Le / leis before gach

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
Níall Beag
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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by Níall Beag » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:01 pm

MarcMacUilleim wrote:
An Gobaire wrote:It is always "leis" before "gach".

Le deagh dhùrachd.
Leis gach deagh dhùrachd.

It most certainly isn't, otherwise I wouldn't have asked!

Chaidh iarraidh orm seo a sgaoileadh .

Le gach deagh dhùrachd

Catriona NicIain
Stiùiriche Cùrsa
Dioplòma anns na Meadhanan Gàidhlig
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig


Le gach deagh dhùrachd,
Mira Byrne
Iar-Mhanaidsear nan Goireasan
01471-888 675
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Ionad Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig
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Nach tig sibh thugam ma bhios ceist no beachd sam bith agaibh air a’ chuspair seo.

Le gach dùrachd
Sgotaidh
Ceann-suidhe
Comann nan Oileanach

M.s.a.a.
Sgotaidh and Mira are both non-natives. I don't know Catriona, so couldn't say. But even assuming she's a native speaker, there's still the possibility that an all-pervasive non-native pattern in official use can get in the way of her native intuition/



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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by An Gobaire » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:41 am

Níall Beag wrote:
MarcMacUilleim wrote:
An Gobaire wrote:It is always "leis" before "gach".


native speaker, there's still the possibility that an all-pervasive non-native pattern in official use can get in the way of her native intuition/
Why is there this pervasive attitude among some learners that the correct grammar is somehow "non-native"? Just because it is a non-native who has learned the correct grammar, doesn't mean the grammar itself is non-native. Fluent/near-native learners of Gaelic are fluent / near-native often because they have completely immersed themselves in the native language when it was possible to do so.
There is colloquial usage and formal usage.

ann an taigh duine
ann an taigh an duine
ann an taigh dhaoine
ann an taigh nan daoine
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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by Seonaidh » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:37 pm

To whom might you be addressing that, A' Ghobaire?

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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by Níall Beag » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:18 pm

An Gobaire wrote:Why is there this pervasive attitude among some learners that the correct grammar is somehow "non-native"? Just because it is a non-native who has learned the correct grammar, doesn't mean the grammar itself is non-native.
This is rather confusing. I was dismissing evidence from non-natives that you yourself had called "incorrect" grammar, and now you're jumping on me for calling it incorrect?!?

However, your definition of "correct" denies the existence of legitimate variation. In my previous message, I compared a theoretical loss of "leis"/"ris" before "gach" with an observable loss of "leis"/"ris" before possessives -- unless you're suggesting that Rev Iain MacLeod of Àrnol in Lewis really didn't know what he was talking about when he wrote "nam aonar le mo smaointean" instead of "nam aonar leis mo smaointean", and that a learner who would say the latter is somehow a "better" Gaelic speaker than the native who wrote the song in the first place.

Note that whatever some idiots say, "to whom?" is not actually better English than "who to?" As a learner, I gravitate towards conservative usage, but I would never condescend to declare that a naturally-occuring form is ever "wrong".

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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by An Gobaire » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:56 pm

Correct grammar is correct grammar and if it's incorrect grammatically speaking, well, it's incorrect.

Those examples are colloquial versus formal. I.e. spoken Gaelic versus written.

If you incorrectly write le gach dùrachd or le gach deagh dhùrachd, you can always pass it off as being colloquial - if it bothers you that much.
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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by akerbeltz » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:06 pm

Correct grammar is correct grammar and if it's incorrect grammatically speaking, well, it's incorrect.
Although linguistics is a science, human language isn't scientific the way thermodynamics or algebra is. Unless dead, all living languages are in a constant state of flux and the internal grammar of each generation differs slightly from one to the next. So grammar in human language is not binary right-or-wrong. It usually slides on a continuum of definitely wrong <> sounds a bit odd <> I wouldn't say it like that but you hear it <> I say it like that along with many others <> definitely right ... or something like that. By default, linguistis rely on native speaker judgements for this kind of thing. Who else is there to ask? :priob:

Take cha seas vs cha sheas. Historically cha seas is the established form but cha sheas is default in Lewis these days. And while beek is technically right, it hasn't been common for a long time.

So if there are native speakers who find le gach as acceptable as leis gach, then that makes it linguistically acceptable. At which point either becomes *prescriptive* is a different issue. Right now, I'm not putting too much store in the grammar books of Gaelic in term of prescription because the authors over the last 150 years have had a tendency to copy an older author. What actually goes on in native heads to me often seems to be quite different. But then MyGaelic.com was sexier than a research-based new grammar of Gaelic <osna>

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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by An Gobaire » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:37 pm

If there was no correct grammar, there would be no correct grammar books. (incorrect grammar here)

We're not talking about "Linguistically acceptable" or "Linguistically unacceptable", we're just talking about what is correct grammar and what isn't.

You can say whatever you like and most times it will be linguistically acceptable because people don't give two hoots about the grammar as long as they know what you are trying to say. It's also linguistically acceptable because it is up to you how you say something, you may prefer to say something one way because you are being lazy one day, or say it another way the next, because you are wearing a suit and tie. It doesn't matter.
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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by An Gobaire » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:58 pm

akerbeltz wrote:all living languages are in a constant state of flux and the internal grammar of each generation differs slightly from one to the next.
Question, akerbeltz.

There are changes in the internal grammar of each generation because language is in a constant state of flux and there are changes in the internal grammar of each generation, because each generation uses the language less and hears less of it around them.

Which of these two categories does Gaelic fall into?
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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by Seonaidh » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:43 pm

The third. An divvent dunsh we. A bhalachaibh, stadaibh.

