Lenition of déag and fichid

Lenition of déag and fichid

This is an interesting question, although firm rules are difficult to generate from the works of Peadar Ua Laoghaire (PUL), seen as normative for Cork Irish for the purposes of this blog. It maybe that PUL struggled with editors on some points, producing some inconsistencies in his works. I have based my comments on PUL’s Mo Sgéal Féin, Séadna, Soisgéal do Réir Mhaitiú, Niamh, Eólas ar Áireamh (PUL1902) and Irish Numerals and How to Use Them (PUL1922), and other works. Examples of every possible combination are hard to find; you could read Cork Irish for the rest of your life looking for “twenty-seven days” to turn up in literature. Teach Yourself Irish (the 1961 version by Myles Dillon and Donncha Ó Cróinín; TYI) and Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne (by Diarmuid Ó Sé; GCD) have also been consulted. The following examples are all taken from these sources and have not been generated by me.

Déag

1. The general rule is that déag is lenited after a singular noun ending in a vowel. This may reflect the fact that such singular nouns are lenited themselves, which lenition is carried over onto an adjective, with  the suffix (written as an independent word) déag once being interpreted as adjectival in force, but in any case the lenition of déag occurs whether the noun is lenited or not so long as it is a singular noun ending in a vowel:

  • dhá únsa dhéag [morphological singular – although this is dual, the form used here is not a visually distinctive dative]
  • dhá mhála dhéag [morphological singular – although this is dual, the form used here is not a visually distinctive dative]
  • dhá líne dhéag [morphological singular – although this is dual, the form used here is not a visually distinctive dative]
  • dhá ghráinne dhéag [morphological singular – although this is dual, the form used here is not a visually distinctive dative]
  • dhá phráta dhéag [morphological singular – although this is dual, the form used here is not a visually distinctive dative]
  • dhá mhí dhéag [a separate instance of dhá mhí déag in PUL1902 appears to be a typo; morphological singular – although this is dual, the form used here is not a visually distinctive dative)
  • trí mhí dhéag
  • chúig dhuine dhéag (note: chúig, not cúig, in PUL’s Irish)
  • sé dhuine dhéag
  • sé únsa dhéag
  • ocht práta dhéag [sic: the t of ocht devoices the b of bpráta and makes ocht práta, and is often so written]
  • naoi nduine dhéag

2. Singular nouns not ending in a vowel would not lenite déag:

  • aon bhliain déag (note that there would be no lenition between dentals anyway, which applies to some in this list)
  • aon bhean déag
  • aon phingin déag
  • aon fhear déag
  • aon troigh déag – PUL1902
  • an dá aspal déag [dual, but morphologically indistinct from the singular]
  • dhá chiseán déag [dual, but morphologically indistinct from the singular]
  • dhá throigh déag [dual, but morphologically indistinct from the singular]
  • dhá sheachtain déag [dual, but morphologically indistinct from the singular]
  • dhá threibh déag [dual, but morphologically indistinct from the singular now that the erstwhile dative has replaced the nominative]
  • dhá chapall déag [dual, but morphologically indistinct from the singular]
  • dhá phingin déag [dual, but morphologically indistinct from the singular]
  • dhá chloch déag [from PUL1902; note the lack of the dual here – as the dative dual is not given here, this is just singular]
  • dhá órlach déag [dual, but morphologically indistinct from the singular]
  • trí chéad déag
  • sé dhram dhéag [found in PUL1902, probably a typo]

3. Plural nouns would not lenite déag:

  • i dtrí blianaibh déag
  • trí mná déag
  • trí feara déag – PUL insisted on feara and not fir in phrases of this type – and feara, as well as being vocative plural, could be viewed as a special plural like seachtaine and uaire, used only with déag and fichid (lower numbers have forms like ochtar, etc, and don’t require feara)
  • cheithre bliana déag
  • cheithre glúine déag
  • cheithre púint déag
  • cheithre clocha déag
  • chúig phingine déag (chúig sometimes lenites a plural noun in PUL’s Irish)
  • cúig troithe déag – PUL1902; the lenition of cúig is not given here
  • sé púint déag
  • sé clocha déag
  • sé trusa déag – where trusa is the plural of trus “truss”, a hay/straw measure
  • seacht ngalair déag
  • seacht n-uaire déag
  • ocht mbliana déag
  • ocht n-órla déag
  • ocht ngráinne déag – in PUL1922, where ngráinne may be plural for ngráinní
  • naoi gcínn déag
  • naoi feara déag [I have numerous examples of non-eclipsis of feara in such phrases before déag and fichid – and the only example of bhfeara I have is where the whole numeral is in the general plural in na n-ocht bhfeara déag, but following the t of ocht, it is a moot point if the feara is really eclipsed, as the bh is devoiced anyway]
  • naonúr déag

So far, so good, but the “rules” are rarely given in any further detail. Note the following tweaks:

