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Title: Elements of Gaelic Grammar
Author: Stewart, Alexander, 1764-1821
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Elements of Gaelic Grammar" ***

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Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected: they
are listed at the end of the text.

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Royal Celtic Society Edition.






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For several years the Grammar of the Gaelic language by the Rev. Dr Stewart
of Moulin has been out of print. This has been a source of regret to
scholars and students of that tongue. Not but that there are other Grammars
of real value, which it would be unjust either to ignore or to depreciate,
and which have served, and are serving, an excellent purpose in connection
with Celtic Literature. But the Grammar of Dr Stewart has peculiar features
of its own which give it a permanent value. It is distinguished by its
simplicity, conciseness, and philosophical accuracy. No Grammar of any
language bears on its pages the marks of real and profound scholarship, in
so far as it goes, more than does the Grammar of Dr Stewart. One cannot
read a sentence of it without seeing how carefully he had collected his
materials, and with what judgment, caution, and sagacity he has compared
them and drawn his conclusions. His discussions upon the Article, the Noun,
the Verb, and the Preposition, are ample evidence of this. It is no doubt
true that a much fuller discussion is, with the more abundant resources of
modern scholarship, {iv} competent and desirable, but, so far as he goes,
Dr Stewart's treatment of the subject is of a masterly character.

That there are defects to be found in the work is very true. On the subject
of Syntax his disquisitions are deficient in fulness, and there is a want
of grammatical exercises throughout. It was at first thought desirable by
the publishers and their advisers to remedy these defects by introducing
fuller notices on the subject of Syntax, and a considerable number of
grammatical exercises from other sources open to them. But it was finally
deemed best in every view of it to give Stewart's work just as he had left
it, and that is done here with the exception of a list of subscribers'
names in the introduction. Messrs Maclachlan and Stewart are doing the
literary community a service in republishing this volume, and thanks are
specially due to the Royal Celtic Society of Edinburgh, a society which has
done much to foster the interests of education in the Highlands, and which
has given substantial aid towards the accomplishment of this undertaking.


EDINBURGH, _1st August 1876._

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *




  Of Pronunciation and Orthography,                                 1



  CHAP. I.--Of the Article,                                        37

  CHAP. II.--Of Nouns,                                             37
             Of Gender,                                            38
             Of Declension,                                        43

  CHAP. III.--Of Adjectives,                                       55
              Of Numeral Adjectives,                               59

  CHAP. IV.--Of Pronouns,                                          61

  CHAP. V.--Of Verbs,                                              65
            Formation of the Tenses,                               76
            Use and import of the Moods and Tenses,                85
            Irregular Verbs,                                       95
            Defective Verbs,                                       99
            Reciprocating state of Verbs,                         102
            Impersonal use of Verbs,                              105
            Auxiliary Verbs,                                      107

  CHAP. VI.--Of Adverbs,                                          109

  CHAP. VII.--Of Prepositions,                                    116
              Idiomatic phrases,                                  125

  CHAP. VIII.--Of Conjunctions,                                   134

  CHAP. IX.--Of Interjections,                                    136



  CHAP. I.--Of Concord,                                           137

    Sect. 1. Of the agreement of the Article with a Noun,         137
    Sect. 2. Of the agreement of an Adjective with a Noun,        141
    Sect. 3. Of the agreement of a Pronoun with its Antecedent,   146
    Sect. 4. Of the agreement of a Verb with its Nominative,      149
    Sect. 5. Of the agreement of one Noun with another,           152

  CHAP. II.--Of Government,                                       154

    Sect. 1. Of the Government of Nouns,                          154
    Sect. 2. Of the Government of Adjectives,                     159
    Sect. 3. Of the Government of Verbs,                          159
    Sect. 4. Of the Government of Adverbs,                        160
    Sect. 5. Of the Government of Prepositions,                   160
    Sect. 6. Of the Government of Conjunctions,                   162



  CHAP. I.--Of Derivation,                                        164

  CHAP. II.--Of Composition,                                      168

  Exercises in Reading, &c.,                                      175

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

The utility of a Grammar of the Scottish Gaelic will be variously
appreciated. Some will be disposed to deride the vain endeavour to restore
vigour to a decaying superannuated language. Those who reckon the
extirpation of the Gaelic a necessary step toward that general extension of
the English which they deem essential to the political interest of the
Highlands, will condemn every project which seems likely to retard its
extinction. Those who consider that there are many parts of the Highlands,
where the inhabitants can, at present, receive no useful knowledge whatever
except through the channel of their native tongue, will probably be of
opinion that the Gaelic ought at least to be tolerated. Yet these too may
condemn as useless, if not ultimately detrimental, any attempt to cultivate
its powers, or to prolong its existence. Others will entertain a different
opinion. They will judge from experience, as well as from the nature of the
case, that no measure merely of a literary kind will prevail to hinder the
progress of the English language over the Highlands; while general
convenience and emolument, not to mention private emulation and vanity,
conspire to facilitate its introduction, and prompt the natives to its
acquisition. They {viii} will perceive at the same time, that while the
Gaelic continues to be the common speech of multitudes,--while the
knowledge of many important facts, of many necessary arts, of morals, of
religion, and of the laws of the land, can be conveyed to them only by
means of this language,--it must be of material service to preserve it in
such a state of cultivation and purity, as that it may be fully adequate to
these valuable ends; in a word, that while it is a living language, it may
answer the purpose of a living language.

To those who wish for an uniformity of speech over the whole kingdom, it
may not be impertinent to suggest one remark. The more that the human mind
is enlightened, the more desirous it becomes of farther acquisitions in
knowledge. The only channel through which the rudiments of knowledge can be
conveyed to the mind of a remote Highlander is the Gaelic language. By
learning to read and to understand what he reads, in his native tongue, an
appetite is generated for those stores of science which are accessible to
him only through the medium of the English language. Hence an acquaintance
with the English is found to be necessary for enabling him to gratify his
desire after further attainments. The study of it becomes, of course, an
object of importance; it is commenced, and prosecuted with increasing
diligence. These premises seem to warrant a conclusion which might at first
appear paradoxical, that, by cultivating the Gaelic, you effectually,
though indirectly, promote the study and diffuse the knowledge of the

To public teachers it is of the highest moment that the medium through
which their instructions are communicated be properly adapted to that use,
and that they be enabled to avail themselves of it in the fittest manner. A
language destitute of grammatical regularity can possess neither {ix}
perspicuity nor precision, and must therefore be very inadequate to the
purpose of conveying one's thoughts. The Gaelic is in manifest danger of
falling into this discreditable condition, from the disuse of old idioms
and distinctions, and the admission of modern corruptions, unless means be
applied to prevent its degenerating. It is obvious that a speaker cannot
express himself with precision without a correct knowledge of grammar. When
he is conscious of his ignorance in this respect, he must deliver himself
sometimes ambiguously or erroneously, always with diffidence and
hesitation, whereas one who has an accurate knowledge of the structure and
phraseology of the language he speaks, will seldom fail to utter his
thoughts with superior confidence, energy, and effect.

A competent degree of this knowledge is requisite to the hearer also, to
enable him to apprehend the full import and the precise force of the words
of the speaker. Among the readers of Gaelic, who are every day becoming
more numerous, those only who have studied it grammatically are qualified
to understand accurately what they read, and to explain it distinctly to
others. Yet it cannot be denied that comparatively few ever arrive at a
correct, or even a tolerable knowledge of grammar, without the help of a
treatise composed for the purpose. Whoever, therefore, allows that the
Gaelic must be employed in communicating to a large body of people the
knowledge of revealed Truth and the way of eternal Life, will readily admit
the extensive utility of investigating and unfolding its grammatical
principles. Impressed with this conviction, I have been induced to offer to
the public the following attempt to develop the grammar of the Scottish

While I have endeavoured to render this treatise useful to those who wish
to improve the knowledge of Gaelic which {x} they already possess, I have
also kept in view the gratification of others, who do not understand the
Gaelic, but yet may be desirous to examine the structure and properties of
this ancient language. To serve both these purposes, I have occasionally
introduced such observations on the analogy between the Gaelic idiom and
that of some other tongues, particularly the Hebrew, as a moderate
knowledge of these enabled me to collect. The Irish dialect of the Gaelic
is the nearest cognate of the Scottish Gaelic. An intimate acquaintance
with its vocables and structure, both ancient and modern, would have been
of considerable use. This I cannot pretend to have acquired. I have not
failed, however, to consult, and to derive some advantage from such Irish
philologists as were accessible to me, particularly O'Molloy, O'Brien,
Vallancey, and Lhuyd. To these very respectable names I have to add that of
the Rev. Dr Neilson, author of "An Introduction to the Irish Language,"
Dublin, 1808, and E. O'C., author of "A Grammar of the Gaelic Language,"
Dublin, 1808; to the latter of whom I am indebted for some good-humoured
strictures, and some flattering compliments, which, however unmerited, it
were unhandsome not to acknowledge. I know but one publication professedly
on the subject of Gaelic grammar written by a Scotsman[1]. I have consulted
it also, but in this quarter I have no obligations to acknowledge.

With respect to my literary countrymen who are proficients in the Gaelic,
and who may cast an eye on this volume, less with a view to learn than to
criticise, while I profess a due deference to their judgment, and declare
my anxiety to obtain their favourable suffrage, I must take the liberty to
entreat their attention to the following considerations.


The subject of Universal Grammar has been examined in modern times with a
truly philosophical spirit, and has been settled on rational and stable
principles; yet, in applying these principles to explain the grammar of a
particular language, the divisions, the arrangements, and the rules to be
given are, in a good measure, mechanical and arbitrary. One set of rules
may be equally just with another. For what is it that grammatical rules do?
They bring into view the various parts, inflections, or, as they may be
termed, the _phenomena_ of a language, and class them together in a certain
order. If these _phenomena_ be all brought forward, and stated according as
they actually appear in the language, the rules may be said to be both just
and complete. Different sets of rules may exhibit the same things in a
different order, and yet may all be equally just. The superiority seems, on
a comparison, to belong to that system which follows most nearly the order
of nature, or the process of the mind in forming the several inflections;
or rather, perhaps, to that system which, from its simplicity, or clear and
comprehensive arrangement, is most fitted to assist the memory in acquiring
and retaining the parts of speech with their several inflections.

In distributing the various parts of language into their several classes,
and imposing names on them, we ought always to be guided by the nature of
that language, and to guard against adopting, with inconsiderate servility,
the distributions and technical terms of another. This caution is the more
necessary because, in our researches into the grammar of any particular
tongue, we are apt to follow implicitly the order of the Latin grammar, on
which we have been long accustomed to fix our attention, and which we are
ever ready to erect into a model for the grammar of all languages. To force
the several parts of speech into moulds formed for the {xii} idioms of the
Latin tongue, and to frame them so as to suit a nomenclature adapted to the
peculiarities of Latin grammar, must have the effect of disguising or
concealing the peculiarities, and confounding the true distinctions, which
belong to the language under discussion.

Although, in treating of Gaelic grammar, the caution here suggested ought
never to be forgotten, yet it is needless to reject indiscriminately all
the forms and terms introduced into the grammar of other languages. Where
the same classifications which have been employed in the grammar of the
Latin, or of any other well-known tongue, will suit the Gaelic also, it is
but a convenient kind of courtesy to adopt these, and apply to them the
same names which are already familiar to us.

In stating the result of my researches into Gaelic grammar, I have
endeavoured to conform to these general views. The field of investigation
was wide, and almost wholly untrodden. My task was not to fill up or
improve the plan of any former writer, but to form a plan for myself. In
the several departments of my subject that distribution was adopted which,
after various trials, appeared the most eligible. When there were terms
already in use in the grammars of other languages that suited tolerably
well the divisions which it was found requisite to make, I chose to adopt
these, rather than load the treatise with novel or uncommon terms. If their
import was not sufficiently obvious already, it was explained, either by
particular description, or by reference to the use of these terms in other
grammars. In some instances it was found necessary to employ less common
terms, but in the choice of these I endeavoured to avoid the affectation of
technical nicety. I am far from being persuaded that I am so fortunate as
to have hit on the best possible plan. I am certain that it must {xiii} be
far from complete. To such charges a first essay must necessarily be found
liable. Still there is room to hope that the work may not prove wholly
useless or unacceptable. Imperfect as it is, I may be allowed to think I do
a service of its kind to my countrymen by frankly offering the fruits of my
labour to such as may choose to make use of them. It has been, if I mistake
not, the misfortune of Gaelic grammar that its ablest friends have done
nothing directly in its support, because they were apprehensive that they
could not do everything.

I confess that my circumscribed knowledge of the varieties of dialect used
in different parts of the Highlands, may have left me unacquainted with
some genuine Gaelic idioms which ought to be noticed in a work of this
kind. The same cause may have led me to assert some things in too general
terms, not being sufficiently informed concerning the exceptions which may
be found in use in some particular districts. I respectfully invite, and
will thankfully receive, the correction of any person whose more accurate
and extensive information enables him to supply my omissions, or to rectify
my mistakes.

In a few particulars I have differed from some of the highest living
authorities,--I mean those gentlemen whose superior abilities are so
conspicuous in the masterly translation of the sacred Scriptures with which
the Highlands of Scotland are now blessed.[2] Here I have been careful to
{xiv} state the grounds on which my judgment was formed. In doing this, I
would always be understood to advance my opinion and propose my reasons
with the view of suggesting them to the consideration of my countrymen,
rather than in the expectation of having my conclusions universally
sustained and adopted.

Among my grammatical readers, it is probable that some may have formed to
themselves arrangements on the subjects different from mine. Of these I
have to request that they do not form a hasty judgment of the work from a
partial inspection of it, nor condemn it merely because it may differ from
their preconceived schemes. Let them indulge me with a patient perusal of
the whole, and a candid comparison of the several parts of the system with
each other. To a judicious critic, some faults and many defects may appear,
and several improvements will occur. On this supposition, I have one
request more to make: that he join his efforts with mine in serving a
common cause, interesting to our country, and dear to every patriotic

       *       *       *       *       *





       *       *       *       *       *

In preparing a Second Edition of the following treatise, the author has
endeavoured to avail himself of every assistance in his power, from books,
observation, and the communications of some literary friends, to whom he is
indebted for several judicious remarks. In comparing the opinions of
different critics, it was not to be expected that all should be found to
agree together. It sometimes happened that one approved what another would
have rejected. If the author has not adopted every hint that was offered
him, but used the privilege of exercising his own judgment, the
responsibility must rest with himself. He hopes those gentlemen who most
obligingly favoured him with their remarks will forgive him for mentioning
their names, for he is unwilling to withhold from the public the
satisfaction of knowing that he has had the best assistance which his
country could afford him in compiling and modelling his work. He thankfully
acknowledges his obligations to the Rev. Dr Robertson, of Callander; Dr
Graham, of Aberfoyle; Dr Stuart, of Luss; Dr Macleod, of Kilmarnock; and Mr
Irvine, of Little Dunkeld.

From these sources of emendation, omissions have been {xvi} supplied,
idiomatic phrases have been collected and inserted, some alterations have
been made by simplifying or compressing particular parts, and new examples
and illustrations have been introduced throughout, according as the
advantages which the author enjoyed enabled him to extend his knowledge of
the language, and served to correct, or to confirm, his former judgments.
He thought it might be acceptable to Gaelic scholars to have a few lessons
subjoined as exercises in translating and analysing. For this purpose he
has selected some specimens of original prose composition, extracted from
unpublished manuscripts, and from the oldest Gaelic books that are known to
be extant. These specimens, short as they are, may suffice to exhibit
something of the powers and elegances of the language in its native purity,
unmixed with foreign words and idioms, as well as to show the manner in
which it was written two or three centuries ago.

The present edition owes its existence to the generous patronage of Sir
John Macgregor Murray of Lanrick, Bart., to whom the author is happy in
avowing his obligations for the unsolicited and liberal encouragement given
him in the execution and publication of his work. To the same gentleman he
is indebted for the honour of being permitted here to record the names of
those patriotic sons of Caledonia who, in concert with the honourable
baronet, and at his suggestion, though residing in the remote provinces of
India, yet mindful of their country's fame, contributed a liberal sum of
money for promoting Celtic literature, more especially for publishing the
poems of Ossian in their original language. It is owing, in a principal
degree, to their munificent aid, that the anxious expectation of the public
has been at last so richly gratified by Sir John Sinclair's elegant and
elaborate edition of the poems of that tender and lofty bard.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *



The Gaelic alphabet consists of eighteen letters: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h,
i, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, u. Of these, five are vowels, a, e, i, o, u; the
rest consonants.

In explaining the powers of the letters, and of their several combinations,
such obstacles lie in the way that complete success is not to be expected.
In order to explain, in writing, the sounds of a particular language, the
only obvious method is to represent them by the letters commonly employed
to exhibit similar sounds in some well-known living language. But there are
sounds in the Gaelic to which there are none perfectly similar in English,
nor perhaps in any modern European tongue. Besides, the same combination of
letters does not invariably represent the same sound in one age that it did
in a former, or that it may do in the next. And this may be equally true of
the letters of the Gaelic alphabet, whose powers are to be taught; and of
the letters of any other language, by whose sounds the powers of the former
are to be explained. A diversity of pronunciation is very distinguishable
also in different districts of the Highlands of Scotland, even in uttering
the same words written in the same manner. Though the powers of the
letters, then, may be explained to a certain degree of accuracy, yet much
will still remain to be learned by the information of the ear alone. {2}

Although the chief use of the vowels be to represent the _vocal sounds_ of
speech, and that of the consonants to represent its _articulations_, yet,
as in many languages, so in Gaelic, the consonants sometimes serve to
modify the sound of the vowels with which they are combined; while, on the
other hand, the vowels often qualify the sound of the consonants by which
they are preceded or followed.

It may not appear obvious at first sight how a vowel should be employed,
not to represent a vocal sound, but to modify an articulation. Yet examples
are to be found in modern languages. Thus, in the English words, George,
sergeant, the _e_ has no other effect than to give _g_ its soft sound; and
in guest, guide, the _u_ only serves to give _g_ its hard sound. So in the
Italian words giorno, giusto, and many others, the _i_ only qualifies the
sound of the preceding consonant. The same use of the vowels will be seen
to take place frequently in Gaelic orthography.

Besides the common division of the letters into Vowels and Consonants, it
is found convenient to adopt some further subdivisions.

The Vowels are divided into _broad_ and _small_: a, o, u, are called
_broad_ vowels; e, i, _small_ vowels.

The Consonants are divided into _Mutes_ and _Liquids_: _Mutes_, b, c, d, f,
g, m, p, t; _Liquids_, l, n, r, s[3]. They are also divided into _Labials_,
_Palatals_, and _Linguals_, so named from the organs employed in
pronouncing them: _Labials_, b, f, m, p; _Palatals_, c, g; _Linguals_, d,
l, n, r, s, t.

The aspirate _h_ is not included in any of these divisions[4].



All the vowels are sometimes long, sometimes short. A long vowel is often
marked with an accent, especially when the _quantity_ of the vowel
determines the meaning of the word; as, bàs _death_, sàil _the heel_,
càraid _a pair_, rìs _again_, mò _more_, lòn _a marsh_; which are
distinguished by the accent alone from bas _the palm_ of the hand, sail _a
beam_, caraid _a friend_, ris _to_, lon _the elk_.

All the vowels, but especially the broad ones, have somewhat of a nasal
sound when preceded or followed by m, mh, n, nn. No vowels are doubled in
the same syllable like _ee_, _oo_, in English.

In almost all polysyllables, excepting some words compounded with a
preposition, the accent falls on the first syllable[6]. The other syllables
are short and unaccented, and the vowels in that situation have in general
the same short obscure sound. Hence it happens that the broad vowels in
these syllables are often used indiscriminately.

There are no quiescent final vowels.


A has three sounds.

1. The first is both long and short; long, like _a_ in the English words
_far_, _star_; as, àr _slaughter_, àth _a ford_, gràdh, {4} _love_, sàruich
_oppress_; short, like _a_ in _that_; as, cath _a battle_, alt _a joint_;
abuich _ripe_.

2. Both long and short, before _dh_ and _gh_. This sound has none like it
in English. Long, as, adhbhar _a cause_, adhradh _worship_; short, as, lagh
_a law_, magh _a field_, adharc _a horn_.

3. Short and obscure, like _e_ in _mother_; as, an, a _the_, ar _our_, ma
_if_, and in the plural termination a or an.


_E_ has three sounds.

1. Both long and short: long, like _e_ in _where, there_; as, è, sè _he_,
rè _during_. This _e_ is generally marked with a grave accent. Short, like
_e_ in _met_; as, le _with_, leth _half_.

2. Long, as, ré _the moon_, cé _the earth_, and dé _yesterday_. This _e_ is
commonly marked with an acute accent.

3. Short, like _e_ in _mother_; as, duine _a man_, ceannuichte _bought_.


_I_ has two sounds.

1. Both long and short, like _ee_ in _seem_: long, as, mìn _smooth_, righ
_a king_; short, as, min _meal_, crith _trembling_.

2. Short and obscure, like _i_ in _this_; as, is _am_, _art_, &c.


_O_ has three sounds.

1. Both long and short: long, somewhat like _o_ in _more_; as, mòr _great_,
òr _gold_, dòchas _expectation_; short, like _o_ in _hot_; as, mo _my_, do
_thy_, dochann _harm_.

2. Both long and short: long, nearly like _o_ in _old_; as, lom _bare_,
toll _a hole_; short, as, lomadh _making bare_, tolladh _boring_.

3. Both long and short, like (2) a[7]: long, as, foghlum _to learn_; short,
as, roghuinn _choice_, logh _to forgive_.



_U_ has one sound, both long and short, like _oo_ in _fool_: long, as, ùr
_fresh_, ùraich _to renew_; short, as, ubh _an egg_, urras _a surety_.


There are thirteen Diphthongs reckoned in Gaelic; ae, ai, ao, ea, ei, eo,
eu; ia, io, iu; oi; ua, ui. Of these, ao, eu, ia, ua, are always long; the
others are sometimes long, sometimes short.


The sound of _ae_ is made up of (1) _a_ long, and (1) _e_ short. This
diphthong hardly occurs, except in Gael _a Gaul_ or _Highlander_, and
Gaelic the _Gaelic_ language[8].


The sound of _ai_ is either made up of the sounds of both the vowels, or
like that of the former.

1. Made up of (1) _a_ and (1) _i_: the _a_ long, the _i_ short; as, fàidh
_a prophet_; the _a_ short, the _i_ short; as, claidheamh _a sword_.

2. Made up of (2) _a_ and (1) _i_: the _a_ long, the _i_ short; as, saighde

Before a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _i_ often loses its
sound, and only serves to qualify the sound of the following consonant[9];

3. Like (1) _a_ alone: long, as, fàisg _squeeze_, fàilte _salutation_;
short, as, glaic _a hollow_, tais _soft_.

4. Like (2) _a_ alone: short, as, airm _arms_, gairm _a call_.


1. The sound of _ao_ is like (2) _a_, long: as, caora _a sheep_, faobhar
_the edge of a tool_, saothair _labour_.



The sound of _ea_ is either made up of the sounds of both the vowels, or
like that of one of them.

1. Made up of (2) _e_ and (1) _a_: _e_ very short, _a_ long, as, beann _a
summit_, _pinnacle_, feall _deceit_; _a_ short, as, meal _to enjoy_, speal
_a scythe_.

Before a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _a_ frequently loses its
sound, and only qualifies that of the following consonant; hence,

2. Like (1) _e_, long: as, dean _do_; short, as, fear _a man_, bean _a

3. Like (2) _e_, long: as, easlan _sick_; short, as, fead _whistle_.

After a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _e_ loses its sound, and
only qualifies that of the preceding consonant; hence,

4. Like (1) _a_, long: as, cèard _an artificer_; short, as, geal _white_.

5. Like (3) _a_, short: as, itheadh _eating_, coireach _faulty_.


The sound of _ei_ is either made up of the sounds of both the vowels, or
like that of _e_ alone.

1. Made up of (1) _e_ and (1) _i_: _e_ long, _i_ short, as, sgeimh
_beauty_; _e_ short, as, meidh _a balance_.

2. Made up of (2) _e_ and (1) _i_: _e_ long, _i_ short, as, feidh _deer_;
_e_ short, as, greigh _a herd_, _stud_.

Before a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _i_ loses its sound, and
only qualifies that of the following consonant; hence,

3. Like (1) _e_ alone: long, as, mèise _of a plate_.

4. Like (2) _e_ alone: long, as, éigin _necessity_; short, as, eich


The sound of _eo_ is either made up of the sounds of both vowels, or like
that of _o_ alone. {7}

1. Made up of (2) _e_ and (1) _o_: _e_ very short, _o_ long, as, beo
_alive_, eolas _knowledge_; _o_ short, as, beothail _lively_.

After a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _e_ loses its sound, and
only qualifies that of the preceding consonant; hence,

2. Like (1) _o_: long, as, leomhann _a lion_; short, as, deoch _drink_.


The sound of _eu_ is like (2) _e_ alone: long, as, teum _to bite_, gleus
_trim, entertainment_.

One of the most marked variations of dialect occurs in the pronunciation of
the diphthong _eu_, which, instead of being pronounced like long _e_, is
over all the North Highlands commonly pronounced like _ia_; as, nial, ian,
fiar, for neul, eun, feur.


The sound of _ia_ is made up of the sounds of both the vowels.

1. Made up of (1) _i_ and (1) _a_: both of equal length, as, fial
_liberal_, iar _west_.

2. Made up of (1) _i_ and (2) _a_: of equal length, as, fiadh _a deer_,
ciall _common sense_.

In cia _which?_ iad _they_, _ia_ is often found like (1) _è_.


The sound of _io_ is either made up of the sounds of both the vowels, or
like one of them alone.

1. Made up of (1) _i_ and (3) _o_: _i_ long, _o_ short, as, diol _to pay_,
fior _true_; _i_ short, as, iolach _a shout_, ionnsuidh _an attack_.

Before a Lingual or Palatal, not quiescent, the _o_ sometimes loses its
sound, and only qualifies that of the following consonant; hence,

2. Like (1) _i_: long, as, iodhol _an idol_; short, as, crios _a girdle_,
biorach _pointed_.

After a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _i_ {8} sometimes loses
its sound, and only qualifies that of the preceding consonant; hence,

3. Like _u_ in _fun_, short and obscure: as, cionta _guilt_, tiondadh _to


The sound of _iu_ is either made up of the sound of both the vowels, or
like _u_ alone.

1. Made up of (1) _i_ and (1) _u_: _i_ short, _u_ long, as, fiù _worthy_;
_u_ short, as, iuchair _a key_.

After a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _i_ loses its sound, and
only qualifies that of the preceding consonant; hence,

2. Like (1) _u_: long, as, diù _worst part, refuse_; short, as, tiugh
_thick_, giuthas _fir_.


The sound of _oi_ is either made up of the sounds of both the vowels, or
like that of _o_ alone.

1. Made up of (1) _o_ and (1) _i_: _o_ long, _i_ short, as, òigh _a
virgin_; _o_ short, as, troidh _a foot_.

2. Made up of (3) _o_ and (1) _i_: _o_ long, _i_ short, as, oidhche

Before a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _i_ loses its sound, and
only qualifies that of the following consonant; hence,

3. Like (1) _o_ long: as, mòid _more_; short, as, toic _wealth_.

4. Like (2) _o_ long: as, fòid _a turf_; short, as, fois _rest_.

5. Like (3) _o_ short; as, coileach _a cock_, doire _a wood_.


The sound of _ua_ is made up of the sounds of both the vowels.

1. Made up of (1) _u_ and (1) _a_, equally long; as, cuan _the sea_, fuar

2. Made up of (1) _u_ and (2) _a_; as, tuadh _a hatchet_, sluagh _people_.


The sound of _ui_ is either made up of the sounds of both the vowels, or
like that of _u_ alone.

1. Made up of (1) _u_ and (1) _i_: _u_ long, _i_ short, as, suigheag _a
rasp-berry_; _u_ short, as, buidheann _a company_.

Before a Lingual or a Palatal, not quiescent, the _i_ loses its sound, and
only qualifies that of the following consonant; hence,

2. Like (1) _u_ long: as, dùil _expectation_, cùig _five_; short, as, fuil
_blood_, muir _the sea_.


There are five Triphthongs, in each of which _i_ is the last letter: aoi,
eoi, iai, iui, uai. In these the two first vowels have the same sounds and
powers as when they form a diphthong. The final _i_ is sounded short; but
before a Palatal or a Lingual, not quiescent, it loses its sound, and only
qualifies that of the following consonant.


1. Made up of _ao_ and (1) _i_; as, caoidh _lamentation_, aoibhneas _joy_,
laoigh _calves_.

2. Like _ao_; as, caoineadh _wailing_, maoile _baldness_.


1. Made up of (2) _eo_ and (1) _i_; as, geoigh _geese_.

2. Like (1) _eo_; as, meoir _fingers_.

3. Like (2) _eo_; as, deoir _tears_, treoir _ability_.


1. Like (1) _ia_; as, fiaire _more awry_.


1. Like (2) _iu_; as, ciùil _of music_, fliuiche _more wet_. {10}


1. Made up of (1) _ua_ and (1) _i_; as, luaithe _quicker_.

2. Made up of (2) _ua_ and (1) _i_; as, cruaidh _hard_, fuaim _sound_.

3. Like (1) _ua_; as, uair _time, an hour_, cluaise _of an ear_.


The simple powers of the consonants differ not much from their powers in
English. Those called _mediae_ by the writers on Greek grammar, viz., _b_,
_d_, _g_, approach nearer in force to the corresponding _tenues_ _p_, _t_,
_c_, than they do in English.

In accented syllables, where, if the vocal sound be short, the voice
necessarily rests on the subsequent articulation, the consonants, though
written single, are pronounced with the same degree of force as when
written double in English; as, bradan _a salmon_, cos _a foot_; pronounced
braddan, coss. No consonants are written double except _l_, _n_, _r_.

A propensity to aspiration is a conspicuous feature in the Gaelic
tongue[10]. The aspirating of a consonant has been {11} usually marked, in
the Irish dialect, by a dot over the letter aspirated; in the Scottish
dialect by writing _h_ after it. All the consonants have their sounds
changed by being aspirated, and the effect is different on different
consonants. In some cases the articulation is changed, but still formed by
the same organ. In others the articulation is formed by a different organ.
In others the _h_ alone retains its power. And sometimes both the _h_ and
the consonant to which it is subjoined become entirely quiescent.


In treating of the consonants separately, it will be convenient to depart a
little from the alphabetical order of the letters, and to consider first
the _Labials_, next the _Palatals_, and lastly the _Linguals_.



1. Plain. Like _p_ in English; as, poll _a pool_, pill _return_.

2. Aspirated. Like _ph_ or _f_ in English; as, a' phuill _of the pool_,
phill _returned_[11].


1. Plain. Like _b_ in English; as, baile _a town_, beo _alive_.

2. Aspirated. Like _v_ in English, as, bhuail _struck_. In the end of a
syllable the articulation is sometimes feeble, and often passes into the
vocal sound of _u_[12]; as in marbh[13] _dead_, garbh _rough_, dabhach _a


1. Plain. Like _m_ in English; as, mac _a son_, cam _crooked_.

2. Aspirated. Somewhat like _v_ in English, but more feeble and nasal; as,
mhathair _O mother_, lamh _the hand_. The sound _mh_ has the same relation
to that of _bh_, as the sound of _m_ has to that of b. Sometimes, like
_bh_, it becomes a vocal sound like a nasal _u_; as, in damh _an ox_,
samhradh _summer_: and sometimes the articulation becomes so feeble as not
to be perceived; as, comhradh _speech_, domhainn _deep_.



1. Plain. Like _f_ in English, as, faigh _to get_, fòid _a turf_.

2. Aspirated. Quiescent; as, fheara _O men_. In fhuair _found_, the
aspiration is retained, and the word is pronounced as if written _huair_.
It is probable that it was originally written and pronounced fuair[14];
that huair is but a provincial pronunciation[15]; and that to adapt the
spelling in some shape to this pronunciation, the word came to be written


In treating of the Diphthongs (ai, ea, ei, &c.) notice has been often taken
of the powers of certain vowels in modifying the sound of the adjoining
consonants. This refers to a twofold mode of pronouncing the Palatal and
Lingual consonants, whether _plain_ or _aspirated_. The difference between
these two modes of pronunciation is, in some consonants, abundantly
striking; in others it is minute, but sufficiently discernible to an ear
accustomed to the Gaelic. The one of these modes of articulation belongs to
Palatals and Linguals, chiefly when connected with a _broad vowel_; the
other belongs to them when connected with a _small vowel_. Hence, the
former may be called the _broad_ sound, the latter the _small_ sound of a
_Palatal_ or a _Lingual_.

These sounds are not distinguished in writing, but may be known, for the
most part, by the relative situation of the letters.


1. Plain. _Broad_: like _c_ in _come_, _curb_; as, cùl _the back_, cridhe
_the heart_.


2. _Small_: like _c_ in _care_, _cure_; as, taic _support_, circe _of a

3. Aspirated. _Broad_: like the Greek [chi], as pronounced in Scotland, in
[Greek: chôra]; as, croch _to hang_, chaidh _went_.

4. _Small_: like [chi] in [Greek: chiôn]; as, chi _shall see_, eich


1. Plain. _Broad_: like _g_ in _go_, _rogue_; as, gabh _to take_, glor
_speech_, bog _soft_.

2. _Small_: like _g_ in _give_, _fatigue_; as, gin _to produce_, thig
_shall come_, tilg _to throw_.

3. Aspirated. _Broad_: has no sound like it in English; ghabh _took_,
ghleidh _kept_.

4. _Small_: nearly like _y_ in _young_; as, ghin _produced_.

5. _Gh_ in the end of a syllable is often quiescent; as, righ _a king_,
tiugh _thick_, fuigheall _remainder_.


1. Plain. _Broad_: nearly like _t_ in _tone_, _bottom_; as, tog _to raise_,
trom _heavy_, brat _a covering_.


2. _Small_: like _ch_ in _cheek_, _choose_; as, tinn _sick_, caillte

3. Aspirated. Like _h_ in _house_; as, thig _shall come_, throisg _fasted_,
maith _good_.

4. _Quiescent_: in the middle of a polysyllable, in the end of a long
syllable, and in certain tenses of a few irregular verbs when preceded by
_d'_; as, snitheach[17] _watery_, sìth _peace_, an d' thug e? _did he
give?_ also in the pronoun thusa _thou_.


1. Plain. _Broad_: nearly like _d_ in _done_; as, dol _going_, dlù _near_,
_close_, ciod _what_.

2. _Small_: like _j_ in _June_, _jewel_; as, diù _refuse_, maide _a stick_,
airde _height_.

_D_, after _ch_, is commonly sounded like _c_; as, bochd _poor_, pronounced
as if written bochc[18].


3. Aspirated[19]. _Broad_: like broad _gh_, as, dhruid _did shut_, gradh

4. _Small_: like small _gh_; as, dhearc _looked_.

5. Quiescent; as, fàidh _a prophet_, cridhe _a heart_, radh _saying_,
bualadh _striking_.

RULE.--_The consonants c, g, t, d, have their _SMALL_ sound, when, in the
same syllable, they are preceded, or immediately followed, by a _SMALL
VOWEL_; in all other situations they have their _BROAD_ sound._


1. Plain. _Broad_: like _s_ in _sun_, _this_; as, speal _a scythe_, cas _a
foot_, sùil _an eye_, scian _a knife_.

2. _Small_: like _sh_ in _show_, _rash_; as, bris _to break_, sèimh
_quiet_, sniomh _to twine_, stéidh _foundation_.

3. Aspirated: like _h_ in _him_; as, shuidh _sat_, shrann _snorted_. Before
_l_ and _n_, it is almost, if not altogether, quiescent; as, shlanuich
_healed_, shniomh _twisted_. _S_ followed by a _mute_ consonant is never

RULE.--_S has its _SMALL_ sound, when, in the same syllable, it is preceded
or followed by a _SMALL VOWEL_, with or without an intervening Lingual. In
all other situations it has its _BROAD_ sound._ EXCEPT. _S_ is _broad_ in
is _am_. It is _small_ in so _this_, sud _yon_. It is customary to give _s_
its _broad_ sound in the beginning of a word, when the former word ends
with _r_, in which case the _r_ also has its broad sound; as, chuir sinn
_we put_, air son _on account_.


OF L, N, R.

A distinction between a consonant when _plain_, and the same consonant when
_aspirated_, has been easily traced thus far. This distinction readily
discovers itself, not only in the pronunciation and orthography, but also
(as will be seen in its proper place) throughout the system of inflection.
It takes place uniformly in those consonants which have been already
considered. With respect to the remaining linguals, _l_, _n_, _r_, a
corresponding distinction will be found to take place in their
pronunciation, and likewise in the changes they suffer by inflection. This
close correspondence between the changes incident to _l_, _n_, _r_, and the
changes which the other consonants undergo, seems to be a sufficient reason
for still using the same discriminative terms in treating of their powers,
though these terms may not appear to be so strictly applicable to these
three consonants as to the rest. The powers of _l_, _n_, _r_, shall
accordingly be explained under the divisions _plain_ and _aspirated_,
_broad_ and _small_.


