Two more letters to Richard Fleming

Caisleán Ua Liatháin, Cae. Chorcaí.

Lá Fheile Muire na gcoinneal, 1918

A Athair Risteárd a chara.

Seo chun do ghnóthsa me, thar gach gnó eile. I dtaobh “Cuallacht Mhuire”, is maith liom mar a thaithneann mo ghníomh leat. Níorbh fhuiriste é. Do dheineas é.

1.) Is maith liom mar atá tú ann takes it for granted that you are there now. Is maith liom tu bheith ann, could be said of your actual presence there now, or to my desire that you should go there and be there. That is the difference between these two expressions.

2.) I can’t exactly catch what you want to know here. Give me examples of with future and with subjunctive. I want to make my answer exact.

3.) The speakers never put in the é in such constructions. They say sin mar is feárr é; sin mar is measa é. Of course b’in é mar ba thúisce would be good Irish, but the é is never put in. I should put in the é if I were to fill up and say b’in é an chuma nar thúisce… It would seem that the defining of the whole proceeding which was to expedite the work was in the sin. It is a matter of usage.

In gaoth na “sóinsealach”sóinsealach is gen. plural.

5.) When I looked I thought it was a case of aliquando comutat but when I looked at the text I found that I could not use bcause there’s only one idea in le breith nú le cailliúint, i.e. “risk”. Ríocht na bhflaitheas is not a small thing to risk the gaining or the losing of”. If I were to say Ní rud suarach ríocht na bhflaitheas le breith ní rud suarach é le cailliúin”, then I could not possibly use nó. But then the folly of the risk would not be forcibly expressed. I was quite surprised why I could have used until I looked at the text. What a nice point it is!

6.) Féach mise = “See me”. “Look at me” would not do intheIrish. There are three Irish forms Féach mise, Féach ormsa, Feic (na ba). Féach mise = “Look at andconsider me”. In fact féach means look at and examine, as a doctor looks at and examines a wound.

7.) Nithe mhóra. That is a printer’s error and no mistake. It should be nithe móra of course.

8.) Ag cur cosc leat is right. “Why?” I don’t know. I could not possibly say ag cur coisc leat.

9) Ins gach brí. I look it to be “in every sense of the matter and regarding every way in which that sense could be understood”. The Latin is obscure. I remember that I referred the thing back to the words non contendit, nec suam sententiam aliis praefert. The sed seems to establish the connection. It appeared to me that the writer had before his mind the brí of certain things in dispute , and the mode of understanding that brí; the sense and the mode of grasping that sense.

10) I have always heardspré thine = “a spark of fire”. Níl son spré thine acu = “They haven’t a spark of fire”. I never have heard spré tine. I have heard constantly spré bheag thine. But I have always heard fód beag tine.

11) The mar is all right. It sets the mind dwelling on their various possible states of existence. Cad é mar atá tú? is somewhat like it.

12) Yes. But the nithe are inthepossessionof the speaker. The narrative rule does not apply here. The speaker is not narrating the nithe for the information of the listener. Even if he were, the fact that they are in the possession of the speaker forces the speaker to call them na nithe seo. In fact the speaker is not giving anyinformation to the listener. Even if he were, suppose you give me some matters, I say tugais dhá leabhar dom, agus scian, agus píopa, agus tobac, agus táid said agam anso. Táim ana-bhaoch díot mar gheall ar na nithibh seo. You see how impossible it wouldbe for me to say na nithibh sin while I have them here in my possession. If you had given them to Tadhg, say, He has them in his possession. Then I could say all the words above putting do Thadhg instead of dom and end with na nithibh sin. In fact that is how I should end. It is their being here in my possession that forces me to say na nithe seo.

Do chara


I always enjoy your questions immensely!

Replies to Fleming’s letter of 4 Jan 1918

[1) Is duine crostálta a crank]

Not exactly.

[9) Are maithiúnas (p192) and maithiúnachas (p209) synonymous?]


[10) Spioraid also written sprid. Is the p broad?]

No. Both the p and the r are selnder.

[Neimhe nî or nevi?

Nímhe = ní

Neimhe = nevi.

[d’fhoillsiú í or oy?]


[Dioghailt is the g pronounced?]

Yes. But not in díoghaltas.

[Báthadh autonomous bág or báhug?]

Bág: one syllable


About djwebb2010

at the conservative end of the libertarian spectrum
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