, NOT by heart from lists. Take the time to develop a feel for them.

In the examples you quote, the first one is basically taking the role of a passive infinitive.
In English you can say 'there was nothing to see' or nothing to be seen' . In this situation Gaelic uses 'ri' + lenited verbal noun. (In formal Gaelic ri + possessive pronoun+ verbal noun.)
Cha robh dad ri fhaicinn.
(Literally it means 'to its seeing', or in your example, 'to its eating', but this is maybe less helpful as a way to remember it.)

You can't use the active 'infinitive' ( a controversial term) here in Gaelic. That is normally used after verbs of motion, indicating purpose - why you went somewhere.


In the second, this is a common use to express being engaged in (usually standard) activities or even professions, and is still used in Highland English - they're at the fishing, she's at the nursing, he's forever at the dancing. There is a different nuance to it than just 'they're fishing' etc - the engagement or commitment is emphasised.

Seonaidh
Posts: 1486
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:00 pm
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Faisg air Gleann Rathais

Re: 'ri' as verbal particle?

Unread post by Seonaidh » Sun May 04, 2014 12:46 am

¿Qué?

"Bha e ri ithe": you say "He was at the eating" - weird. Now explain "Bha aige ri ithe"... See what I mean? Incidentally, that second one would usually be yurned into English as "He had to eat" - lit. "It was at him to eat".

The odd thing is that my cursory expeditions into the realms of Irish have thus far failed to reveal a wotsit (preposition?) like "ri". In many places where we use "ri" Irish seems to use "le". Have I just missed it - or is there something in this?

faoileag
Maor
Posts: 1459
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:19 am

Re: 'ri' as verbal particle?

Unread post by faoileag » Sun May 04, 2014 12:59 am

Now you're adding confusion via yet another use of 'ri'. :spors:

Bha aige ri ithe - it was at him to eat - it was his responsibility/duty/obligation to eat. i.e. an external, impersonal burden that he has. (Like 'Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die').

(c.f. English 'it was up to him to do it' - slightly different nuance of meaning, but comparable concept and construction.)

Eòs Buidhe
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:30 pm
Language Level: Beginner
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: 'ri' as verbal particle?

Unread post by Eòs Buidhe » Tue May 06, 2014 2:39 am

I appreciate the help and advice. Like you suggest, it's probably better to learn about the different uses of ri as I come across them rather than trying to formulate a comprehensive list, but your explanations definitely shed some light on these particular uses of the word. Tapadh leibh!

GunChleoc
Rianaire
Posts: 4452
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:26 am
Language Level: Mion-chùiseach
Corrections: Please correct my grammar
Location: Dùthaich mo chridhe
Contact:

Re: 'ri' as verbal particle?

Unread post by GunChleoc » Tue May 06, 2014 7:33 am

Akerbeltz also has a page on the meaning of ri: http://www.akerbeltz.org/index.php?title=Ri
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

Post Reply