1. Plain. _Broad_: has no sound like it in English; lom _bare_, labhair
_speak_, mall _slow_, alt _a joint_, ald _a brook_, slat _a rod_, dlù

2. _Small_: like _ll_ in _million_; as, linn _an age_, lion _fill_, pill
_to return_, slighe _a way_.

3. Aspirated. _Broad_: like _l_ in _loom_, _fool_; as, labhair _spoke_, lom
feminine of lom _bare_, mol _to praise_, dhlù feminine of dlù _near_.

4. _Small:_ nearly like _l_ in _limb_, _fill_; as, a linn _his age_, lion
_filled_, mil _honey_, dligheach _due, lawful_.


1. Plain. _Broad_: has no sound like it in English; nuadh _new_, naisg
_bind_, lann _a blade_, carn _a heap of stones_.

2. _Small_: like _n_ in the second syllable of _opinion_; as, nigh _wash_,
binn _melodious_, cuirn _heaps of stones_. {18}

3. Aspirated. _Broad:_ like _n_ in _no_, _on_; as, nuadh feminine of nuadh
_new_, naisg _bound_, shnamh _swam_, sean _old_[20], chon _of dogs_, dàn _a

4. _Small_: like _n_ in _keen_, _near_; as, nigh _washed_, shniomh
_twisted_, coin _dogs_, dàin _poems_.

In an when followed by a Palatal, the _n_ is pronounced like _ng_ in
English; as, an gille _the lad_, an comhnuidh _always_.

_N_, after a mute, is in a few instances pronounced like _r_[21]; as in
mnathan _women_, cnatan _a cold_, an t-snàth _of the yarn_; pronounced
mrathan, cratan, &c.


1. Plain. Nearly like _r_ in _roar_; as, ruadh _reddish_, righ _a king_,
ruith _run_, torr _a heap_, ceartas _justice_.

2. Aspirated. _Broad_: nearly like _r_ in _rear_; as, car _a turn_, ruith
_ran_, mòr _great_.

3. _Small_: has no sound like it in English; a righ _O king_, seirbhe
_satiety_, mòir gen. of mòr _great_.

The _plain_, _aspirated_, _broad_, and _small_ sounds of these Linguals are
not distinguished in writing; but they may, for the most part, be known
from the relative position of the letters.

RULE.--L, N, R, _have their _PLAIN_ sound when, in the same syllable, they
are immediately preceded by a plain Liquid, or immediately followed by a
plain Lingual; also in the beginning of certain cases and tenses; in all
other situations, they have their _ASPIRATED_ sound. They have their
_SMALL_ sound when, in the same syllable, they are preceded or followed by
a small vowel, with or without an intervening Liquid; in other situations,
they have their _BROAD_ sound._



H is never used as an independent radical letter. When prefixed to a word
beginning with a vowel, it is pronounced like h in _how_; as, na h-òighean
_the virgins_, na h-oidhche _of the night_.

The following scheme exhibits a succinct view of the letters, both singly
and in their several combinations. The first column contains the letters
whose sound is to be exhibited; the prefixed figures marking the number of
different sounds denoted by the same letter. The second column explains the
sounds by examples or by references. The third column contains Gaelic
words, with their translation, in which the several sounds are exemplified.


  1 a  {long    far star      àr _slaughter_, àth _a ford_.
       {short   that          ar _to plow_, abuîch _ripe_.

  2 a  {long                  adhradh _worship_, adhbhar _reason_.
       {short                 adharc _a horn_, adhart _a bolster_.

  3 a   short   similar       ma _if_, an _the_, a _his, her_.

  1 e  {long    there         è sè _he_, gnè _sort, kind_.
       {short   met           le _with_, leth _half_.

  2 e   long                  an dé _yesterday_, cé _the earth_.

  3 e   short   mother        duine _a man_, briste _broken_.

  1 i   see                  {mìn _smooth_, righ _a king_.
                             {min _meal_, crith _a shaking_.

  2 i   short   this          is _am, art, is_.

  1 o  {long    more          mòr _great_, lòn _food_.
       {short   hot           mo _my_, do _thy_, lon _the ouzle_.

  2 o  {long }  old           lom _bare_, toll _a hole_.
       {short}                lomadh _making bare_.

  3 o  {long }  (2) a         roghnuich _to choose_.
       {short}                roghuinn _choice_.

  1 u  {long }  fool         {ùr _fresh_, sùgh _juice_.
       {short}               {ubh _an egg_, tur _quite_.


  1 ae (1) a (2) e  laeth _days_.
  1 ai (1) a (1) i  fàidh _a prophet_, claidheamh _a sword_.
  2 ai (2) a (1) i  saidhbhir, _rich_.
  3 ai (1) a        fàisg _squeeze_, tais _soft_.
  4 ai (2) a        airm _arms_, gairm _to call_.
  1 ao (2) a        faobhar _edge_ of an instrument.
  1 ea (2) e (1) a  beann _a pinnacle_, meal _enjoy_.
  2 ea (1) e        dean _to do, make_, bean _a woman_.
  3 ea (2) e        easlan _sick_, fead _whistle_.
  4 ea (1) a        ceard _an artificer_, geal _white_.
  5 ea (3) a        coireach _faulty_.
  1 ei (1) e (1) i  sgèimh _beauty_, meidh _a balance_.
  2 ei (2) e (1) i  feidh _deer_, greigh _a herd_.
  3 ei (1) e        mèise _of a plate_.
  4 ei (2) e        éigin _necessity_, eich _horses_.
  1 eo (2) e (1) o  beo _alive_, beothail _lively_.
  2 eo (1) o        leomhann _a lion_, deoch _a drink_.
  1 eu (2) e        teum _to bite_, gleus _trim_.
  1 ia (1) i (1) a  fial _liberal_, fiar _oblique_.
  2 ia (1) i (2) a  fiadh _a deer_, biadh _food_.
  1 io (1) i (3) o  diol _to pay_, iolach _a spout_.
  2 io (1) i        iodhol _an idol_, crios _a girdle_.
  3 io fun          cionta _guilt_.
  1 iu (1) i u      fiù _worth_, iuchair _a key_.
  2 iu  u           diù _refuse_, tiugh _thick_.
  1 oi (1) o (1) i  òigh _a virgin_, troidh _a foot_.
  2 oi (3) o (1) i  oidhche _night_.
  3 oi (1) o        mòid _more_, toic _wealth_.
  4 oi (2) o        fòid _a turf_, fois _rest_.
  5 oi (3) o        coileach _a cock_, goirid _short_.
  1 ua  u    (1) a  cuan _the sea_, fuath _hatred_.
  2 ua  u    (2) a  tuadh _a hatchet_, sluagh _people_.
  1 ui  u    (1) i  sùigheah _a raspberry_, buidheann _a company_.
  2 ui  u           dùil _expectation_, fuil _blood_.


  1 aoi (1) ao (1) i      caoidh _lamentation_.
  2 aoi (1) ao            caoin _mild_, saoil _to think_.
  1 eoi (2) eo (1) i      geoigh _geese_.
  2 eoi (1) eo            meoir _fingers_.
  3 eoi (2) eo            deoir _tears_.
  1 iai (1) ia            fiaire _more oblique_.
  1 iui (2) iu            ciùil _of music_.
  1 uai (1) ua (1) i      luaithe _quicker_.
  2 uai (2) ua (1) i      cruaidh _hard_, fuaim _sound_.
  3 uai (1) ua            gluais _to move_, uair _time_.



  1 p   part              poll _a pool_, streap _to climb_.
  2 ph  Philip            phill _returned_.
  1 b   boil              baile _a town_, breab _to kick_.
  2 bh  vile              bhuail _struck_, gabh _to take_.
  1 m   my                mòr _great_, anam _life, soul_.
  2 mh                    mhothuich _perceived_, damh _an ox_.
  1 f   feel              fill _to fold_.
  2 fh  _quiescent_       fheara _O men_.


  1 c   cock              can _to say, sing_, creid _to believe_.
  2 c   kick              ceann _end, head_, reic _to sell_.
  3 ch  [Greek: chôra]    chaidh _went_, rach _go_.
  4 ch  [Greek: cheimôn]  chi _shall see_, crìche _of a boundary_.
  1 g   go                gabh _to take_, rag _stiff_.
  2 g   give              geinne _a wedge_, ruig _to reach_.
  3 gh                    ghabh _took_, ghleidh _kept_.
  4 gh  you               gheibh _will get_.
  5     _quiescent_       righ _a king_, sluagh _people_.


  1 t   tone              tog _to raise_, slat _a rod_.
  2 t   chin              tinn _sick_, àite _a place_.
  3 th  have              thainig _came_.
  4 th  _quiescent_       maith _good_, fàth _occasion_.
  1 d   done              dol _going_, dragh _trouble_.
  2 d   join              diom _resentment_, maide _a stick_.
  3 dh  (3) gh            dhall _blind_.
  4 dh  (4) gh            dhearc _looked_.
  5 dh  _quiescent_       radh _saying_, bualadh _threshing_.
  1 s   so                sannt _desire_, sloc _a pit_.
  2 s   show              sèimh _gentle_, so _this_.
  3 sh  how               shuidh _sat_, shaoil _thought_.
  1 l                     lom _bare_, slat _a rod_, moll _chaff_.
  2 l   million           lìnn _an age_, caillte _lost_.
  3 l   look              blàth _blossom_, shlanuich _healed_.
  4 l   believe           leum _leaped_, shleamhnuich _slipped_.
  1 n                     crann _a tree_, naomh _holy_, naisg _bind_.
  2 n   opinion           seinn _to sing_, nigh _wash_.
  3 n   no                fan _to stay_, naisg _bound_.
  4 n   near              coin _dogs_, nigh _washed_.
  1 r   roar              fearr _better_, righ _a king_, ruith _run_.
  2 r   rear              fear _a man_, ruith _ran_.
  3 r                     fir _men_, a righ _O king_, treoir _strength_.

There is no doubt that the Gaelic has been for many ages a written
language. It is equally certain that its orthography, since it was first
committed to writing, has undergone {23} considerable changes. In this
respect it has shared the common fate of all written languages.

In the first exhibition of the sounds of a living language, by alphabetical
characters, it is probable that the principle which regulated the system of
orthography was, that every elementary sound should be represented by a
corresponding character, either simple or compounded, and that the same
sound should be represented by the same character. If different sounds were
represented by the same letter; if the same sound were represented by
different letters; if more letters were employed then were necessary to
exhibit the sound; or if any sound were not represented by a corresponding
character; then the _written_ language would not be an adequate
representation of the _spoken_. It is hardly to be supposed that, in the
first rude attempts at alphabetical writing, the principle above laid down
could be strictly and uniformly followed. And though it had, yet, in the
course of a few generations, many causes would occur to bring about
considerable departures from it. A gradual refinement of ear, and
increasing attention to _euphonia_; contractions and elisions brought into
vogue by the carelessness or the rapidity of colloquial speech, or by the
practice of popular speakers; above all, the mixture of the speech of
different nations would introduce numberless varieties into the
pronunciation. Still, those who wrote the language might choose to adhere
to the original orthography for the sake of retaining the radical parts,
and preserving the etymon of vocables undisguised, and for maintaining an
uniformity in the mechanism of the inflections. Hence the pronunciation and
the orthography would disagree in many instances, till at length it would
be found expedient to alter the orthography, and to adapt it to such
changes in the speech or spoken language as long use had established, in
order to maintain what was most necessary of all, a due correspondence
between the mode of speaking and the mode of writing the same language.

It will probably be found on inquiry that in all languages when the
_speech_ has undergone material and striking changes, {24} the _written
language_ also has varied in a considerable degree in conformity to these
changes, but that it has not scrupulously kept pace with the spoken
language in every smaller variation. The written language of the Greeks
suffered many changes between the time that the old Pelasgic was spoken and
the days of Demosthenes. The various modes of pronunciation used in the
different districts of Greece are marked by a diversity in the orthography
of the written language. The writing of the Latin underwent considerable
alterations between the era of the _Decemviri_ and the Augustan age,
corresponding, no doubt, to the changes which had taken place during that
interval in speaking the Latin. English and French books printed within the
last century exhibit a mode of orthography very different from what is
found in books printed two or three hundred years ago. These instances show
the tendency which the written language has to follow the lead of the
spoken language, and to maintain a certain degree of conformity to those
modes of pronunciation which are from time to time adopted by those who
speak it.

On the other hand, numberless examples might be adduced from any living
language to prove that the written language does not adapt itself, on all
occasions and with strict uniformity, to the sounds of speech. Words are
written differently which are pronounced alike. The same combinations of
letters, in different situations, represent different sounds. Letters are
retained in writing, serving to point out the derivations of words, after
they have been entirely dropped in speaking.

From such facts as these, it appears a just conclusion that _written
language_ generally follows the _spoken language_ through its various
revolutions, but still at a certain distance,--not dropping so far behind
as to lose sight of its precursor, nor following so close as to be led
through all its fantastic deviations.

Here a question occurs of importance in settling the orthography of any
particular tongue: How near ought the _written language_ to correspond to
the _spoken_, and where may a disagreement between them be allowed with
{25} propriety? The following observations may serve to throw some light on
the subject of this question, though by no means sufficient to furnish a
complete answer.

It is obvious that in speech the _articulations_ (which are represented by
consonants in writing) are the least liable to variation. _Vowel sounds_
are continually varying. In this variety chiefly consists that diversity of
tone and dialect which is found in the speech of different districts of the
same country, where the same words are spoken. The changes, too, which are
introduced by time fall with greater effect on the vowel sounds than on the
articulations. This circumstance will strike an observer who steps into any
deliberative assembly, where the speakers are of different ages. St Jerome
makes a remark on the reading of Hebrew, which is applicable, in some
measure, to the pronunciation of all languages: "Nec refert utrum _Salem_
aut _Salim_ nominetur; cum vocalibus in medio literis perraro utantur
Hebraei; et pro voluntate lectorum, ac _varietate regionum_, eadem verba
_diversis sonis_ atque accentibus proferantur." It may be observed that the
superior stability of the articulations above the vowel sounds is the
natural consequence of the position of the organs of speech in uttering
them. The different modifications of the vowel sounds are effected by
minute changes in the conformation of the organs; those of the
articulations are made by more distinct and operose inflections of the

It seems, then, a warrantable conclusion that, of the elementary
constituents of speech, viz., articulations and vowel sounds, the
_articulations_ are, in their own nature, ESSENTIAL, PERMANENT, and
PREDOMINANT; the _vowel sounds_, comparatively considered, are ADJUNCTIVE,

Further, all the vowel sounds that usually occur in speech seem to be
uttered with equal ease, in whatever situation they occur, as the same
organs are employed for all. In forming the common articulations of speech,
as different organs are employed, a degree of difficulty is sometimes felt
in making a transition from one articulation to another. {26} Thus a
difficulty will occasionally occur in pronouncing certain words, where the
general analogy of inflection or of collocation has brought together
articulations which do not easily coalesce. Hence a necessity arises of
departing in such a case from the general analogy, and altering or
displacing some of those discrepant articulations, for the sake of ease and
convenience in pronunciation, and to relieve the ear from an offensive
discordant sound. Departures are made from the general rules of speech in
the case of the vowel sounds also, of which the Greek tongue abounds with
examples. These departures, however, seem to have been made from a desire
to indulge the ear in certain national predilections or aversions which it
had conceived with regard to particular sounds. In examining the anomalies
of speech, or those peculiarities which have been reckoned anomalous, it
will be found that such of them as affect the articulations have, for the
most part, been adopted for the purpose of ease and convenience in
pronunciation; while those which affect the vowel sounds have proceeded
from the peculiar taste of the speakers. Thus the former spring from a
cause urgent and constant in its nature, and uniform in its operation; the
latter, from a cause local and temporary in its nature, and variable in its

If this theory be just, it ought to follow that, in all polished tongues,
an agreement will be found among those irregularities which affect the
articulations, that is not so observable in those which affect the vowel
sounds. There is reason to believe that, if a full comparison were made
between different languages, this would accordingly be found to be the
case. Let it be observed, then, that in speech a deference has been usually
paid to the articulations which has not been paid to the vowel sounds,
inasmuch as the latter have been changed from the state in which the
structure of each tongue had at first placed them, frequently and from
peculiar taste or humour; the former more rarely, and for the most part
from necessity. If this observation be found to be well supported, we shall
have the sanction of general practice in favour of the conclusion that was
formerly {27} drawn from the nature of articulate sounds, viz., that the
articulations are ESSENTIAL, PERMANENT, and PREDOMINANT; the vowel sounds

If it appear, then, that the vowel sounds in speech are perpetually varying
in the mouths of different speakers, from causes which either elude our
search, or, when discovered, are seen to be of small importance, may we not
judge that it would be equally vain and improper to attempt to make
_Writing_ follow all these minute variations; and that, however it may
happen that the same vowel sound may be represented in many instances by
different letters, and different vowel sounds by the same letters, yet this
disagreement between _Speech_ and _Writing_ must be connived at, for the
sake of preserving some degree of uniformity, where alone it can be
preserved, in the _written language_? If it appear, again, that the
variations from the established analogy which are made on the articulations
are less frequent, and proceed from causes obvious and cogent, ought not
these variations to be exhibited in writing, for preserving that general
correspondence between the written and the spoken language which ought to
be preserved, as far as the limited powers of letters will permit, and
without which the words I speak and those I write do not belong to the same

One exception from this principle seems allowable in the case of quiescent
consonants. It may be inferred, from the practice of all living languages,
that consonants whereof the corresponding articulations have been
suppressed in speaking may yet be retained with propriety in writing, when
they are requisite to point out the derivation of vocables, or the radical
part of declinable words. But this exception ought to be allowed only to a
moderate extent, for the reasons already assigned; to which it may be
added, that the far greater part of the suppressed articulations can be
easily discovered and retraced to their roots, without any index in the
_written_ any more than in the _spoken_ language to point them out. {28}

These observations being premised, I shall proceed to explain the present
state of Gaelic Orthography, and shall endeavour to assist the reader in
forming a judgment of its merit, and how far it may admit of improvement.

I. It may be laid down as one settled principle in orthography, that each
letter or combination of letters in the written language ought always to
denote one and the same sound. From the explanation that has been given of
the powers of the letters, it may be seen how far this principle has been
regarded in the Gaelic. Though almost every one of the letters represents
more than one sound, yet there is an evident affinity between the several
sounds of the same letter. And it may be readily allowed that less
confusion and inconvenience follow from exhibiting a few kindred sounds by
the same letter, than would have taken place had the characters been
multiplied to such a degree as that a separate one could have been
appropriated to each minute variety of sound.

It is obvious to remark, as a departure from this principle, that in the
case of the consonants _l_, _n_, _r_, the distinction between their _plain_
and their _aspirated_ state is not marked in writing, but that in both
states the consonant is written in one way. In the middle and end of words,
as has been shown, this distinction may be known from the relative
situation of the letters. In the beginning of certain cases and tenses of
declinable words, it may often be known from their _grammatical_
connection, but is not marked by any _graphical_ index whatever. The proper
reading is to be determined by the sense of the passage, instead of the
sense being understood by the proper reading. It is not easy to discover
how those who first committed the Gaelic to writing neglected to mark such
a material distinction. Inconveniencies and ambiguities not unfrequently
arise from this cause, which have been long felt and regretted. Is there
room to hope that it is not yet too late to recommend a method of remedying
this defect? The method I would suggest is the most simple and obvious of
any. It is to annex to the initial _l_, _n_, and _r_, in their aspirated
state, the letter _h_, just as has been {29} done to all the other
consonants. The analogy of orthography would thus be maintained, the system
of inflection would be more justly exhibited, and carried on by an uniform
process in _Writing_ as it is in _Speech_, and errors in reading and
ambiguities in syntax would be avoided[22].

II. Another principle of authority in regulating orthography is, that each
sound ought always to be represented by one and the same letter, or
combination of letters. The deviations from this rule in Gaelic are
extremely few. The sound of _ao_ is represented sometimes by _a_ alone,
sometimes by _o_ alone. The sound of _gh_ is represented also by _dh_; and
final _c_ often, though corruptly, represents the same sound with _chd_.

III. A third principle in orthography is, that no more letters ought to be
employed than are necessary to represent the sound. There are probably few
polished languages in which departures from this rule are not found in
abundance. Reasons have been already mentioned which render it expedient to
retain letters in writing many words, after the corresponding sounds have
been dropped in pronouncing the same words. Quiescent letters, both vowels
and consonants, are not unfrequent in Gaelic. Though these quiescent
letters have no sound themselves, they are not always without effect in
pronunciation, as they often determine the sound of other letters. Most, if
not all, the quiescent vowels seem to have been introduced for this
purpose. They ascertain the _broad_ or the _small_ sound of the adjoining
{30} consonants. This has been made sufficiently clear in treating of the
vowels and diphthongs separately. A consonant, as has been shown, has its
_broad_ sound, both when preceded and when followed by a broad vowel; and
in like manner has its _small_ sound, both when preceded and when followed
by a small vowel. If a consonant were preceded by a vowel of one quality,
and followed by one of a different quality, the reader, it has been
thought, might be doubtful whether that consonant ought to be pronounced
with its broad or with its small sound. Hence this rule has long obtained
in Gaelic orthography, that in polysyllables the last vowel of one syllable
and the first vowel of the subsequent syllable must be both of the same
quality[23]. To the extensive application and the rigid observance of this
rule it is owing that so many diphthongs appear where one vowel is
sufficient to express the vocal sound, and that the homogeneous vowels,
when used in their quiescent capacity, are often exchanged for each other,
or written indiscriminately[24]. From the former of these circumstances,
most of the words in the language appear loaded with superfluous vowels;
from the latter, the orthography of many words appears, in some respects,
arbitrary and unsettled. Even a partial correction of these blemishes must
be desirable. It may therefore be worth while to examine this long
established canon of Gaelic orthography, with a view to discover whether it
has not been extended farther than is necessary, and whether it ought not
in many cases to be set aside.

We have seen that the Labials _b_, _m_, _f_, _p_, whether aspirated or not,
have no distinction of broad and small sound.

{31} It cannot, then, be necessary to employ vowels, either prefixed or
postfixed, to indicate the sound of these. Thus, abuich _ripe_, gabhaidh
_will take_, chromainn _I would bow_, ciomaich _captives_, have been
written with a broad vowel in the second syllable, corresponding to the
broad vowel in the first syllable; yet the letters abich, gabhidh,
chrominn, ciomich, fully exhibit the sound. The prepositive syllable im,
when followed by a small vowel, is written im, as in imlich _to lick_,
imcheist _perplexity_. But when the first vowel of the following syllable
is broad, it has been the practice to insert an _o_ before the _m_, as in
iomlan _complete_, iomghaoth _a whirlwind_, iomluasg _agitation_. Yet the
inserted _o_ serves no purpose, either in respect of derivation, of
inflection, or of pronunciation. The unnecessary application of the rule in
question appears most unequivocally in words derived from other languages.
From the Latin words _imago_, _templum_, _liber_, are formed in Gaelic
iomhaigh, teampull, leabhar. Nothing but a servile regard to the rule under
consideration could have suggested the insertion of a broad vowel in the
first syllable of these words, where it serves neither to guide the
pronunciation, nor to point out the derivation.

Another case, in which the observation of this rule seems to be wholly
unnecessary, is when two syllables of a word are separated by a quiescent
consonant. Thus in gleidheadh _keeping_, itheadh _eating_, buidheann _a
company_, dligheach _lawful_, the aspirated consonants in the middle are
altogether quiescent. The vocal sound of the second syllable is
sufficiently expressed by the last vowel. No good reason, then, appears for
writing a small vowel in the second syllable.

Thus far it is evident that the rule respecting the correspondence of
vowels is wholly impertinent in the case of syllables divided by Labials,
or by quiescent consonants. If we examine further into the application of
this rule, we shall find more cases in which it may be safely set aside.

Many of the inflections of nouns and verbs are formed by adding one or more
syllables to the root. The final {32} consonant of the root must always be
considered as belonging to the radical part, not to the adjected
termination. The sound of that consonant, whether broad or small, falls to
be determined by the quality of the vowel which precedes it in the same
syllable, not by the quality of that which follows it in the next syllable.
It seems, therefore, unnecessary to employ any more vowels in the adjected
syllable than what are sufficient to represent its own vocal sound. The
rule under consideration has, notwithstanding, been extended to the
orthography of the oblique cases and tenses, and a supernumerary vowel has
been thrown into the termination, whenever that was requisite to preserve
the supposed necessary correspondence with the foregoing syllable. Thus, in
forming the nominative and dative plural of many nouns, the syllables _an_
and _ibh_ are added to the singular, which letters fully express the true
sound of these terminations. If the last vowel of the nominative singular
is broad, _an_ alone is added for the nominative plural; as, lamh-an
_hands_, cluas-an _ears_. But if the last vowel be small, an _e_ is thrown
into the termination; as, sùil-ean _eyes_, sròin-ean _noses_. Now if it be
observed that, in the two last examples, the small sound of the _l_ and _n_
in the root is determined by the preceding small vowel _i_, with which they
are necessarily connected in one syllable, and that the letters _an_ fully
represent the sound of the termination, it must be evident that the _e_ in
the final syllable is altogether superfluous. So in forming the dative
plural: if the last vowel of the root be small, _ibh_ is added; as,
sùil-ibh, sroin-ibh. But if the last vowel of the root is broad, the
termination is written _aibh_; as, lamh-aibh, cluas-aibh, where the _a_,
for the reason already assigned, is totally useless.

These observations apply with equal justness to the tenses of verbs, as
will be seen by comparing the following examples: creid-idh _will believe_,
stad-aidh _will stop_; chreid-inn _I would believe_, stad-_a_inn _I would
stop_; creid-_e_am _let me believe_, stad-am _let me stop_; creid-ibh
_believe ye_, stad-_a_ibh _stop ye_.

The same observations may be further applied to derivative words, formed by
adding to their primitives the syllables {33} _ach_, _achd_, _ag_, _an_,
_ail_, _as_; in all which _e_ has been unnecessarily introduced, when the
last vowel of the preceding syllable was small; as, sannt-ach _covetous_,
toil-_e_ach _willing_; naomh-achd _holiness_, doimhn-_e_achd _depth_;
sruth-an _a rivulet_, cuil-_e_an _a whelp_; cauch-ag _a little cup_,
cail-_e_ag _a girl_; fear-ail _manly_, caird-_e_il _friendly_[25]; ceart-as
_justice_, caird-_e_as _friendship_.

The foregoing observations appear sufficient to establish this general
conclusion, that in all cases in which a vowel serves neither to exhibit
the vocal sound, nor to modify the articulations of _the syllable to which
it belongs_, it may be reckoned nothing better than an useless incumbrance.
There seems, therefore, much room for simplifying the present system of
Gaelic Orthography, by the rejection of a considerable number of quiescent


Almost the only quiescent consonants which occur in Gaelic are _d_, _f_,
_g_, _s_, _t_, in their aspirated state. When these occur in the
inflections of declinable words, serving to indicate the Root, or in
derivatives, serving to point out the primitive word, the omission of them
might, on the whole, be unadvisable. Even when such letters appear in their
absolute form, though they have been laid aside in pronunciation, yet it
would be rash to discard them in writing, as they often serve to show the
affinity of the words in which they are found to others in different
languages, or in different dialects of the Celtic. The aspirated form of
the consonant in writing sufficiently shows that, in speaking, its
articulation is either attenuated or wholly suppressed.

The writers of Gaelic seem to have carefully avoided bringing into
apposition two vowels which belong to different syllables. For this purpose
they have sometimes introduced a quiescent consonant into the middle of
compound or of inflected words; as, gneidheil, or rather gnethail _kindly_,
made up of gnè and ail; beothail _lively_, made up of beo and ail; diathan
_gods_, from the singular dia; lathaibh _days_, from the singular là, &c.
It may at least bear a question, whether it would not be better to allow
the vowels to denote the sound of the word by their own powers, without the
intervention of quiescent consonants, as has been done in {35} mnaibh
_women_, déibh _gods_, rather than insert consonants which have nothing to
do with either the radical or the superadded articulations of the word.

From the want of an established standard in orthography, the writers of
Gaelic, in spelling words wherein quiescent consonants occurred, must have
been often doubtful which of two or three consonants was the proper one,
and may therefore have differed in their manner of spelling the same word.
Accordingly we find, in many instances, the same words written by different
writers, and even at different times by the same writer, with different
quiescent consonants. This variation affects not indeed the pronunciation,
or does it in a very slight degree. Hence, however, some who judge of the
language only from its appearance in writing, have taken occasion to vilify
it, as unfixed and nonsensical[27]. A proper attention to the affinity
which the Scottish Gaelic bears to some other languages, particularly to
other dialects of the Celtic, might contribute to fix the orthography in
some cases where it appears doubtful, or has become variable[28].

IV. The last principle to be mentioned, which ought to regulate
orthography, is that every sound ought to be represented by a corresponding
character. From this rule there is hardly a single deviation in Gaelic, as
there is no sound in the spoken language which is not, in some measure,
{36} exhibited in the written language. The fault of the Gaelic orthography
is sometimes a redundancy, but never a deficiency of letters.

A few observations on the mode of writing some particular words, or
particular parts of speech, remain to be brought forward in the sequel of
this work, which it would be premature to introduce here.

The Scottish writers of Gaelic in general followed the Irish orthography,
till after the middle of the last century. However that system may suit the
dialect of Ireland, it certainly is not adapted to the Gaelic of this
country. In the Gaelic translation of the New Testament, printed in 1767,
not only were most of the Irish idioms and inflections which had been
admitted into the Scottish Gaelic writings rejected, and the language
adapted to the dialect of the Scottish Highlands, but the orthography also
was adapted to the language. In later publications, the manner of writing
the language was gradually assimilated to that pattern. The Gaelic version
of the sacred Scriptures lately published has exhibited a model, both of
style and orthography, still more agreeable to the purest Scottish idiom,
and has a just title to be acknowledged as the standard in both. Little
seems to be now wanting to confer on the orthography of the Scottish Gaelic
such a degree of uniformity as may redeem its credit and ensure its
stability. This, it is to be hoped, may be attained by a judicious regard
to the separate, and especially the relative powers of the letters, to the
most common and approved modes of pronunciation, to the affinity of the
Scottish Gaelic with other branches of the Celtic tongue, to the analogy of
inflection and derivation, and, above all, to the authority of some
generally received standard, to which pre-eminence the late Gaelic version
of the Scriptures has the only indisputable claim.

       *       *       *       *       *




The parts of speech in Gaelic may be conveniently divided and arranged as
follows:--Article, Noun, Adjective, Pronoun, Verb, Adverb, Preposition,
Conjunction, Interjection. Of these, the first five are declinable; the
other four are indeclinable.



The Gaelic article an corresponds to the English definite article _the_.
There is in Gaelic no indefinite article corresponding to the English _a_
or _an_. The inflections of the article are but few. They depend on the
gender, the number, and the case, of the noun to which it is prefixed.
Hence the article is declined by gender, number, and case, as follows:

          Singular.               Plural.
          _Masc._     _Fem._      _Masc. & Fem._
   _Nom._ an, am      an, a'      na
   _Gen._ an, a'      na          nan, nam
   _Dat._ an, a', n'  an, a', n'  na

In the singular, final _n_ of the article is sometimes cut off, and its
absence marked by an apostrophe. The same happens to the initial _a_ of the
dative singular.



A Noun is the Name of any person, object, or thing whatsoever, that we have
occasion to mention. In treating of {38} this Part of Speech, we have to
consider the _Gender_ and the _Declension_ of Nouns.


In imposing names on sensible objects, the great and obvious distinction of
Sex in the animal world suggested the expediency of inventing names, not
only for the particular species of animals, but also for distinguishing
their Sex. Such are _vir_, _femina_; _bull_, _cow_; _coileach_, _cearc_,
&c. To mark at once identity of species, and diversity of Sex, the same
word, with a slight change on its form, was applied to both sexes: as
_equus_, _equa_; _lion_, _lioness_; _oglach_, _banoglach_. In most
languages, distinction of Sex has been marked, not only thus by the form of
the noun, but further by the form of the adjective connected with the noun.
Most adjectives were furnished with two forms, the one of which indicated
its connection with the name of a male, the other its connection with the
name of a female. The one was called by grammarians the _masculine gender_,
the other the _feminine gender_ of the adjective. Adjectives possessing
thus a two-fold form, must necessarily have appeared under one or other of
these forms, with whatever noun they happened to be conjoined. Even nouns
significant of inanimate objects came thus to possess one mark of nouns
discriminative of Sex, as they happened to be accompanied by an adjective
of the masculine or by one of the feminine gender. If any noun was observed
to be usually coupled with an adjective of the masculine gender, it was
termed by grammarians a _masculine noun_; if it was found usually coupled
with an adjective of the feminine gender, it was termed a _feminine noun_.
Thus a distinction of nouns into masculine and feminine came to be noted,
and this also was called gender.

It is observable, then, that gender, in grammar, is taken in two different
acceptations. When applied to an adjective, {39} it signifies a certain
_form_, by which _bonus_ is distinguished from _bona_. When applied to a
noun, it signifies a certain _relation_ of the word to the attributives
connected with it, by which _amor_ is distinguished from _cupido_. As Sex
is a natural characteristic pertaining to living objects, so gender is a
grammatical characteristic pertaining to nouns, the names of objects
whether animate or inanimate. The gender of nouns is not, properly
speaking, indicated; it is constituted by that of the attributives
conjoined with them. If there were no distinction of gender in adjectives,
participles, &c. there could be none in nouns. When we say that _amor_ is a
noun of the masculine gender, and _cupido_ a noun of the feminine gender,
we do not mean to intimate any distinction between the things signified by
these nouns; we mean nothing more than to state a grammatical fact, viz.,
that an adjective connected with _amor_ is always of the same form as when
joined to a noun denoting a male, and that an adjective connected with
_cupido_ is always of the same form as when joined to a noun denoting a


When an adjective was to be connected with a noun that denoted an object
devoid of Sex, it is not always easy to guess what views might have
determined the speaker to use the adjective in one gender rather than in
the other. Perhaps Sex was attributed to the object signified by the noun.
Perhaps its properties were conceived to bear some resemblance to the
qualities characteristic of Sex in living creatures. In many instances, the
form of the noun seems to have decided the point. It must be confessed that
in this mental process, the judgment has been often swayed by trivial
circumstances, and guided by fanciful analogies. At least it cannot be
denied that in the Gaelic, where all nouns whatever are ranked under the
class of masculines or of feminines, the gender of each has been fixed by a
procedure whereof the grounds cannot now be fully investigated or
ascertained. Neither the natural nor artificial qualities or uses of the
things named, nor the form of the names given them, furnish any invariable
rule by which the gender of nouns may be known. It ought to be remembered,
however, that the Gaelic is far from being singular in this respect. The
oldest language with which we are acquainted, as well as some of the most
polished modern tongues, stand in the same predicament.

The following observations may serve to give some idea of the analogy of
gender in Gaelic nouns; though they do not furnish a complete set of rules
sufficient to ascertain the gender of every noun:--


MASCULINES. Nouns signifying males are masculines; as, fear _a man_, righ
_a king_, sagart _a priest_, tarbh _a bull_, cu _a dog_.

Many nouns, signifying the young of animals of either Sex, are masculine,
even when the individual objects they denote are mentioned as being of the
female Sex; as, laogh _a calf_, isean _a gosling_, uan _a lamb_, &c.[30].

Diminutives in _an_; as, rothan _a little wheel_, dealgan _a little pin_,

Derivatives in _as_, which are, for the most part, abstract nouns; as,
cairdeas _friendship_, naimhdeas _enmity_, ciuineas _calmness_,
breitheamhnas _judgment_, ceartas _justice_, maitheas _goodness_, &c.

Derivatives in _air_, _ach_, _iche_, which are, for the most part, agents;
as, cealgair _a deceiver_, sealgair _a huntsman_, dorsair _a door-keeper_,
marcach _a rider_, maraiche _a sailor_, coisiche _a foot traveller_, &c.

Names of such kinds of trees as are natives of Scotland; as, darach _oak_,
giuthas _fir_, uimhseann _ash_.

Most polysyllables whereof the last vowel is broad, are masculine.

FEMININES. Nouns signifying females are feminine; as, bean _a woman_,
mathair _a mother_, bo _a cow_, &c. Except bainionnach or boirionnach _a
female_, mart _a cow_, capull _a horse_ or _mare_, but commonly _a mare_,
which are masculine, and caileann or cailinn _a damsel_, masculine or
feminine.[31] Mark, vi. 28.


