Notes on Nolan 5


Identification Type III, VpSP: this differs from Type II (where the subject contains an expressed or implied relative clause or genitive that can be resolved into one) by having  a definite noun as the subject, possibly with a demonstrative particle or an adjective in tow.

An example is ‘sé an namhaid an peaca. In context, this may be a Type I identification copula (“sin is the enemy (of man)”), remembering that Type I is VpPS. But in the context that Gerald Nolan takes this example from (Sermon 238 of PUL’s Seanmóin is Trí Fichid), namhaid is the subject, making it Type III. That this is so is clear from the context, as an namhaid has been previously mentioned.

Nolan points out that Irish literature is full of Type III identification copulas, but these had not been noticed in Irish grammars before Nolan pointed them out. This usage is more rhetorical. Type III can be regarded as an abbreviated form of Type II, in other words is é an namhaid an peaca means the same as is é rud an namhaid ná an peaca. Nolan argues that Type I is distinguished from Type III by the intonation: in Type I is é an namhaid an peaca (“sin is the enemy”), the sentence is enunciated quickly with no pause, and the greatest stress is on the word namhaid. In Type III is é an namhaid an peaca (“the enemy is sin”) the enunciation is slower, there is a pause after é and another pause after namhaid and the greatest emphasis is on the word peaca. 

Nolan rejects the analysis of other grammarians distinguishing between logical and grammatical predicates, who would argue that the logical predicate in these sentences is peaca but the grammatical predicate is namhaid. He then quotes a sentence from Geoffrey Keating ‘sé an ceárd úd an nádúir dhaonna, which he says is a Type III sentence, and explains the fact that the predicate pronoun is é, despite referring to an nádúir by the fact that the proleptic pronoun is frequently assimilated in gender to the subject where its gender is different from that of the predicate.

Finally, he gives an example of Type III that mixes in features of Type II (ie, includes the particle ): is é an cosc go léir is an cosc is mó orainn ná deinimíd aon iarracht ar dhul ar bhóthar fíréantachta na naomh.


About dj1969

at the conservative end of the libertarian spectrum
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