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am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Thu May 28, 2015 4:57 pm
by jt256
Hallo. I'm confused as to how to refer to the Cairngorms in Gaelic - I want to say 'they are great'. Attempt is below:

"Bidh mi a’ dol dhan Mhonadh Ruadh a h-uile bliadhna. Tha e/i/iad? uabhasach math."

What pronoun should I use? I assume you use e for masculine nouns, i for feminine, but what about plurals? Or perhaps they're not even plural in Gaelic, as it's am Monadh Ruadh rather than na. Thanks

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 12:09 pm
by poor_mouse
It's singular, I think, and masculine: Am Monadh Ruadh, thought they are (or it is?) plural in English.

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 2:26 pm
by MarcMacUilleim
Rather good Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairngorms

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 2:54 pm
by akerbeltz
Mostly, with inanimate objects these days, it defaults to e with i being restricted to items biologically feminine. So an uinneag would be e but a piseag/caileag/capallwould be i. Monadh is e anyway, the fact English makes it plural is not relevant.

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 3:03 pm
by MarcMacUilleim
akerbeltz wrote:So an uinneag would be e
Really?

"Am faod mi an uinneag fhosgladh?"
"Faodaidh. Fosgail e!"

That's wrong, surely.

That would mean that you'd have to say "Faodaidh tu ga fhosladh rather than ga fosladh, which is clearly wrong.

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 4:09 pm
by akerbeltz
That's wrong, surely.
It depends on whether you go by what people actually say or by what the grammar books say. In English split infinitives are "clearly wrong" too even though most people use them all the time. Referring to stuff in the 3rd person is almost invariably e (with the ancillary ga/na forms) in spoken Gaelic unless biological gender is involved. You have to find a really conservative speaker for them to even notice. Same as with slenderisation in the prepositional cases, which is also dead outside frozen forms.
That would mean that you'd have to say "Faodaidh tu ga fhosladh rather than ga fosladh, which is clearly wrong.
PS that's wrong anyway, it's faodaidh tu fhosgladh

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 4:18 pm
by MarcMacUilleim
Thanks.

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:00 am
by akerbeltz
You're welcome. It's a tricky subject. Not only because language change gets people worked up (though there is evidence of the dative being dead etc going back a long time). But also because the people who write grammar books usually love grammar, the more complex the better. So there is nothing really out there in print which says 'this is what conservative looks like but this is what people actually say'. Which leads to a dangerous discrepancy.
Plus just about every learner getting close to fluency usually goes through a phase where they go for highly conservative grammar and a near total dislike of loanwords. Been there. And then we come down to Earth again 8-)

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:06 am
by MarcMacUilleim
I take your point totally! I flatter myself that I'm approaching "book" fluency (passed An Cùrsa Adhartais with little effort) but realise that I need now to follow the advice of my tutors and take a job in a shop in Stafainn or somesuch if I ever want to have a hope of speaking Gaelic like what she is spoke...

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:08 pm
by akerbeltz
Yes, that sounds like a good idea. Or maybe volunteer with some crofter or farmer - pity we don't have Gaeltacht placements like they do in Ireland.

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:21 pm
by Mairead
akerbeltz wrote:Referring to stuff in the 3rd person is almost invariably e (with the ancillary ga/na forms) in spoken Gaelic unless biological gender is involved. You have to find a really conservative speaker for them to even notice.
Is referring to the weather as feminine then, eg "Tha i fuar", just an odd exception to this general rule of thumb? My teacher always said that with "i" rather than "e", but are there now lots of people who would say "Tha e fuar" as well? Just wondering how widespread this is.

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:07 am
by GunChleoc
Tha i fuar = the weather (feminine) is cold
Tha e fuar = the day (masculine) is cold.

So, you can say both, but I don't know which one is more frequent.

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:45 pm
by akerbeltz
I'm having a deja-vu moment, I'm sure we just had this somewhere ;)

Yes, there are some notable exceptions where i is in use regardless of animancy: the weather, countries (all feminine)... mmm what else, boats... I think that's mostly it.

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:07 pm
by Mairead
That's really interesting. Is this spoken-Gaelic switch to mainly just using 'e' also true in broadcasting, eg BBC Alba or Gaelic radio? Or do you tend to find 'i' more there than in everyday spoken Gaelic?

Re: am Monadh Ruadh - pronoun agreement

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:53 pm
by Níall Beag
A Welsh teacher claimed that in all older Celtic, the so-called "dummy it"* was grammatically feminine, but that this has been switching to masculine. In Welsh, the weather is still talked about with feminine pronouns but other things aren't.

* "Dummy it" is a term where we have thr pronoun "it" that can't easily be replaced with a noun. The weather is a great example, because you only say "It's raining", not "*the weather's raining" or "the sky is raining". Also "it's me" etc.

The idea of "dummy it" is actually quite useful to learning Gaelic, because it explains why some things that look like errors are actually correct, eg " 's e mo piuthar a rinn e " and not " 's i .... "; because you're saying "it's my sister", not "She's my sister".