Some nouns denoting a species are feminine, even when the individual spoken
of is characterised as a male; as, gabhar fhirionn, _a he-goat_. Psal. l.

Names of countries; as, Albainn _Scotland_, Eirinn _Ireland_.

Names of musical instruments; as, clarsach _a harp_, piob, _a pipe_.

Names of the heavenly bodies; as, Grian _sun_, Gealach _moon_.

Names of diseases; as, teasach _a fever_, a' ghriuthach _the measles_, a'
bhreac _the small-pox_, a' bhuidheach _the jaundice_, a' bhuinneach, _a
diarrhoea_, &c.

Collective names of trees or shrubs are feminine; as, giuthasach _a fir
wood_, iugharach _a yew copse_, seileach _a willow copse_, droighneach _a
thorny brake_.

Diminutives in _ag_ or _og_; as, caileag _a girl_, cuachag _a little cup_.

Derivatives in _achd_; as, iomlanachd _fulness_, doillearachd _duskiness_,
doimhneachd _depth_, rioghachd _kingdom_, sinnsireachd _ancestry_, &c.

Abstract nouns formed from the genitive of adjectives; as, doille
_blindness_, gile _whiteness_, leisge _laziness_, buidhre _deafness_, &c.

Many monosyllables in _ua_ followed by one or more consonants are feminine;
as, bruach _a bank_, cruach _a heap_, cuach _a cup_, cluas _an ear_, gruag
_the hair of the head_, sguab _a sheaf_, tuadh _a hatchet_, tuath

Almost all polysyllables, whereof the last vowel is small, except those in
_air_ and _iche_, already noticed, are feminine.

A few nouns are of either gender; Salm _a Psalm_, creidimh _belief_, are
used as masculine nouns in some places, and feminine in others. Cruinne
_the globe_, talamb _the earth, land_, are masculine in the nominative; as,
an cruinne-cé _the globe of the earth_. Psal. lxxxix. 11., xc. 2.--D.
Buchan. 1767. p. 12. 15; an talamh tioram _the dry land_. Psal. xcv. {43}
5. The same nouns are generally feminine in the genitive; as, gu crìch na
cruinne _to the extremity of the world_. Psal. xix. 4.; aghaidh na
talmhainn _the face of the earth_. Gen. i. 29. Acts xvii. 24.


Nouns undergo certain changes significant of Number and of Relation.

The forms significant of Number are two: the _Singular_, which denotes one;
and the _Plural_, which denotes any number greater than one.

The changes expressive of Relation are made on nouns in two ways: 1. On the
beginning of the noun; 2. On its termination. The relations denoted by
changes on the termination are different from those denoted by changes on
the beginning; they have no necessary connection together; the one may take
place in absence of the other. It seems proper, therefore, to class the
changes on the termination by themselves in one division, and give it a
name, and to class the changes on the beginning also by themselves in
another division, and give it a different name. As the changes on the
termination denote, in general, the same relations which are denoted by the
Greek and Latin cases, that seems a sufficient reason for adopting the term
case into the Gaelic Grammar, and applying it, as in the Greek and Latin,
to signify "the changes made on the _termination_ of nouns or adjectives to
mark relation".[32] According to this description of them, there are four
cases in Gaelic. These may be {44} named, like the corresponding cases in
Latin, the _Nominative_, the _Genitive_, the _Dative_, and the
_Vocative_.[33] The Nominative is used when any person or thing is
mentioned as the _subject_ of a proposition or question, or as the _object_
of an action or affection. The Genitive corresponds to an English noun
preceded by _of_. The Dative is used only after a preposition. The Vocative
is employed when a person or thing is addressed.

The changes on the beginning of nouns are made by aspirating an initial
consonant; that is, writing _h_ after it. This may be called the
_Aspirated_ form of the noun. The aspirated form extends to all the cases
and numbers. A noun, whereof the initial form is not changed by aspiration,
is in the _Primary_ form.

The _accidents_ of nouns may be briefly stated thus. A noun is declined by
Number, Case, and Initial form. The Numbers are two: _Singular_ and
_Plural_. The Cases are four: _Nominative_, _Genitive_, _Dative_, and
_Vocative_. The Initial form is twofold: the _Primary form_, and the
_Aspirated form_ peculiar to nouns beginning with a consonant.

In declining nouns, the formation of the cases is observed to depend more
on the last vowel of the nominative than on {45} the final letter. Hence
the last vowel of the nominative, or in general of any declinable word, may
be called the _characteristic_ vowel. The division of the vowels into
_broad_ and _small_ suggests the distribution of nouns into two
Declensions, distinguished by the quality of the characteristic vowel. The
first Declension comprehends those nouns whereof the _characteristic_ vowel
is _broad_; the second Declension comprehends those nouns whereof the
_characteristic_ vowel is _small_.

The following examples are given of the inflection of nouns of the


      Bard, mas. _a Poet_.

  _Singular._            _Plural._
  _Nom._  Bard           Baird
  _Gen._  Baird          Bard
  _Dat._  Bard           Bardaibh
  _Voc._  Bhaird         Bharda

      Cluas, fem. _an Ear_.

  _Singular._            _Plural._
  _Nom._  Cluas          Cluasan
  _Gen._  Cluaise        Cluas
  _Dat._  Cluais         Cluasaibh
  _Voc._  Chluas         Chluasa

_Formation of the Cases of Nouns of the First Declension._

_Singular Number._

_General Rule for forming the Genitive._--The Genitive is formed from the
Nominative, by inserting _i_ after the characteristic vowel, as, bàs mas.
_death_, Gen. sing. bàis; fuaran m. a _fountain_, g. s. fuarain; clarsach
f. _a harp_, g. s. clarsaich. Feminine monosyllables likewise add a short
_e_ to the Nominative; as, cluas f. _an ear_, g. s. cluaise; làmh _a hand_,
g. s. làimhe[34].


_Particular Rules for the Genitive._--1. If the nominative ends in a vowel,
the genitive is like the nominative; as, trà m. _a time_ or _season_, g. s.
trà; so also beatha f. _life_, cro m. _a sheepfold_, cliu m. _fame_, duine
_a man_, Donncha _Duncan_, a man's name, and many others. Except bo f. _a
cow_, g. s. boin; cu m. _a dog_, g. s. coin; bru f. _the belly_, g. s.
broinn or bronn.

2. Nouns ending in _chd_ or _rr_ have the genitive like the nominative; as,
uchd m. _the breast_, sliochd m. _offspring_, feachd m. _a host_, reachd m.
_statute_, cleachd m. _habit_, beachd m. _vision_, smachd m. _authority_,
fuachd m. _cold_, sprochd m. _gloom_, beannachd m. _a blessing_, naomhachd
f. _holiness_, earr m. _the tail_, torr m. _a heap_. Except slochd g. s.
sluichd m. _a pit_, unless this word should rather be written sloc, like
boc, cnoc, soc.

3. Monosyllables ending in _gh_ or _th_ add _a_ for the genitive; as, lagh
m. _law_, g. s. lagha; roth m. _a wheel_, g. s. rotha; sruth m. _a stream_,
g. s. srutha. Except àgh m. _felicity_, _grace_, or _charm_, g. s.

4. Monosyllables characterised by _io_ either drop the _o_ or add _a_ for
the genitive; as, siol m. _seed_, g. s. sìl; lion m. _a net_, g. s. lìn;
crioch f. _a boundary_, g. s. crìch; cioch f. _the pap_, g. s. cìche; fion
m. _wine_, g. s. fiona; crios m. _a girdle_, g. s. criosa; fiodh m.
_timber_, g. s. fiodha. Except Criost or Criosd m. _Christ_, which has the
gen. like the nominative.

5. Many monosyllables, whose characteristic vowel is _a_ or _o_, change it
into _u_ and insert _i_ after it; as, gob m. _the bill of a bird_, g. s.
guib; crodh m. _kine_, g. s. cruidh; bolg or balg m. _a bag_, g. s. builg;
clog or clag m. _a bell_, g. s. cluig; lorg f. _a staff_, g. s. luirge;
long f. _a ship_, g. s. luinge; alt m. _a {47} joint_, g. s. uilt; alld m.
_a rivulet_, g. s. uilld; car m. _a turn_, g. s. cuir; carn m. _a heap of
stones_, g. s. cuirn. So also ceol m. _music_, g. s. ciuil; seol m. _a
sail_, g. s. siuil. Except nouns in _on_ and a few feminines, which follow
the general rule; as, bròn m. _sorrow_, g. s. bròin; lòn m. _food_, g. s.
lòin; cloch or clach f. _a stone_, g. s. cloiche; cos or cas f. _the foot_,
g. s. coise; bròg f. _a shoe_, g. s. bròige. So also clann f. _children_,
g. s. cloinne; crann m. _a tree_, g. s. croinn. Mac m. _a son_, has its g.
s. mic.

6. Polysyllables characterised by _ea_ change _ea_ into _i_; as, fitheach
m. _a raven_, g. s. fithich; cailleach f. _an old woman_, g. s.
caillich[36]. These two suffer a syncope, and add _e_; buidheann f. _a
company_, g. s. buidhne; sitheann f. _venison_, g. s. sithne.

Of monosyllables characterised by _ea_, some throw away _a_ and insert _i_;
as, each m. _a horse_, g. s. eich; beann f. _a peak_, g. s. beinne; fearg
f. _anger_, g. s. feirge. Some change _ea_ into _i_; as, breac m. _a
trout_, g. s. bric; fear m. _a man_, g. s. fir; ceann m. _a head_, _end_,
g. s. cinn; preas m. _a bush_, g. s. pris; breac f. _the small-pox_, g. s.
brice; cearc f. _a hen_, g. s. circe; leac f. _a flag_, g. s. lice. Gleann
m. _a valley_, adds _e_, g. s. glinne. Some add _a_ to the nominative; as,
speal m. _a scythe_, g. s. speala. Dream f. _people_, _race_, gean m.
_humour_, have their genitive like the nominative. Feall f. _deceit_, g. s.
foill or feill. Geagh m. _a goose_, makes g. s. geoigh.


7. Nouns in _eu_ followed by a liquid, change _u_ into _o_ and insert _i_
after it; as, neul m. _a cloud_, g. s. neoil, eun m. _a bird_, g. s. eoin;
feur m. _grass_, g. s. feoir; meur m. _a finger_, g. s. meoir; leus m. _a
torch_, g. s. leois. Beul m. _the mouth_, g. s. beil or beoil; sgeul. m. _a
tale_, g. s. sgeil or sgeoil. Other nouns characterised by _eu_ add _a_ for
the gen., as, treud m. _a flock_, g. s. treuda; feum m. _use_, _need_, g.
s. feuma; beum m. _a stroke_, g. s. beuma. Meud m. _bulk_, beuc m. _a
roar_, freumh f. _a fibre_, _root_, hardly admit of _a_, but have their
gen. rather like the nom.

8. Monosyllables characterised by _ia_ change _ia_ into _ei_; as, sliabh m.
_a moor_, g. s. sleibh; fiadh m. _a deer_, g. s. feidh; biadh m. _food_, g.
s. beidh or bidh; iasg m. _fish_, g. s. eisg; grian f. _the sun_, g. s.
greine; sgiath f. _a wing_, g. s. sgeithe. Except Dia m. _God_, g. s. De;
sgian f. _a knife_, g. s. sgine.

Piuthar f. _a sister_, has g. s. peathar; leanabh m. _a child_, g. s.
leinibh; ceathramh m. _a fourth part_, g. s. ceithrimh, leabaidh or leaba
f. _a bed_, g. s. leapa; talamh m. _earth_, g. s. talmhainn.

The _Dative_ singular of masculine nouns is like the nominative; of
feminine nouns, is like the genitive; as, tobar m. _a well_, d. s. tobar;
clarsach f. _a harp_, g. s. and d. s. clarsaich; misneach f. _courage_, g.
s. and d. s. misnich.

_Particular Rules for the Dative of Feminine Nouns._--1. If _e_ was added
to the nominative in forming the genitive, it is thrown away in the dative;
as, slat f. _a rod_, g. s. slaite--d. s. slait; grian f. _the sun_, g. s.
greine, d. s. grein.

2. If the nominative suffered a syncope in forming the genitive, or if the
last vowel of the genitive is broad, the dative is like the nominative; as,
buidheann f. _a company_, g. s. buidhne, d. s. buidheann; piuthar f. _a
sister_, g. s. peathar, d. s. piuthar.

The _Vocative_ of masc. nouns is like the genitive; of feminine nouns is
like the nominative; as, bàs m. _death_, g. s. bàis, v. s. bhais; cu m. _a
dog_, g. s. coin, v. s. choin; grian f. _the sun_, v. s. ghaoth. {49}

_Plural Number._

_Nominative._ Masculine nouns which insert _i_ in the gen. sing. have their
nom. plur. like the gen. sing.; as, oglach m. _a servant_, g. s. oglaich,
n. p. oglaich; fear m. _a man_, g. s. and n. p. fir. Many of these form
their nom. plur. also by adding a short _a_ to the nominative singular.
Other masculine nouns, and all feminine nouns, have their nom. plural in
_a_, to which _n_ is added, _euphoniæ causa_, before an initial vowel[37].

_Particular Rules_ for forming the Nom. Plur. in _a_ or _an_.

1. By adding _a_ to the nom. singular; as, dubhar m. _a shadow_, n. p.
dubhara; rioghachd f. _a kingdom_, n. p. rioghachdan. Under this Rule, some
nouns suffer a syncope; as, dorus m. _a door_, n. p. dorsa for dorusa.

2. Nouns ending in _l_ or _nn_, often insert _t_ before _a_; as, reul m. _a
star_, n. p. reulta; beann f. _a pinnacle_, n. p. beannta. So lòn m. _a
marsh_, n. p. lòintean.

3. Some nouns in _ar_ drop the _a_, and add to the nom. sing. the syllable
_aich_; and then the final _a_ becomes _e_, to correspond to the preceding
small vowel; as, leabhar m. _a book_, n. p. leabhraiche; tobar m. _a well_,
n. p. tobraiche; lann. f. _an enclosure_, inserts _d_, n. p. lanndaiche.
Piuthar f. _a sister_, from the g. s. peathar, has n. p. peathraiche; so
leaba f. _a bed_, g. s. leapa, n. p. leapaiche. Bata m. _a staff_, n. p.
batacha; la or latha _a day_, n. p. lathachan or laithean.

4. Some polysyllables in _ach_ add _e_ or _ean_ to the genitive singular;
as, mullach m. _summit_, g. s. mullaich, n. p. mullaichean; otrach m. _a
dunghill_, n. p. otraichean; clarsach f. _a harp_, n. p. clarsaichean;
deudach f. _the jaw_, n. p. deudaichean. So sliabh m. _a moor_, g. s.
sleibh, with _t_ {50} inserted, n. p. sleibhte. Sabhul m. _a barn_, g. s.
sabhuil, n. p. saibhlean, contracted for sabhuilean.

The following Nouns form their Nominative Plural irregularly: Dia m. _God_,
n. p. dée or diathan; scian f. _a knife_, n. p. sceana or scinichean;
sluagh m. _people_, n. p. sloigh; bo. f. _a cow_, n. p. ba.

_Genitive._ 1. Monosyllables, and nouns which form their nominative plural
like the genitive singular, have the genitive plural like the nominative
singular; as, geug f. _a branch_, g. p. geug; coimhearsnach m. _a
neighbour_, g. s. and n. p. coimhearsnach.

2. Polysyllables which have their nominative plural in _a_ or _an_, form
the genitive like the nominative; leabhar m. _a book_, n. p. and g. p.
'leabraichean'--When the nominative plural is twofold, the genitive is so
too; as 'fear' n. _a man_, n. p. fir, or sometimes feara, g. p. fear or

Cu m. _a dog_ has its g. p. con; caora f. _a sheep_, g. p. caorach; sluagh
m. _people_, g. p. sluagh or slogh.

_Dative._ The dative plural is formed either from the nominative singular
or from the nominative plural. If the nominative plural ends in a
consonant, the dative plural is formed by adding _ibh_ to the nominative
singular; as, crann m. _a tree_, n. p. croinn, d. p. crannaibh; mac m. _a
son_, n. p. mic, d. p. macaibh. If the nominative plural ends in a vowel,
the final vowel is changed into _ibh_; as, tobar _a well_, n. p. tobraiche,
d. p. tobraichibh.

2. Monosyllables ending in an aspirated consonant, which have their
nominative plural like the genitive singular, form their dative plural like
the nominative plural; as, damh _an ox_, g. s. and n. p. daimh, d. p.
daimh, not damhaibh; fiadh m. _a deer_, g. s. and n. p. and d. p. feidh. So
sluagh m. _people_, _host_, g. s. sluaigh, n. p. and d. p. sloigh. Nouns
ending in _ch_, of three or more syllables, form their dative plural like
the nominative plural, rather than in _ibh_; as, coimhearsnach m. _a
neighbour_, d. p. coimhearsnaich rather than coimhearsnachaibh; phairiseach
m. _a Pharisee_, d. p. phairisich rather than phairiseachaibh. {51}

_Vocative._ The vocative plural is like the nominative plural, terminating
in _a_, but seldom in _an_; as, fear m. _a man_, n. p. fir or feara, v. p.
_fheara_; oglach m. _a servant_, n. p. _oglaich_, v. p. _oglacha_. Except
perhaps monosyllables which never form their nominative plural in _a_, nor
their dative plural in _ibh_; as, damh m. _an ox_, n. p. daimh, v. p.
dhaimh; a shloigh, Rom. xv. 11.

The irregular noun Bean f. _a woman_, is declined thus:

    _Singular._                   _Plural._
  _Nom._ Bean                   Mnai, mnathan
  _Gen._ Mna                    Ban
  _Dat._ Mnaoi                  Mnathaibh
  _Voc._ Bhean.                 Mhnathan.


      Cealgair, mas. _a deceiver_.

    _Singular._                   _Plural._
  _Nom._ Cealgair               Cealgaire
  _Gen._ Cealgair               Cealgair
  _Dat._ Cealgair               Cealgairibh
  _Voc._ Chealgair.             Chealgaire.

      Clais, fem. _a gully_.

  _Nom._ Clais                  Claisean
  _Gen._ Claise                 Clais
  _Dat._ Clais                  Claisibh
  _Voc._ Chlais.                Chlaise.

_Formation of the cases of nouns of the second Declension._

_Singular Number._

_General Rule for the Genitive._ The genitive of polysyllables is like the
nominative; of monosyllables is made by adding _e_ to the nominative; as,
caraid m. _a friend_, g. s. caraid; aimsir f. _time_, g. s. aimsir; tigh m.
_a house_, g. s. tighe; ainm m. _a name,_ g. s. ainme; im m. _butter_, g.
s. ime; craig f. _a rock_, g. s. craige. {52}

_Particular Rules for the Genitive._ 1. Feminine nouns in _ail_ and _air_
drop the _i_ and add _ach_; if the nominative be a polysyllable, _ai_ is
thrown away; as, sail f. _a beam_, g. s. salach; dail f. _a plain_, g. s.
dalach; lair f. _a mare_, g. s. làrach; cathair f. _a seat_, g. s.
cathrach; nathair f. _a serpent_, g. s. nathrach; lasair f. _a flame_, g.
s. lasrach. To these add còir f. _right_, g. s. còrach or còire.

2. Monosyllables characterised by _oi_ drop _i_ and add _a_; as, feoil f.
_flesh_, g. s. feola; tòin f. _bottom_, g. s. tòna; sròin f. _the nose_, g.
s. sròine or sròna.

3. Monosyllables characterised by _ui_ change _ui_ into _a_ or _o_, and add
_a_; as, muir f. _the sea_, g. s. mara; fuil f. _blood_, g. s. fola or
fala; druim f. _a ridge_, g. s. droma. Except sùil f. _the eye_, g. s.
sùla; cuid f. _a part_, g. s. codach or cuid.

4. A few feminine polysyllables in _eir_ form their genitive like
monosyllables; as, inneir f. _dung_, g. s. inneire; suipeir f. _supper_, g.
s. suipeire.

5. The following dissyllables seem to have formed their genitive like
monosyllables, and then suffered a contraction. Sometimes the
characteristic vowel is retained, and sometimes it is thrown away, the
final _e_ of the genitive being converted into _a_, when requisite to suit
an antecedent broad vowel.

  Amhainn, f. _a river_,       g. s. aimhne, _contracted for_ amhainne
  Aghainn }
  Aghann  } f. _a pan_,        g. s. aighne,                  aghainne
  Banais f. _a wedding_,       g. s. bainse,                  banaise
  Coluinn f. _the body_,       g. s. colna, colla             coluinne
  Duthaich f. _a country_,     g. s. duthcha,                 duthaiche
  Fiacail f. _a tooth_,        g. s. fiacla,                  fiacaile
  Gamhuinn m. _a steer_,       g. s. gamhna,                  gamhuinne
  Gualainn f. _the shoulder_,  g. s. guaille,                 gualainne
  Madainn f. _morning_,        g. s. maidne,                  madainne
  Obair f. _work_,             g. s. oibre,                   obaire
  Uilinn f. _the elbow_,       g. s. uillne,                  uilinne


6. The following nouns form their genitive by dropping the characteristic
small vowel; athair m. _a father_, g. s. athar; mathair f. _a mother_, g.
s. mathar; brathair m. _a brother_, g. s. brathar; namhaid m. _an enemy_,
g. s. namhad. Cnaimh m. _a bone_, g. s. cnamha; uaimh f. _a cave_, g. s.
uamha. Mil f. _honey_, has g. s. meala.

7. A few monosyllables ending in a vowel have their genitive like the
nominative; as, ni m. _a thing_, ti m. _a person_, ré m. _the moon_; to
which add righ m. _a king_.

_Dative._ The dative singular is like the nominative; as, duine m. _a man_,
d. s. duine; madainn f. _morning_, d. s. madainn.

_Vocative._ The vocative singular is like the nominative, as, caraid m.
_friend_, v. s. charaid; mathair f. _mother_, v. s. mhathair.

_Plural Number._

_Nominative.--General Rule._ The nominative plural is formed by adding to
the nominative singular _a_ or _an_, written _e_ or _ean_ to correspond to
a preceding small vowel; as, piobair m. _a piper_, n. p. piobairean; aimsir
f. _time_, _season_, n. p. aimsirean. Some nouns suffer a contraction in
the nominative plural; as, caraid m. _a friend_, n. p. càirdean; naimhaid
m. _an enemy_, n. p. naimhdean; fiacail f. _a tooth_, n. p. fiaclan.

_Particular Rules._ 1. Some nouns, whose last consonant is _l_ or _n_,
insert _t_ in the nominative plural; as, tuil f. _a flood_, n. p. tuilte;
smuain f. _thought_, n. p. smuaintean; coille f. _a wood_, n. p. coilltean;
àithne f. _a command_, n. p. àithnte. The _t_ is aspirated in dail f. _a
plain_, n. p. dailthean; sail f. _a beam_, n. p. sailthean.

2. Some nouns in _air_, chiefly such as form their genitive singular in
_ach_, retain the same syllable in the nominative plural, and insert _i_
after _a_; as,

  Cathair, f. _a seat_,    g. s. cathrach,  n. p. cathraichean.
  Lasair, f. _a flame_,    g. s. lasrach,   n. p. lasraichean.
  Nathair, f. _a serpent_, g. s. nathrach,  n. p. nathraichean.

{54} So also cuid f. _a part_, from the g. s. codach, has the n. p.
codaichean; athair m. _a father_, n. p. aithrichean; mathair f. _a mother_,
n. p. maithrichean. To which add amhainn f. _a river_, n. p. aimhnichean;
uisge m. _water_, n. p. uisgeachan; cridhe m. _the heart_, n. p.

The following nouns form their nominative plural irregularly; duine m. _a
man_, n. p. daoine; righ m. _a king_, n. p. righre; ni m. _a thing_, n. p.
nithe; cliamhuinn m. _a son-in-law_, or _brother-in-law_, n. p. cleamhna.

_Genitive._ The genitive plural of monosyllables and masculine
polysyllables is twofold, like the nominative singular, and like the
nominative plural; as, righ m. _a king_, g. p. righ or righre. The genitive
plural of feminine polysyllables is like the nominative plural only; as,
amhainn f. _a river_, g. p. aimhnichean. Suil f. _the eye_, has its g. p.

_Dative._ The dative plural is formed from the nominative plural by
changing the final vowel into _ibh_; as, coluinn f. _the body_, n. p.
coluinne, d. p. coluinnibh; cridhe m. _the heart_, n. p. cridheacha, d. p.

_Vocative._ The vocative plural is like the nominative plural; as, duine m.
_a man_, n. p. daoine, v. p. dhaoine.

Final _a_ or _e_ in all the singular cases of polysyllables is occasionally
cut off, especially in verse; as, leab _bed_, teang _tongue_, coill _wood_,
cridh _heart_.

_Of the Initial form of Nouns._

In nouns beginning with a consonant, all the cases admit of the _aspirated
form_. In the vocative singular and plural the aspirated form alone is
used, except in nouns beginning with a lingual, which are generally in the
primary form, when preceded by a lingual; as, a sheann duine _old man_.
Nouns beginning with _s_ followed by a mute consonant have no aspirated
form, because _s_ in that situation does not admit of the aspirate. In
nouns beginning with _l_, _n_, _r_, a distinction is uniformly observed in
pronouncing the initial consonant, corresponding precisely to the
distinction of primary and {55} aspirated forms in nouns beginning with
other consonants. This distinction has already been fully stated in
treating of pronunciation.

The general use of the singular and plural numbers has been already
mentioned. A remarkable exception occurs in the Gaelic. When the numerals
fichead _twenty_, ceud _a hundred_, mile _a thousand_, are prefixed to a
noun, the noun is not put in the plural, but in the singular number, and
admits no variation of case. The termination of a noun preceded by da
_two_, is the same with that of the dative singular, except when the noun
is governed in the genitive case, and then it is put in the genitive
plural[38]; when preceded by fichead, ceud, &c., the termination is that of
the nominative singular; thus da laimh _two hands_, da chluais _two ears_,
dà fhear _two men_, fichead làmh _twenty hands_, ceud fear _a hundred men_,
mìle caora _a thousand sheep_, deich mìle bliadhna _ten thousand



An adjective is a word used along with a noun, to express some quality of
the person or thing signified by the noun.

Adjectives undergo changes which mark their relation to other words. These
changes are made, like those on nouns, partly on the beginning, and partly
on the termination, and may be fitly denominated by the same names. The
changes on the beginning are made by aspirating an initial consonant. The
numbers and cases, like those of nouns, are distinguished by changes on the
termination. The gender is marked partly by the initial form, partly by the

Adjectives whereof the characteristic vowel is broad, follow, {56} in most
of their inflections, the form of nouns of the first declension, and may be
termed Adjectives of the first declension. Those adjectives whereof the
characteristic vowel is small, may be called Adjectives of the second

_Example of Adjectives of the First Declension._

Mòr, _great_.

  Singular.                    Plural
       _Mas._        _Fem._          _Com. Gend._
  _Nom._ Mor,         Mhor,             Mora.
  _Gen._ Mhoir,       Moire,            Mora.
  _Dat._ Mor,         Mhoir,            Mora.
  _Voc._ Mhoir,       Mhor,             Mora.

_Formation of the Cases of Adjectives of the First Declension._


_Nominative._ The feminine gender is, in termination, like the masculine.

The other cases, both mas. and fem., are formed from the nominative,
according to the rules already given for forming the cases of nouns of the
first declension. Take the following examples in adjectives:--

_Genitive._--_General rule._ Marbh _dead_, g. s. m. mhairbh, f. mairbhe;
dubh _black_, g. s. m. dhuibh, f. duibhe; fadalach _tedious_, g. s. m.
fhadalaich, f. fadalaich.

_Particular rules._ 1. Sona _happy_, g. s. m. shona, f. sona; aosda _aged_,
g. s. m. and f. aosda; beo _alive_, g. s. m. bheo, f. beo.

2. Bochd _poor_, g. s. m. bhochd, f. bochd; gearr _short_, g. s. m. ghearr,
f. gearr.

3. Breagh _fine_, g. s. m. bhreagha, f. breagha.

4. Crion _little_, _diminutive_, g. s. m. chrìn, f. crìne.

5. Donn _brown_, g. s. m. dhuinn, f. duinne; gorm _blue_, g. s. m. ghuirm,
f. guirme; lom _bare_, g. s. m. luim, f. luime. {57} But dall _blind_, g.
s. m. dhoill, f. doille; mall _slow_, g. s. m. mhoill, f. moille; like the
nouns crann, clann.

6. Cinnteach _certain_, g. s. m. chinntich, f. cinntich; maiseach
_beautiful_, g. s. m. mhaisich, f. maisich. Tearc _rare_, g. s. m, theirc,
f. teirce; dearg _red_, g. s. m. dheirg, f. deirge; deas _ready_, g. s. m.
dheis, f. deise. Breac _speckled_, g. s. m, bhric, f. brice; geal _white_,
g. s. m. ghil, f. gile.

7. Geur _sharp_, g. s. m. ghéir, f. géire; like the nouns breug, geug.

8. Liath _hoary_, g. s. m. leith, f. léithe; dian _keen_, g. s. m. dhéin,
f. déine.

Irregulars. Odhar _pale_, g. s. m. and f. uidhir; bodhar _deaf_, g. s. m.
bhuidhir, f. buidhir.

_Dative._--_General rule._ Uasal _noble_, d. s. m. uasal f. uasail; bodhar
_deaf_, d. s. m. bodhar, f. bhuidhir.

_Particular rule._ 1. Trom _heavy_, d. s. m. trom, f. thruim.

_Vocative._ Beag _small_, v. s. m. bhig, f. bheag.


In Monosyllables the plural, through all its cases, is formed by adding _a_
to the nom. sing.; in Polysyllables, it is like the nom. sing.; as, crom
_crooked_, pl. croma; tuirseach _melancholy_, pl. tuirseach.

A few Dissyllables form their Plural like Monosyllables, and suffer a
contraction; as, reamhar _fat_, pl. reamhra, contracted for reamhara. Gen.
xli. 20.

_Adjectives of the Second Declension._

All the Cases of Adjectives of the Second Declension are formed according
to the general rules for nouns of the second declension; that is,
Monosyllables add _e_ for the gen. sing. fem. and for the plural cases;
Polysyllables are like the nom. sing. throughout.

In the Second Declension, as in the First, Dissyllables sometimes suffer a
contraction in the plural; as, milis _sweet_, pl. milse contracted for
milise. {58}

_Of the Initial Form of Adjectives._

Adjectives admit the _aspirated form_ through all the Numbers and Cases. In
Adjectives beginning with a Labial or a Palatal, the aspirated form alone
is used in the gen. and voc. sing. masc. the nom. dat. and voc. sing.

_Comparison of Adjectives._

There are in Gaelic two forms of Comparison, which may be called the
_First_ and the _Second Comparative_.

The _First Comparative_ is formed from the gen. sing. mas. by adding _e_;
as, geal _white_, g. s. m. gil, comp. gile, ghile; ciontach _guilty_, g. s.
m. ciontaich, comp. ciontaiche. Some Adjectives suffer a contraction in the
Comparative; as, bodhar _deaf_, comp. buidhre for buidhire; boidheach
_pretty_, comp. boidhche for boidhiche.

If the last letter of the gen. be _a_, it is changed into _e_, and _i_
inserted before the last consonant; as, fada _long_, g. s. m. fada, comp.
faide; tana _thin_, g. s. m. tana, comp. taine.

_The Second Comparative_ is formed from the first, by changing final _e_
into _id_; as, trom _heavy_, 1. comp. truime, 2. comp. truimid; tiugh
_thick_, 1. comp. tiuighe, 2. comp. tiuighid. Many Adjectives, especially
Polysyllables, do not admit of the Second Comparative.

Both these forms of Comparison have an _aspirated_ as well as a _primary
form_, but are otherwise indeclinable.

The following Adjectives are compared irregularly.

      _Positive._          _1. Comp._               _2. Comp._
  Math, maith, _good_,      fearr,                   feaird.
  Olc, _bad, evil_,         miosa,                   misd.
  Mòr, _great_,             mò,                      mòid.
  Beag, _small_,            lugha,                   lughaid.
  Goirid, gearr, _short_,   giorra,                  giorraid.
  Duilich, _difficult_,     dorra.
  Teath, _hot_,             teoithe,                 teoithid.
  Leathan, _broad_,         leatha, lèithne.
  Fogus, _near_,            foisge.
  Càirdeach, _akin_,        càra.
  Furas, _easy_,            fhusa,
  Toigh, _dear_,            docha.
  Ionmhuinn, _beloved_,     annsa, ionnsa.

To these may be added the nouns--

Moran _a great number_ or _quantity_, and Tuilleadh _more_.

The _Superlative_, which is but a particular mode of expressing comparison,
is the same in form with the First Comparative.

An eminent degree of any quality is expressed by putting one of the
particles ro, glé, before the Positive; as, ro ghlic _very wise_, glé gheal
_very white_. The same effect is produced by prefixing fior _true_, sàr
_exceeding_, &c., which words are, in that case, used adverbially; as, fior
mhaiseach _truly beautiful_, sàr mhaith _exceedingly good_.

_Cardinal Numbers._

   1 Aon, a h-aon, _one_.          40 Dà fhichead.
   2 Dà, a dhà                     50 Deich is dà fhichead.
   3 Tri.                          60 Tri fichead.
   4 Ceithir.                     100 Ceud.
   5 Cuig.                        200 Dà cheud.
   6 Sè, sia.                     300 Tri ceud.
   7 Seachd.                      400 Ceithir cheud.
   8 Ochd.                        500 Cuig ceud.
   9 Naoi.                      1,000 Mìle.
  10 Deich.                     2,000 Dà mhìle.
  11 Aon deug.                  3,000 Tri mìle.
  12 A dhà dheug.              10,000 Deich mìle.
  13 Tri deug.                 20,000 Fichead mìle.
  20 Fichead.                 100,000 Ceud mìle.
  21 Aon thar fhichead.       200,000 Dà cheud mìle.
  22 Dha 'ar fhichead.      1,000,000 Deich ceud mìle,
  23 Tri 'ar fhichead.                Mìle de mhìltibh.
  30 Deich 'ar fhichead.                &c. &c.
  31 Aon deug thar fhichead.


_Cardinal Numbers joined to a Noun._

    Of the mas. gender.                Of the fem. gender.

   1 Aon fhear, _one man_.            Aon chlach, _one stone_.
   2 Dà fhear.                        Dà chloich.
   3 Tri fir.                         Tri clachan.
  10 Deich fir.                       Deich clachan.
  11 Aon fhear deug.                  Aon chlach dheug.
  12 Dà fhear dheug.                  Dà chloich dheug.
  13 Tri fir dheug.                   Tri clachan deug.
  20 Fichead fear.                    Fichead clach.
  21 Aon fhear thar fhichead.         Aon chlach thar fhichead.
  22 Dà fhear thar fhichead.          Dà chloich thar fhichead.
  23 Tri fir fhichead.                Tri clacha fichead.
  30 Deich fir fhichead.              Deich clacha fichead.
  31 Aon fhear deug 'ar fhichead.     Aon chlach dheug thar fhichead.
  40 Dà fhichead fear.                Dà fhichead clach.
  41 Fear is dà fhichead.             Clach is dà fhichead.
  42 Dà fhear is dà fhichead.         Dà chloich is da fhichead.
  50 Deich is dà fhichead fear.       Deich is da fhichead clach.
  60 Tri fichead fear.                Tri fichead clach.
  70 Tri fichead fear agus deich.     Tri fichead clach agus deich.
     100 Ceud fear.                   Ceud clach.
     101 Ceud fear agus a h-aon.      Ceud clach agus a h-aon.
     300 Tri cheud fear.              Tri cheud clach.
   1,000 Mìle fear.                   Mìle clach.
  10,000 Deich mìle fear, &c.         Deich mìle clach, &c.

_Ordinal Numbers._

     1 An ceud fhear, _the first man_; a' cheud chlach, _the first stone_.
     2 An dara fear.
     3 An treas fear, an tri-amh fear.
     4 An ceathramh fear.
     5 An cuigeamh fear.
     6 An seathamh fear.
     7 An seachdamh fear.
     8 An t-ochdamh fear.
     9 An naothamh fear.
    10 An deicheamh fear.
    11 An t-aon fear deug.
    12 An dara fear deug.
    20 Am ficheadamh fear.
    21 An t-aon fhear fichead.
    22 An dara fear fichead.
    31 An t-aon fhear deug thar fhichead.
    40 An dà fhicheadamh fear.
    60 An tri ficheadamh fear.
   100 An ceudamh fear.
   101 An t-aon fhear thar cheud.
   120 Am ficheadamh fear thar cheud.
   200 An da cheudamh fear.
  1000 Am mìleamh fear, &c.

