Body Parts in the Genitive?

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
caiptean
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:22 am
Language Level: Advanced Beginner
Corrections: Please correct my grammar
Location: Iowa, USA
Contact:

Body Parts in the Genitive?

Unread post by caiptean » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:52 pm

Hi!

So recently I've been working through Speaking Our Language using Anki to reinforce the vocabulary, and I've gotten to the lesson about body parts. One thing I'm curious about is that they always seem to put the words for neck/throat and knee in the genitive case even though grammatically speaking it seems like it wouldn't be necessary. For instance:

Tha m' amhaich goirt.

Trobhad gus an nigh mi do ghlùin.


Is it just a dialect thing? Or is there some underlying grammar rule at work here of which I'm ignorant?



akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1745
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Re: Body Parts in the Genitive?

Unread post by akerbeltz » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:23 am

They're not in the genitive 8-)

caiptean
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:22 am
Language Level: Advanced Beginner
Corrections: Please correct my grammar
Location: Iowa, USA
Contact:

Re: Body Parts in the Genitive?

Unread post by caiptean » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:41 am

Oh dear, that's embarassing >.> I really am stumped then. What am I missing? Is it just spelling conventions? What's with the slenderization? Do enlighten me :D

akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1745
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Re: Body Parts in the Genitive?

Unread post by akerbeltz » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:31 pm

Ah I see where you're coming from now. Some words just end in a slender consonant/vowel to begin with. If you hit the Faclair Beag with a Gaelic word, it will show you the dictionary form (also called the root), even if you put in an inflected word so for example if you punch in bhùird, it will tell you the root is bòrd and that it means table etc.

What sometimes CAN be a fly in the ointment is that sometimes native speakers disagree of what's the root. Sometimes a slenderised form becomes so common that people suddenly thing that's the root. So in the case of glùin, technically glùn is the root but many people use glùin as the root.

Bit of a pain for the learner but my advice is to stick to whatever your preferred form is or what your fav dictionary tells you.

An Gobaire
Posts: 688
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:47 am
Language Level: Fileanta
Corrections: Please correct my grammar
Location: Saitama, an Iapan
Contact:

Re: Body Parts in the Genitive?

Unread post by An Gobaire » Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:06 pm

The reason for the slenderisation may be that most of the body parts are feminine, and in traditional Gaelic grammar, feminine nouns slenderised in the prepositional case (definite and indefinite), as well as in the genitive, whereas masculine nouns did not slenderise in the dative/prepositional case.

Perhaps the slenderisation of body parts that you see is a remnant of that where speakers/writers continue to use the old feminine dative/prepositional form? Just a thought though.
Dèan buil cheart de na fhuair thu!

caiptean
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:22 am
Language Level: Advanced Beginner
Corrections: Please correct my grammar
Location: Iowa, USA
Contact:

Re: Body Parts in the Genitive?

Unread post by caiptean » Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:10 am

Ah I see! I think for the sake of my hairline I'll just stick with what Faclair tells me :P Thank you!

Níall Beag
Rianaire
Posts: 1354
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:58 pm
Language Level: Cofhurtail (chan ann bho thùs)
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Sruighlea, Alba
Contact:

Re: Body Parts in the Genitive?

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:18 pm

An Gobaire wrote:Perhaps the slenderisation of body parts that you see is a remnant of that where speakers/writers continue to use the old feminine dative/prepositional form? Just a thought though.
Quite possibly. When languages lose cases, it's not uncommon for some words to get frozen in one case form and others to get stuck in a different one, just through frequency of usage. "Taigh", for example, is the old dative case, presumably because people were most used to it in situations such as "in the house" "to the house" etc.

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

Re: Body Parts in the Genitive?

Unread post by Seonaidh » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:40 am

Quite so. Such forms for areas as "Cataibh" "Archaibh", "Moireibh" and many similar are actually now defunct dative/prepositional plurals.

Post Reply