4. GCD says that déag can be unlenited after aon duine. TYI also has aon duine déag and aon lá déag, but the following are from PUL’s works, where is seems éinne déag is just an exception:

  • éinne déag – from PUL1922
  • aon lá dhéag

5. Ordinal numerals do not lenite the following noun, and so appear not to lenite déag:

  • an t-ao’ú lá déag (ao’ú being my spelling of aonú, where the n is silent in Cork Irish)
  • an cúigiú lá déag

6. Textbooks generally do not address the dual followed by déag, but I did find the following examples, and it seems the dual is treated like the singular (i.e. dhéag after a vowel, déag otherwise) where the dual is identical to the singular. But where the dual is declined like the dative and is morphologically, dhéag is used (but I don’t have examples of what happens with a morphological dual ending a vowel, possibly because most duals end in slender consonants).

  • dhá threibh déag [singular – the erstwhile dative has become nominative, and so this is not a clear dative dual]
  • dhá bhliain déag [singular]
  • dhá chiseán déag [singular]
  • dhá thómhas déag [singular]
  • dhá dheoch déag [singular instead of dative dual digh]
  • dhá ridire dhéag [singular ending in vowel]
  • dha rí dhéag [singular ending in vowel]
  • dhá mhíle dhéag [singular ending in vowel]
  • dhá fhuinneóig dhéag [dative dual]
  • dhá chloich dhéag [dative dual]
  • dhá bhollóig dhéag [dative dual]

7. The rules on lenition after a singular noun ending in a vowel sometimes seem to apply to singular nouns ending in -r, but the usage found in PUL’s works is not consistent. Two of the examples below are of non-morphologically distinct duals, and so are regarded as singular here. Also note that aon fhear déag above implies this rule only applies to slender r.

  • aon uair dhéag
  • aon uair déag [found many times]
  • dhá chathaoir dhéag
  • dhá uair dhéag
  • dhá uair déag [found many times]

8. Déag is eclipsed in the genitive plural after a noun that is also eclipsed:

  • go ceann trí mblian ndéag [which is an older form of go ceann trí bliana déag]

Fichid

The first point to note here is that, grammatically speaking, the genitive fichead could be appended; or ar fhichid, using the dative. However, PUL used fichid with a slender d in the genitive, possibly indicating that he was working off fichead as the base noun, for which form there is some evidence in Séadna. There is an example of cheithre bliana fichead in Mo Sgéal Féin–possibly reflecting the hand of an editor–but nearly all other examples in his works have bliana followed by fichid. However, note genitive plural usage of fichead below too.

1. Real examples of fichid combined with a noun are rarer in literature than similar examples with déag. Fichid is lenited after a singular noun whether it ends in a vowel or not, possibly because it doesn’t start with a dental and so didn’t get mixed up with the dentals rule like déag. I haven’t found any examples of fichid used with a dative dual (one declined differently from the nominative), but these would probably be lenited too.

  • dhá rí fhichid
  • cheithre leathanach fhichid – PUL1902
  • chúig mhíle fhichid
  • seacht nduine fhichid
  • ocht lá fhichid – PUL1902
  • deich ngrád fhichid – PUL1902
  • deich nduine fhichid
  • deich nduine fichid [found in PUL1922 – probably a typo]

2. Plural nouns that do not end in a slender consonant do not lenite fichid:

  • cheithre huaire fichid
  • cheithre gráinne fichid – found in PUL1902; the gráinne may be plural here (for gráinní)
  • chúig bhliana fichid
  • chúig neómataí fichid
  • seacht troithe fichid [the t of seacht devoices dtroithe to troithe and is often so written]
  • ocht n-órla fichid
  • deich mbliana fichid
  • deich slata ceárnacha fichid
  • deich mná fichid
  • deich feara fichid – PUL insisted that feara and not fir was correct in this usage [and once again, feara, not bhfeara]

3. Ordinal numerals do not lenite the noun, and therefore fichid is unlenited too:

  • an tarna lá fichid
  • an cúigiú lá fichid

4. Fichid or fichead are lenited after a nominative plural ending in a slender consonant.

  • chúig cínn fhichid (PUL) [numerous similar example]
  • seacht suíocháin fhichid
  • ocht púint fhichid [with no eclipsis]
  • deich bpúint fhichid
  • deich bpúint fhichead (TYI)
  • deich bpúint fichid (3 examples found in PUL’s works – appear to be typos or anomalies)
  • deich saoir fhichid
  • deich gcínn fichid [only occurs once and may be a typo]

5. I have found two examples of the eclipsis of fichead in the genitive plural after a noun that is also eclipsed:

  • os cionn deich mblian bhfichead (from a letter by PUL published in An Músgraigheach 1943)
  • i gcaitheamh na ndeich mblian bhfichid (Seanmóin is Trí Fichid)

To find out

Find an example of fichid with a a singular noun ending in r.
Find an example of a plural noun ending in a slender consonant before déag. Would it lenite déag?

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About dj1969

at the conservative end of the libertarian spectrum
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