The following numeral Nouns are applied only to persons:--

  2. Dithis, _two persons_.    7. Seachdnar.
  3. Triuir.                   8. Ochdnar.
  4. Ceathrar.                 9. Naoinar.
  5. Cuignear.                10. Deichnar.
  6. Sèanar.



The _Pronouns_ are, for the most part, words used instead of nouns. They
may be arranged under the following divisions: Personal, Possessive,
Relative, Demonstrative, Interrogative, Indefinite, Compound.

The _Personal Pronouns_ are those of the 1st, 2d, and 3d persons. They have
a Singular and a Plural Number, a Simple and an Emphatic Form. They are
declined thus:-- {62}

          _Singular._                              _Plural._
  _Simple Form._          _Emphat. F._     _Simple F._       _Emphat._
  1. Mi, mhi, _I_, _me_,  Mise, mhise.   Sinn, _we_, _us_,   Sinne.
  2. {Th, thu, _thou_, }  Tusa, thusa.   Sibh, _ye_, _you_,  Sibhse.
     {Thu, _thee_,     }
  3. {E, se, _he_,     }  Esan.
     {E, _him_,        }
     {I, si, _she_,    }  Ise.           {Iad, siad, _they_}
     {I, _her_,        }                 {Iad, _them,_     } Iadsan[40]

The Pronoun 'sibh' _you_, of the plural number is used almost universally
in addressing a single person of superior rank or of greater age; while
'tu' _thou_, of the singular number is used in addressing an inferior or an
equal. But the degree of seniority or of superiority, which is understood
to entitle a person to this token of respect, varies in different parts of
the Highlands[41]. The Supreme Being is always addressed by the pronoun
'tu' _thou_, of the singular number.

The _Possessive Pronouns_ correspond to the Personal Pronouns, and, like
them, may be called those of the 1st, 2d, and 3d persons singular, and 1st,
2d, and 3d persons plural. They have an Emphatic Form, which is made by
connecting the syllable _sa_ with the possessive pronoun of the 1st, 2d,
{63} and 3d persons singular, and 2d person plural; _ne_ with that of the
1st person plural, and _san_ with that of the 3d person plural. These
syllables are placed immediately after the nouns to which the possessive
pronouns are prefixed, and connected by a hyphen.

These Pronouns are as follow:--

      _Simple._   _Emphatic._           _Simple._         _Emphatic._
          _Singular._                       _Plural._
  1.  Mo, _my_,  mo mhac-sa        1. Ar, _our_,         ar mac-ne
  2.  Do, _thy_, do ----sa         2. Bhur, 'ur, _your_, bhur ----sa
  3. {A, _his_,  a mhac-sa, san}   3. An, am, _their_,   an, am ----sa, san
     {A, _her_,  a mac-sa, san }

If the noun be followed by an adjective, the emphatic syllable is affixed
to the adjective; as, do làmh gheal-sa _thy white hand_.

The possessive pronouns mo, do, when followed by a vowel, commonly lose the
_o_, whose absence is marked by an apostrophe; as, m' aimn _my name_; d'
athair[42] _thy father_. The same pronouns when preceded by the preposition
ann _in_, suffer a transposition of their letters, and are written am, ad,
one broad vowel being substituted for another, as, ann ad chridhe _in thy
heart_, 1 Sam. xiv. 7, ann am aire _in my thoughts_.

The possessive pronoun a _his_, is often suppressed altogether after a
vowel; as, na sanntaich bean do choimhearsnaich, no oglach, no bhanoglach,
no dhamh, no asal, _covet not thy neighbour's wife, or his man-servant, or
his maid-servant_, &c., Exod. xx. 17. In these and similar instances, as
the tense is but imperfectly expressed (especially when the noun begins
with a vowel), and cannot be gathered with certainty from any other part of
the sentence, perhaps it might {64} be an improvement to retain the
pronoun, even at the expense of cutting off the final vowel of the
preceding word; as, n' a oglach, n' a bhanoglaich, &c. In many cases,
however, this appears hardly practicable; as, cha bheo athair _his father
is not alive_, which could not with any propriety be written cha bheo a

The word fein corresponding to the English words _self_, _own_, is
subjoined occasionally both to the personal and possessive pronouns: thus
mi fein _myself_, mise fein _I myself_, thu fein _thyself_, thusa fein
_thou thyself_, or _thy own self_, mo shluagh fein _my own people_.

The other Pronouns are as follow:--

          _Relative._          _Demonstrative._       _Interrogative._
  _N._    A, _who_, _which_,   So, _this_, _these_.   Co? _who?_
  _G.&D._ An.                  Sin, _that_, _those_.  Cia? _which?_
          Nach, _who not_,     Sud[44], ud, _yon_.    Ciod, creud? _what?_
             _which not_,
          Na, _that which_,

       _Indefinite._                       _Compound._
  Eigin, _some_.             E so, _this one_, m.   E sud, _yon one_, m.
  Ge b'e  } _whoever_[46].   I so, _this one_, f.   I sud, _yon one_, f.
  Cia b'e }
  Eile, _other_.             Iad so, _these_.       Iad sud, _yon_, pl.
  Gach, } _each_,      }     E sin, _that one_, m.  Cach eile, _the rest_.
  Cach, } _every_[47]. }
  Cach, _others, the rest_.  Iad sin, _those_.      Cach a chéile,
  Cuid, _some_.                                       _each other_[48].



A word that signifies to be, to do, or to suffer anything, is called a

The Verb in Gaelic, as in other languages, is declined by Voices, Moods,
Tenses, Numbers, and Persons.

The _Voices_ are two: Active and Passive.

The _Moods_ are five: the Affirmative or Indicative, the Negative or
Interrogative, the Subjunctive, the Imperative, and the Infinitive. Many,
but not all, Transitive Verbs have a Passive Participle.

The _Tenses_ are three: the Present, the Preterite, and the Future.

The _Numbers_ are two: Singular and Plural.

The _Persons_ are three: First, Second, and Third. The {66} distinction of
number and person takes place only in a few tenses.

The inflections of Verbs, like those of nouns, are made by changes at the
beginning, and on the termination.

The changes on the termination are made according to one model, and by the
same rules. But for the sake of stating some diversity in the _initial_
changes, it may be convenient to arrange the verbs in two _conjugations_,
whereof the first comprehends those verbs which begin with a consonant, the
second, those verbs which begin with a vowel. Verbs beginning with _f_,
followed by a vowel, are ranged under the second conjugation, along with
verbs beginning with a vowel.

The verb Bi _be_, which is used as an auxiliary to other verbs, is declined
as follows:--

Bi, _be_.

              _Affirmative_ or _Indicative Mood_.

       Present.          Preterite.            Future.
       _Sing._           _Sing._               _Sing._
  1. Ta mi, _I am_,   Bha mi, _I was_,     Bithidh mi, _I will be_,
  2. Ta thu,          Bha thu,             Bithidh tu,
  3. Ta e;            Bha e;               Bithidh se;

       _Plur._           _Plur._               _Plur._
  1. Ta sinn,         Bha sinn,            Bithidh sinn,
  2. Ta sibh,         Bha sibh,            Bithidh sibh,
  3. Ta iad.          Bha iad.             Bithidh siad.

          _Negative_ or _Interrogative Mood_.

             Present.                  Preterite.
             _Sing._                    _Sing._
       { 1 Bheil mi, _I am not,_     Robh mi, _I was not,_
  ni   { 2 Bheil thu,                Robh thu,
  cha  { 3 Bheil e;                  Robh e;
  nach {
  mur, {     _Plur._                    _Plur._
  &c.  { 1 Bheil sinn,               Robh sinn,
       { 2 Bheil sibh,               Robh sibh,
       { 3 Bheil iad.                Robh iad.


        { Bi mi, _I shall not be_,
  ni    { Bi thu,
  cha   { Bi se;
  nach  {
  mur,  {    _Plur._
  &c.   { Bi sinn,
        { Bi sibh,
        { Bi siad.

              _Subjunctive Mood._

     Preterite or Imperfect.            Future.
            _Sing._                     _Sing._
  1 Bhithinn, _I would be_,      Ma bhitheas mi, _If I shall be_,
  2 Bhitheadh tu,                Bhitheas tu,
  3 Bhitheadh e;                 Bhitheas e;

            _Plur._                     _Plur._
  1 Bhitheadheamaid,             Bhitheas sinn,
    Bhitheadh sinn,
  2 Bhitheadh sibh,              Bhitheas sibh,
  3 Bhitheadh iad.               Bhitheas iad.

    _Imperative Mood._           _Infinitive Mood._
  1 Bitheam, _let me be_,        Bith, _being_,
  2 Bi, bi thusa,                do bhith, } _to be_,
  3 Bitheadh e;                  a bhith,  }
                                 gu bhith, } _to be_,
            _Plur._              gu bith,  }
  1 Bitheamaid,                  iar bhith,} _after being_, _been_,
  2 Bithibh,                     iar bith, }
  3 Bitheadh iad.                o bhith, _from being_, &c.

_Compound Tenses._

      Present.             Preterite.               Future.
                          _Affirmative Mood._

        _Sing._              _Sing._                _Sing._
  Ta mi iar bith,       Bha mi iar bith,      Bithidh mi iar bith,
  _I have been_, &c.    _I had been_, &c.     _I shall have been_, &c.

                            _Negative Mood._

        _Sing._                  _Sing._              _Sing._
  ni, {Bheil mi iar bith,  Robh mi iar bith,   Bi mi air bith,
  &c. {_I have not been._  _I had not been._   _I shall not have been._

                       _Subjunctive Mood._

  Preterite or Pluperfect.                  Future.
        _Sing._                             _Sing._
  1 Bhithinn iar bith,            Ma bhitheas mi iar bith,
    _I should have been, &c._     _If I shall have been, &c._

The present affirmative ta is often written tha. This is one of many
instances where there appears reason to complain of the propensity remarked
in Part I. in those who speak the Gaelic, to attenuate its articulations by
aspiration. Another corrupt way of writing ta which has become common, is
ata. This has probably taken its rise from uniting the relative to the
verb; as, an uair _ata_ mi; instead of an uair _a ta_, &c., mar _a ta_, &c.
Or perhaps it may have proceeded from a too compliant regard to a
provincial pronunciation.

The pret. neg. robh appears to be made up of the verbal participle ro, the
same with do, and bha, throwing away the last vowel; ro bha, robh.

The verb and pronoun of the 1st per. sing. and 3d per. plur. are frequently
incorporated into one word, and written taim _I am_, taid _they are_.

The pres. neg. loses the initial _bh_ after the participle cha _not_, mur
_if not_, nach _that not_; _n_ is inserted, _euphoniae causa_, betwixt the
participle cha and the verb; as, cha n 'eil, mur 'eil, nach 'eil. This
Tense is often pronounced beil after the participle am; as, am beil e? _is

In the North Highlands, the pret. neg. often takes the common verbal
participle do before it; as, cha do robh mi, or cha d'robh mi, _I was not_.

Initial _b_ of the fut. neg. is aspirated after the participle cha _not_;
as, cha bhi.

Initial _bh_ of the pret. subj. loses the aspiration after the {69}
participles ni _not_, mur _if not_, nach _that not_, gu _that_, nam _if_;
as, mur bithinn, nam bitheadh tu.

The subjunct. and imper. often suffer a contraction, by changing _ithea_
into _io_; as, biodh, biom, bios, &c.

Some of the compound tenses of Bi are rarely if ever used. They are here
given complete, because they correspond to the analogy of other verbs; and
show how accurately the various modifications of time may be expressed by
the substantive verb itself.

Example of a verb of the First Conjugation. Buail _to strike_.

                   ACTIVE VOICE.

                   Simple Tenses.

           _Affirmative_ or _Indicative Moods_.

            Preterite.                    Future.
           _Sing._                        _Sing._
  1 Do bhuail mi, _I struck_,    Buailidh mi, _I will strike_,
    Bhuail mi,
  2 Bhuail thu,                       Buailidh tu,
  3 Bhuail e;                         Buailidh se;

          _Plur._                         _Plur._
  1 Bhuail sinn,                      Buailidh sinn,
  2 Bhuail sibh,                      Buailidh sibh,
  3 Bhuail iad.                       Buailidh siad.

               _Negative_ or _Interrogative Mood._

               Preterite.                  Future.
               _Sing._                     _Sing._
       { 1 Do bhuail mi, _I struck not_  Buail mi, _I will not strike_,
  ni   { 2 Do bhuail thu,                Buail thu,
  cha  { 3 Do bhuail e;                  Buail e;
  nach {
  mur, {         _Plur._                    _Plur._
  &c.  { 1 Do bhuail sinn,               Buail sinn,
       { 2 Do bhuail sibh,               Buail sibh,
       { 3 Do bhuail iad.                Buail iad.


                  _Subjunctive Mood._

      Preterite.                         Future.
       _Sing._                           _Sing._
  1 Bhuailinn, _I would strike_,  Ma bhuaileas mi, _If I shall strike_,
  2 Bhuaileadh tu,                Bhuaileas tu,
  3 Bhuaileadh e;                 Bhuaileas e;

       _Plur._                           _Plur._
  1 Bhuaileamaid,                 Bhuaileas sinn,
    Bhuaileadh sinn,
  2 Bhuaileadh sibh,              Bhuaileas sinn,
  3 Bhuaileadh iad.               Bhuaileas iad.

  _Imperative Mood._              _Infinitive Mood._
  1 Buaileam, _let me strike_,    Bualadh, _striking_,
  2 Buail,                        ag bualadh, _a-striking_, _striking_,
  3 Buaileadh e;                  iar bualadh, _struck_,
                                  do bhualadh, }
       _Plur._                    a bhualadh,  } _to strike_,
  1 Buaileamaid,                  ri bualadh, _at striking_,
  2 Buailibh,                     le bualadh, _with striking_,
  3 Buaileadh iad.                o bhualadh, _from striking_, &c.

Compound Tenses.

                          _Affirmative Mood._

        Present.              Preterite.               Future.
       _1. Comp._            _1. Comp._               _1. Comp._
   Ta mi ag bualadh,      Bha mi ag bualadh,     Bithidh mi ag bualadh,
  _I am striking_, &c.   _I was striking_, &c.  _I will be striking_, &c.

        Present.              Preterite.               Future.
       _2. Comp._            _2. Comp._               _2. Comp._
   Ta mi iar bualadh,     Bha mi iar bualadh,    Bithidh mi iar bualadh,
  _I have struck_, &c.   _I had struck_, &c.    _I will have struck_, &c.

                           _Negative Mood_

             Present.                      Preterite.
             _1. Comp._                    _1. Comp._
       { Bheil mi ag bualadh,           Robh mi ag bualadh,
       { _I am not striking_, &c.       _I was not striking_, &c.
       {                        Future.
       {                       _1. Comp._
       {                  Bi mi ag bualadh,
  ni   {                  _I will not be striking_, &c.
  cha  {
  nach {     Present.                      Preterite,
  mur, {     _2. Comp._                    _2. Comp._
  &c.  {  Bheil mi iar bualadh,         Robh mi iar bualadh,
       {  _I have not struck_,&c.       _I had not struck,_ &c.
       {                        Future.
       {                       _2. Comp._
       {                  Bi mi iar bualadh,
       {                  _I will not have struck,_ &c.

                   _Subjunctive Mood._

        Preterite.                     Future.
        _1. Comp._                     _1. Comp._
  Bhithinn ag bualadh,            Ma bhitheas mi ag bualadh,
  _I would be striking_, &c.      _If I shall be striking_, &c.

        _2. Comp._                     _2. Comp._
  Bhithinn iar bualadh,           Ma bhitheas mi iar bualadh,
  _I would have struck,_ &c.      _If I shall have struck_, &c.

   _Imperative Mood._               _Infinitive Mood._
      _1. Comp._                       _1. Comp._
  Bitheam ag bualadh,             Do bhith ag bualadh,
  _Let me be striking,_ &c.       _To be striking,_ &c.
                                  Iar bith ag bualadh,
                                  _Been striking,_ &c.

      _2. Comp._                       _2. Comp._
  Bitheam iar bualadh,            Do bhith iar bualadh,
  _Let me have struck,_ &c.       _To have been striking,_ &c.

                             PASSIVE VOICE.

                           _Affirmative Mood._

                             Simple Tenses.

        Preterite.                                  Future.
         _Sing._                                    _Sing._
  1 Do bhuaileadh mi, _I was struck._    Buailear mi, _I shall be struck._
    Bhuaileadh mi,
  2 Bhuaileadh thu,                      Buailear thu,
  3 Bhuaileadh e;                        Buailear e;

         _Plur._                                    _Plur._
  1 Bhuaileadh sinn,                     Buailear sinn,
  2 Bhuaileadh sibh,                     Buailear sibh,
    Bhuaileadh iad.                      Buailear iad.

                          _Negative Mood._

            Preterite.                          Future.
             _Sing._                            _Sing._
       { 1 Do bhuaileadh mi,             Buailear mi,
       {     _I was not struck_,           _I shall not be struck_,
  ni   { 2 Do bhuaileadh thu,            Buailear thu,
  cha  { 3 Do bhuaileadh e;              Buailear e;
  nach {
  mur, {     _Plur._                            _Plur._
  &c.  { 1 Do bhuaileadh sinn,           Buailear sinn,
       { 2 Do bhuaileadh sibh,           Buailear sibh,
       { 3 Do bhuaileadh iad,            Buailear iad.


                    _Subjunctive Mood._

             Preterite.                         Future.
             _Sing._                            _Sing._
  1 Bhuailteadh mi, _                    Ma bhuailear mi,
      _I would be struck,_                 _If I shall be struck._
  2 Bhuailteadh thu,                     Bhuailear thu,
  3 Bhuailteadh e;                       Bhuailear e;

             _Plur._                            _Plur._
  1 Bhuailteadh sinn,                    Bhuailear sinn,
  2 Bhuailteadh sibh,                    Bhuailear sibh,
  3 Bhuailteadh iad.                     Bhuailear iad.

                    _Imperative Mood._

               _Sing._                        _Plur._
  1 Buailtear mi, _Let me be struck,_  1 Buailtear sinn,
  2 Buailtear thu,                     2 Buailtear sibh,
  3 Buailtear e.                       3 Buailtear iad.

                    Buailte, _struck._

                       Compound Tenses

                      _Affirmative Mood._

      Present.                              Preterite.
      _1. Comp._                            _1. Comp._
  Ta mi buailte, _I am struck,_ &c.    Bha mi buailte, _I was struck,_ &c.

                          _1. Comp._
         Bithidh mi buailte, _I shall be struck,_ &c.


       Present.                             Preterite.
       _2. Comp._                           _2. Comp._
       _Sing._                              _Sing._
  1 Ta mi iar mo bhualadh,             Bha mi iar mo bhualadh,
    _I have been struck,_                _I had been struck,_
  2 Ta thu iar do bhualadh,            Bha thu iar do bhualadh,
  3 Ta se iar a bhualadh;              Bha se iar a bhualadh;

       _Plur._                               _Plur._
  1 Ta sinn iar ar bualadh,            Bha sinn iar ar bualadh,
  2 Ta sibh iar 'ur bualadh,           Bha sibh iar 'ur bualadh,
  3 Ta siad iar am bualadh.            Bha siad iar am bualadh.

                             _2. Comp._
        1 Bithidh mi iar mo bhualadh,   _I shall have been struck._
        2 Bithidh tu iar do bhualadh,
        3 Bithidh se iar a bhualadh;

                  1 Bithidh sinn iar ar bualadh,
                  2 Bithidh sibh iar 'ur bualadh,
                  3 Bithidh siad iar am bualadh.

                   _Negative Mood._

         Present.                         Preterite.
        _1. Comp._                        _1. Comp._
  Ni bheil mi buailte,              Ni'n robh mi buailte,
    _I am not struck,_ &c.            _I was not struck,_ &c.

                      _1. Comp._
       Ni'm bi mi buailte, _I shall not be struck,_ &c.

         Present.                         Preterite.
        _2. Comp._                        _2. Comp._
  Ni 'm bheil mi iar mo bhualadh,   Ni'n robh mi iar mo bhualadh,
    _I have not been struck,_ &c.     _I had not been struck,_ &c.

                      _2. Comp._
  Ni'm bi mi iar mo bhualadh, _I shall not have been struck,_ &c.

                   _Subjunctive Mood._

        Preterite.                         Future.
        _1. Comp._                        _1. Comp._
  Bhithinn buailte,                 Ma bhitheas mi buailte,
    _I would be struck,_ &c.          _If I shall be struck,_ &c.

        _2. Comp._                        _2. Comp._
  Bhithinn iar mo bhualadh,         Ma bhitheas mi iar mo bhualadh,
    _I would have been struck,_ &c.   _If I shall have been struck,_ &c.

    _Imperative Mood._                _Infinitive Mood._
       _1. Comp._                         _1. Comp._
  Bitheam buailte,                  Do bhith buailte,
    _Let me be struck,_ &c.           _To be struck,_ &c.

       _2. Comp._                         _2. Comp._
  Bitheam iar mo bhualadh,          Do bhith iar mo bhualadh,
    _Let me have been struck,_ &c.    _To have been struck,_ &c.

_Examples of Verbs of the Second Conjugation._

Orduich, _to appoint._

                     ACTIVE VOICE.

                     Simple Tenses

                       Preterite.         Future.
  _Affirmat._          Dh'orduich,        Orduichidh,
  _Negat._             D'orduich,         Orduich,
  _Subjunct._          Dh'orduichinn.     Dh'orduicheas.
    _Imperat._ Orduicheam.      _Infinit._ Orduchadh.

                     PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirmat._          Dh'orduicheadh,    Orduichear,
  _Negat._             D'orduicheadh,     Orduichear,
  _Subjunct._          Dh'orduichteadh.   Dh'orduicheas.
    _Imperat._ Orduichear.      _Particip._ Orduichte.


Folaich, _to hide._

                   ACTIVE VOICE.

                    Preterite.              Future.
  _Affirmat._       Dh'fholaich,            Folaichidh,
  _Negat._          D'fholaich,             Folaich,
  _Subjunct._       Dh'fholaichinn.         Dh'fholaicheas.
     _Imperat._  Folaicheam.      _Infinit._ Folachadh.

                   PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirmat._       Dh'fholaicheadh,        Folaichear,
  _Negat._          D'fholaicheadh,         Folaichear,
  _Subjunct._       Dh'fholaichteadh.       Dh'fholaichear.
     _Imperat._ Folaichtear.      _Particip._  Folaichte.

The Compound tenses may be easily learned from those of the Verb Buail in
the first Conjugation, being formed exactly in the same manner.


_Of the Initial Form._

An Initial Consonant is aspirated in the Preterite Tense, through all the
Moods and Voices, except in the Preterite Subjunctive after the Particles
ni, mur, nach, gu, an, am. An initial Consonant is occasionally aspirated
in the Future Tense, and in the Infinitive and Participle, indicating their
connection with the preceding word.

In the first Conjugation, do is prefixed to the Pret. Aff. and Neg. Active
and Passive. However, it often is, and always may be, omitted before the
Pret. Aff. It is sometimes omitted in the Pret. Neg. in verse, and in
common conversation. In the second Conjugation, the same Particle do is
prefixed to the Preterite through all the Moods and Voices, and to the Fut.
Subj. excepting only the Subjunctive Tenses after ni, mur, nach, gu, an,
am. In this {77} Conjugation, do always loses the _o_ to avoid a _hiatus_,
and the _d_ is aspirated in the Affirm. and Subjunct. Moods[49].

_Of the Termination._

In all regular Verbs, the Terminations adjected to the Root are, strictly
speaking, the same in Verbs characterised by a small vowel. But where the
first vowel of the Termination does not correspond in quality to the last
vowel of the Root, it has become the constant practice to insert in the
Termination a vowel of the requisite quality, in order to produce this
correspondence. Thus a variety has been introduced into the Terminations
even of regular Verbs, prejudicial to the uniformity of inflection, and of
no use to ascertain either the sense or the pronunciation[50]. In the
foregoing examples of regular Verbs, the common mode of Orthography has
been followed, but in the following rules the simple Terminations only are


Simple Tenses.

The Theme or Root of the Verb is always found in the second Per. sing. of
the imperative.

The _Preterite_ Affirm. and Negat. is like the Root, and has no distinction
of Number or Person. In most of the editions of the Gaelic Psalms, some
inflections of the {78} Preterite have been admitted, with good effect,
from the Irish Verb; such as, bhuaileas _I struck_, bhuailis _thou didst
strike_, bhuaileamar _we struck_, bhuaileadar _they struck_. The Pret.
Subj. is formed by adding to the Root _inn_ for the first pers. sing., and
_adh_ for the other persons. The first pers. plur. also terminates in

The _Future_ Affirm. adds _idh_ to the Root; in the Negat. it is like the
Root; and in the Subjunct. it adds _as_. A poetic Future Tense terminating
in _ann_ or _onn_, is frequent in the Gaelic Psalms; as, gairionn _will
call_, seasfann _will stand_, do bheirionn, _will give_, &c. The Future has
no distinction of Number or Person. The Termination of the Future Affirm.
and Negat. in many Verbs was formerly _fidh_, like the Irish; of which many
examples occur in the earlier editions of the Gaelic Psalms. In later
Gaelic publications, the _f_ has been uniformly set aside[51]. The
Termination of the first pers. and third pers. plur. is often incorporated
with the corresponding Pronoun; as, seinnam cliu _I will sing praise_,
Psal. lxi. 8., Ni fuigham bàs, ach mairfam beo, _I shall not die, but shall
remain alive_, Ps. cxviii. 17., Ithfid, geillfid, innsid, _they will eat_,
_they will submit_, _they will tell_, Ps. xxii, 26, 29, 31. [52].


In the _Imperative_ Mood, the second pers. sing. is the Root of the Verb.
The other persons are distinguished by these Terminations; 1st pers. sing.
_am_, 3d pers. sing. _adh_, 1st pers. plur. _amaid_, 2d pers. plur. _ibh_,
3d pers. plur. _adh_.

The Terminations peculiar to the 1st pers. sing. and plur. of the Pret.
Subj. and of the Imperat. supply the place of the Personal Pronouns; as
does also the Termination of the 2d pers. plur. of the Imperative.

The _Infinitive_ is variously formed.

_General Rule._ The Infinitive is formed by adding _adh_ to the Root; as,
aom _bow, incline_, Infin. aomadh; ith _eat_, Infin. itheadh.

1. Some Verbs suffer a syncope in the penult syllable, and are commonly
used in their contracted form; as,

  _Imper._               _Infin._
  Caomhain, _spare_,    Caomhnadh.
  Coisin, _win_,        Coisneadh, Cosnadh.
  Diobair, _deprive_,   Diobradh.
  Fògair, _remove_,     Fògradh.
  Foghain, _suffice_,   Foghnadh.
  Fosgail, _open_,      Fosgladh.
  Innis, _tell_,        Innseadh.
  Iobair, _sacrifice_,  Iobradh.
  Mosgail, _awake_,     Mosgladh.
  Seachain, _avoid_,    Seachnadh.
  Tionsgain, _begin_,   Tionsgnadh.
  Togair, _desire_,     Togradh.

Observe that Verbs which thus suffer a syncope in forming {80} the
Infinitive, suffer a like syncope in the Preterite Subjunctive, and in the
Imperative Mood; as, innis _tell_, Infin. innseadh, Pret. Subj. innsinn,
innseadh, innseamaid, Imperat. innseam, innseamaid, innsibh.

2. A considerable number of Verbs have their Infinitive like the Root; as,

  Caoidh, _lament_.       Ol, _drink_.
  Dearmad, _neglect_.     Ruith, _run_.
  Fàs, _grow_.            Snamh, _swim_.
  Gairm, _call_.          Sniomh, _twine_.
  Meas, _estimate_.

3. Polysyllables in _ch_, whose characteristic Vowel is small, either throw
it away, or convert it into a broad Vowel and add _adh_; as,

  Ceannaich, _buy_,      Ceannachadh.
  Smuainich, _think_,    Smuaineachadh.

Most Monosyllables in _sg_, and a few others, follow the same Rule; as,

  _Imper._            _Infin._        _Imper._           _Infin._
  Coisg, _check_,     Cosgadh.        Naisg, _bind_,     Nasgadh.
  Fàisg, _wring_,     Fàsgadh.        Paisg, _wrap_,     Pasgadh.
  Loisg, _burn_,      Losgadh.        Blais, _taste_,    Blasadh.
  Luaisg, _rock_,     Luasgadh.       Buail, _strike_,   Bualadh.

4. Many Verbs, whose characteristic Vowel is small, either throw it away,
or convert it into a broad Vowel, without adding _adh_; as,

  _Imper._               _Infin._      _Imper._               _Infin._
  Amhairc, _look_,       Amharc.       Iomain, _drive_,       Ioman.
  Amais, _reach_,        Amas.         Leighis, _cure_,       Leigheas.
  Caill, _lose_,         Call.         Sguir, _cease_,        Sgur.
  Ceangail, _bind_,      Ceangal.      Siubhail, _travel_,    Siubhal.
  Cuir, _put_,           Cur.          Tachrais, _wind_,      Tachras.
  Coimhid, _keep_,       Coimhead.     Tiondaidh, _turn_,     Tiondadh.
  Fulaing, _suffer_,     Fulang.       Toirmisg, _forbid_,    Toirmeasg.
  Fuirich, _stay_,       Fuireach.     Toinail, _gather_,     Toinal.
  Guil, _weep_,          Gul.          Tionsgail, _contrive_, Tionsgal.


5. The following Verbs in _air_ add _t_ to the Root:--

         _Imper._                _Infin._
  Agair, _claim_,              Agairt.
  Bagair, _threaten_,          Bagairt.
  Casgair, _slaughter_,        Casgairt.
  Freagair, _answer_,          Freagairt.
  Iomair, _use_,               Iomairt.
  Labhair, _speak_,            Labhairt.
  Lomair, _shear_,             Lomairt.
  Saltair, _trample_,          Saltairt.
  Tabhair, _give_,             Tabhairt.
  Tachair, _meet_,             Tachairt.

6. These Monosyllables add _sinn_ to the Root:--

  Beir, _bear_,                Beirsinn.
  Creid, _believe_,            Creidsinn.
  Faic, _see_,                 Faicsinn.
  Goir, _crow_,                Goirsinn.
  Mair, _continue_,            Mairsinn.
  Saoil, _think_,              Saoilsinn.
  Tréig, _forsake_,            Tréigsinn.
  Tuig, _understand_,          Tuigsinn, or Tuigeil.
  Ruig, _reach_,               Ruigsinn, or Ruigheachd.

7. These Monosyllables add _tuinn_ or _tinn_ to the Root:--

  Bean, _touch_,               Beantuinn.
  Buin, _take away_,           Buntuinn.
  Can, _say, sing_,            Cantuinn.
  Cinn, _grow_,                Cinntinn.
  Cluinn, _hear_,              Cluinntinn.
  Fan, _stay_,                 Fantuinn.
  Gin, _produce_,              Giontuinn, or Gionmhuin.
  Lean, _follow_,              Leantuinn, or Leanmhuin.
  Meal, _enjoy_,               Mealtuinn.
  Pill, _return_,              Pilltinn.
  Seall, _look_,               Sealltuinn.


8. The following Monosyllables add _ail_ to the Root:--

  _Imper._           _Infin._     _Imper._                 _Infin._
  Cum, _hold_,       Cumail.      Leag, _cast down_,       Leagail.
  Gabh, _take_,      Gabhail.     Tog, _raise_,            Togail.
  Fàg, _leave_,      Fàgail.      Tuig, _understand_,      Tuigeil.

9. These Monosyllables add _amh_ to the Root:--

  _Imper._                  _Infin._
  Caith, _spend_,           Caitheamh.
  Dean, _do, make_,         Deanamh.
  Feith, _wait_,            Feitheamh.
  Seas, _stand_,            Seasamh.

10. The following Verbs form the Infinitive irregularly:--

  Beuc, _roar_,             Beucaich.
  Bùir, _bellow_,           Bùirich.
  Geum, _low_,              Geumnaich.
  Glaodh, _cry_,            Glaodhaich.
  Caisd, _listen_,          Caisdeachd.
  Eisd, _hearken_,          Eisdeachd.
  Marcaich, _ride_,         Marcachd.
  Thig, _come_,             Teachd, tighinn.
  Faigh, _find_,            Faghail, faotainn.
  Eirich, _rise_,           Eirigh.
  Iarr, _request_,          Iarraidh.
  Taisg, _lay up_,          Tasgaidh.
  Coidil, _sleep_,          Codal.
  Fuaigh, _sew_,            Fuaghal.
  Gluais, _move_,           Gluasad, gluasachd.
  Tuit, _fall_,             Tuiteam.
  Teirig, _wear out_,       Teireachduinn.
  Teasairg, _deliver_,      Teasairgin.

_Compound Tenses._

The _compound Tenses of the first order_ are made up of the several simple
Tenses of the auxiliary verb Bi _be_, and the Infinitive preceded by the
Preposition ag _at_. Between two Consonants, ag commonly loses the _g_, and
is written _a'_; as, {83} ta iad a' deanamh _they are doing_. Between two
Vowels, the _a_ is dropped, and the _g_ is retained; as, ta mi 'g iarruidh
_I am asking_. When preceded by a Consonant, and followed by a Vowel, the
Preposition is written entire, as, ta iad ag iarruidh _they are asking_.
When preceded by a Vowel, and followed by a Consonant, it is often
suppressed altogether; as, ta mi deanamh _I am doing_[53].

The _compound Tenses of the second order_ are made up of the simple Tenses
of Bi and the Infinitive preceded by the Preposition iar _after_[54].


_Simple Tenses._

The _Preterite_ Affirm. and Negat. is formed from the same Tense in the
Active, by adding _adh_. The Preter. Subj. adds _teadh_.

The _Future_ is formed from the Fut. Act. by changing the Terminations in
the Affirm. and Subj. into _ar_, (more properly _far_, as of old) and
adding the same syllable in the Negative.

The _Imperative_ is formed from the Imperat. Act. by adding to the second
pers. sing. _tar_, _thar_, or _ar_.[55]


The _Participle_ is formed by adding _te_ to the Root[56].

There is no distinction of Number or Person in the Tenses of the Passive

Verbs which suffer a syncope in the Infinitive, suffer a like syncope in
the Pret. Aff. and Neg. throughout the Future Tense, and in the Imperative.

_Compound Tense._

The _compound Tenses of the first order_ are made up of the simple Tenses
of the auxiliary Bi and the Passive Participle.


The _compound Tenses of the second order_ are made up of the simple Tenses
of _Bi_ and the Infinitive preceded by the Preposition _iar_ and the
Possessive Pronoun corresponding in Person to the Pronoun, or to the Noun,
which is the Nominative to the verb.

_Use and Import of the Moods and Tenses._

The _Affirmative_ or _Indicative_ Mood expresses affirmation, and is used
in affirmative propositions only, as, Do bhuail mi _I struck_, bha mi ag
bualadh _I was striking_.

The _Negative_ or _Interrogative_ Mood is used in negative propositions and
interrogative clauses, after the Particles ni _not_, cha _not_, nach _which
not_, _that not_, _not?_ mur _if not_; also, gu, gur, _that_, an, am,
whether used relatively or interrogatively; as, cha d'fholaich mi _I did
not hide_, mur buail sinn _if we shall not strike_, nach robh iad _that
they were not_, gu robh iad _that they were_; am buail mi? _shall I
strike?_ It is used in the Future Tense after ged _although_; as, ged
bhuail e mi, _though he strike me_[57].

The _Subjunctive_ Mood is used in the Preterite, either with or without
conjunctions; as, bhuailinn _I would strike_, na'm, mur, nach, &c.,
buailinn _if, unless, &c., I should strike_. In the Future it is used only
after the conjunctions ma _if_, o, o'n _since_, and the Relative _a_
expressed or understood; as, ma bhuaileas mi _if I shall strike_, am fear a
bhuaileas mi _the man {86} who will strike me_, or _the man whom I shall
strike_; an uair a bhuaileas mi, tra bhuaileas mi _the time [in] which I
shall strike, i. e., when I shall strike_; c'uin [cia ùine] a bhuaileas mi?
_what [is] the time [in] which I shall strike? i. e., when shall I strike?_

The _Imperative_ Mood expresses desire, whether purpose, command, or
request; as, buaileam _let me strike_, buailibh _strike ye_.

The _Infinitive_[58] is, in all respects, a noun, denoting the action or
energy of the verb, and commonly preceded by a Preposition which marks the
time of the action; as, ag bualadh _at striking_, am bualadh _the striking,
the threshing_. It assumes a regular genitive case, bualadh g. s. bualaidh;
as, urlar-bualaidh _a threshing floor_. The Infinitive sometimes loses the
termination, and is regularly declined in its abridged form; thus,
cruinnich _assemble_, inf. cruinneach-adh per. apocop. cruinneach g. s.
cruinnich; hence, àite-cruinnich _a place of meeting_, Acts xix. 29, 31,
so, fear-criochnaich, Heb. xii. 2, fear-cuidich, Psalm xxx. 10, liv. 4,
ionad-foluich, Psalm xxxii. 7, cxix. 114, litir-dhealaich, Matt. v. 31[59].

