Slenderisation

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
Alleystria
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Slenderisation

Unread post by Alleystria » Tue May 05, 2009 12:00 am

So I just encountered slenderisation for the first time and I'm a little confused about one thing;

a' chas -> air a' chois
vs.
an làmh -> air an làimh

Surely there is a rule as to when the broad vowel changes and when you simply add an i, but either it's been omitted from the TAIC lesson or I've simply missed it.

If it's one of those things you just learn over time, that's fine. If, however, there is a clearer rule, I'd appreciate a nudge in the right direction. Thanks :)



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Unread post by GunChleoc » Tue May 05, 2009 9:10 am

an làmh -> air an làimh is a case of pure slenderisation. Some more examples:

balach -> balaich (insert i)
duilleag -> duilleig (a changes to i)

sometimes, when you have ea it gets replaced by an i only:

Coinneach -> a Choinnich!


a' chas -> air a' chois has umlaut as well as slenderisation. Umlaut means that the main vowel changes, and you can encounter that with monosyllabic words, usually masculine. Some more examples:

fear -> fir
bòrd -> bùird
falt -> fuilt
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Alleystria
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Unread post by Alleystria » Tue May 05, 2009 12:04 pm

Most of them seem pretty clear (ea to i, ia to èi, etc). I'm just confused with the monosyllabic words containing broad vowels; how do you know which rule to apply when? Cas, long, làmh, and tòn are all monosyllabic nouns with a broad vowel yet one rule applies to the first two, and another rule to the second two. My question, I guess, is if I were to encounter another monosyllabic word, how would I know if it's a -> oi or a -> ai?

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Unread post by Seonaidh » Tue May 05, 2009 3:07 pm

Rydw i'n wir ddrysiedig rwan.

Maybe I've been getting it all wrong, but I was thinking that "air" did nothing to names apart from change all the "an" thingies tyo "a'" thingies (a bit over-simplistic). In particular, it's not like, e.g. "chun", where you get this dieting stuff (or the genitive as I think one calls it) Like the differ between "Tha mi a' gabhail na greine" and "Gabhaidh mi a' ghrian". But maybe I'm wrong.

I see words like "slenderisation" or "umlaut" or "lenition" and I turn off. To me it's better to look at these things as "the word changes in various ways with how it's being used". And the best way to know about it is to use it. I've got very little time for questions like "but why does it change from grian to a' ghrian to na greine?" - I mean, for those familiar with English, how would you look on a question like "But why does it change from man to man's to men?" You do it without thinking, yes? You probably got it wrong when you were very young: did it matter? You don't get it wrong now, because you use it all the time.

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Unread post by GunChleoc » Tue May 05, 2009 6:02 pm

Feminine nouns add the i (slenderise) after air a' :priob:

an duilleag - air an duilleig

I don't know if there are any fast rules for the monosyllabic words. It is generally a good idea to learn the genitive for each word anyway, since there are quite a number of irregular words. And if you learn the genitive with the article, you will also know which gender it is, because for feminine nouns the article changes to na (h-).
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Unread post by Seonaidh » Tue May 05, 2009 7:46 pm

Sin thu fhein, a Ghunch. It must be what they call the "dative", then.

I mean, I don't recollect learning an awful lot of English or Welsh, though I must have done so. It just is because it is. Rough cough through Slough borough, though. You can't do that in Welsh or Gaelic - spelling's too consistent. Is this umlaut? sing-sang-sung-song, cwrw-cyrfeydd, post-pyst, child-children, aur-euraidd, gafr-geifr? Been using them for years and never knew them as umlaut.

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Unread post by GunChleoc » Wed May 06, 2009 9:55 pm

Yep, sing-sang-sung etc. are umlaut :D

It's pretty common in German as well, e.g. Haus - Häuser, and that's where the name comes from. We even call the letters ä ö ü Umlaute.
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Unread post by Am Portagaileach » Thu May 21, 2009 8:59 pm

Not much to do with slenderization, but:

sing - sang - sung is Ablaut (also known in English as gradation), not Umlaut.

Umlaut happens when one sound (partially) assimilates to another. So in ancient Germanic times 'mice' was musi but the u was affected by the following i and ultimately was pronounced like French u in lune. That came to be signalled in German by the dots (which originally were an e written with two strokes).

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Unread post by GunChleoc » Fri May 22, 2009 6:50 am

Thanks! :D
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Unread post by Seonaidh » Sat May 23, 2009 6:43 pm

Na innis dhomh - tha na "musi" ag ithe "muesli"...no an e "mouse-droppings" a th' ann am "muesli"?

Gradation? Ablaut? Now, "degradation" I know. "Ablative" I've heard of. Are there any other lauts apart from Ab and Um?

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Unread post by neoni » Sat May 23, 2009 7:28 pm

anlaut - a' chiad fhuaim

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Unread post by GunChleoc » Sat May 23, 2009 7:31 pm

Actually, there are, since "laut" means "sound"

<a href="http://dict.leo.org/ende?lp=ende&lang=d ... &relink=on" target="_blank">click me</a>
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Re:

Unread post by deardron » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:32 pm

Am Portagaileach wrote:Not much to do with slenderization, but:

sing - sang - sung is Ablaut (also known in English as gradation), not Umlaut.

Umlaut happens when one sound (partially) assimilates to another. So in ancient Germanic times 'mice' was musi but the u was affected by the following i and ultimately was pronounced like French u in lune. That came to be signalled in German by the dots (which originally were an e written with two strokes).
Ablaut is a special term applied to certain vowel changes that descend from the Proto-Indo-European alternation "e - o - zero" and is grammatically motivated irrespective to what vowel is in the next syllable. "Sing - sang - sung" is a good example of that. Umlaut refers to cases when a vowel gets influenced by another (succeeding) one (which can already be dropped), in our case "i" and I think this term suits the Gaelic alternations like "bòrd - buird" or "sliabh - slèibh" better than Ablaut, even though the relationship between the original and "umlauted" vowel can be overshadowed by later changes. Slenderisation is just a trace that the vowel "i" has left on the preceeding consonant.

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