Ní miste and decimal numerals

Caisleán Ua Liatháin

18.12.18

A Athair R. a chara,

Chím t’ainm sa chúntas so ar an mórshochraid. Tá súil agam nár ghoíll an fuacht ort!

I dtaobh an fhocail úd Ní miste táim ag cuardach ó shin agus ag féachaint siar ar chainnteannaibh na ndaoine fé mar airínn iad, agus chím go bhfuil an bhrí leis an bhfocal, brí fónta agus brí nách fónta, brí chun molta agus brí ag cáineadh.

Chonac díobháil déanta do dhuine agus duairt sé leis an té a dhein an díobháil “’Sea! Ní miste dhom bheith baoch díotsa! Go deimhin ní miste!”

Do dhein duine eile tairbhe mór don fhear chéanna agus duairt sé an chainnt chéanna dhíreach: “’Sea! Ní miste dhom bheith baoch díotsa! Mura mbeadh tu bheadh an scéal go holc agam!”

Tá an dá chiall ar an gcuma gcéanna díreach le Ní miste bheith ag brath ort!

Ní bheadh aon tsuaimhneas orm go neósfainn an méid sin duit.

T’oide is do chara,

Peadar.

Castlelyons, Co. Cork, 11th April 1918

My dear Father Richard

I have go the scapulars and intend to wear them. Many thanks!

Have you seen the notes I am putting into the Weekly Examiner about the reading of Irish numbers, dates, as in English? Take for example the above date. People write it in Irish an t-11ú Abrán 1918 and they read the whole thing off in English. Now, in the first place, the expression 11ú has no meaning. The English ordinal “11th” has a meaning. The Irish ordinal 11ú has no meaning. The Irish of “the 11th day” is, an t-ao’ú lá déag. There is no such Irish expression as an t-ao’ú déag. The thing must come in between ao’ú and déag.

But there is another form in Irish for the ordinal numeral. The expressions “1st day”, “2nd day”, “third day”, “fourth day”, etc, can be expressed in Irish by lá a haon, lá a dó, lá a trí, lá a ceathair, lá a haondéag, lá a dódhéag, lá a fiche, lá dhá dheich a haon, lá dhá dheich a dó, lá a tríochad, lá trí dheich a haon, lá a dachad, lá cheithre dheich a haon, and so on up to any number you like.

Then take the year “1918” = míle naoi gcéad a hochtdéag.

I am writing out a whole system of notation in the Weekly Examiner. Then any person who wishes can use the general Irish forms. It is right that we should have in Irish the decimal notation which is in use all over the world. I have been showing it here to Fr. Augustine and he is delighted with it. A person need only keep his eye on the figures and give each figure its place value in the expression. E.g.

1 Míle 9 naoi gcéad 18 a naoidéag (1919)

1 Míle 9 naoi gcéad 20 a fiche (1920)

1 Míle 9 naoi gcéad 2 dhá dheich 1 a haon (1921)

1 Míle 9 naoi gcéad 2 dhá dheich 2 a dó (1922)

I have all the numbers set down in the Weekly Examiner, up to millions and the thing will be going on for the next five weeks.

I have been always familiar with dhá dheich = “20”, trí dheich = “30”, cheithre dheich = “40”, chúig dheich = “50”, sé dheich = “60”, seacht ndeich = “70”, ocht ndeich = “80”, naoi ndeich = “90”, just as well as with ficheor daichead or trí fichid, or cheithe fichid, so that I am not doing anything new.

Then the fact that deich is always used in the singular, like trí phráta or trí , makes the notation very easy. I need never say trí deicheanna. I never in my life heard trí prát.

Then the thing is so simple that a person can read off, under his eye, any number, no matter how big. E.g.

987,654,321” = Naoi gcéad ocht ndeich a seacht de mhilliúnaibh, sé chéád chúig dheich a ceathair de mhíltibh, trí chéad dhá dheich a trí.

The only matter to be minded is to put de before milliúnaibh and before míltibh and to put a before the units.

I am getting strong, thank God!

T’oide ’s do chara

Peadar Ua Laoghaire

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About djwebb2010

at the conservative end of the libertarian spectrum
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