There is no part of the Active Voice that can, strictly speaking, be
denominated a Participle. The Infinitive preceded by the Preposition ag
_at_, corresponds in meaning to the present Participle; and preceded by iar
_after_, it corresponds to the participle of the past time; as, ag bualadh
_at striking_, or _striking_; iar bualadh _after striking_, or


Many words, expressing state or action, take the Preposition _ag_ before
them, and may be considered as Infinitives of Verbs, whereof the other
parts are not in use; as, ag atharrais _mimicking_, ag gàireachdaich
_laughing_, a' fanoid, a' magadh _mocking_, _jeering_.


The _Participle_ passive is an adjective, denoting the completion of the
action or energy expressed by the verb; as, arbhar buailte _threshed corn_.

The _Simple Tenses_ which belong to all verbs are the Preterite or Future,
besides which the verb Bi to _be_, and the defective verb Is I _am_, have a
Present Tense[61].

The _Present_ expresses present existence, state, or energy.

The _Preterite Affirmative_ and _Negative_ expresses past time
indefinitely. The _Preterite Subjunctive_ corresponds to the English Tenses
formed by the auxiliaries _would_, _could_, &c. In general it denotes that
the action or energy of the verb takes place eventually or conditionally.
The Pret. Aff. or {89} Neg. is used sometimes in this sense, like the
English, when the Pret. Subj. occurred in the preceding clause of a
sentence, as, na'm biodh tus' an so, cha d' fhuair mo bhrathair bàs, _if
thou hadst been here, my brother had not [would not have] died_; mur
bitheamaid air deanamh moille bha sinn a nis air pilltinn air ar n-ais, _if
we had not lingered, we had [should have] now returned_, Gen. xliii. 10.

The _Future_ marks future time indefinitely. This Tense is used in a
peculiar sense in Gaelic, to signify that an action or event takes place
uniformly, habitually, according to ordinary practice, or the course of
nature. Thus; Blessed is he that _considereth_ the poor, expressed
according to the Gaelic idiom, would be, Blessed is he that _will
consider_, &c. A wise son _maketh_ a glad father, in Gaelic would run, A
wise son _will make_, &c. Your patient, I am told, is in a bad way; he
neither _enjoys_ rest, nor _takes_ medicine. Nay, his situation is worse
than you know of; yesterday, he became delirious, and is now almost
unmanageable; he _tosses_ his arms, and _endeavours_ to beat every one
within his reach. In Gaelic, _will enjoy--will take--will toss--will
endeavour_. In like manner, a great many Gaelic Proverbs express a general
truth by means of the Future tense; _e.g._, bithidh dùil ri fear feachd,
ach cha bhi dùil ri fear lic, _There _is_ hope that a man may return from
war, but there _is_ no hope that a man may return from the grave_;
literally, there _will be_ hope--there _will be_ no hope. Teirgidh gach ni
r' a chaitheamh, _every thing_ wears _out in the using_; literally,--_will
wear_ out[62].

The _Compound Tenses_ mark different modifications of time, {90} which will
be easily understood by analysing their component parts.

In the _Active Voice_, the compound tenses of the first order denote that
the action is going on, but not completed at the time specified by the
auxiliary verb, or its adjuncts; as, ta mi ag bualadh, _I am at striking_,
i.e., _I am striking_; bha mi ag bualadh an dé, _I was striking yesterday_.

Those of the second order denote that the action is newly completed and
past, at the time marked by the auxiliary verb; ta mi iar bualadh, _I am
after striking_, i.e., _I have struck_, _Je viens de frapper_; Bha mi iar
bualadh, _I was striking_, i.e., _I had struck_.

In the _Passive Voice_, the compound tenses of the first order denote that
the action is _finished_ at the time marked by the auxiliary verb; ta mi
buailte, _I am struck_.

Those of the second order denote that the action is _newly finished_ at the
time marked by the auxiliary[63]; ta mi iar mo bhualadh, _I am after my
striking_, or, _I am after the striking of me_, which has always a passive
signification; that is, it is always understood, from this form of
expression, that _striking_ is the action of some agent different from the
person struck. It is equivalent to _I have been struck_, _Je viens d'etre

A set of Compound Tenses, of a structure similar to these last, having the
preposition ag, in place of iar, is sometimes used, and in a passive sense,
denoting that the action is _going on_ at the time marked by the auxiliary;
as, tha 'n tigh 'g a thogail, _the house is at its building_, i.e.,
_a-building_; sea bliadhna agus da fhichead bha 'n teampull 'g a thogail,
_forty and six years was this temple in building_. John ii. 20, 1 Kings vi.
7. Bha an crodh 'g an leigeadh, _the cows were a-milking_; bidh deudaichean
'g an rusgadh. "Gillies' Collect." p. 82. So {91} in English, the book is
a-printing; the deed's a-doing now, "Douglas," Act 1.

The following scheme shows the different modifications of time, as
expressed by the several Tenses of the Gaelic Verb, brought together into
one view, and compared with the corresponding Tenses of the Greek Verb in
Moor's Greek Grammar.

                           ACTIVE VOICE.

                    _Indicative or Affirmative Mood._

                           Present Tense.
  Ta mi ag bualadh,       [Greek: tuptô],           I strike,
                                                        or am striking.

  Bha mi ag bualadh,      [Greek: etupton],         I was striking.


  Buailidh mi           } [Greek: tupsô],           I will strike,
  Bithidh mi ag bualadh }                               or be striking.

                        Aorist or Preterite.
  Bhuail mi,              [Greek: etupsa],          I struck.

  Ta mi iar bualadh,      [Greek: tetupha],         I have struck.

  Bha mi iar bualadh,     [Greek: etetuphein],      I had struck.

                    _Interrogative or Negative Mood._

  Am bheil mi ag bualadh?                           Am I striking?

  An robh mi ag bualadh?                            Was I striking?

  Am buail mi?                                      Shall I strike?


                       Aorist or Preterite.
  An do bhuail mi?                                  Did I strike?

  Am bheil mi iar bualadh?                          Have I struck?

  An robh mi iar bualadh?                           Had I struck?

                         _Subjunctive Mood._

  Bhuailinn,            } [Greek: etupton an],      I would strike.
  Bhithinn ag bualadh,  }

  Ma bhuaileas mi,                                  If I shall strike.

  Bhithinn iar bualadh,   [Greek: etupsa an],       I would have struck.

                        _Imperative Mood._
  Buaileam,                                         Let me strike.
  Buail,                  [Greek: tupte],           Strike.

                        _Infinitive Mood._
  Am bualadh,             [Greek: to tuptein],      The striking.
  A' bhualaidh,           [Greek: tou tuptein],     Of the striking.
  Ag bualadh,             [Greek: en tôi tuptein],  A-striking.

                          PASSIVE VOICE.

                      _Indicative or Affirmative Mood._

  Ta mi 'g am bhualadh,   [Greek: tuptomai],        I am in striking[64].

  Bha mi 'g am bhualadh,  [Greek: etuptomên],       I was in striking.

  Buailear mi,        }   [Greek: tuphthêsomai],    I shall be struck.
  Bithidh mi buailte, }

                         Aorist or Preterite.
  Bhuaileadh mi,          [Greek: etuphthên],       I was struck.

  Ta mi buailte,        } [Greek: tetummenos eimi], I have been struck.
  Ta mi iar mo bhualadh }
  Bha mi buailte,       } [Greek: tetummenos ên],   I had been struck.
  Bha mi iar mo bhualadh}

                  _Interrogative or Negative Mood._

  Am buailear mi?                                   Shall I be struck?

                         Aorist or Preterite.
  An do bhuaileadh mi?                              Was I struck?

  Am bheil mi buailte?                            } Have I been struck?
  Am bheil mi iar mo bhualadh?                    }

  An robh mi buailte?                             } Had I been struck?
  An robh mi iar mo bhualadh?                     }

                          _Subjunctive Mood._

  Bhuailteadh mi,         [Greek: etuptomên an],    I should be struck.

  Ma bhuailtear mi,                                 If I shall be struck.

  Bhithinn buailte,     }
  Bhithinn iar mo       } [Greek: etuphthên an],    I should have been
    bhualadh,           }                                  struck.

                         _Imperative Mood._
  Buailtear mi,                                     Let me be struck.
  Buailtear thu,          [Greek: tuptou],          Be thou struck.

  Buailte,                [Greek: tetummenos]       Struck.

It will afford satisfaction to the grammatical reader, to see how correctly
the various modifications of time, as distinguished and arranged by Mr
Harris, are expressed in the Gaelic verb, by the auxiliaries, bi _be_, and
dol _going_. See _Hermes B. I. c. 7._

                 Aorist of the Present.
  [Greek: Tuptô],            I strike,              ----

                  Aorist of the Past.
  [Greek: Etupsa],           I struck,              Bhuail mi.

                 Aorist of the Future.
  [Greek: Tupsô],            I shall strike,        Buailidh mi.

                   Inceptive Present.
  [Greek: Mellô tuptein],    I am going to strike,  Ta mi dol a bhualadh.

                Middle or extended Present.
  [Greek: Tunchanô tuptôn],  I am striking,         Ta mi ag bualadh.

                   Completive Present.
  [Greek: Tetupha],          I have struck,         Ta mi iar bualadh.


                    Inceptive Past.
  [Greek: Emellon tuptein],  I was going to strike, Bha mi dol a bhualadh.

                 Middle or extended Past.
  [Greek: Etupton],          I was striking,        Bha mi ag bualadh.

                    Completive Past.
  [Greek: Etetuphein],       I had struck,          Bha mi iar bualadh.


                   Inceptive future.
  [Greek: Mellêsô tuptein],  I shall be going to    Bithidh mi dol a
                               strike,                bhualadh.

              Middle or extended Future.
  [Greek: Esomai tuptôn],    I shall be striking,   Bithidh mi ag bualadh.

                Completive Future.
  [Greek: Esomai tetuphôs],  I shall have struck,   Bithidh mi iar bualadh.


                 Beir, _bear._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Do rug,                  Beiridh.
  _Negat._    D' rug,                  Beir.
  _Subjunct._ Bheirinn,                Bheireas.
     _Imperat._  Beiream.         _Infin._ Beirsinn, breith.

                 PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirm._   Do rugadh,               Beirear.
  _Negat._    D' rugadh,               Beirear.
  _Subjunct._ Bheirteadh,              Bheirear.
     _Imperat._  Beirthear.


                 Cluinn, _hear._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Do chuala,               Cluinnidh.
  _Negat._    Cuala,                   Cluinn.
  _Subjunct._ Chluinnin,               Chluinneas.
     _Imperat._ Cluinneam.        _Infin._ Cluinntinn.

                 PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirm._   Do Chualadh,             Cluinnear.
  _Negat._    Cualadh,                 Cluinnear.
  _Subjunct._ Chluinnteadh,            Chluinnear.
     _Imperat._ Cluinntear.

                 Dean, _do_ or _make._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Do rinn,                 Ni.
  _Negat._    D' rinn,                 Dean.
  _Subjunct._ Dheanainn,               Ni.
     _Imperat._ Deanam.           _Infin._ Deanamh.

                 PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirm._   Do rinneadh,             Nithear.
  _Negat._    D' rinneadh,             Deanar.
  _Subjunct._ Dheantadh,               Nithear.
     _Imperat._ Deantar.         _Particip._ Deanta.

                 Rach, _go._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Do chaidh,               Théid.
  _Negat._    Deachaidh,               Téid[65].
  _Subjunct._ Rachainn,                Théid.
     _Imperat._ Racham.           _Infin._ Dol.

                 Ruig, _reach._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Do rainig,               Ruigidh.
  _Negat._    D' rainig,               Ruig.
  _Subjunct._ Ruiginn,                 Ruigeas.
     _Imperat._ Ruigeam.          _Infin._ Ruigsinn, ruigheachd.

                 Tabhair,[66] _give._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Do thug,                 Bheir.
  _Negat._    D' thug,                 Tabhair.
  _Subjunct._ Bheirinn, tabhairinn,    Bheir.
     _Imperat._ Tabhaiream, thugam.    _Infin._ Tabhairt.

                 PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirm._   Do thugadh,              Bheirear.
  _Negat._    D' thugadh,              Tabhairear.
  _Subjunct._ Bheirteadh, tugtadh.     Bheirear.
     _Imperat._ Thugthar.

                 Thig, _come._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Do thainig,              Thig.
  _Negat._    D' thainig,              Tig[67].
  _Subjunct._ Thiginn,                 Thig.
     _Imperat._ Thigeam.          _Infin._ Tighinn, teachd.



                 Abair,[68] _say._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Thubhairt, dubhairt,     Their.
  _Negat._    Dubhairt,                Abair.
  _Subjunct._ Theirinn, abairinn,      Their.
     _Imperat._ Abaiream.         _Infin._ Radh.

                 PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirm._   Dubhradh,                Theirear.
  _Negat._    Dubhradh,                Abairear.
  _Subjunct._ Theirteadh, abairteadh,  Theirear.
     _Imperat._ Abairear[69].

                 Faic, _see._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Do chunnaic,             Chi.
  _Negat._    Faca,                    Faic.
  _Subjunct._ Chithinn, faicinn,       Chi.
     _Imperat._ Faiceam.          _Infin._ Faicsinn.

                 PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirm._   Do chunnacadh,           Chithear.
  _Negat._    Facadh,                  Faicear.
  _Subjunct._ Chiteadh, faicteadh,     Chithear.
     _Imperat._ Faicthear.        _Infin._ Faicsinn.

                 Faigh, _get._

                 ACTIVE VOICE.

              Preterite.               Future.
  _Affirm._   Fhuair,                  Gheibh.
  _Negat._    D'fhuair,                Faigh.
  _Subjunct._ Gheibhinn, faighinn,     Gheibh.
     _Imperat._ Faigheam.         _Infin._ Faghail, faotainn.

                 PASSIVE VOICE.

  _Affirm._   Fhuaradh,                Gheibhear.
  _Negat._    D' fhuaradh,             Faighear.
  _Subjunct._ Gheibhteadh, faighteadh, Gheibhear.
     _Imperat._ Faightear.

The verbs Tabhair, Abair, Faic, Faigh, have a double Preterite Subjunctive.
The latter form of it, which is derived regularly from the Root, is used
after the same particles which are prefixed to the Negative Mood, _viz._
ni, cha, nach, mur, gu, an, am.

       *       *       *       *       *


The following defective verbs are in common use.

Arsa _said_, _quoth_, indeclinable; used only in the Pret. Aff. through all
the persons; arsa Donull, _quoth Donald_.

Tiucainn _come along_, tiucainnibh _come ye along_, used only in the 2d
pers. sing. and plur. of the Imperative.

Theab mi _I was near to, I had almost_; used through all the persons of the
Pret. Aff. and Neg.; as, theab iad bhith caillte _they had nearly

Is mi _I am_, used in the Pres. and Pret. Tenses, which are declined as
follows:-- {100}

                      _Affirmative Mood._

          Present.                          Preterite.

          _Sing._                            _Sing._
  1 Is mi, _I am, it is I._        Bu mhi, _I was, it was I._
  2 Is tu.                         Bu tu.
  3 Is e.                          B' e.

          _Plur._                            _Plur._
  1 Is sinn.                       Bu sinn.
  2 Is sibh.                       Bu sibh.
  3 Is iad.                        B' iad.

   _Negative Mood._

           _Sing._                           _Sing._
       {  1 mi, _I am not_, &c.    Bu mhi, _I was not_, &c.
       {  2 tu.                    Bu tu.
  ni,  {  3 e.                     B' e.
  cha, {
  nach,{    _Plur._                          _Plur._
  &c.  {  1 sinn.                  Bu sinn.
       {  2 sibh.                  Bu sibh.
       {  3 iad.                   B' iad.

   _Subjunctive Mood._

          _Sing._                            _Sing._
  1 Ma 's mi, _If I be, it be I._  Nam bu mhi, _If I were, it were I._
  2 's tu.                         Bu tu.
  3 's e.                          B' e.

          _Plur._                            _Plur._
  1 's sinn.                       Bu sinn.
  2 's sibh.                       Bu sibh.
  3 's iad.                        B' iad.

The only varieties of form which this Verb admits of, are the two syllables
_is_ and _bu_. Each of these syllables {101} commonly loses the vowel when
it comes in apposition with another vowel.

It is remarkable, that in the Pres. Neg. the Verb disappears altogether,
and the preceding Particle, ni, cha, nach, gur, &c., and the subsequent
Pronoun, or Noun, are always understood to convey a proposition, or a
question, as unequivocally as though a Verb had been expressed; as, cha tu
_thou art not_, nach e? _is he not? is it not he?_ am mise e? _is it I?_
cha luchd-brathaidh sinn _we are not spies_, Gen. xlii. 31. Am mò thusa na
Abraham? _Art thou greater than Abraham?_ gur còir urnuigh a dheanamh _that
it is proper to pray_, Luke xviii. 1[70].



Any transitive Verb may be so combined with a Pronoun, either Personal or
Possessive, that it shall denote the agent to be also the object of the
action. This may be called the _reciprocating state_ of the Verb. It is
declined as follows:--

Buail thu fein, _strike thyself_.

                    ACTIVE VOICE.

                   Simple Tenses.

                 _Affirmative Mood._

        Preterite.                       Future.
         _Sing._                         _Sing._
  1 Do bhuail mi mi fein,         Buailidh mi mi fein,
    Bhuail mi mi fein,              _I will strike myself._
      _I struck myself._
  2 Do bhuail thu thu fein,       Buailidh tu thu fein.
  3 Do bhuail se e fein;          Buailidh se e fein.

         _Plur._                         _Plur._
  1 Do bhuail sinn sinn fein,     Buailidh sinn sinn fein.
  2 Do bhuail sibh sibh fein,     Buailidh sibh sibh fein.
  3 Do bhuail siad iad fein.      Buailidh siad iad fein.

                   _Negative Mood._

            Preterite.                Future.
            _Sing._                   _Sing._
  cha,{ 1 Do bhuail mi mi fein,   Bhuail mi mi fein,
  &c. {   _I struck not myself._    _I shall not strike myself._

                _Subjunctive Mood._

         _Sing._                      _Sing._
  1 Bhuailinn mi fein,          1 Bhuaileas mi mi fein,
      _I would strike myself._      _I shall strike myself._

               _Imperative Mood._

         _Sing._                      _Plur._
  1 Buaileam mi fein,             Buaileamaid sinn fein.
      _Let me strike myself._
  2 Buail thu fein.               Buailibh sibh fein.
  3 Buaileadh e e fein.           Buaileadh iad iad fein.

_Infinitive Mood._

 'g am bhualadh fein, _striking myself_.
 'g ad bhualadh fein, _striking thyself_.
 'g a bhualadh fein, _striking himself_.
 'g ar bualadh fein, _striking ourselves_.
 'g 'ur bualadh fein, _striking yourselves_.
 'g am bualadh fein, _striking themselves_.
  iar mo bhualadh fein, _after striking myself_, &c.
  gu mo bhualadh fein, _to strike myself_, &c.

                  Compound Tenses.

                 _Affirmative Mood._

        Present.                     Preterite.
        _1. Comp._                   _1. Comp._
  Ta mi 'g am bhualadh fein,     Bha mi 'g am bhualadh fein,
    _I am striking myself._        _I was striking myself._

                           _1. Comp._
                  Bidh mi 'g am bhualadh fein,
                    _I will be striking myself._

        Present.                     Preterite.
        _2. Comp._                   _2. Comp._
  Ta mi iar mo, &c.              Bha mi iar mo, &c.
    _I have struck myself._         _I had struck myself._

                           _2. Comp._
                  Bidh mi iar mo, &c.
                    _I shall have struck_, &c.

                        _Negative Mood._

        Present.                     Preterite.
        _1. Comp._                   _1. Comp._
  Ni bheil mi 'g am, &c.         Ni robh mi 'g am, &c.
    _I am not striking myself._    _I was not striking myself._

                           _1. Comp._
                  Ni'm bi mi 'g am bhualadh fein.
                    _I shall not be striking myself._

        Present.                     Preterite.
        _2. Comp._                   _2. Comp._
  Ni bheil mi iar mo, &c.        Ni robh mi iar mo, &c.
    _I have not struck myself._    _I had not struck myself._

                           _2. Comp._
                  Ni'm bi mi iar mo, &c.
                    _I shall not have struck myself._

                    _Subjunctive Mood._

       Preterite.                            Future.
        _1. Comp._                   _1. Comp._
  Bhithinn 'g am, &c.            Ma bhitheas mi 'g am,
    _I would be striking_, &c.     _If I shall be striking_, &c.

        _2. Comp._                   _2. Comp._
  Bhithinn iar mo, &c.           Ma bhitheas mi iar mo, &c.
  _I would have struck_, &c.       _If I shall have struck_, &c.

  _Imperative Mood._               _Infinitive Mood._

  _1. Comp._                     Do bhith 'g am bhualadh fein,
                                   _To be striking myself._

  Bitheam 'g am bhualadh fein,   Iar bith 'g am bhualadh fein.
    _Let me be striking myself._   _To have been striking myself._

From the foregoing example it appears that the Verb, in its reciprocating
state, retains its original form throughout its several Moods, Tenses, and
Persons. In the _simple Tenses_, the Personal Pronoun immediately following
the Verb is the Nominative to the Verb. The same pronoun repeated is to be
understood as in the objective state. The word fein, corresponding to the
English _self_, accompanies the last Pronoun.

In the _compound Tenses_, the auxiliary Verb, as usual, is placed first;
then follows the Personal Pronoun as its Nominative, then the Prep. _ag_
abridged to _'g_ in the compound Tenses of the first order, iar in those of
the second order; after which follows the Possessive Pronoun, corresponding
in Person to that which is the Nominative to the Verb; and lastly the
Infinitive, which is the noun to the Possessive Pronoun. Mo and do are here
changed, by Metathesis and the substitution of one broad vowel for another,
into am and ad. Ta mi 'g am bhualadh fein, rendered literally, is, _I am at
my own striking, i.e., I am at the striking of myself_, equivalent to, _I
am striking myself_. The reciprocal fein is sometimes omitted in the
compound Tenses, but is generally retained in the 3d Persons, to prevent
their being mistaken for the same persons when used without reciprocation:
ta e 'g a bhualadh, _he is striking him_, ta e 'g a bhualadh fein, _he is
striking himself_.


Intransitive Verbs, though they do not regularly admit of a Passive Voice,
yet are used _impersonally_ in the 3d Pers. Sing. of the Passive Tenses.
This impersonal use of the Passive of intransitive Verbs is founded on the
same principle with the Latin Impersonals _concurritur_, _pugnatum est_,
{106} &c., which are equivalent to _concursus fit_, _pugna facta est_. So
in Gælic, gluaisfear leam, _I will move_, Psal. cxvi. 9; gluaisfear leo,
_they will move_, Psal. cxix. 3; ghuileadh leinn, _we did weep_, flebatur a
nobis, Psal. cxxxvii. 1, Edit. Edinb. 1787; cha bhithear saor o pheacadh,
_there wanteth not sin_, Prov. x. 19.

To the class of Impersonals ought to be referred a certain part of the Verb
which has not yet been mentioned. It resembles in form the Fut. Negat.
Passive; buailear, faicear, faighear, &c. In signification, it is Active,
Present, and Affirmative. In the course of a narrative, when the speaker
wishes to enliven his style by representing the occurrences narrated as
present, and passing actually in view, instead of the Preterite Tenses, he
adopts the Part of the Verb now described, employing it in an impersonal
acceptation, without a Nominative to it expressed. One or two examples will
serve to exhibit the use and effect of this anomalous Tense:--Shuidh an òg
bhean air sgeir, is a sùil air an lear. Chunnaic i long a' teachd air
barraibh nan tonn. Dh' aithnich i aogas a leannain, is chlisg a cridhe 'n a
com. Gun mhoille gun tamh, _buailear_ dh' fhios na traighe; agus _faighear_
an laoch, 's a dhaoine m' a thimchioll. In English thus: The young woman
sat on a rock, and her eye on the sea. She spied a ship coming on the tops
of the waves. She perceived the likeness of her lover, and her heart
bounded in her breast. Without delay or stop, she _hastens_ to the shore;
and _finds_ the hero, with his men around him. Again: Mar sin chuir sinn an
oidhche tharuinn. 'S a' mhadainn dh' imich sinn air ar turus. O bha sinn 'n
ar coigrich anns an tir, _gabhar_ suas gu mullach an t-sleibh, _direar_ an
tulach gu grad, agus _seallar_ mu 'n cuairt air gach taobh. _Faicear_ thall
fa 'r comhair sruth cas ag ruith le gleann cumhann, &c. Thus we passed the
night. In the morning we pursued our journey. As we were strangers in the
land, we _strike_ up to the top of the moor, _ascend_ the hill with speed,
and _look_ around us on every side. We _see_ over against us a rapid
stream, rushing down a narrow valley, &c. {107}

The scrupulous chastenesss of style maintained in the Gaelic version of the
Sacred Scriptures, has totally excluded this form of expression. It is,
however, universally known and acknowledged, as an established idiom of the
Gaelic, very common in the mouths of those who speak it, and in animated
narration almost indispensable[71].


It has been already shown how bi _be_, is used as an Auxiliary in the
declension of all verbs. There are two other verbs which are occasionally
employed in a similar capacity; the one with an Active the other with a
Passive effect. These are dean to _do_ or _make_, and rach to _go_.

The simple tenses of dean combined with the Infinitive of any verb,
correspond to the English auxiliary _do_, _did_. It sometimes adds to the
emphasis, but not to the sense. The following are examples of this
Auxiliary combined with the Infinitive of an _Intransitive_ verb:--Rinn e
seasamh _he made standing_, i.e., _he did stand;_ dean suidhe _make
sitting_, i.e., _sit down_; dheanainn gul agus caoidh _I would make weeping
{108} and lamentation_, i.e., _I would weep and lament._ The same
arrangement takes place when the Auxiliary is combined with the Infinitive
of a _Transitive_ verb, accompanied by a possessive pronoun; as, rinn e mo
bhualadh _he made my striking_, i.e., _he made [or caused] the striking of
me_, or, _he did strike me_; cha dean mi do mholadh, _I will not make your
praising_, i.e., _I will not praise you_; dean do gharadh, _make your
warming_, dean do gharadh fein, _make your own warming_, i.e., _warm

The Simple Tenses of rach, combined with the Infinitive of a transitive
verb, correspond to the Passive Voice of the verb; as, chaidh mo bhualadh
_my striking went_, i.e., _came to pass_, or _happened_, equivalent to _I
was struck_; rachadh do mharbhadh _your killing would happen_, i.e., _you
would be killed._

In phrases where either of the auxiliaries dean or rach is combined with a
transitive verb, as above, the possessive pronoun may be exchanged for the
corresponding personal pronoun in the emphatic form, followed by the
preposition _do_ before the Infinitive. The preposition in this case is
attenuated into _a_, which, before a verb of the second conjugation is
dropped altogether. Thus, rinn e mo bhualadh _he struck me_, rinn e mis' a
bhualadh _he struck_ ME, chaidh mo bhualadh _I was struck_, chaidh mis' a
bhualadh _I myself was struck_. In like manner, a noun, or a demonstrative
pronoun, may occupy the place of this personal pronoun; as, chaidh an
ceannard a mharbhadh[72], agus na daoine chur san ruaig, _the leader was
killed, and the men put to flight_; theid am buachaill a bhualadh, agus an
treud a sgapadh, _the shepherd will be smitten, and the sheep scattered_;
is math a chaidh sin innseadh dhuit, _that was well told you_.




An Adverb, considered as a separate part of speech, is a single
indeclinable word, significant of time, place, or any other circumstance or
modification of an action or attribute. The number of simple Adverbs in
Gaelic is but small. Adverbial phrases, made up of two or more words, are
sufficiently numerous. Any adjective may be converted into an adverbial
expression, by prefixing to it the preposition gu _to_; as, fìrinneach
_true_, gu fìrinneach _[corresponding] to [what is] true_, [Greek: kata to
alêthes], i.e., _truly_. Adverbs of this form need not be enumerated. It
may be useful, however, to give a list of other adverbs and adverbial
phrases, most commonly in use; subjoining, where it can be done, a literal
translation of their component parts, and also the English expression which
corresponds most nearly to the sense of the Gaelic phrase.

      _Adverbs of Time._

  A cheana; already, truly.
  A chianamh; a little while ago.
  A chlisge; quickly, in a trice.
  A choidhche, }
  Choidh;      } for ever.
  A nis, }
  Nise;  } now.
  A rìs,   }
  Rithist; } again.
  Ainmic,   }
  Ainmeach; } seldom.
  Air ball; _on [the] spot_, immediately.
  Air dheireadh; hindmost.
  Air thoiseach; foremost.
  Air tùs; in the beginning, at first.
  Air uairibh; _at times_, sometimes.
  Am bliadhna; this year.
  Am feadh; whilst.
  Am feasd; for ever.
  Am màireach; to-morrow.
  An ceart uair; _the very hour_, presently.
  An comhnuidh; _in continuation_, continually.
  An dé; yesterday.
  An deigh laimh; _behind hand_, afterwards.
  An diugh; _the [present] day_, to-day[73].
  An ear-thrath,  }
  An iar-thraith; } _the after time_, the day after to-morrow.
  An nochd; _the [present] night_, to-night.
  An raoir,  }
  An reidhr; } yesternight.
  An sin; _in that [time]_, then.
  An trath; _the time_, when.
  An tràth so, }
  An tràs';    } _this time_, at present.
  An uair; _the time_, when.
  An uiridh; last year.
  Aon uair; _one time_, once.
  Cia fhada; how long.
  Cia minic, }
  Cia tric;  } how often.
  C'uine; _what time_, when.
  Do la, }
  A la;  } by day[74].
  Dh' oidhche; by night[74].
  Do ghnàth; _[according] to custom_, always.
  Fa dheoidh; _at the end_, at last.
  Fathast, }
  Fòs;     } yet, still.
  Gu bràth[75], }
  Gu la bhràth; } _to the general conflagration_, for ever.
  Gu dìlinn[75]; _to the expiration of time_, or _till the deluge_, for
  Gu minic; often.
  Gu siorruidh; _to ever-flowing_, for ever.
  Gu suthainn; for ever.
  Gu tric; often.
  Idir; at all.
  Mar tha; _as it is_, already.
  Mu dheireadh; at last.
  O cheann tamuill; a while ago.
  O chian; _from far_, of old, long ago.
  Rè seal,    }
  Rè tamuill; } for a time.
  Riamh; ever, said of past time only.
  Roimh làimh; before hand.
  Uair eigin; some time.

      _Adverbs of Place._

  A bhos, }
  Bhos;   } on this side, here below.
  A leth taobh; to one side, aside.
  A mach,  }
  A muigh; } without, out.
  A mhàn[76]; downwards, down.
  An aird; _to the height_, upwards, up.
  A nall, }
  Nall;   } to this side.
  A nuas; _from above_, down hither.
  A null,     }
  Null, nunn; } to the other side.
  A thaobh; aside.
  Air aghaidh, }
  Air adhart;  } _on [the] face_, forward.
  Air ais; backwards.
  Air dheireadh; hindmost.
  Air thoiseach; foremost.
  Am fad,  }
  An céin; } afar.
  An gar; close to.
  An laimh; in hand, in custody.
  An sin; _in that [place]_, there.
  An so; _in this [place]_, here.
  An sud; _in yon [place]_, yonder.
  An taice; close adjoining, in contact.
  Asteach, }
  Astigh;  }[77] within, in.
  C' àite; _what place_, where.
  Cia an taobh; _what side_, whither.
  C' ionadh; _what place_, whither.
  Fad as; afar off.
  Fad air astar; far away.
  Far; where,--relatively.
  Fogus,    }
  Am fogus; } near.
  H-uig' agus uaith; to and fro.
  Iolar, }
  Ioras; } below there, below yonder.
  Le leathad; _by a descent_, downwards.
  Leis; _along with it_, down a stream, declivity, &c.
  Mu 'n cuairt; _by the circuit_, around.
  Ri bruthach; _to an ascent_, upwards.
  Ris; in an exposed state, bare, uncovered.
  Seachad; past, aside.
  Sios, a sios; downwards.
  Suas, a suas; upwards.
  Shios; below there, below yonder.
  Shuas; above there, above yonder.
  Tarsuing; across.
  Thairis; over.
  Thall; on the other side.
  Uthard; above there, above yonder.

  Deas[78]; south.
  Gu deas; southward.
  A deas; from the south.

  Iar[79], }
  Siar;    } west.
  Gus an aird an iar; westward.
  O'n iar; from the west.

  Tuath; north.
  Gu tuath; northward.
  A tuath; from the north.

  Ear, Oir, Soir; east.
  Gus an aird an ear; eastward.
  O'n ear; from the east.

      _Adverbs of Manner._

  Air achd; in a manner.
  Air a' chuthach, }
  Air boile;       } distracted, mad.
  Air chall; lost.
  Air chòir; aright.
  Air chor; in a manner.
  Air chor eigin; in some manner, somehow.
  Air chuairt; sojourning.
  Air chuimhne; in remembrance.
  Air éigin; with difficulty, scarcely.
  Air fogradh; in exile, in a fugitive state.
  Air ghleus; in trim.
  Air iomadan; adrift.
  Air iomroll; astray.
  Air iunndrain; amissing.
  Air lagh; trimmed for action, as a bow bent, a firelock cocked, &c.
  Air leth; apart, separately.
  Air seacharan; astray.
  Air sgeul; found, not lost.
  Amhàin; only.
  Amhuil,  }
  Amhludh; } like as.
  Am bidheantas; customarily, habitually.
  Am feabhas; convalescent, improving.
  An coinnimh a chinn; headlong.
  An coinnimh a chùil; backwards.
  An deidh, }
  An geall; } desirous, enamoured.
  An nasgaidh; for nothing, gratis.
  An tòir; in pursuit.
  Araon; together.
  As an aghaidh; _out of the face_, to the face, outright.
  As a chéile; loosened, disjointed.
  Car air char; rolling, tumbling over and over.
  Cia mar; _as how_, how.
  C' arson; _on account of what_, why, wherefore.
  C' ionnas; _what manner_, how.
  Cha, cho; not.
  Comhla[80], mar chomhla, }
  Cuideachd;               } together, in company.
  C'uime, for what, why.
  Do dheoin, a dheoin; spontaneously, intentionally.
  Dh' aindeoin; against one's will.
  Do dhìth, a dhìth; a-wanting.
  Do rìreadh; really, actually, indeed.
  Fa leth; severally, individually.
  Gle; very.
  Gu beachd; _to observation_, evidently, clearly.
  Gu buileach; _to effect_, thoroughly, wholly.
  Gu dearbh; _to conviction_, truly, certainly.
  Gu deimhin; _to assurance_, assuredly, verily.
  Gu leir; altogether.
  Gu leor; _to sufficiency_, enough.
  Gun amharus; _without doubt_, doubtless.
  Gun chàird; _without rest_, incessantly, without hesitation.
  Leth mar leth; half and half.
  Le chéile; _with each other_, together.
  Maraon; _as one_, together, in concert.
  Mar an ceudna; in like manner, likewise.
  Mar sin; _as that_, in that manner.
  Mar so; _as this_, thus.
  Mar sud; _as yon_, in yon manner.
  Mu seach; in return, alternately.
  Na, Nar; let not,--used optatively, or imperatively.
  Nach; that not, who not, not?
  Ni; not.
  Ni h-eadh[81]; it is not so.
  Os àird; openly.
  Os barr; _on top_, besides.
  Os iosal; secretly, covertly.
  Ro; very.
  Roimh a cheile; prematurely, too hastily.
  Seadh[81]; it is so.
  Thar a chéile,   }
  Troimh a chéile; } in disorder, in confusion, stirred about.
  Theagamh; perhaps.
  Uidh air 'n uidh; _stage by stage_, gradually.




The Prepositions, strictly so called, are single words, most of them
monosyllables, employed to mark relation. Relation is also expressed by
combinations of words which often correspond to simple prepositions in
other languages. These combinations are, not improperly, ranked among the
prepositions. The following lists contain first the Prepositions properly
so called, which are all simple; secondly, improper Prepositions, which,
with one or two exceptions, seem all to be made up of a simple Preposition
and a Noun.

Proper Prepositions.

