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Posted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 1:03 am
by MarcMacUilleim

I was listening to ... adainn.htm recently and was puzzled by the grammar of the title.

Of course I understand "summer dawn", but was wondering why samhradh was both lenited AND slenderised.

Surely samhradh is a noun and, as such, does not need to agree with a feminine noun which it qualifies in the way that an adjective does, so would "dawn of summer" not just be "òg-mhadainn samhraidh"? No lenition required.

Alternatively, if "samhradh" is really functioning like an adjective here, then surely it would be "òg-mhadainn shamhradh"? No slenderisation required.

Am I missing some subtlety of grammar here?


Re: Shamhraidh

Posted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:57 pm
by Seonaidh
Often happens. Here, "summer" is used to describe some aspect of the young morn, or "dawn". In Gaelic, when a noun's used to describe another, it goes genitive - just as one say "a summer's dawn" in English. Also, of course, when a noun is used thus it's effectively an adjective - a word denoting a feature or property of the other noun (Welsh and Gaelic have much better words than "adjective", ones that actually mean "quality-word", viz "ansoddair" and "buadhair"). So, if the noun being described is grammatically feminine, the "adjective" (noun in the genitive case) tends to lenite.

This lenition actually extends to proper names even when the noun is grammatically masculine...e.g. "Baile Dhùn Èideann", "Òran Sheanar" and such like.

Re: Shamhraidh

Posted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:05 pm
by MarcMacUilleim
Thanks for the reply.

Re: Shamhraidh

Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:26 pm
by GunChleoc
You always have the genitive form in these contexts.

Lenition (=being treated as an adjective here) is also added for close compounds. However, you might have some disagreement between speakers what counts as a close compound. So, you can get lenition in these contexts more often than you would expect from the pure grammar rules. I guess the rule used in this case is: if in doubt, lenite :lol:

Re: Shamhraidh

Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:40 pm
by MarcMacUilleim
Thanks for the reply.

When I was up at SMO during the summer, there was a Summer School there for a week which most people referred to as "An Sgoil Shamhraidh". However, there were several of the older tutors who were adamant that this was incorrect, quoting the GOC and various grammar books, and that it arose out of a fundamental misunderstanding of Gaelic grammar. You know the sort of thing: "no matter how much it feels like an adjective, it isn't - it's just a noun in the genetive case qualifying another noun in the nominative case without the definite article, so no lenition". :-)