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Gaelic construction in 'Once and Future King'?

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:05 pm
by linguisticturn
In the beginning of the second book of T. H. White's Once and Future King, the children (Gawaine, Gareth, Gaheris, and Agravaine) are said to be speaking 'in a strange mixture of Gaelic and of the Old Language of chivalry'. In several places they use a construction at him/her/us to denote ownership or belonging, which is definitely not idiomatic in Standard English (in what follows, the boldfaced emphasis is mine):
"Long time past, my heroes," Gawaine was saying, "before ourselves were born or thought of, there was a beautiful grandmother at us, called Igraine."
"So he sent our Grandfather a letter which bid him to stuff him and garnish him, for within forty days he would fetch him out of the strongest castle that he had!" "There were two castles at him," said Agravaine haughtily. "They were the Castle Tintagil and the Castle Terrabil."
The construction I'm curious about is the one in a grandmother at us and two castles at him.

Can these be identified as some sort of Gaelic influence? For example, is there a construction in Gaelic which, if translated literally word-for-word into English, would have that form?


Gaelic construction in 'Once and Future King'?

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:38 am
by GunChleoc
Yes, that's correct.

bha seanmhair againn
bha dà chaisteal aige

See ... n%C3%A8amh

and ... vered_head

on Gaelic possessives.

Gaelic construction in 'Once and Future King'?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:08 pm
by linguisticturn
@GunChleoc Great, thank you!!