  Aig, Ag, _at_.
  Air, _on_.
  Ann, _in_.
  As, A, _out of_.
  De, _of_.
  Do, _to_
  Eadar, _between_.
  Fa, _upon_.
  Fuidh, Fo, _under_.
  Gu, Gus, _to_.
  Gun, _without_.
  Iar, _after_.
  Le, Leis, _with, by_.
  Mar, _like to_.
  Mu, _about_.
  O, Ua, _from_.
  Os, _above_.
  Re, Ri, Ris, _to_.
  Roimh, _before_.
  Tar, Thar, _over, across_.
  Tre,     }
  Troimh,  } _through_.
  Throimh, }
  Seach, _past, in comparison with_.

The Preposition ann is often written double, ann an eolas, _in knowledge_;
ann an gliocas, _in wisdom_. The final _n_ or _nn_ is changed into _m_
before a labial; as, am measg, _among_; ann am meadhon, _in midst_. Before
the Article or the Relative, this Preposition is written anns; as, anns an
toiseach, _in the beginning_, an cor anns am bheil e, _the condition in
which he is_; and in this situation the letters _ann_ are often dropped,
and the _s_ alone retained, 's an toiseach, _in the beginning_.

De, so far as I know, is found in no Scottish publications. The reasons
which have induced me to assign it a place among the prepositions will be
mentioned in treating of the combinations of the Proper Prepositions with
the Personal Pronouns.

The Preposition _do_, like the verbal particle, and the Possessive Pronoun
of the same sound, loses the _o_ before a vowel, and the consonant is
aspirated; thus, dh' Albainn, _to {117} Scotland_. It is also preceded
sometimes by the vowel _a_ when it follows a final consonant; as, dol a dh'
Eirin, _going to Ireland_. This _a_ seems to be nothing else than the vowel
of _do_ transposed; just as the letters of the pronouns mo, do, are in
certain situations transposed, and become am, ad. In this situation,
perhaps it would be advisible to join the _a_, in writing, to the _dh_
thus, dol adh Eirin. This would rid us of one superfluous _a_ appearing as
a separate inexplicable word. The same remarks apply to the prep. _de_;
_e.g._, armailt mhòr de dhaoinibh agus _a dh'_ eachaibh, _a great army of
men and of horses_, lan do [de] reubainn agus a dh' aingidheachd, _full of
ravining and wickedness_, Luke xi. 39. Do, as has been already observed,
often loses the _d_ altogether, and is written _a_; as, dol a Dhuneidin,
_going to Edinburgh_. When the preposition is thus robbed of its
articulation, and only a feeble obscure vowel sound is left, another
corruption very naturally follows, and this vowel, as well as the
consonant, is discarded, not only in speaking, but even in writing; as,
chaidh e Dhuneidin, _he went to Edinburgh_; chaidh e thìr eile, _he went to
another land_; where the nouns appear in their aspirated form, without any
word to govern them.

Fa has been improperly confounded with fuidh or fo. That fa signifies
_upon_, is manifest from such phrases as fa 'n bhord, _upon the board_,
said of a dead body stretched upon a board; leigeader fa làr, _dropped on
the ground_, Carswell: fa 'n adhbhar ud, _on that account_, equivalent to
air an adhbhar ud, see Psal. cvi. 42, and xlv. 2, metr. version.

The reason for admitting iar _after_, has been already given in treating of
the Compound Tenses of Verbs in Chap. V.

The manner of combining these prepositions with nouns will be shown in
treating of Syntax. The manner of combining them with the personal pronouns
must be explained in this place, because in that connection they appear in
a form somewhat different from their radical form. A Proper Preposition is
joined to a Personal Pronoun by incorporating both into one word, commonly
with some change on the Preposition, or on the Pronoun, or on both.

The following are the Prepositions which admit of this kind of combination,
incorporated with the several Personal Pronouns: {118}

    Prep.                          Singular.

                       _1st Pers._         _2d Pers._        _3d Pers._

                                                           { m. aige,
  Aig, }                   agam,             agad,         { _at him;_
  Ag;  } _at_.               _at me_,          _at thee_.  { f. aice,
                                                           { _at her_.

                                                           { m. air.
                                                           { f. oirre.
  Air;                     orm,              ort,          {    uirre.
                                                           {    orra.

                                                           { m. ann.
  Ann;                     annam,            annad,        { f. innte.

                                                           { m. as.
  As;                      asam,             asad,         { f. aisde.

                                                           { m. dheth.
  De;                      dhiom,            dhiot,        { f. dh'i.

                         { dhomh, }                        { m. dha.
  Do;                    { dhom,  }          dhuit,        { f. dh'i.

  Eadar;                    ...               ...               ...

                                                           { m. fodha.
  Fo, Fuidh;               fodham,           fodhad,       { f. fuidhpe.

                                                           { m. h-uige.
  Gu;                      h-ugam,           h-ugad,       { f. h-uice.

                                                           { m. leis.
  Le;                      leam,             leat,         { f. leatha.

                                                           { m. uime.
  Mu;                      umam,             umad,         { f. uimpe.

                                                           { m. uaith.
  O, Ua;                   uam,              uait,         { f. uaipe.

                                                           { m. ris.
  Re, Ri;                  rium,             riut,         { f. rithe.

                                                           { m. roimhe.
  Roimh;                   romham,           romhad,       { f. roimpe.

  Thar;                    tharam,           tharad,         f. thairte.

                                                           { m. troimhe.
  Troimh;                  tromham,          tromhad,      { f. troimpe.

                      _1st Pers._         _2d Pers._        _3d Pers._

  Aig, }              againn,             agaibh,           aca,
  Ag;  } _at_.          _at us_.            _at you_.         _at them_.

  Air;                oirnn,              oirbh,            orra.

  Ann;                annainn,            annaibh,          annta.

  As;                 asainn,             asaibh,           asda.

  De;                 dhinn,              dhibh,            dhiu.

  Do;                 dhuinn,             dhuibh,           dhoibh.

  Eadar;              eadarainn,          eadaraibh,        eatorra.

  Fo, Fuidh;          fodhainn,           fodhaibh,         fodhpa.

  Gu;                 h-ugainn,           h-ugaibh,         h-uca.

  Le;                 leinn,              leibh,            leo.

  Mu;                 umainn,             umaibh,           umpa.

  O, Ua;              uainn,              uaibh,            uapa.

  Re, Ri;             ruinn,              ribh,             riu.

  Roimh;              romhainn,           romhaibh,         rompa.

  Thar;               tharuinn,           tharuibh,         tharta.

  Troimh;             tromhainn,          tromhaibh,        trompa.


In most of these compound terms, the fragments of the Pronouns which enter
into their composition, especially those of the first and second Persons,
are very conspicuous[82]. These fragments take after them occasionally the
emphatic syllables _sa_, _san_, _ne_, in the same manner as the Personal
Pronouns themselves do; as, agamsa _at ME_, aigesan _at HIM_, uainne _from

The two prepositions _de_ and _do_ have long been confounded together, both
being written _do_. It can hardly be supposed that the composite words
dhiom, dhiot, &c. would have been distinguished from dhomh, dhuit, &c., by
orthography, pronunciation, and signification, if the Prepositions, as well
as the Pronouns, which enter into the composition of these words, had been
originally the same. In dhiom, &c., the initial Consonant is always
followed by a small vowel. In dhomh, &c., with one exception, it is
followed by a broad vowel. Hence it is presumable that the Preposition
which is the root of dhiom, &c., must have had a small vowel after _d_,
whereas the root of dhomh, &c., has a broad vowel after d. _De_ is a
preposition preserved in Latin (a language which has many marks of affinity
with the Gaelic), in the same sense which must have belonged to the root of
dhiom, &c., in Gaelic. The preposition in question itself occurs in Irish,
in the name given to a Colony which is supposed to have settled in Ireland,
A.M. 2540, called Tuath de Danann. (See Lh. "Arch. Brit." tit. x. _voc._
Tuath; also Miss Brooke's "Reliques of Irish Poetry," p. 102.) These facts
afford more than a presumption that the true root of the Composite dhiom,
&c., is _de_, and that it signifies _of_. It has therefore appeared proper
to separate it from _do_, and to assign to each its appropriate


Dhiom, dhiot, &c., and dhomh, dhuit, &c., are written with a _plain d_
after a Lingual; diom, domh, &c.

Eadar is not incorporated with the pronouns of the singular number, but
written separately; eadar mis agus thusa, _between me and thee_.

In combining _gu_ and _mu_ with the pronouns, the letters of the
Prepositions suffer a transposition, and are written _ug_, _um_. The former
of these was long written with _ch_ prefixed, thus chugam, &c. The
translators of the Scriptures, observing that _ch_ neither corresponded to
the pronunciation, nor made part of the radical Preposition, exchanged it
for _th_, and wrote thugam. The _th_, being no more than a simple
aspiration, corresponds indeed to the common mode of pronouncing the word.
Yet it may well be questioned whether the _t_, even though aspirated, ought
to have a place, if _g_ be the only radical consonant belonging to the
Preposition. The component parts of the word might be exhibited with less
disguise, and the common pronunciation (whether correct or not), also
represented, by retaining the _h_ alone, and connecting it with the
Preposition by a hyphen, as when written before a Noun, thus h-ugam,
h-ugaibh, &c.

      Improper Prepositions.

  Air cheann; _at [the] end_, against a certain time.
  Air feadh, }
  Air fad;   } throughout, during.
  Air muin; _on the back_, mounted on.
  Air sgàth; for the sake, on pretence.
  Air son; on account.
  Air tòir; in pursuit.
  Air beulaobh; _on the fore side_, before.
  Air culaobh; _on the back side_, behind.
  Am fochair; _in presence_.
  Am measg; _in the mixture_, amidst, among.
  An aghaidh; _in the face_, against, in opposition.
  An ceann; _in the end_, at the expiration.
  An comhail,  }
  An coinnimh; } _in meeting_, to meet.
  An cois, }
  A chois; } _at the foot_, near to, hard by.
  An dàil; _in the rencounter_, to meet.
  An diaigh,    }
  An deigh,     } probably for }
  An deaghaidh, } an deireadh; } in the end, after.
  An déis;      }
  An eiric; in return, in requital.
  Am fianuis, }
  An lathair; } in presence.
  An lorg; _in the track_, in consequence.
  As eugais,    }
  As easbhuidh; } _in want_, without.
  As leth; in behalf, for the sake.
  A los; in order to, with the intention of.
  Car; during.
  Do bhrigh, a bhrigh; _by virtue_, because.
  Do chòir, a chòir; _to the presence_, near, implying motion.
  Do chum, a chum[84]; to, towards, in order to.
  Do dhìth, a dhìth, }
  Dh' easbhuidh;     } for want.
  Dh' fhios; _to the knowledge_, to.
  Dh' ionnsuidh; _to the approach_, or _onset_, toward.
  Do réir, a réir; according to.
  Do thaobh, a thaobh; _on the side_, with respect, concerning.
  Fa chùis; by reason, because.
  Fa chomhair; opposite.
  Mu choinnimh; opposite, over against.
  Mu thimchoill, timchioll; _by the circuit_, around.
  O bharr, bharr; _from the top_, off.
  Os ceann; _on the top_, above, atop.
  Ré; _duration_, during.
  Taréis; _after_[85].
  Trid; through, by means.

It is evident, from inspection, that almost all these improper Prepositions
are compounded; and comprehend, as one of their component parts, a Noun,
which is preceded by a simple or Proper Preposition; like the English, _on
account, with respect_, &c. The words ceann, aghaidh, lorg, barr, taobh,
&c., are known to be real Nouns, because they are employed in that capacity
in other connections, as well as in the phrases here enumerated. The case
is not so clear with regard to son, cum, or cun, reir, which occur only in
the above phrases; but it is probable that these are nouns likewise, and
that, when combined with simple Prepositions, they constitute phrases of
precisely the same structure with the rest of the foregoing list[86].
Comhair is probably comh-aire _mutual attention_. Dàil and còir, in the
sense of proximity, are found in their compounds comh-dhail and fochair [fa
chòir.] Tòir, in like manner, in its derivative tòireachd, _the act of
pursuing_. Dh' fhios, _to the knowledge_, must have been originally applied
to persons only. So it is used in many Gaelic songs: beir mo shoiridh le
dùrachd dh' fhios na cailinn, &c., _bear my good wishes with cordiality to
the knowledge of the maid_, &c., i.e., _present my affectionate regards_,
&c. This appropriate meaning and use of the phrase came by degrees to be
overlooked; and it was employed, promiscuously with do chum and dh'
ionnsuidh, to signify _unto_ in a more general sense. If this analysis of
the expression be just, then ghios[87] must be deemed only a different, and
a corrupt manner of writing dh' fhios.

In the improper preposition os ceann, the noun has almost {124} always been
written cionn. Yet in all other situations, the same noun is uniformly
written ceann. Whence has arisen this diversity in the orthography of a
simple monosyllable? And is it maintained upon just grounds? It must have
proceeded either from a persuasion that there are two distinct nouns
signifying _top_, one of which is to be written ceann, and the other
cionn[88]; or from an opinion that, granting the two words to be the same
individual noun, yet it is proper to distinguish its meaning when used in
the capacity of a preposition, from its meaning in other situations, by
spelling it in different ways. I know of no good argument in support of the
former of these two opinions; nor has it probably been ever maintained. The
latter opinion, which seems to be the real one, is founded on a principle
subversive of the analogy and stability of written language, namely, that
the various significations of the same word are to be distinguished in
writing, by changing its letters, the constituent elements of the word. The
variation in question, instead of serving to point out the meaning of a
word or phrase in one place, from its known meaning in another connection,
tends directly to disguise it; and to mislead the reader into a belief that
the words, which are thus presented to him under different forms, are
themselves radically and essentially different. If the same word has been
employed to denote several things somewhat different from each other, that
does by no means appear a sufficient reason why the writers of the language
should make as many words of one[89].


The use of the _proper Prepositions_ has been already shown in the
composition of adverbial phrases, and of the _improper Prepositions_. The
following examples show the further use of them in connection with Nouns
and Verbs, and in some idiomatic expressions which do not always admit of
being literally rendered in English.

Ag, aig.

_At_: aig an dorus, _at the door_; aig an tigh, _at the house, at home_.

_By reason of_: aig ro mheud aighir 's a shòlais, _by reason of his great
joy and satisfaction_, Smith's _Seann dàna_, p. 9; ag meud a mhiann
_through intense desire_, Psal. lxxxiv. 2, metr. vers.; ag lionmhoireachd,
Psal. xl. 5.

Signifying possession: tha tuill aig na sionnaich, _the foxes have holes_;
bha aig duine araidh dithis mhac, _a certain man had two sons_; cha n'eil
fhios agam, _I have not the knowledge of it, I do not know it_.

Chaidh agam air, _I have prevailed over him_, Psal. xiii. 4, metr. vers.

Joined to the Infinitive of Verbs: ag imeachd, _a-walking, walking_.


On, upon: air an làr, _on the ground_; air an là sin, _on that day_; air an
adhbhar sin, _on that account, for that reason_.


Denoting claim of debt: ioc dhomh na bheil agam ort, _pay me what thou
owest me_, Matt. xviii. 28; cia meud ata aig mo thighearn ortsa? _how much
owest thou unto my lord?_ Luke xvi. 57.[90]

Denoting an oath: air m' fhocal, _upon my word_; air làimh d' athar 's do
sheanathar, _by the hand of your father and grandfather_.

Tha eagal, mulad, sgìos, ocras, &c., air, _he is afraid, sad, fatigued,
hungry_, &c.

Thig mo bheul air do cheartas, is air do chliù, _my mouth shall speak of
thy justice and thy praise_, Psal. xxxv. 28. metr.; thig mo bheul air
gliocas, _my mouth shall speak of wisdom_, Psal. xlix. 3, metr. v.; sin
cùis air am bheil mi nis a' teachd, _that is the matter of which I am now
to treat_.

Tog ort, _rouse thyself, bestir thyself_, Psal lxxiv. 22, metr. v.

Chaidh agam air, _I prevailed over him_, Psal. xiii. 4.; metr.; 'S ann
ormsa chaidh, _it was I that was worsted_.

Thug e am monadh air, _he betook himself to the mountain_.

_In respect of_: cha 'n fhaca mi an samhuil air olcas, _I never saw their
like for badness_, Gen. xli. 19; air a lughad, _however small it be_.

_Joined with, accompanied by_: mòran iarruinn air bheag faobhar, _much iron
with little edge_, McIntyre's Songs. Oidhche bha mi 'n a theach, air mhòran
bìdh 's air bheagan eudaich, _I was a night in his house, with plenty of
{127} food, but scanty clothing_; air leth laimh, _having but one hand_.

Denoting measure or dimension: dà throidh air àirde, _two feet in height_.

Olc air mhath leat e, _whether you take it well or ill_.

Ann, ann an, anns.

_In.:_ Anns an tigh, _in the house_; anns an oidhche, _in the night_; ann
an dòchas, _in hope_; anns a' bharail sin, _of that opinion_.

Denoting existence: ta abhainn ann, _there is a river_, Psal. xlvi. 4,
metr.; nach bithinn ann ni 's mò, _that I should not be any more_; b'
fhearr a bhi marbh na ann, _it were better to be dead than to be alive_;
ciod a th' ann? _what is it?_ is mise th' ann, _it is I_; mar gu b' ann,
_as it were_; tha e 'n a dhuine ionraic, _he is a just man_; tha i 'n a
bantraich, _she is a widow_[91].

Marking emphasis: is ann air eigin a thàr e as, _it was with difficulty he
got off_; an àite seasamh is ann a theich iad, _instead of standing
(keeping their ground) they fled_; nach freagair thu? fhreagair mi ann,
_will you not answer? I have answered_.


_Out of:_ as an dúthaich, _out of the country_.

Denoting extinction: tha an solus, no an teine, air dol as, _the light, or
the fire, is gone out_.

As an alt, _out of joint_; as a' ghualainn, as a' chruachainn, as an
uilinn, &c., _dislocated in the shoulder, hip, elbow-joint_.


Chaidh e as, _he escaped_.

Cuir as da, _destroy him_, or _it_.

Chaidh as da, _he is perished, undone_.

Thug e na buinn as, _he scampered off_.

Dubh as, _blot out_.


_Of:_ Armailt mhòr de dhaoinibh agus a dh' eachaibh, _a great army of men
and horses_.

_Off:_ Bha na geugan air an sgathadh dheth, _the branches were lopped off_;
thug iad an ceann deth, _they beheaded him_.

Dh' aon rùn, _with one consent, with one purpose_; dh' aon bharail, _with
one mind, judgment_.

A là agus a dh' oidhche, _i.e._, de là agus de oidhche, _by day and by
night_. Lat. _de nocte_, Hor.

Saidhbhreas mór d'a mheud, _riches however great_. Psal. cxix. 14, metr.


_To:_ Tabhair dhomh, _give to me, give me_; thug sinn a bos mìn do Dhearg,
_we gave her soft hand to Dargo_.

Dh' eirich sud dha gu h-obann, _that befell him suddenly_. Mar sin duinne
gu latha, _so it fared with us till day, so we passed the night_; ma 's olc
dhomh, cha n-fhearr dhoibh, _if it goes ill with me, they fare no better_.

Latha dhomhsa siubhal bheann, _one day as I travelled the hills_; latha
dhuinn air machair Alba, _one day when we were in the lowlands of Scotland;
on Scotia's plains_.


_Between:_ eadar an dorus agus an ursainn, _between the door and the post_.

Dh' eirich eadar mi agus mo choimhearsnach, _a quarrel arose betwixt me and
my neighbour_.

{129} Eadar mhòr agus bheag, _both great and small_, Psal. xlix. 2, metr.;
Rev. xix. 5, eadar bhochd agus nochd, _both the poor and the naked_.


_Upon:_ Fa 'n bhòrd, _upon the board_; leigeadar fa làr, _was dropped on
the ground, omitted, neglected_. Carswel. Fa 'n adhbhar ud, _on that
account_; creud fa 'n abradh iad? _wherefore should they say?_

Fa sheachd, _seven times_, Psal. vii. 6, metr.; fa cheud, _a hundred
times_, Psal. lxii. 9, metr.

Fuidh, fo.

_Under:_ Fuidh 'n bhòrd, _under the board_; fuidh bhlàth _in blossom_; tha
an t-arbhar fo dhéis, _the corn is in the ear_; fuidh smuairean, _under
concern_; fo ghruaim, _gloomy_; fo mhi-ghean, _in bad humour_; fuidh
mhi-chliu, _under bad report_.

Denoting intention or purpose: air bhi fuidhe, _it being his purpose_, Acts
xx. 7; tha tighinn fodham, _it is my intention or inclination_.

Gu, Gus.

_To:_ O thigh gu tigh, _from house to house_; gu crìch mo shaoghail fein,
_to the end of my life_; gus an crion gu luaithre a' chlach, _until the
stone shall crumble to dust_. Sm. Seann dàna.

A' bhliadhna gus an àm so, _this time twelvemonth, a year ago_; a
sheachduin gus an dé, _yesterday se'ennight_.

Mile gu leth, _a mile and a half_; bliadhna gu leth, _a year and a half_.


_Without:_ Gun amharus, _without doubt_; gun bhrogan, _without shoes_; gun
fhios, _without knowledge, unwittingly_; gun fhios nach faic thu e, _in
case you may see him_, {130} _if perhaps you may see him_; gun fhios am
faic thu e, _if perhaps you may not see him_. Gun chomas aig air, _without
his being able to prevent it, or avoid it_; _involuntarily_. Gniomh gun
chomain, _an unmerited, or unprovoked deed_. Dh' àithn e dha gun sin a
dheanamh, _he ordered him not to do that_. Fhuair iad rabhadh gun iad a
philltinn, _they were warned not to return_.


_After_: Iar sin, _after that_; iar leughadh an t-Soisgeil, _after the
reading of the Gospel_; iar tuiteam sios da aig a chosaibh, _having fallen
down at his feet_; bha mi iar mo mhealladh, _I was received_.

Le, leis.

_With_: Chaidh mi leis a' chuideachd mhòir, _I went with the multitude_.

Denoting the instrument: mharbh e Eoin leis a' chlaidheamh, _he killed John
with the sword_.

Denoting the agent: thomhaiseadh le Diarmid an torc, _the boar was measured
by Diarmid_.

Denoting possession: is le Donull an leabhar, _the book is Donald's_; cha
leis e, _it is not his_.

Denoting opinion or feeling: is fada leam an là gu h-oidhche, _I think the
day long, or tedious, till night come_; is cruaidh leam do chor, _I think
your case a hard one_; is dòcha leam, _I think it probable_; is doilich
leam, _I am sorry_; is aithreach leis, _he repents_.

_Along_: leis an t-sruth _along the stream_; leis an leathad, _down the

Leig leam, _let me alone_; leig leis, _let him alone_.


_About_: ag iadhadh mu a cheann, _winding about his head_; labhair e mu
Iudas, _he spoke about Judas_; nuair smachduichear duine leat mu 'lochd,
_when thou {131} correctest a man for his sin_, Psal. xxxix. 11, metr.; sud
am fàth mu'n goir a' chorr, _that is the reason of the heron's cry_. Seann
dàna. Sud fàth mu 'n guidheann ort na naoimh, _for this reason will the
saints make supplication to Thee_.


_From_: O bhaile gu baile, _from town to town_; o mhadainn gu feasgar,
_from morning to evening_; o 'n là thainig mi dhachaidh, _from the day that
I came home_; o 'n là, is often abridged into la; as, la thainig mi
dhachaidh, _since I came home_.

_Since_, _because_: thugamaid uil' oirnn a' bhanais, o fhuair sinn cuireadh
dhol ann, _let us all to the wedding, since we have been bidden to it_.

Denoting want in opposition to possession, denoted by _aig_: na tha uainn
's a b' fheairrd sinn againn, _what we want and should be the better for

Implying desire: ciod tha uait? _what would you have?_ Tha claidheamh uam,
_I want a sword_.


_Above_: Mar togam os m' uil' aoibhneas àrd cathair Ierusaleim, _if I
prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy_, Psal. cxxxvii. 6, metr.; os mo
cheann, _above me_, _over me_.

Ri, ris.

_To_: cosmhuil ri mac righ, _like to the son of a king_; chuir iad teine
ris an tigh, _they set fire to the house_.

Maille ri, _together with_.

Laimh ris a' bhalla, _nigh to the wall_.

Ri là gaoithe, _on a day of wind_; ri fad mo ré 's mo là, _during all the
days of my life_; ri lìnn Righ Uilliam, _in the reign of King William_.

Na bi rium, _don't molest me_.

Feuch ris, _try it_.

Cuir ris, _ply your work_, _exert yourself_; cuirear na {132} nithe so
ribh, _these things shall be added unto you_, Matt. vi. 33. Tha an Spiorad
ag cur ruinn na saorsa, _the Spirit applieth to us the redemption_, Assemb.
Sh. Catech.

_Exposed_: tha an craicionn ris, _the skin is exposed, or bare_; leig ris,
_expose or make manifest_.


_Before_: roimh 'n charbad, _before the chariot_; roimh 'n chamhair,
_before the dawn_; roimh na h-uile nithibh, _before, in preference to, all
things_; chuir mi romham, _I set before me, purposed, intended_.

Imich romhad, _go forward_; dh' fhalbh e roimhe, _he went his way_, _he
went off_.


_Past_: chaidh e seach an dorus, _he passed by the door_.

_In comparison with_: is trom a' chlach seach a' chlòineag, _the stone is
heavy compared with the down_.

Tar, thar.

_Over_, _across_: chaidh e thar an amhainn, thar a' mhonadh, _he went over
the river, over the mountain_; tha sin thar m' eolas, thar mo bheachd, &c.,
_that is beyond my knowledge, beyond my comprehension_, &c.

Tre, troimh, throimh.

_Through_: tre uisge is tre theine, _through water and through fire_.


The following initial syllables, used only in composition, are prefixed to
nouns, adjectives, or verbs, to modify or alter their signification:--

An[92], Di, Ao, ea, eu, eas, Mi, Neo:--Privative syllables signifying
_not_, or serving to change the signification of the words to which they
are prefixed into its contrary; as, socair _ease_, anshocair _distress_,
_uneasiness_; ciontach _guilty_, dichiontach _innocent_; treabh _to
cultivate_, dithreabh _an uncultivated place_, _a desert_; dionach _tight_,
_close_, aodionach _leaky_; còir _justice_, eucoir _injustice_; slàn
_whole_, _in health_, easlan _sick_; caraid _a friend_, eascaraid _an
enemy_; buidheachas _gratitude_, mibhuidheachas _ingratitude_; claon
_awry_, neochlaon _unbiassed_, _impartial_; duine _a man_, neodhuine _a
worthless unnatural creature_.

An, ain, intensitive, denoting an immoderate degree, or faulty excess; as,
tighearnas _dominion_, aintighearnas _tyranny_; tromaich _to make heavy_,
antromaich _to make very heavy_, _to aggravate_; teas _heat_, ainteas
_excessive heat_; miann _desire_, ainmhiann _inordinate desire_, _lust_.

Ais, ath, _again_, _back_; as, eirigh _rising_, aiseirigh _resurrection_;
beachd _view_, ath-bheachd _retrospect_; fàs _growth_, ath-fhàs

Bith, _continually_; as, bithdheanamh _doing continually_, _busy_; am
bithdheantas _incessantly_.

Co, com, comh, con, _together_, _equally_, _mutually_; as, gleacadh
_fighting_, co-ghleacadh _fighting together_; lion _to fill_, colion _to
fulfil_, _accomplish_; ith _to eat_, comith _eating together_; radh
_saying_, comhradh _conversation, speech_; trom _weight_, cothrom _equal
weight_, _equity_; aois _age_, comhaois _a contemporary_.

Im, _about_, _round_, _entire_; as, làn _full_, iomlan _quite complete_;
gaoth _wind_, iomghaoth _a whirlwind_; slainte _health_, iom-shlainte
_perfect health_.


In, or ion, _worthy_: as, ion-mholta _worthy to be praised_: ion-roghnuidh
_worthy to be chosen_, Psal. xxv. 12, metr. vers.

So, _easily_, _gently_: as, faicsin _seeing_, so-fhaicsin _easily seen_;
sion _weather_, soinion [so-shion] _calm weather_; sgeul _a tale_, soisgeul
_a good tale_, _gospel_.

Do, _with difficulty_, _evil_; as, tuigsin _understanding_, do-thuigsin
_difficult to be understood_; doinion _stormy weather_; beart _deed,
exploit_. do-bheart _evil deed_.



Under this class of words, it is proper to enumerate not only those single
Particles which are usually denominated Conjunctions; but also the most
common phrases which are used as Conjunctions to connect either words or

  Ach; but.
  Agus, is; and.
  A chionn gu; because that.
  A chum as gu; in order that.
  A chum as nach; that not.
  Air chor as gu; so that.
  Air eagal gu, }
  D' eagal gu;  } _for fear that_, lest.
  Air son gu,   }
  Du bhrigh gu; } by reason that
  Bheil fhios, 'l fhios? _is there knowledge?_ is it known? an expression
      of curiosity, or desire to know.
  Co; as.
  Ged, giodh; although[93].
  Ged tha, ge ta; _though it be_, notwithstanding.
  Gidheadh; yet, nevertheless.
  Gu, gur; that.
  Gun fhios; _without knowledge_, it being uncertain whether or not, in
      case not.
  Ionnas gu; insomuch that, so that.
  Ma; if.
  Mar; as, like as.
  Mar sud agus; so also.
  Ma seadh, }
  Ma ta;    } _if so_, _if it be so_, _then_.
  Mur; if not.
  Mur bhiodh gu; were it not that.
  Mus an, mu 'n; before that, lest.
  Na; than.
  Nach; that not.
  Na'n, na'm; if.
  No; or.
  O; since, because.
  Oir; for.
  Os barr; moreover.
  Sol, suil; before that.
  Tuille eile; further.
  Uime sin; therefore.



The syllables or sounds, employed as expressions of various emotions or
sensations, are numerous in Gaelic, but for the most part provincial, and
arbitrary. Only one or two single vocables, and a few phrases, require to
be noticed under this division.

  Och! Ochan! alas!
  Ochan nan och! _alas_ and _well-a-day!_
  Fire faire! what a pother!
  Mo thruaighe! _my misery!_      }
  Mo chreachadh! _my despoiling!_ } woe's me!
  Mo nàire! _my shame_, for shame! fy!
  H-ugad, _at you_, take care of yourself, _gardez-vous_.
  Feuch! behold! lo!

       *       *       *       *       *




Syntax treats of the connection of words with each other in a sentence; and
teaches the proper method of expressing their connection by the
_Collection_ and the _Form_ of the words. Gaelic Syntax may be conveniently
enough explained under the common divisions of Concord and Government.



Under Concord is to be considered the agreement of the Article with its
Noun;--of an Adjective with its Noun;--of a Pronoun with its
Antecedent;--of a Verb with its Nominative;--and of one Noun with another.




The article is always placed before its Noun, and next to it, unless when
an Adjective intervenes.


The article agrees with its Noun in Gender, Number, and Case. Final _n_ is
changed into _m_ before a plain Labial; as, am baile _the town_, am fear
_the man_. It is usually cut off before an aspirated Palatal, or Labial,
excepting _fh_; as, a' chaora _the sheep_, a' mhuc _the sow_, a' choin _of
the dog_. In the Dat. Sing. initial _a_ is cut off after a Preposition
ending in a Vowel; as, do 'n chloich _to the stone_[94].


A Noun, when immediately preceded by the Article, suffers some changes in
Initial Form:--1. With regard to Nouns beginning with a Consonant, the
_aspirated_ form is assumed by a mas. Noun in the gen. and dat. singular;
by a fem. noun in the nom. and dat. singular. If the Noun begins with _s_
followed by a vowel or by a Liquid, instead of having the _s_ aspirated,
_t_ is inserted between the Article and the Noun, in the foresaid cases;
and the _s_ becomes entirely quiescent[95]. 2. With regard to Nouns
beginning with a Vowel, _t_ or _h_ is inserted between the Article and the
Noun in certain Cases, viz. _t_ in the Nom. sing. of mas. Nouns, _h_ in the
gen. sing. of fem. Nouns, and _h_ in the nom. and dat. plur. of Nouns of
either gender. Throughout the other sing. and plur. Cases, all Nouns retain
their Primary form.

The following examples show all the varieties that take place in declining
a Noun with the Article.

_Nouns beginning with a Labial or a Palatal._

              Bard, mas. _a Poet_.

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._  am Bard,                 na Baird,
  _G._  a' Bhaird,               nam Bard,
  _D._  a', 'n Bhard[96].        na Bardaibh.

              Cluas, fem. _an Ear_.

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._  a' Chluas,               na Cluasan,
  _G._  na Cluaise,              nan Cluas,
  _D._  a', 'n Chluais.          na Cluasaibh.

           _Nouns beginning with f._

          Fleasgach, m. _a Bachelor._

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._ am Fleasgach,             na Fleasgaich,
  _G._ an Fhleasgaich,           nam Fleasgach,
  _D._ an, 'n Fhleasgach.        na Fleasgaich.

                 Fòid, f. a _Turf._

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._ an Fhòid,                 na Foidean,
  _G._ na Fòide,                 nam Fòid,
  _D._ an, 'n Fhòid.             na Foidibh.

        _Nouns beginning with a Lingual._

               Dorus, m. _a Door._

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._ an Dorus,                 na Dorsan,
  _G._ an Doruis,                nan Dorsa,
  _D._ an, 'n Dorus,             na Dorsaibh.

               Teasach, f. _a Fever._

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._ an Teasach,               na Teasaichean,
  _G._ na Teasaich,              nan Teasach,
  _D._ an, 'n Teasaich.          na Teasaichibh.

             _Nouns beginning with s._

                Sloc, mas. _a Pit._

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._ an Sloc,                  na Sluic,
  _G._ an t-Sluic,               nan Sloc,
  _D._ an, 'n t-Sloc.            na Slocaibh.

                Sùil, fem. _an Eye._

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._ an t-Sùil,                na Suilean,
  _G._ na Sùla                   nan Sùl,
  _D._ an, 'n t-Sùil.            na Suilibh.

          _Nouns beginning with a Vowel._

                  Iasg, m. _a Fish._

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._ an t-Iasg,                na h-Iasga,
  _G._ an Eisg,                  nan Iasg,
  _D._ an, 'n Iasg.              na h-Iasgaibh.

               Adharc, f. _a Horn._

      _Sing._                       _Plur._
  _N._ an Adharc,                na h-Adhaircean,
  _G._ na h-Adhairc,             nan Adharc,
  _D._ an, 'n Adhairc.           na h-Adhaircibh.

The initial Form of Adjectives immediately preceded by the Article, follows
the same rules with the initial Form of Nouns.

Besides the common use of the Article as a Definitive to ascertain
individual objects, it is used in Gaelic--

1. Before a Noun followed by the Pronouns _so_, _sin_, or _ud_; as, am fear
so, _this man_; an tigh ud, _yon house_.

2. Before a Noun preceded by the Verb _is_ and an Adjective; as, is maith
an sealgair e, _he is a good huntsman_; bu luath an coisiche e, _he was a
swift footman_.

3. Before some names of countries; as, righ na Spainne, _the king of
Spain_; chaidh e do 'n Fhrainc, _he went to France_; but righ Bhreatain,
_the king of Britain_; chaidh e dh' Eirin, _he went to Ireland_, without
the Article. {141}




When an Adjective and the Noun which it qualifies are in the same clause or
member of a sentence, the Adjective is usually placed after its Noun; as,
ceann liath, _a hoary head_; duine ro ghlic, _a very wise man_. If they be
in different clauses, or if the one be in the subject, and the other in the
predicate of a proposition, this rule does not apply; as, is glic an duine
sin, _that is a wise man_; cha truagh leam do chor, _I do not think your
case unfortunate_.

1. Numerals, whether Cardinal or Ordinal, to which add, iomadh _many_, gach
_every_, are placed before their Nouns; as, tri lathan, _three days_; an
treas latha, _the third day_; iomadh duine, _many a man_; gach eun g' a
nead, _every bird to its nest_.--Except such instances as the following :
Righ Tearlach a h-Aon, _King Charles the First_; Righ Seumas a Cuig, _King
James the Fifth_.

2. The possessive pronouns mo, do, &c., are always placed before their
nouns; as, mo lamh, _my hand_. The interrogatives co, cia, &c., are placed
before their nouns, with the article intervening; as, cia am fear? _which

3. Some adjectives of one syllable are usually placed before their Nouns;
as, deadh dhuine, _a good man_; droch ghniomh, _a bad action_; seann
sluagh, _old people_. Such Adjectives, placed before their Nouns, often
combine with them, so as to represent one complex idea, rather than two
distinct ones; and the adjective and noun, in that situation, may rather be
considered as one complex term, than as two distinct words, and written
accordingly; as, oigfhear, _a young man_; ogbhean, _a young woman_;
garbhchriochan, _rude regions_[97].



