Irish Language Blog

An Ceathrú Díochlaonadh (4th-declension): Bealtaine, Duine, Domhainlascaine, srl., srl., srl. Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

(le Róislín)

Why so many “srl.-anna” sa teideal?  Because there are so many different word-endings that fit this category, besides “-aine” and “-uine,” including a lot of the most recent borrowings, or adaptations, like “móideim” and “ríomhaire.”  Other major groups include most (but not absolutely all) “-ín” nouns, like “cailín” and “bóithrín,” and most nouns ending in “-a,” many of which are also borrowings or close cognates to English, like “hata” and “halla,” “gunna” and “gúna,” and “volta,” “víosa,” and “vodca.”  

And what’s an dea-scéal regarding this declension?  The tuiseal ginideach is the same as the tuiseal ainmneach/cuspóireach,” or “an fhoirm chomónta,” if you will.  And that’s true in the plural as well, so “cailíní” means “girls” or “of girls” (as in “ainmneacha cailíní, girls’ names).  Of course there can still be initial consonant mutation (ainm an chailín, praghas do mhóideim, ainmneacha na gcailíní, m. sh.), as well as ± t-, h-, and n-prefixation, but that’s a whole different slice of the paradigmatic pie, in other words, ábhar blag eile. 

The words I’ll be focusing on today are Bealtaine (to be tráthúil), duine, and domhainlascaine.   Here goes:

Bealtaine, May; Lá Bealtaine, May Day (day of May); “Aoibhneas na Bealtaine” (The Sweets of May, a traditional Irish dance).

The word has a plural, although, as with “Easters,” it’s not real easy to think of typical sentences talking about “Mays.”  The form is “Bealtainí,” and an example in context would be, hmm, má bhíonn amhras ort, bí ag googláil, ahh, here we go:

“The Bealtainí I used to celebrated [sic] in Missouri are a little different than the ones here, but the seasonal cycles are very similar.” from

OK, so the example is in English, but it sort of suffices.

The 4th declension, like the 3rd and 5th, contains both ainmfhocail bhaininscneacha agus ainmfhocail fhirinscneacha.  “Bealtaine” is baininscneach, as you may remember from the last blog.  “Duine” is masculine, and the number of possible uses and phrases is nearly dochuimsithe (“infinideach”), but here are a few: 

duine, person: duine ar bith, anyone, lit. “a person at all”

an duine, the person: An bhfuil an duine sin ag teacht linn?

an duine, of the person: Cad é ainm an duine sin?

daoine, people: daoine bochta, or, in the vocative, “A dhaoine uaisle,” which you might have heard (réamhthaifeadta, I’m sure) at the beginning of a Riverdance performance, for “Ladies and Gentlemen!”  Literally, it just says “Noble people!”

na daoine, the people: Darby O’Gill agus na Daoine Beaga (ainm scannáin, aistrithe go Gaeilge)

na ndaoine, of the people: guth na ndaoine [guh nuh NEEN-yuh, note the “d” is silent]

and for good measure, “gan duine gan daoine”:

Tar éis an phléascáin bhí Henry Bemis gan duine gan daoineAch an bhfuil sé sásta mar sin féin?  Cén seanchlár teilifís atá i gceist anseo?  Freagra (1) thíos.

Gan duine gan daoine?  “Alone in the world.”  If it seems redundant, I guess that’s an English perspective.  And look at English, anyway!  Why bother with the “chick” part of “neither chick nor child”?  Beagán uama, is dócha, agus comhthreomhaireacht dheas (parailéalachas deas) sa struchtúr.  An rud céanna sa Ghaeilge. 

And lastly, for today, domhainlascaine [DOH-in-LASK-in-yuh], deep discount

an domhainlascaine, the deep discount

an domhainlascaine, of the deep discount

na domhainlascainí, deep discounts

na ndomhainlascainí, of the deep discounts

Bíonn domhainlascainí ar fáil in íoslach Filene’s (an siopa).

Just nodding toward some of the other 4th-declension endings, mar is ábhar blag eile é sin, the “-aire” ending is very typical for occupational terms (iascaire, cócaire, príomhchócaire, srl.) and device and gadgets (ríomhaire, aerscagaire):

an t-iascaire, the fisherman

an iascaire, of the fisherman: bád an iascaire

na hiascairí, the fishermen

na n-iascairí, of the fishermen: báid na n-iascairí

Móideim” is a fairly unique word in Irish.  It is 4th-declension, but there’s virtually nothing like it, inflection-wise.  Even the handful of words that appear to have the same ending, “-eim” are not 4th-declension (greim, genitive: greama, which is 3rd-declension, and peineim, genitive: peineime, which is 2nd-declension, etc.)

Ever wonder how “móideimí” got their name?  And how to say the original in Irish?  We’ll have to jump back to the 3rd declension to get its full contingent of forms if we want to use the non-abbreviation (hmm, non-abbreviation, an focal é sin?).  The original word has the classic “-óir” ending of many of the 3rd-declension nouns, remember, like “fiaclóir” or “bádóir.”  Hitch is, though, for this particular word, the full word(s) behind our English word “modem,” it actually has two “-óir” suffixes.  Say “céard?”  Yes, you heard/read me right.  Focal amháin, dhá iarmhír (an iarmhír chéanna faoi dhó).  Key is, it’s a “comhfhocal” [KOH-UK-ul], and an interesting one at that.  There should be a specific term for this type of compound word, where one element of the compound is the opposite of the other element.  Like, maybe, “internally-oppositional compound-word.”  But if there is such a term, it escapes me.  And anyway, I guess that would have to be a topic for blag éigin eile, b’fhéidir blag faoi nuafhocail (focail nuachumtha).  With that lead-in, maybe you’ve figured  out what the word “modem” is based on.  If not, seo leid:  tá an focal “modh” ann.  Freagra (2) thíos.

Freagra 1: “Am Go Leor Faoi Dheireadh,” nó “Time Enough at Last,” eipeasóid den tsraith, The Twilight Zone.  Maidir le sástacht, déarfainn go raibh an tUasal Bemis sásta go leor go dtí go mbristear a spéaclaí

Freagra 2: modhnóir/dímhodhnóir, modulator/demodulator. 

Gluais: faoi dhó, twice; gan, without; guth, voice; modh, manner, method, mode, mood (“mood” in grammar, that is, nice how it gets its own special word, to contrast to “mood” as in “feeling,” which could be “fonn” or “giúmar,” amongst other choices); nuafhocal, neologism; peineim, penem (the antibiotic); scagaire, filter; taifeadta, recorded; uaim, alliteration, uama, of alliteration

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