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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by akerbeltz » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:17 am

There are changes in the internal grammar of each generation because language is in a constant state of flux and there are changes in the internal grammar of each generation, because each generation uses the language less and hears less of it around them.
My statement applies to all languages. Your English is not the same as that of your parents or grandparents. Gaelic is subject to the same processes.

As for the Gaelic of many younger people getting a bit ropey from lack of use, of course, it would be absurd to deny this. But the issue of le gach vs leis gach is SO far removed from the potential impact English might have that one would have to come up with a really hair-raising theory as to how that is the fault of English.

Not every change in Gaelic is due to English. While there are still native speakers, the language itself will continue to change of its own accord. Whether you like that or not.

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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by An Gobaire » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:45 am

Ok, well fair points.

I think the examples with "le gach dùrachd" show a change in the language register and informal, spoken Gaelic being used in formal, written correspondence. Whether that is what you describe above, I'm not too sure. Emails are by their nature less formal, whereas taking the time to write out or type out and print a formal letter would lend itself to more formal usage of language, and in a time when language was used more formally.

Agus a Sheonaidh chòir, ist. 'S e fòram deasbaid a tha seo, mura bheilear ag iarraidh deasbad, tha cho math dhuinn falbh gu fòram Hiort. Ma tha sinn a' dol a bhruidhinn air "mùthadh" a thaobh na Gàidhlig, chan fhaod "mùchadh" na Gàidhlig a leigeil seachad, air neo, cha tèid sinn gu fìrinn na cùise idir.
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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by An Gobaire » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:45 am

Ok, well fair points.

I think the examples with "le gach dùrachd" show a change in the language register and informal, spoken Gaelic being used in formal, written correspondence. Whether that is what you describe above, I'm not too sure. Emails are by their nature less formal, whereas taking the time to write out or type out and print a formal letter would lend itself to more formal usage of language, and in a time when language was used more formally.

Agus a Sheonaidh chòir, ist. 'S e fòram deasbaid a tha seo, mura bheilear ag iarraidh deasbad, tha cho math dhuinn falbh gu fòram Hiort. Ma tha sinn a' dol a bhruidhinn air "mùthadh" a thaobh na Gàidhlig, chan fhaod "mùchadh" na Gàidhlig a leigeil seachad, air neo, cha tèid sinn gu fìrinn na cùise idir.
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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by Pàdruig » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:17 am

An Sgeulaiche, Leabhar 2, Alasdair mac Labhruinn,
le gach : p. 102
leis gach: p. 230, 237, 291, 292,

Dain agus Òran Gàidhlig, Màiri Nic a-Phearsaoin, 1891
leis gach : p. 1, 84, 89, 162, 169
le gach 0

Popular Tales of the West Highland 1, Campel, 1890
leis gach : p. 153
le gach 0

Popular Tales of the West Highland 2, Campel, 1890
leis gach : p. 441
le gach 0

Clasach na Coille, Maclean Sinclair, 1881
leis gach : p. 2, 28
le gach 0

Celtic Garland, Fionn, 1920
leis gach : 6, 40
le gach : p. 58

Leabhraichean an t-Sean Tiomnaidh agus an Tiomnaidh Nuadh, 1807
lucas 4. 4 le gach
leis gach, Genesis 31.1 ; 31. 21 ; Ecsodus 12. 16 ; Lebhiticus 10. 10 ; Deuteronomi 8. 3 ; 2 Samuel 2. 3 ; 2 Eachdraidh 15. 6 etc.

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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by An Gobaire » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:11 am

Deagh rannsachadh.

Leis gach 22 Le gach 3
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Re: Le / leis before gach

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:09 pm

An Gobaire wrote:If there was no correct grammar, there would be no correct grammar books. (incorrect grammar here)

We're not talking about "Linguistically acceptable" or "Linguistically unacceptable", we're just talking about what is correct grammar and what isn't.
And what exactly is the determining characteristic of "correct" grammar? What is your reference point?

The thing with traditional grammar books (in any language) is that the best best of them were simply someone's "best guess" at the language -- whereas the worst were a collection of prejudices about how the lower classes were inferior. Most books are a mix of the two, with a lot of "received wisdom" thrown in.

There's a simple reason why grammar has fallen out of favour in English-medium schools -- grammar teaching for the native should be about teaching awareness of patterns that are already intuitive to the student, but grammar lessons in English tended to be a continual lecture of "everything you ever say is wrong". This was discouraging, and caused kids to disengage from the school environment. It's also left us with a ridiculously large difference between formal and informal registers, to the point where they're practically different languages, and when most people in positions of power speak formal ("written") English and most working class people only write informal ("spoken") English, it's divisive.

Is that something for Gaelic to aspire to? Some register difference will arise spontaneously, but we shouldn't go out of the way to enforce differences that serve no practical purpose.

Now, as I said, traditional grammar books are just a blend of guesses, received wisdom and prejudice. Modern grammar books are based on statistical study of the language as it is used by people, and this data isn't available for Gaelic (yet). Will Lamb's PhD work, while not being big enough in scope to represent a definitive corpus study, indicated some interesting patterns that nobody else had been speaking about before.

For example, traditionalists insisted on always using the dative/prepositional case after a preposition; modernists said the dative was dead. Lamb spotted that neither was right -- he said the most common pattern was to use the dative when the following nounphrase had only one noun, and to use the default case if the noun was followed by another noun in the genitive. The example he gives compares the sentence "thuit a' chlach air cas mo mhnà" (cas in default case) with the phrase "air a cois" (note dative/prepositional cois).
you may prefer to say something one way because you are being lazy one day,
You have accidentally cut to the heart of the problem with prescriptivist grammar (and also the English spelling system) -- if it takes conscious effort to speak/write in the manner considered "proper", you are actually causing yourself a handicap: mental resources are diverted from the task at hand in order to focus on the form of the language.

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