Though a Gaelic Adjective possesses a variety of Forms, yet its Form is not
always determined by the Noun whose signification it modifies. The Form of
the Adjective depends on its Noun, when it immediately follows the Noun, or
only with the intervention of an intensitive Particle, ro, gle, &c., and
when both the Noun and the Adjective are in the Subject, or both in the
Predicate, or in the same clause or member of a sentence. In all other
situations, the form of the Adjective does in no respect depend on the
Noun; or, in other words, the Adjective does not agree with the Noun[98].

To illustrate this rule, let the following examples be attentively
considered:--Is beag orm a' ghaoth fhuar, _I dislike the cold wind_; is
beag orm fuaim na gaoithe fuaire, _I dislike the sound of the cold wind_;
is beag orm seasamh anns a' ghaoith fhuair, _I dislike standing in the cold
wind_. In these examples, the Adjective and the Noun are both in the same
clause or member of a sentence, and therefore they must agree together. In
the following examples the Adjective and the Noun do not necessarily agree
together:--Is fuar a' ghaoth á tuath, _cold is the wind from the north_; is
tric leis a' ghaoith á tuath bhi fuar, _it is usual for the wind from the
north to be cold_. In these examples, the Noun is in the Subject, and the
Adjective in the Predicate of the proposition.


The grammatical distinction observable in the following examples is
agreeable to the strictest philosophical propriety:--Rinn mis an scian
gheur, _I made the sharp knife_: here the Adjective agrees with the Noun,
for it modifies the Noun, distinguishing that knife from others. Rinn mis
an scian geur, _I made the knife sharp_: here the Adjective does not agree
with the Noun, for it modifies not the Noun but the Verb. It does not
characterize the _object_ on which the operation is performed, hut it
combines with the Verb in specifying the _nature of the operation_
performed. The expression is equivalent to gheuraich mi an scian, _I
sharpened the knife_. So also, mhothaich mi a' ghaoth fhuar, _I felt the
cold wind_; but mhothaich mi a' ghaoth fuar, _I felt the wind cold_. In the
former of these examples the Adjective modifies the Noun, and agrees with
it; in the latter it does not agree with the Noun, for its use is to modify
the Verb, or to specify the nature of the sensation felt. In like manner,
dh' fhàg iad an obair criochnaichte, _they left the work finished_;
fhuaradh an òigh sìnte, marbh, _the maid was found stretched out dead_. And
so in other similar instances.

1. When an Adjective and Noun are so situated and related, that an
agreement takes place between them, then the Adjective agrees with its noun
in Gender, Number, and Case. A Noun preceded by the Numeral da _two_,
though it be in the Singular Number, [see conclusion of Part II. Chap I.]
takes an Adjective in the Plural; as, da iasg bheaga, _two small fishes_,
John, vi. 9. The Initial Form of the Adjective depends partly on the Gender
of the Noun, partly on its Termination, and partly on its being preceded by
the Article.

The following examples of an Adjective declined along with its Noun,
exhibit the varieties in the Initial Form, as well as in the Termination of
the Adjective:--



              Fear mòr, mas. _a Great Man_.

                  _Without the Article._

        _Sing._                        _Plur._
  _N._ Fear mòr,                     Fir mhòra,
  _G._ Fir mhòir,                    Fheara mòra,
  _D._ Fear mòr,                     Fearaibh mòra,
  _V._ Fhir mhòir.                   Fheara mòra.

                  _With the Article._

  _N._ Am Fear mòr,                  Na Fir mhòra,
  _G._ An Fhir mhòir,                Nam Fear mòra,
  _D._ An Fhear mhòr.                Na Fearaibh mòra.

              Slat gheal, fem. _a white rod_.

                  _Without the Article._

  _N._ Slat gheal,                   Slatan geala,
  _G._ Slaite gile,                  Shlatan geala,
  _D._ Slait ghil,                   Slataibh geala,
  _V._ Shlat gheal.                  Shlata geala.

                  _With the Article._

  _N._ An t-Slat gheal,              Na Slatan geala,
  _G._ Na Slaite gile,               Nan Slata geala,
  _D._ An t-Slait ghil.              Na Slataibh geala.


           Oglach dileas, m. _a Faithful Servant_.

                  _Without the Article._

  _N._ Oglach dileas,                Oglaich dhileas,
  _G._ Oglaich dhilis,               Oglach dileas,
  _D._ Oglach dileas,                Oglachaibh dileas,
  _V._ Oglaich dhilis.               Oglacha dileas.

                  _With the Article._

  _N._ An t-Oglach dileas,           Na h-Oglaich dhileas.
  _G._ An Oglaich dhilis,            Nan Oglach dileas.
  _D._ An Oglach dhileas,            Na h-Oglachaibh dileas.

            Clarsach fhonnmhor, f. _a Tuneful Harp._

                  _Without the Article._

  _N._ Clarsach fhonnmhor,           Clarsaichean fonnmhor.
  _G._ Clarsaich fhonnmhoir,         Chlarsach fonnmhor.
  _D._ Clarsaich fhonnmhoir,         Clarsaichibh fonnmhor.
  _V._ Chlarsach fhonnmhor,          Chlarsaiche fonnmhor.

                 _With the Article._

  _N._ A' Chlarsach fhonnmhor,       Na Clarsaichean fonnmhor.
  _G._ Na Clarsaich fonnmhoir,       Nan Clarsach fonnmhor.
  _D._ A', 'n Chlarsaich fhonnmhoir, Na Clarsaichibh fonnmhor.

An Adjective, beginning with a Lingual, and preceded by a Noun terminating
in a Lingual, retains its primary Form in all the Singular cases; for the
sake, it would seem, of preserving the agreeable sound arising from the
coalescence of the two Linguals; as, nighean donn _a brown maid_, instead
of nighean dhonn; a' choin duibh _of the black dog_, instead of a' choin
dhuibh; air a' chois deis _on his right foot_, instead of air a chois

II. A Noun preceded by an Adjective assumes the aspirated Form; as, ard
bheann _a high hill_, cruaidh dheuchainn _a hard trial_.

1. A Noun preceded by a Numeral is in the primary Form; as, tri meoir
_three fingers_; to which add iomadh _many_, gach _every_; as, iomadh fear
_many a man_; gach craobh _every tree_.--Except aon _one_, da _two_; ceud
_first_; as, aon fhear _one man_, da chraoibh _two trees_.

2. A Noun preceded by any of the following Possessive Pronouns, a _her_, ar
_our_, bhur _your_, an _their_, is in the primary {146} Form; as, a mathair
_her mother_, ar brathair _our brother_. When the Possessive Pronoun a
_her_, precedes a Noun or an Adjective beginning with a vowel, _h_ is
inserted between them; as, a h-athair, _her father_, a h-aon mhac _her only
son_. The Possessive Pronouns ar _our_, bhur _your_, usually take _n_
between them and the following Noun or Adjective beginning with a vowel;
as, ar n-athair _our father_, bhur n-aran _your bread_. Perhaps a
distinction ought to be made, by inserting _n_ only after ar, and not after
bhur[99]. This would serve often to distinguish the one word from the other
in speaking, where they are ready to be confounded by bhur being pronounced

3. A Noun beginning with a Lingual, preceded by an Adjective ending in _n_,
is in the primary Form; as, aon duine _one man_, seann sluagh _old people_.



The Personal and Possessive Pronouns follow the _Number_ of their
Antecedents, _i.e._ of the Nouns which they represent. Those of the 3d
Pers. Sing. follow also the Gender of their antecedent; as, sheas a'bhean
aig _a_ chosaibh, agus thoisich _i air am_ fliuchadh leis _a_ deuraibh,
agus thiormaich _i iad_ le gruaig _a_ cinn, _the woman stood at his feet,
and she began to wet them with her tears, and she wiped them with the hair
of her head_, Luke vii. 38. They follow, however, not the Gender of the
Antecedent, but the sex of the creature signified by the Antecedent, in
those words in which Sex and Gender disagree, as, an gobhlan-gaoithe mar an
ceudn' do sholair nead dh'i fein _the swallow too hath provided a nest for
herself_, Psal. lxxxiv. 3. Gobhlan-gaoithe _a swallow_, is a mas. Noun, as
appears by the mas. Article: but as it is the dam that is spoken of, the
reference is made by the Personal Pronoun of the fem. gender. Ta gliocas
air a fireanachadh leis a cloinn _Wisdom {147} is justified by her
children_, Matt. xi. 19. Gliocas is a mas. noun; but as Wisdom is here
personified as a female, the regimen of the Possessive Pronoun is adapted
to that idea[100]. See also Prov. ix. 1-3. In this sentence Och nach b' i
mhaduinn e, Deut. xxviii. 67, the former pronoun _i_ is correctly put in
the fem. gender, as referring to the fem. noun _maduinn_; while the latter
pron. _e_ is put in the mas. gend. because referring to no expressed

If the Antecedent be a sentence, or clause of a sentence, the Pronoun is of
the 3d Pers. Sing. masculine; as, dh' ith na bà caola suas na bà reamhra,
agus cha n-aithnichteadh orra _e_, _the lean cattle ate up the fat cattle,
and could not be known by them_.

If the Antecedent be a collective Noun, the Pronoun is of the 3d Pers.
Plur. as, thoir àithne do 'n t-sluagh, d' eagal gu m bris _iad_ asteach
_charge the people lest they break in_, Exod. xix. 21.

An Interrogative combined with a Personal Pronoun, asks a question without
the intervention of the Substantive verb; as, co mise? _who [am] I?_ co iad
na daoine sin? _who [are] those men?_ cia i a' cheud àithne? _which [is]
the first commandment?_ In interrogations of this form, the noun is
sometimes preceded by the Personal Pronoun, and sometimes not; as, co e am
fear? _who [is] the man?_ co am fear? _what man?_ Co am fear? is evidently
an incomplete sentence, like _what man?_ in English. The ellipsis may be
supplied thus; co e am fear a ta thu ciallachadh? _who is the man whom you
mean?_ This example may be abridged into another common interrogation, in
which the Interrogative is immediately followed by the Relative; as, co a
ta thu ciallachadh? _who [is he] whom you mean?_ ciod a ta thu faicinn?
_what [is it] that you see?_

In an interrogative sentence including a Personal Pronoun and a Noun, as,
co e am fear sin? if the Noun be restricted in {148} its signification by
some other words connected with it, such as the Article, an Adjective,
another Noun in the Genitive, or a relative clause, then the Pronoun
usually follows the Gender of the Noun, or the Sex of the object signified
by the Noun, if the Gender does not correspond to it; as, co _e_ am fear a
theid a suas? _who is the man that shall ascend?_ co _i_ am boirionnach
sin? _who is that woman?_ cia _i_ a' cheud àithne? _which is the first
commandment?_ If the Noun be not _so restricted_, the Pronoun is of the
masculine gender; as, ciod e uchdmhacachd? _what is adoption?_ ciod e
urnuigh? _what is prayer?_[101]




As the Verb has no variation of _form_ corresponding to the Person or
Number of its Nominative, the connection between a Verb and its Nominative
can be marked only by its _collocation_. Little variety therefore is
allowed in this respect. The Nominative, whether Noun or Pronoun, is
ordinarily placed after the Verb; as, ta mi _I am_, rugadh duine-cloinne _a
man-child is born_[102]. The Article or an Adjective, is frequently {150}
placed between the Verb and its Nominative; as, thainig an uair, _the hour
is come_; aithrisear iomadh droch sgeul, _many an evil tale will be told_.
Sometimes, but more rarely, circumstances are expressed beween the Verb and
its Nominative; as, rugadh dhuinne, an diugh, ann am baile Dhaibhi, an
Slanuighear, _there is born to us, this day, in David's town, the Saviour_.

The word denoting the object of the verbal action, can never, even in
poetry, be placed between the Verb and its Nominative, without altering the
sense. Hence the arrangement in the following passages is incorrect:--Ghabh
domblas agus fiongeur iad, _they took gall and vinegar_. "Buch. Gael.
Poems," Edin. 1767. p. 14. The collocation should have been ghabh iad
domblas, &c. Do chual e 'n cruinne-cé, _the world heard it_, id. p. 15,
ought to have been, do chual an cruinne-cé e. So also, do ghabh truaighe,
Iosa dhoibh, _Jesus took pity {151} on them_. Matt. xx. 34, Irish vers. It
ought to have been, do ghabh Iosa truaighe, &c.[103].

The Relatives a _who_, nach _who not_, are always put before the verb; as,
am fear a thuit, _the man who fell_; am fear nach dean beud, _the man who
will not commit a fault_.

In poetry, or poetical style, where inversion is allowed, the Nominative is
sometimes placed before the Verb; as doimhneachd na talmhain ta 'n a laimh,
_in his hand is the depth of the earth_. Psal. xcv. 4.

  Oigh cha tig le clàr 'n an comhdhail,
  _No virgin with harp will come to meet them._
      Smith's "Ant. Gal. Poems," p. 285.

  Gach doire, gach coire, 's gach eas,
  Bheir a' m' chuimhne cneas mo Ghraidh.

_Each grove, each dell, and each water-fall, will bring to my remembrance
the form of my love._ Id. p. 30.

  An la sin cha tigh gu bràth,
  A bheir dearrsa mo ghraidh gu tuath.

_That day shall never come, which shall bring the sun-beam of my love to
the North._ Fingal II. 192.

  Am focail geilleam do Mhorlamh;
  Mo lann do neach beo cha gheill.

_In words I yield to Morla; my sword to no living man shall yield._ Fing.
II. 203. This inversion is never admitted into plain discourse or
unimpassioned narrative.

In those Persons of the Verb in which the terminations supply the place of
the Personal Pronouns, no Nominative is expressed along with the Verb. In
all the other Persons of the Verb, a Noun or a Pronoun is commonly
expressed as its Nominative. In sentences of a poetical structure, the
Nominative is sometimes, though rarely, omitted; as, am fear nach {152}
gabh 'nuair gheibh, cha 'n fhaigh 'nuair 's aill, _the man who will not
take when [he] can get, will not get when [he] wishes_.

  A Gharna, cuim a sheas? a Ghuill, cuim a thuit?
  _Garno, why stoodst? Gaul, why didst fall?_
      Smith's "Ant. Gal. Poems," p. 153.

The Infinitive often takes before it the Nominative of the Agent; in which
case the Preposition _do_ is either expressed or understood before the
Infinitive; as, feuch, cia meud a mhaith, braithre do bhi 'n an comhnuidh
ann sith! _behold how great a good it is, that brethren dwell in peace!_
Psal. cxxxiii, 1. Is e mi dh' fhantuinn 's an fheoil, a 's feumaile
dhuibhse, _my abiding in the flesh is more needful for you_, Phil. i. 24,
Cha n'eil e iomchuidh sinne dh' fhagail focail Dé, agus a fhrithealadh do
bhordaibh, _it is not meet that we should leave the word of God, and serve
tables_, Acts vi. 2. The Preposition _do_, being softened as usual into
_a_, readily disappears after a Vowel; as, air son mi bhi a rìs a lathàir
maille ribh, _by my being again present with you_, Phil. i. 26[104].



When in the same sentence two or more Nouns, applied as names to the same
object, stand in the same grammatical relation to other words, it should
naturally be expected that their Form, in so far as it depends on that
relation, should be the same; in other words, that Nouns denoting the same
object, and related alike to the governing word, should agree in Case. This
accordingly happens in Greek and Latin. In Gaelic, where a variety of form
gives room for the application of the same rule, it has been followed in
some instances; as, Doncha mac Chailain mhic Dhonuil, _Duncan the son of
{153} Colin the son of Donald_; where the words Chailain and mhic denoting
the same person, and being alike related to the preceding Noun mac are on
that account both in the same Case. It must be acknowledged, however, that
this rule, obvious and natural as it is, has not been uniformly observed by
the speakers of Gaelic. For example; instead of mac Ioseiph an t-saoir,
_the son of Joseph the carpenter_, many would more readily say, mac Ioseiph
an saor; instead of thuit e le laimh Oscair an laoich chruadalaich, _he
fell by the hand of Oscar the bold hero_, it would rather be said, thuit e
le laimh Oscair an laoch cruadalach. The latter of these two modes of
expression may perhaps be defended on the ground of its being elliptical;
and the ellipsis may be supplied thus: mac Ioseiph [is e sin] an saor;
laimh Oscair [neach is e] an laoch cruadalach. Still it must be allowed, in
favour of the rule in question, that the observance of it serves to mark
the relation of the Nouns to each other, which would otherwise remain, in
many instances, doubtful. Thus in one of the foregoing examples, if we
should reject the rule, and write mac Ioseiph an saor; it would be
impossible to know, from the form of the words, whether Joseph or his son
were the carpenter.

The translators of the Scriptures into Gaelic, induced probably by the
reasonableness and utility of the rule under consideration, by the example
of the most polished Tongues, and by the usage of the Gaelic itself in some
phrases, have uniformly adhered to this rule when the leading Noun was in
the Genitive; as, do mhacaibh Bharsillai a' Ghileadaich, 1 Kings ii. 7;
righ-chathair Dhaibhi athar, 1 Kings ii. 12; do thaobh Bheniamin am
brathar, Judg. xxi. 6; ag gabhail nan clar chloiche, eadhon chlar a'
cho-cheangail, Deut. ix. 9. The rule seems to have been disregarded when
the leading Noun was in the Dative. See 1 Kings i. 25, Ruth iv. 5, Acts
xiii. 33. {154}



Under this head is to be explained the Government of Nouns, of Adjectives,
of Verbs, of Prepositions, and of Conjunctions.



One Noun governs another in the Genitive. The Noun governed is always
placed after that which governs it; as, ceann tighe, _the head of a house
or family_; solus na gréine, _light of the sun_; bainne ghabhar _milk of

The Infinitives of Transitive Verbs, being themselves Nouns, (See Part II.
Chap. V. p. 86.) govern in like manner the Genitive of their object; as, ag
cur sìl, _sowing seed_; a dh' fhaicinn an t-sluaigh, _to see the people_;
iar leughadh an t-soisgeil, _after reading the gospel_[105].

Although no good reason appears why this rule, which is common to the
Gaelic with many other languages, should ever be set aside, yet it has been
set aside in speaking, and sometimes in writing Gaelic.

1. When the Noun governed does in its turn govern another Noun in the
Genitive, the former is often put in the Nominative instead of the Genitive
case. The following instances of this anomaly occur in the Gaelic
Scriptures:--Guth briathran an t-sluaigh, instead of, bhriathran, _the
voice of the words of the people_, Deut. v. 28; do mheas craobhan a'
gharaidh, instead of, chraobhan, _of the fruit of the trees of the garden_,
{155} Gen. iii. 2; ag itheadh tighean bhantrach, for thighean, _devouring
widows' houses_, Matt. xxiii. 14; ag nochdadh obair an lagha, for oibre,
_showing the work of the law_, Rom. ii. 15; ag cuimhneachadh gun sgur obair
bhur creidimh, agus saothair bhur graidh, for oibre, saoithreach,
_remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love_, 1
Thess. i. 3; trid fuil is fearta Chriost, _through the blood and merits of
Christ_, Gael. Paraph. 1787, p. 381, for trid fola Chriost, as in Eph. ii.
13; ag àiteach sliabh Shioin, for sleibh, _inhabiting the hill of Zion_,
Psal. ix. 11. metr; air son obair Chriosd, Phil. ii. 30, 1767, according to
the usage of the language, but changed to oibre, in Edit. 1796, to suit the
Grammatical Rule[106]. For the most part, however, the general rule, even
in these circumstances, is followed; as, guth fola do bhrathar, _the voice
of thy brother's blood_, Gen. iv. 10; amhainn duthcha cloinne a shluaigh
_the river of the land of the children of his people_, Numb. xxii. 5; a'
nigheadh chos sheirbhiseach mo thighearna, _to wash the feet of the
servants of my lord_, 1 Sam. xxv. 41.

2. Such expressions as the following seem to be exceptions to the
rule:--Dithis mac, 2 Sam. xv. 27, 36; ceathrar mac, 1 Chron. xxi. 20;
leanabaibh mac, Matt. ii. 16. In the following similar instances, the rule
is observed:--Dithis mhac, Gen. xli. 50; dithis fhear, 2 Sam. xii. 1;
ceathrar fhear, Acts xxi. 23; ceathrar mhaighdiona, Acts xxi. 9.

The same anomaly takes place in the regimen of the infinitive, as in that
of other Nouns. Though an Infinitive be in that grammatical relation to a
preceding Noun which would require its being put in the Genitive, yet when
itself also governs another noun in the Genitive, it often retains the form
of the Nominative. The Infinitives naomhachadh, gnathachadh, briseadh,
admit of a regular Genitive, naomhachaidh, gnathachaidh, brisidh. In the
following examples, {156} these Infinitives, because they govern a
subsequent Noun in the Genitive, are themselves in the Nominative, though
their relation to the preceding word naturally requires their being put in
the Genitive Case. Tha an treas àithne a' toirmeasg mi-naomhach_adh_ no
mi-ghnathach_adh_ ni sam bith, &c., _the third commandment forbids the
profaning or the abusing of any thing_, &c. Assem. Cat. Gael. Edin. 1792,
Answer to Q. 55. Ged fheud luchdbris_eadh_ na h-aithne so dol as, &c., id.
Q. 56., _though the transgressors of this commandment may escape_, &c. Cuis
crath_adh_ cinn is cas_adh_ béil, Psal. xxii. 7, as it is in the older
edition of the Gaelic Psalms. An deigh leugh_adh_ an lagha, _after the
reading of the Law_, Acts. xiii. 15; luchd cum_adh_ uilc, Rom. i. 30[107].

The Infinitive is not put in the Genitive, when preceded {157} by a
Possessive Pronoun, because it is in the same limited state as if it
governed a Noun in the Genitive Case; as, a chum am marbh_a_dh 's na
beanntaibh, _to kill them in the mountains_, Exod. xxxii., not marbh_ai_dh,
which is the Case regularly governed by chum. Co tha 'g iarraidh do
mharbh_a_dh? John vii. 20, not do mharbh_ai_dh. Thug iad leo e chum a
cheus_adh_. Matt. xxvii. 31. Chum an cruinneach_adh_ gu cath. Rev. xx.

This coincidence in the Regimen of the Infinitive in two similar
situations, viz., when limited by a Possessive Pronoun, and when limited by
a subsequent Noun, furnishes no slight argument in support of the
construction defended above, of putting the Infin. in the Nom. case when
itself governs a Noun in the Genitive; for we find the Infin. is invariably
put in the Nom. when limited in its signification by a Possess. Pronoun.

When one Noun governs another in the Genitive, the Article is never joined
to both, even though each be limited in its signification, as, mac an righ,
_the son of the king_, not am mac an righ; taobh deas a' bhaile, _the south
side of the town_, not an taobh deas a' bhaile[109]. For the most part, the
Article is thus joined to the latter Noun. Sometimes it is joined to the
former Noun; as, an ceann tighe, _the head of the family_; an ceann iuil,
_the pilot_; but in such instances the two Nouns figure as one complex
term, like _paterfamilias_, rather than as two terms. The following
examples, in which the Article is joined to both Nouns, seem to be totally
repugnant to the Gaelic idiom: cuimhneachadh _nan_ cùig aran _nan_ cùig
mìle, Matt. xvi. 9; _nan_ seachd aran _nan_ ceithir mìle, Matt. xvi.


A Possessive Pronoun joined to the Noun governed excludes, in like manner,
the Article from the Noun governing; as, barr-iall a bhròige, _the latchet
of his shoe_, not am barr-iall a bhròige; obair bhur lamh, _the work of
your hands_, not an obair bhur lamh.

The Noun governed is sometimes in the Primary, sometimes in the Aspirated

Proper Names of the Masculine Gender are in the Aspirated Form; as,
bràthair Dhonuill, _Donald's brother_; uaigh Choluim, _Columba's grave_.
Except when a final and an initial Lingual meet; as, clann Donuill,
_Donald's descendants_; beinn Deirg _Dargo's hill_.

When both Nouns are Appellatives, and no word intervenes between them, the
initial Form of the latter Noun follows, for the most part, that of an
Adjective agreeing with the former Noun. See p. 144.

Thus, d' a ghàradh _f_iona, g' a ghàradh _f_iona, without the Article,
Matt, xx. 1, 2, like do dhuine _m_aith; but do 'n ghàradh _fh_iona, with
the Article _v._ 4, 7, like do 'n duine _mh_aith. So we should say do 'n
ard fhear-_ch_iuil, rather than do 'n ard fhear-_c_iuil, as in the title of
many of the Psalms.

EXCEPT.--If the latter Noun denote an individual of a species, that is, if
it take the Article _a_ before it in English, it is put in the _primary
form_, although the former Noun be feminine; as, sùil caraid, _the eye of a
friend_, not sùil _ch_araid, like sùil _mh_or, duais _f_àidh, _a prophet's
reward_, Matt. x. 4, not duais _fh_àidh, like duais _mh_òr. Chum
maitheanais _p_eacaidh, Acts, ii. 38, signifies _for the remission of a
sin_; rather chum maitheanais _ph_eacaidh _for the remission of sin_.




Adjectives of fulness govern the Genitive; as, làn uamhainn _full of
dread_, Acts, ix. 6, buidheach beidh, _satisfied with meat_.

The first Comparative takes the Particle na _than_, before the following
Noun; as, ni 's gile na an sneachdadh, _whiter than the snow_, b' fhaide
gach mios na bliadhna, _each month seemed longer than a year_. Smith's
"Ant. Poems," p. 9.

The second Comparative is construed thus: is feairrd mi so, _I am the
better for this_; bu mhisd e am buille sin, _he was the worse for that
blow_; cha truimid a' choluinn a ciall, _the body is not the heavier for
its understanding_.

Superlatives are followed by the Preposition de or dhe _of_; as, am fear a
's àirde dhe 'n triuir, _the man who is tallest of the three_, _the tallest
man of the three_.



A Transitive Verb governs its object in the Nominative or Objective Case;
as, mharbh iad an righ, _they killed the king_; na buail mi, _do not strike
me_. The object is commonly placed after the Verb, but never between the
Verb and its Nominative. [See Part III. Chap. I., Sect. IV.] Sometimes the
object is placed, by way of emphasis, before the Verb; as, mise chuir e rìs
ann am àite, agus esan chroch e, _me he put again in my place, and him he
hanged_, Gen. xli. 13. An t-each agus a mharcach thilg e 's an fhairge,
_the horse and his rider hath he cast into the sea_, Exod. xv. 1.

Many Transitive Verbs require a Preposition before their object; as, iarr
air Donull, _desire Donald_; labhair ri Donull, _speak to Donald_; leig le
Donull, _let Donald alone_; beannuich do Dhonull, _salute Donald_;
fiosraich de Dhonull, _enquire of Donald_. {160}

Bu _was_, requires the following initial Consonant to be aspirated; as, bu
mhaith dhuit, _it was good for you_; bu chruaidh an gnothuch, _it was a
hard case_; except initial _d_, and _t_ which are not aspirated; as, bu
dual duit, _it was natural for you_; bu trom an eallach, _the burden was
heavy_; bu ghearr a lo, 's bu dubh a sgeul, _short was her course, and sad
was her story_. Smith's "Ant. Poems."



The collocation of Adverbs is for the most part arbitrary.

The Adverbs ro, gle, _very_, are placed before the Adjectives they modify,
and require the following initial Consonant to be aspirated; as, ro bheag,
_very little_; gle gheal, _very white_.

The Negative cha or cho _not_, when followed by a word beginning with a
Labial or Palatal, requires the initial Consonant to be aspirated; as, cha
mhòr e, _it is not great_; cha bhuail mi, _I will not strike_; cha chuala
mi, _I did not hear_; but an initial Lingual remains unaspirated; as, cha
dean mi, _I will not do_; cha tog e, _he will not raise_; cha soirbhich
iad, _they will not prosper_. _N_ is inserted between cha and an initial
Vowel or an aspirated _f_; as, cha n-e, _it is not_; cha n-éigin, _it is
not necessary_; cha n-fhaca mi, _I saw not_.

The Negative ni requires _h_ before an initial Vowel; as, ni h-iad, _they
are not_; ni h-eudar, _it may not_.



The Proper Prepositions aig, air, &c., govern the Dative; as, aig mo chois,
_at my foot_; air mo laimh, _on my hand_. They are always placed before the
word they govern. The following Prepositions require the Noun governed to
be put in the Aspirated Form, viz., de, do, fuidh, fo, fa, gun, mar, mu, o,
tre. Air sometimes governs the Noun in the Aspirated Form; as, air
bharraibh sgiath na gaoithe, _on the extremities of the {161} wings of the
wind_, Psal. xviii. 10. Gun governs either the Nominative or Dative; as,
gun chrioch, _without end_, Heb. vii. 16; gun chéill, _without
understanding_, Psal. xxxii. 9; gun chloinn, Gen. xv. 2. Mar, and gus or
gu, when prefixed to a Noun without the Article, usually govern the Dative
case; as, mar nighin, _as a daughter_, 2 Sam. xii. 13; mar amhainn mhòir,
_like a great river_, Psal. cv. 41; gu crìch mo shaoghail fein, _to the end
of my life-time_, Psal. cxix. 33, xlviii. 10. But if the Article be joined
to the Noun, it is governed in the Nominative; as, mar a' ghrian, _like the
sun_, Psal. lxxxix. 36, 37; gus an sruth, _to the stream_, Deut. iii. 16;
gus a' chrioch, _to the end_, Heb. iii. 6, 14. Eadar governs the Nom.; as,
eadar a' chraobh agus a' chlach, _between the tree and the stone_. Eadar,
when signifying _between_, requires the Primary Form; as, eadar maighstir
agus muinntireach, _between a master and a servant_; when it signifies
_both_, it requires the Aspirated Form; as, eadar shean agus òg, _both old
and young_; eadar fheara agus mhnai, _both men and women_, Acts viii. 12.

The Prepositions as, gus, leis, ris, are used before the Monosyllables an,
am, a'. The corresponding Prepositions a, gu, le, ri, often take an _h_
before an initial Vowel; as, a h-Eirin, _out of Ireland_; gu h-ealamh,
_readily_; le h-eagal, _with fear_.

The Improper Prepositions govern the following Noun in the Genitive; as,
air feadh na tìre, _throughout the land_; an aghaidh an t-sluaigh, _against
the people_; ré na h-ùine, _during the time_. It is manifest that this
Genitive is governed by the Noun feadh, aghaidh, ré, &c., which is always
included in the Preposition. See Part II. Chap. VII.

Prepositions are often prefixed to a Clause of a sentence; and then they
have no regimen; as, gus am bord a ghiulan, _to carry the table_, Exod.
xxv. 27; luath chum fuil a dhortadh, _swift to shed blood_, Rom. iii. 15.
Edit. 1767; an déigh an obair a chriochnachadh, _after finishing the work_.



The Conjunctions agus _and_, no _or_, couple the same Cases of Nouns; as,
air feadh chreagan agus choilltean, _through rocks and woods_; ag reubadh
nam bruach 's nan crann, _tearing the banks and the trees_. When two or
more Nouns, coupled by a Conjunction, are governed in the Dative by a
Preposition, it is usual to repeat the Preposition before each Noun; as,
air fad agus air leud, _in length and in breadth_; 'n an cridhe, 'n an
cainnt, agus 'n am beus, _in their heart, in their speech, and in their

Co _as_, prefixed to an Adjective, commonly requires the initial consonant
of the Adj. to be aspirated; as, co mhaith, _as good_, co ghrinn, _as
fine_. But sometimes we find co mòr, _as great_, co buan, _as durable_,
&c., without the aspirate. Sometimes the aspirate is transferred from the
Adj. to the Conjunct. as, cho beag, _as little_, for co bheag. In the North
Highlands, an adjective preceded by co is commonly put in the Comparative
form; as, co miosa, _as bad_; co treise, _as strong_.

The Conjunctions mur _if not_, gu, gur _that_, are always joined to the
Negative Mood; as, mur 'eil mi, _if I be not_; gu robh e, _that he was_.
_M_ or _n_ is often inserted, _euphoniæ causa_, between gu and an initial
Consonant; viz., _m_ before a Labial, _n_ before a Palatal or Lingual; as,
gu-m faca tu, _that you saw_; gu-n dubhairt iad, _that they said_[111].

The Conjunctions ma _if_, o, o'n _because, since_, are joined to the Pres.
and Pret. Affirmative, and Fut. Subjunctive; as, ma ta e, _if he be_; o'n
tha e, _since he is_; ma bhuail e, _if he struck_; o'n bhuail e, _because
he struck_; ma bhuaileas tu, _if you strike_; o bhitheas sinn, _since we
shall be_.

Na'm, na'n _if_, is joined only to the Pret. Subjunctive. {163} The initial
Consonant of the Verb loses its aspiration after this Conjunction; as, na'm
bithinn, _if I were_; nan tuiteadh a' chraobh, _if the tree should fall_.

Ged _although_, is used before the Present and Preterite Affirmative, the
Fut. Negative, and the Pret. Subjunctive; as, ged tha e, _though he be_;
ged bha mi, _though I was_; ge do bhuail thu mi, _though you struck me_;
ged bhuail thu mi, _though you strike me_; ged bheireadh e dhomh, _though
he should give me_[112].

       *       *       *       *       * {164}





The Parts of Speech which are formed by derivation from other words are
Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs. These are chiefly derived from Nouns and
Adjectives, and a few from Verbs.


Derivative Nouns may be classed as follows, according to the varieties of
their termination.

1. Abstract Nouns in _as_, formed from Adjectives or Nouns; as, from ceart
_just_, ceartas _justice_; from diomhan _idle, vain_, diomhanas _idleness,
vanity_; from caraid _a friend_, cairdeas contracted for caraideas
_friendship_; from namhaid _an enemy_, naimhdeas contracted for namhaideas

2. Abstract Nouns in _achd_, formed from Adjectives, and sometimes, though
more rarely, from Verbs and Nouns; as, from naomh _holy_, naomhachd
_holiness_; from domhain _deep_, doimhneachd contracted for domhaineachd
_depth_; from righ _a king_, rioghachd _a kingdom_; coimhid _to keep_,
coimheadachd _keeping_; clachair _a mason_, clachaireachd _mason-work_;
gobhain _a smith_, goibhneachd contracted for gobhaineachd _iron-work_, or
rather _the trade or occupation of a smith_.

3. Abstract Nouns formed from the genitive of Adjectives, by adding _e_;
as, from dall gen. doill _blind_, doille _blindness_; from geal gen. gil
_white_, gile _whiteness_; from leasg gen. leisg _lazy_, leisge _laziness_;
tearc gen. teirc _rare_, teirce _rarity_; trom gen. truim _heavy_, truime
_heaviness_; truagh gen. truaigh _unhappy_, truaighe _misery_; uasal gen.
{165} uasail _noble_, uasaile contr. uaisle or by metath. uailse

4. Abstract Nouns in _ad_, formed from the Comparative of Adjectives, and
used in speaking of the degree of a quality; as, gilead _whiteness_,
boidhchead _beauty_, doimhnead _depth_, lughad _smallness_, tainead
_thinness_; these are construed with the Prepositions _de_, _air_; as, cha
n-fhaca mi a samhuil air bhoidhchead, _I have not seen her match for
beauty_; air a lughad or d' a lughad, _however small it be_.

5. Nouns in _air_ or _oir_, _ach_, _iche_, derived, most of them, from
nouns, and signifying persons or agents, as, pìobair _a player on the
pipe_, from pìob _a pipe_; clàrsair _a player on the harp_, from clàrsach
_a harp_; cealgair or cealgoir _a deceiver_, from cealg _deceit_; sealgair
or sealgoir _a huntsman_, from sealg _hunting_; marcach _a rider_, from
marc _a horse_; athach _a man of terror, a gigantic figure_, from atha
_fear_; oibriche _a workman_, from obair _work_; sgeulaiche _a reciter of
tales_, from sgeul _a tale_; ceannaiche _a merchant_, from ceannaich _to

6. Diminutives in _an_, and in _ag_ or _og_, formed from Nouns or
Adjectives; as, lochan _a small lake_, from loch _a lake_; from braid
_theft_, bradag _a thievish girl_; from ciar _dark-coloured_, ciarag _a
little dark-coloured creature_. These Diminutives are often formed from the
Genitive of their Primitives; as, from feur gen. feoir _grass_, feoirnean
_a pile of grass_; moll gen. muill _chaff_, muillean _a particle of chaff_;
folt gen. fuilt _hair_, fuiltean _a single hair_; clag gen. cluig _a bell_,
cluigean _a little bell_; gual gen. guail _coal_, guailnean _a cinder_;
smùr gen. smùir _dust_, smùirnean _a particle of dust, a mote_; clòimh
_plumage_, clòimhneag _a small feather, a flake of snow_.

Some Nouns are formed in _an_, which are not Diminutives; as, from lùb _to
bend_, lùban _a bow_; from buail _to beat, thresh_, {166} buailtean _a
beater_, or _thresher_, applied to that part of the flail which threshes
out the grain.

7. Collective Nouns in _ridh_ or _ri_, derived from Nouns or Adjectives;
as, from òg _young_, òigridh _youth_, in the collective sense of the word;
from mac _a son_, macruidh _sons, young men_, Psal. cxlviii. 12;[114] from
laoch _a hero_, laochruidh _a band of heroes_, Psal. xxix. 1. Macfarlan's
Paraph. vi. 15, from ceol _music_, ceolraidh _the muses_. A. Macdonald's
Songs, p. 7, from cos the _foot_, coisridh _infantry, a party on foot_.
McIntyre's Songs, Edin. 1768, p. 110, from gas _a lad_, gasradh _a band of
domestic attendants_. O'Brien's Ir. Dict. voc. gas; eachradh, eachruith
_cavalry_, Fingal. IV. 299, Carthon, 59.--This termination is probably the
Noun ruith _a troop_. See Lhuyd et O'Brien, in voc.[115]

8. Nouns in _ach_, chiefly Patronymics, formed from Proper Names, thus;
from Donull _Donald_, is formed Donullach _a man of the name of Macdonald_;
from Griogar _Gregor_, Griogarach _a Macgregor_; so Leodach _a Macleod_,
Granntach _a Grant_, &c., from Albainn _Scotland_, Albannach _a Scotsman_;
from Eirin _Ireland_, Eirineach _an Irishman_. These Nouns form their
Plural regularly, Donullaich, Leodaich, Albannaich, Eirinich. So the
following _Gentile_ Nouns, which occur in the Gaelic Scriptures, are
regularly formed from their respective Primitives, Partuich _Parthians_,
Medich _Medes_, Elamuich _Elamites_, Acts ii. 9. Macedonaich _Macedonians_,
2 Cor. ix. 2, 4. See also Gen. xv. 19, 20, 21; Exod. xxiii. 23, 28.[116].


9. Collective Nouns in _ach_; as, duille _a leaf_, duilleach _foliage_;
giuthas _fir_, giuthasach _a fir wood_; iughar _yew_, iugharach _a yew
copse_; fiadh _a deer_, fiadhach _deer, a herd of deer_; crion _diminutive,
shrunk_, crionach _decayed wood_.


1. Adjectives in _ach_, formed generally from Nouns; as, from fìrinn
_truth_, fìrinneach _true, faithful_; from sunnt _glee_, sunntach
_cheerful_; cràdh _pain_, cràiteach _painful_; togradh _desire_, togarrach
_willing, desirous_.

2. Adjectives in _mhor_ or _or_, derived from Nouns; as, from àdh
_felicity_, adhmhor _happy, blessed_; from feoil _flesh_, feolmhor
_carnal_; from neart _strength_, neartmhor _strong_.

3. Adjectives in _ail_ derived from Nouns; as, from fear _man_, fearail
_manful_; from caraid _a friend_, cairdail contr. for caraidail _friendly_;
from namhaid _an enemy_, naimhdail contr. for namhaidail _hostile_; from
sùrd _alertness_, surdail _alert_[117].

4. A few Adjectives in _ta_ or _da_, derived from Nouns; as, Gaelta
_belonging to the Gael_; Eireanda _Irish_; Romhanta _Roman_; _Kirk._
fìreanta _righteous_, Matt. xxiii. 35.


Verbs in _ich_, for the most part Transitive, and implying causation,
derived from Nouns or Adjectives; as, from geal {168} _white_, gealaich _to
whiten_; naomh _holy_, naomhaich _to sanctify_; cruinn _round_, cruinnich
_to gather together_; lamh _the hand_, laimhsich _to handle_; cuimhne
_memory_, cuimhnich _to remember_. A few are Intransitive; as, from crith
_tremor_, criothnuich _to tremble_; fann _feeble_, fannuich _to faint_.



All compound words in Gaelic consist of two component parts, exclusive of
the derivative terminations enumerated in the preceding Chapter. Of these
component parts, the former may be conveniently named the Prepositive, the
latter the Subjunctive term. It sometimes happens, though rarely, that the
Subjunctive term also is a compound word, which must itself be decompounded
in order to find out the Root.

In compounding words, the usual mode has been, to prefix to the term
denoting the principal idea the word denoting the accessory idea or
circumstance by which the signification of the principal word is modified.
Accordingly we find Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs modified by prefixing to
them a Noun, an Adjective, a Verb, or a Preposition.

In forming compound words, a Rule of very general application is, that when
the Subjunctive term begins with a Consonant, it is aspirated. From this
Rule, however, are to be excepted, 1. Words beginning with _s_ followed by
a mute, which never admit the aspirate; 2. Words beginning with a Lingual
when the Prepositive term ends in _n_; 3. A few other instances in which
there is an euphonic agreement between the Consonants thus brought into
apposition, which would be violated if either of them were aspirated.

These observations will be found exemplified in the following Compounds:--


_Nouns Compounded with a Noun._

Beart _dress, equipage_, ceann _head_--ceann-bheart _head-dress, armour for
the head_.

Fàinn _a ring_, cluas _the ear_--cluas-fhainn _an ear-ring_.

Galar _a distemper_, crith _shaking_--crith-ghalar _distemper attended with
shaking, the palsy_.

Oglach _a servant_, bean (in composition, ban) _a woman_--banoglach _a
female servant_.

Fàidh _a prophet_, ban-fhaidh _a prophetess_.

Tighearn _a lord_, baintighearn _a lady_.

_Adjectives Compounded with a Noun._

Geal _white_, bian the _skin_--biangheal _white-skinned_.

Lom _bare_, cas the _foot_--caslom _bare-foot_; ceann the _head_--ceannlom

Biorach _pointed, sharp_, cluas the _ear_--cluasbhiorach _having pointed

_Verbs Compounded with a Noun._

Luaisg _to rock_ or _toss_, tonn _a wave_--tonn-luaisg _to toss on the

Sleamhnuich _to slide_, cùl the _back_--cùl-sleamhnuich _to back-slide_.

Folaich _to hide_, feall _deceit_--feall-fholaich _to lie in wait_.


_Nouns Compounded with an Adjective._

Uisge _water_, fior _true, genuine_--fioruisge _spring-water_.

Airgiod _silver_, beo _alive_--beo-airgiod _quick-silver_.

Sgolt _a crack_, crion _shrunk, decayed_--crionsgolt _a fissure in wood
caused by drought or decay_.

Criochan _bounds, regions_, garbh _rough_--garbhchriochan _rude mountainous
regions_. {170}

_Adjectives Compounded with an Adjective._

Donn _brown_, dubh _black_--dubh-dhonn _dark-brown_.

Gorm _blue_, dubh _black_--dubh-ghorm _dark-blue_.

Briathrach (not in use) from briathar _a word_, deas
_ready_--deas-bhriathrach _of ready speech, eloquent_.

Seallach (not in use) from sealladh _sight_, geur _sharp_--geur-sheallach

_Verbs Compounded with an Adjective._

Ruith _to run_, dian _keen, eager_--dian-ruith _to run eagerly_.

Lean _to follow_, geur _sharp, severe_--geur-lean _to persecute_.

Buail _to strike_, trom _heavy_--trom-buail _to smite sore, discomfit_.

Ceangail _to bind_, dlùth _closer_--dlùth-cheangail _to bind fast_.


Art _a stone_, tarruing _to draw_--tarruing-art _load-stone_.

Sùil _the eye_, meall _to beguile_--meall-shuil _a leering eye_.


Radh _a saying_, roimh _before_--roimh-radh _preface, prologue_.

Solus _light_, eadar _between_--eadar-sholus _twilight_.

Mìnich _to explain_, eadar-mhìnich _to interpret_.

Gearr _to cut_, timchioll _about_--timchioll-ghearr _circumcise_.

Lot _to wound_, troimh _through_--troimh-lot _to stab, pierce through_.

Examples of words compounded with an inseparable Preposition are already
given in Part II. Chap. VII.

Compound Nouns retain the gender of the principal Nouns in their simple
state. Thus crith-ghalar _palsy_, is masculine, because the principal Noun,
Galar _distemper_, is masculine, although the accessary Noun crith, by
which galar is qualified, be feminine. So cìs-mhaor is masculine though cìs
be a feminine Noun, Luke xviii. 11; cìs-mheasadh ought also to be
masculine, Acts v. 37. Except Nouns compounded with {171} Bean _woman_,
which are all feminine, though the simple principal Noun be masculine,
because the compound word denotes an object of the female sex; as, oglach
_a servant_, masculine, but banoglach _a maid-servant_, feminine, caraid _a
friend_, masculine, bancharaid _a female friend_, feminine.

Compound words are declined in the same manner as if they were

In writing compound words, the component parts are sometimes separated by a
hyphen, and sometimes not. The use of the hyphen does not seem to be
regulated by any uniform practice. In the case of two vowels coming in
apposition, the insertion of a hyphen seems indispensable; because, by the
analogy of Gaelic orthography, two Vowels, belonging to different
syllables, are scarcely ever placed next to each other without some mark of
separation[118]. Thus so-aomaidh, _easily induced_, _propense_;
so-iomchair, _easily carried_; do-innsidh, _difficult to be told_; and not
soamaidh, doinnsidh, &c., without the hyphen.

It was formerly remarked, Part I., that almost all Gaelic Polysyllables are
accented on the first syllable. When, in pronouncing compound words, the
accent is placed on the first syllable, the two terms appear to be
completely incorporated into one word. When, on the other hand, the accent
is placed, not on the first syllable of the Compound, but on the first
syllable of the Subjunctive term, the two terms seem to retain their
respective powers, and to produce their effect separately, and instead of
being incorporated into one word, to be rather collaterally connected. A
rule may then be derived from the pronunciation for the use of the hyphen
in writing Compounds, viz., to insert the hyphen between the component
parts, when the Prepositive term is not accented. Thus it is proposed to
write aineolach _ignorant_, antromaich _to exaggerate_, comhradh
_conversation_, dobheart _a bad action_, {172} soisgeul _Gospel_, banoglach
_a maidservant_, &c., without a hyphen; but to write an-fhiosrach
_unacquainted_, ban-fhiosaiche _a female fortune-teller_, co-fhreagarach
_corresponding_, so-fhaicsin _easily seen_, &c., with a hyphen[119]. By
this rule, a correspondence is maintained, not only between the writing and
the pronunciation, but likewise between the written language and the ideas
expressed by it. A complex idea, whose parts are most closely united in the
mind, is thus denoted by one undivided word; whereas an idea composed of
parts more loosely connected, is expressed by a word, whereof the component
parts are distinguished, and exhibited separately to the eye. Thus also the
Gaelic scholar would have one uniform direction to follow in reading, viz.,
to place the accent always on the first syllable of an undivided word, or
member of a word. If any exception be allowed, it must be only in the case
already stated of two vowels coming in apposition, as beo-airgiod

Let it be observed that, according to this rule, an Adjective preceding a
Noun can never, but in the case just mentioned, be connected with it by a
hyphen. For if the accent be wholly transferred from the Noun to the
Adjective, then they are to be written as one undivided word; as,
garbhchriochan _highlands_; but if the accent be not so transferred, the
Adjective and the Noun are to be written as two separate words; as, seann
duine _an old man_, deagh chomhairle _good advice_, droch sgeul _a bad

It not unfrequently happens that two Nouns, whereof the one qualifies the
meaning of the other, and connected by the common grammatical relation of
the one governing the other in the Genitive, come through use to be
considered as denoting only one complex object. The two Nouns in this case
are sometimes written together in one word, and thus form a Compound of a
looser structure than those which have been considered. Such are
ceann-cinnidh, _the head of a tribe or {173} clan_; ceann-tighe, _the head
of a family_; ceann-feadhna, _the leader of an army_; fear-turnis, _a
traveller_; luchd-faire, _watchmen_; iobairt-pheacaidh, _a sin-offering_;
urlar-bualaidh, _a threshing-floor_; fear-bainse, _a bridegroom_;
crith-thalmhain, _an earth-quake_; crios-guailne, _a shoulder-belt_, &c. In
writing Compound Nouns of this description, the two Nouns are never written
in one undivided word, but always separated by a hyphen. It comes to be a
question, however, in many instances of one Noun governing another in the
Genitive, whether such an expression is to be considered as a compound
term, and the words to be connected by a hyphen in writing, or whether they
are to be written separately, without any such mark of composition. An
observation that was made in treating of the Government of Nouns may help
us to an answer, and furnish an easy rule in the case in question. It was
remarked that when one Noun governed another in the Genitive, the Article
was never joined to both; that for the most part, it was joined to the Noun
governed, but sometimes to the Noun governing, that in the latter case, the
two Nouns seemed to figure as one compound term, denoting one complex idea.
If this last remark hold true, it may be laid down as a rule that in every
instance of a Noun governing another in the Genitive, where the Article is
or may be prefixed to the _governing Noun_, there the two Nouns ought to be
connected by a hyphen in writing; otherwise not. Thus we can say, without
impropriety, an ceann-feadhna, _the commander_; an luchd-coimhid, _the
keepers_; and the Nouns are accordingly considered as Compounds, and
written with a hyphen. But it would be contrary to the usage of the
language to say, am mullach craige, _the top of a rock_; an t-uachdar
talmhain, _the surface of the ground_. Accordingly it would be improper to
write a hyphen between the Nouns in these and similar examples.

The different effects of these two modes of writing, with or without the
hyphen, is very observable in such instances as the following:--Ainm
dùthcha, _the name of a country_, as Scotland, Argyle, &c.; ainm-dùthcha,
_a country name_, or {174} _patronymic_, as Scotsman, Highlander, &c.;
clann Donuill, _Donald's children_; clann-Donuill, _the Macdonalds_.

Though few have exerted themselves hitherto in explaining the structure of
the Gaelic language, in respect of its inflections, construction, and
collocation, this cannot be said to be the case with regard to Etymology.
Much has been attempted, and something has been done, toward analysing
single vocables, particularly names of places. But this analysis seems to
have been too often made rather in a way of random conjecture than by a
judicious regard to the analogy of Derivation and Composition. The passion
for analysing has even induced some to assert that all true Gaelic
Primitives consist of but one syllable, that all Polysyllables are either
derived or compounded, and therefore that there is room to search for their
etymon. This seems to be carrying theory too far. It appears a fruitless
and rather chimerical attempt to propose a system of directions by which
all Polysyllables whatever may be resolved into component parts, and traced
to a root of one syllable. All I have thought it necessary to do is to
methodize and exemplify those general principals of Etymology which are
obvious and unquestioned, and which regulate the composition and derivation
of those classes of words whereof the analysis may be traced with some
probability of success.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

_From an Address to the Soldiers of a Highland Regiment_, by D. SMITH, M.D.

Theid an deadh shaighdear gu h-aobhach suilbhear an dàil gach tuiteamais a
thig 'n a chrannchur. Ach 's e a's nòs do 'n droch shaighdear a bhi gearan
's a' talach air gach làimh; beadaidh ri lìnn socair, is diombach ann eiric
caoimhneis; lag-chridheach ri h-am cruachais, agus dìblidh ri h-uchd feuma.

_In English._

The good soldier will advance, with spirit and cheerfulness, to any service
that falls in his way. But it is the practice of the bad soldier to be
complaining and grumbling on all occasions; saucy in time of ease, and
peevish in return for kindness; faint-hearted under hardships, and feeble
in encountering exigency.


_Theid._ 3. per. sing. Fut. Affirm, of the irregular Verb _Rach_, go.

_An._ Nom. sing. of the Article _an_, the.

_Deadh._ An indeclinable Adjective, always placed before its Noun.

_Shaighdear._ Nom. sing. of the mas. noun _saighdear_, a soldier, in the
aspirated form, because preceded by the Adj. _deadh_. Gram. p. 145. {176}

_Gu._ A proper Preposition, to, for.

_Aobhach._ An Adject. of the first Declension, joyous, having an _h_ before
it, because preceded by the Prep. _gu_. Gram. p. 161. _Gu h-aobhach_,
joyfully, cheerfully, an adverbial phrase. Gram. p. 109.

_Suilbhear._ An Adject. cheerful. _Gu_ is to be supplied from the former
phrase; _gu suilbhear_, cheerfully, an adverbial phrase.

_An dàil._ An improper Preposition, to meet, to face, to encounter; made up
of the proper Prep. _ann_, in, and the Noun _dàil_, meeting. Gram. p. 121.

_Gach._ An indeclinable Adj. Pronoun, each, every.

_Tuiteamais._ Gen. sing. of the mas. Noun _tuiteamas_, an occurrence,
accident, governed in the Gen. case by the improp. Prep. _an dàil_ (Gram.
p. 161), derived from the Verb _tuit_. Infinitive _tuiteam_, to fall,

_A._ Nom. sing. Relative Pronoun, who, which.

_Thig._ Fut. Affirm. of the irregular Verb _thig_, come.

_'N._ Contracted for _ann_, a proper Prep., in.

_A._ Possessive Pronoun, his.

_Chrannchur._ Mas. Noun, a lot; governed in the Dat. by the Prep. _ann_; in
the aspirated form after the adject. Pron. _a_, 'his'--compounded of
_crann_, a lot, and _cur_, casting, the Infinitive of the Verb _cuir_, to
put, cast.

_Ach._ Conjunction, but. Hebr. [Hebrew: AD].

_'S._ for _is_, Pres. Indic. of the Verb _is_, I am. _'S e a 's_ it is
[that] which is.

_Nòs._ Noun mas., custom, habit.

_Do._ Prep. to.

_An._ the article, the.

_Droch._ indeclinable Adject. bad; always placed before its Noun.

_Shaighdear._ mas. Noun, soldier; governed in the Dative by the Prep. _do_;
in the aspir. form after the Adject. _droch_. {177}

_A bhi._ for _do bhi_ or _do bhith_, Infinit. of the irregular Verb _bi_,
to be.

_Gearan._ Infin. of the obsolete Verb _gearain_, to complain, _ag_ being
understood; _ag gearan_ equivalent to a present Participle, complaining.
Gram. p. 86.

_'S._ for _agus_, conjunction, and.

_A' talach._ for _ag talach_, complaining, repining; Infin. of the obsolete
Verb _talaich_, to complain of a thing or person.

_Air._ Prep. on.

_Gach._ Adject. Pron. indeclin. each, every.

_Làimh._ dat. sing. of the fem. Noun _làmh_, a hand; governed in the Dat.
by the Prep. _air_, on. _Air gach làimh_, on every hand.

_Beadaidh._ Adject. nice, fond of delicacies, saucy, petulant.

_Ri._ Prep. to, at.

_Lìnn._ Noun fem. an age, period, season. _Ri lìnn_, during the time of any
event, or currency of any period; _ri lìnn Fhearghuis_, in the time, or
reign of Fergus; _gu faigheamaid sìth r' ar lìnn_, that we may have peace
in our time.

_Socair._ Noun fem., ease, conveniency; governed in the Gen. by the Noun

_Is._ for _agus_, Conjunct. and.

_Diombach_, or _diùmach_. Adject. displeased, indignant; derived from the
Noun _diom_ or _diùm_, indignation.

_Ann._ Prep. governing the Dat. in.

_Eiric._ Noun femin., requital, compensation; governed in the Dat. by the
Prep. _ann_.

_Caoimhneis._ Gen. sing. of the mas. Noun _caoimhneas_, kindness; governed
in the Gen. by the noun _eiric_, derived from the Adject. _caomh_, gentle,

_Lag-chridheach._ Adject. faint-hearted; compounded of the Adject. _lag_,
weak, and _cridhe_, the heart.

_Ri._ Prep. to, at. {178}

_Am._ Noun masc., time; governed in the Dat. case by the Prep. _ri_, and
preceded by _h_. Gram. p. 161.

_Cruachais._ Gen. sing. of the mas. Noun _cruachas_, hardship, strait;
governed in the Gen. by the noun _am_; compounded of the Adject. _cruaidh_,
hard, and _càs_, danger, extremity.

_Agus._ Conjunct., and.

_Dìblidh._ Adject., feeble, silly.

_Uchd._ Noun mas. breast, chest; hence it signifies an ascent, a steep; in
the Dat. case, preceded by _h_, after the Prep. _ri_: _ri h-uchd_, in
ascending, breasting, encountering, assailing.

_Feuma._ Gen. sing. of the Noun mas. _feum_, necessity, exigency; governed
in the Gen. by the Noun _uchd_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Extract from an old Fingalian Tale or Legend._

Dh' imich Garbh mac Stairn agus Dual a dh' fhaicinn Fhinn agus a threun
fheara colgach, iomraiteach ann an gniomharaibh arm. Bha Fionn 's an àm sin
'n a thigheadas samhraidh am Buchanti. 'N an turus d'a ionnsuidh, ghabh iad
beachd air gach gleann agus faoin mhonadh, air gach allt agas caol
choirean. Ghabh iad sgeul de gach coisiche agus gach fear a thachair 'n an
còir. Ann an gleann nan cuach agus nan lon, chunnaic bùth taobh sruthain;
chaidh a steach, dh' iarr deoch; dh' eirich ribhinn a b' aluinne snuadh a
dh' fhàilteachadh an turuis le sìth. Thug i biadh dhoibh r'a itheadh, dibhe
ri òl; dh' iarr an sgeul le cainnt thlà. Bhuail gaol o a sùil an Garbh
borb, agus dh' innis cia as doibh. "Thainig sinn o thìr nan crann, far an
lionor sonn--mac righ Lochlainn mise--m' ainm Garbh na'm b' aill leat--esan
Dual, o thìr nam beann, a thuinich ann Albainn o thuath--a ghabhail
cairdeis gun sgàth agus aoidheachd o 'n àrd righ Fionn, sud fàth ar turuis
a Chiabh na maise--ciod am bealach am buail sinn? seol ar cos gu teach
Fhinn, bi dhuinn mar iùl, is gabh duais." "Duais {179} cha do ghabh mi
riamh, ars an nighean bu bhlàithe sùil 's bu deirge gruaidh; cha b' e sud
àbhaist Theadhaich nam beann éilde, 'g am bu lionor dàimheach 'n a thalla,
'g am bu tric tathaich o thuath--ni mise dhuibh iùl." Gu gleann-sìth
tharladh na fir; gleann an tric guth feidh is loin; gleann nan glas charn
is nan scor; gleann nan sruth ri uisg is gaoith. Thachair orra buaghar bho,
is rinn dhoibh iùl; thug dhoibh sgeul air duthaich nan creag, air fir agus
air mnaibh, air fàs shliabh agus charn, air neart feachd, air rian nan arm,
air miann sloigh, agus craobhthuinidh nam Fiann.

_In English._

Garva the son of Starno and Dual, went to visit Fingal and his brave
warriors, renowned for feats of arms. Fingal was at that time in his summer
residence at Buchanti. On their journey thither, they took a view of every
valley and open hill, every brook and narrow dell. They asked information
of every passenger and person that came in their way. In the glen of
cuckoos and ouzles they observed a cottage by the side of a rivulet. They
entered; asked drink, a lady of elegant appearance arose and kindly bade
them welcome. She gave the food to eat, liquor to drink. In mild speech she
inquired their purpose. Love from her eye smote the rough Garva, and he
told whence they were. "We are come from the land of Pines, where many a
hero dwells--the son of Lochlin's king am I--my name is Garva, be pleased
to know--my comrade is Dual, from the land of hills, his residence is in
the north of Albion. To accept the hospitality and confidential friendship
of the mighty prince Fingal, this is the object of our journey, O Lady
fair[120]; say, by what pass shall we shape our course? Direct our steps to
the mansion of Fingal, be our guide, and accept a reward." "Reward I never
took," said the damsel of softest eye and rosiest cheek; "such was not the
manner of [my father] Tedaco of the hill of hinds; {180} many were the
guests in his hall, frequent his visitors from the North,--I will be your
guide." The chiefs reach Glenshee, where is heard the frequent voice of
deer and elk; glen of green mounts and cliffs; glen of many streams in time
of rain and wind. A keeper of cattle met them, and directed their course.
He gave the information concerning the country of rocks; concerning its
inhabitants male and female; the produce of moor and mount; the military
force, the fashion of the armour; the favourite pursuits of the people; and
the pedigree of the Fingalians.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Extract from Bishop_ CARSUEL'S _Gaelic translation of the
Confession of Faith, Forms of Prayer, &c., used in the Reformed
Church of Scotland_; Printed in the year 1567.

(_From the Epistle Dedicatory._)

Acht ata ni cheana is mor an leathtrom agas anuireasbhuidh ata riamh
orainde gaoidhil alban & eireand, tar an gcuid eile don domhan, gan ar
gcanamhna gaoidheilge do chur agcló riamh mar ataid agcanamhna & adteangtha
féin agcló ag gach uile chinel dhaoine oile sa domhan, & ata uireasbhuidh
is mó ina gach uireasbhuidh oraind, gan an Biobla naomhtha do bheith agcló
gaoidheilge againd, marta sè agcló laidne agas bherla agas ingach teangaidh
eile osin amach, agas fós gan seanchus arsean no ar sindsear do bheith mar
an gcedna agcló againd riamh, acht ge tá cuid eigin do tseanchus ghaoidheal
alban agas eireand sgriobhtha aleabhruibh lámh, agas adtamhlorgaibh fileadh
& ollamhan, agas asleachtaibh suadh. Is mortsaothair sin re sgriobhadh do
laimh, ag fechain an neithe buailtear sa chló araibrisge agas ar
aithghiorra bhios gach én ni dhá mhed da chriochnughadh leis. Agas is mor
an doille agas andorchadas peacaidh agas aineolais agas indtleachda do
lucht deachtaidh agas sgriobhtha agas chumhdaigh na gaoidheilge, gurab mó
is mian leo agas gurab mó ghnathuidheas siad eachtradha dimhaoineacha
buaidheartha bregacha {181} saoghalta do cumadh ar thuathaibh dédhanond
agas ar mhacaibh mileadh agas arna curadhaibh agas fhind mhac cumhaill gona
fhianaibh agas ar mhóran eile nach airbhim agas nach indisim andso do
chumhdach, agas do choimhleasughagh, do chiond luadhuidheachta dimhaonigh
an tsaoghail dfhaghail doibhféin, ina briathra disle Dé agas slighthe
foirfe na firinde do sgriobhadh, agas dheachtadh, agas do chumhdach.

_English Translation._

[_From the_ REPORT _of the Committee of the_
HIGHLAND SOCIETY _of_ SCOTLAND, _appointed to inquire into the
nature and authenticity of the Poems of_ OSSIAN.]

But there is one great disadvantage which we the Gaeil of Scotland and
Ireland labour under, beyond the rest of the world, that our Gaelic
language has never yet been printed, as the language of every other race of
men has been. And we labour under a disadvantage which is still greater
than every other disadvantage, that we have not the Holy Bible printed in
Gaelic, as it has been printed in Latin and in English, and in every other
language; and also that we have never yet had any account printed of the
antiquities of our country, or of our ancestors; for though we have some
accounts of the Gaeil of Scotland and Ireland, contained in manuscripts,
and in the genealogies of bards and historiographers, yet there is great
labour in writing them over with the hand, whereas the work which is
printed, be it ever so great, is speedily finished. And great is the
blindness and sinful darkness, and ignorance and evil design of such as
teach, and write, and cultivate the Gaelic language, that, with the view of
obtaining for themselves the vain rewards of this world, they are more
desirous, and more accustomed, to compose vain, tempting, lying, worldly
histories, concerning the _Tuath de dannan_, and concerning warriors and
champions, and _Fingal_ the son of _Cumhal_, with his heroes, and
concerning many others which {182} I will not at present enumerate or
mention, in order to maintain or reprove, than to write and teach and
maintain the faithful words of God, and of the perfect way of truth[121].

       *       *       *       *       *

_From the Preface to a Metrical Version of the Book of Psalms
in Gaelic_, by Mr ROBERT KIRK, Minister of the Gospel
at Balquhidder; Printed in the year 1684.

Ataid na Psalma taitneamhach, tarbhach: beag nach mion-fhlaitheas lán
dainglibh, Cill fhonnmhar le ceol naomhtha. Mur abholghort Eden, lionta do
chrannaibh brioghmhoire na beatha, & do luibhennibh iocshlainteamhail,
amhluidh an leabhar Psalmso Dhaibhioth, ata na liaghais ar uile anshocair
na nanma. Ata an saoghal & gach beó chreatuir da bfuil ann, na chlarsigh;
an duine, se is Clairseoir & duanaire, chum moladh an mor-Dhia mirbhuileach
do sheinn; & ata Daibhidh do ghná mar fhear don chuideachd bhias marso ag
caoin-chaint gu ceolmhar ma nard-Rí.... Do ghabhas mar chongnamh don
obairsi, dioghlum ughdairidh an uile cháil, ar sheannós, phriomh chreideamh
& eachdardha na nGaoidheal, sgriobhta & cló-bhuailte: achd gu ba reula iuil
& soluis dhamh, brídh na nSalm fein. Anois maseadh a Chomharbadha ro
chaomh, ata mar phlaneidi dhealroidh ag sdiurughadh na ngcorp ioch dardha
gan mhonmar, is deaghmhaise dhaoibh an tsaothairse a sgrudadh & a
ghnathughadh gu neimhfhiat, gan ghuth ar bheiginmhe & neimhnitheachd an
tsaothairigh. Griosam oraibhse a Uaisle, & a Thuatha charthanacha araon,
gun {183} bheith mur thacharain ar luaidrean a nunn & a nall go sbailpe
breigi; achd le gcroidhibh daingne, dosgartha, deagh-fhreumhaighte,
druididh re Firinn, Ceart, & Ceannsachd, mar fhuraileas na psalma: Ata clu
& tarbha a nsdriocadh don choir; call & masladh a ntuitim le heugcoir.

  Imthigh a Dhuilleachain gu dán,
    Le Dán glan diagha duisg iad thall;
  Cuir failte ar Fonn fial na bFionn,
    Ar Gharbh chriocha, 's Indseadh gall.

_In English._

The Psalms are pleasant and profitable. A church resounding with sacred
melody is almost a little Heaven full of angels. As the Garden of Eden,
replenished with trees of life of potent efficacy, and with medicinal
plants, so is this Book of the Psalms of David, which contains a remedy for
all the diseases of the soul. The world and every living creature it
contains are the Harp; man is the Harper and Poet, who sings the praise of
the great wonder-working God; and David is ever one of the company who are
thus employed in sweetly and tunefully discoursing about the Almighty
King.... I was assisted in this work by culling from authors of every kind,
who have treated of the ancient manners, the primitive religion, and the
history of the Gaels, both in manuscript and in print: but the star and
light by which I steered was the sense of the Psalms themselves. Now, then,
my very dear colleagues, who as shining luminaries guide the inferior
bodies, it becomes you to examine and to use this work candidly, without
regarding the meanness and insignificancy of the workman. I beseech you,
men of high and of low degree alike, that you be not, like weak silly
creatures, tossed to and fro by false conceits; but with firm, resolute,
well-established hearts, adhere to Truth, Justice, and Temperance, as these
Psalms exhort. There is honour and profit in complying with what is right,
loss and disgrace in declining to what is wrong. {184}

  Little Volume, move boldly on;
  In pure godly strains awaken yonder people;
  Salute the hospitable land of the Fingalians,
  The highland regions, and the Isles of strangers[122].

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[1] Analysis of the Gaelic Language, by William Shaw, A.M.

[2] A few examples of what I conceived to be deviations from grammatical
propriety are given from the Gaelic version of the Bible. As the
translation of the Prophetical Books underwent a revision, the
exceptionable passages in those Books have been changed in the second
edition from what they were as they came out of the hands of the original
translator. The criticism on those passages is, however, allowed to remain
in this edition of the Grammar, because the first edition of the Gaelic
Prophets is still in the hands of many, and because it often happens that
"we can best teach what is right by showing what is wrong."--_Lowth._

[3] It will immediately occur to any grammarian that there is a slight
difference between this and the common division into _mutes_ and _liquids_,
by the letter _m_ being removed from the class of liquids to that of mutes.
This is not an oversight, but an intentional arrangement; as the
_accidents_ of the letter _m_ are, in Gaelic, the same with those of the
mute, not of the liquid consonants. For a like reason, _s_ is included in
the class of liquids.

[4] Writers, who have touched on this part of Gaelic Grammar, following the
Irish grammarians, have divided the consonants further into _mutable_ and
_immutable_. The former name has been given to consonants which, in
writing, have been occasionally combined with the letter _h_; and the
latter name to those consonants which have not, in writing, been combined
with _h_. But, in fact, both classes of consonants are alike _mutable_ in
their pronunciation; and their _mutation_ ought to have been marked in the
orthography, though it has not. This defect in Gaelic orthography has been
often observed and regretted, though it has never been corrected. Rather
than continue a distinction which has no foundation in the structure of the
language, I venture to discard the division of _mutable_ and _immutable_
consonants, as not merely useless, but as tending to mislead the learner.

[5] In explaining the sounds of the letters I have availed myself of the
very correct and acute remarks on this subject annexed to the Gaelic
version of the New Testament, 1767.

[6] If it be thought that this renders the language too monotonous, it may
be observed, on the other hand, that it prevents ambiguities and
obscurities in rapid speaking, as the accent marks the initial syllable of
polysyllables. Declaimers, of either sex, have often found their advantage
in this circumstance.

[7] That is the second sound assigned to a.

[8] The plural of la or latha _a day_, is sometimes written laeth; but it
is doubtful how far this is a proper mode of writing it.

[9] The effect of the vowels in qualifying the sound of the adjoining
consonants will be explained in treating of the Palatals and Linguals.

[10] This propensity is seen in the aspirating of consonants in Gaelic
words, which have an evident affinity to words in other languages, where
the same consonants are not so aspirated. The following list will
sufficiently illustrate and confirm the truth of this remark:--

  _Greek._             _Latin._            _Gælic._
  [Greek: Diabolos]   Dia_b_olus       Diabhol.
                      Scri_b_o*        Scriobh, _write_.
                      Fe_b_ris*        Fiabhrus, _a fever_.
                      Ba_c_ulum        Bacholl, _a staff_.
  [Greek: Deka]       De_c_em          Deich, _ten_.
                      Lori_c_a         Lùireach, _a coat of mail_.
                      Cleri_c_us       Cleireach, _a clerk_.
                      Mo_d_us          Modh, _manner_.
                      Gla_d_ius        Claidheamh, _a sword_.
  [Greek: Kardia] }   Cor_d_-is        Cridhe, _the heart_.
  [Greek: Kradia] }
                      Me_d_ium         Meadhon, _middle_.
                      Lau_d_o          Luadh, _mention_.
                      Le_g_o           Leugh, _read_.
                      Gre_g_-is        Greigh, _a herd_.
                      Re_g_-is         Righ, _a king_.
                      Pla_g_a          Plaigh, _a plague_.
                      Sa_g_itta        Saighead, _an arrow_.
                      Ma_g_ister       Maighistir, _master_.
                      Ima_g_o          Iomhaigh, _an image_.
                      Pri_m_us         Priomh, _chief_.
                      Re_m_us          Ràmh, _an oar_.
                      Si_m_ilis        Samhuil, _like_.
                      Hu_m_ilis        Umhal, _humble_.
                      Ca_p_ra          Gabhar, _a goat_.
  [Greek: Mêtêr]      Ma_t_er          Mathair, _mother_.
                      Ro_t_a           Roth, Rath, _a wheel_.
                      Mu_t_o           Mùth, _change_.

It is probable that the consonants, thus aspirated, were pronounced without
aspiration in the older dialects of the Celtic tongue; for we are told that
in the Irish manuscripts of the first class for antiquity, the consonants
are for the most part written without any mark of aspiration. See "Lhuyd's
Archæol. Brit.," p. 301, col. 1.

The tendency to attenuate the articulations shows itself in a progressive
state, in a few vocables which are pronounced with an aspiration in some
districts, but not universally. Such are deatach or deathach _smoke_,
cuntart or cunthart _danger_, ta or tha _am_, _art_, tu or thu _thou_,
troimh or throimh _through_, tar or thar _over_, am beil or am bheil _is
there?_ dom or domh _to me_, &c. Has not this remission or suppression of
the articulations the effect of enfeebling the speech, by mollifying its
bones and relaxing its nerves? Ought not therefore the progress of this
corruption to be opposed, by retaining unaspirated articulations in those
instances where universal practice has not entirely superseded them, and
even by restoring them in some instances, where the loss of them has been
attended with manifest inconvenience? It is shameful to see how many
monosyllables, once distinguished by their articulations, have in process
of time, by dropping these articulations, come to be represented by the
solitary vowel _a_, to the no small confusion of the language and
embarrassment of the reader. The place of the absent consonant is often
supplied, indeed, in writing, by an apostrophe. This, however, is at best
but an imperfect and precarious expedient.

    * So in French, from Aprilis, _Avrilis_; habere, _avoir_; Febris,
    Fièvre: [Greek: episkopos], _evéque_.

[11] Ph is found in no Gaelic word which is not inflected, except a few
words transplanted from the Greek or the Hebrew, in which _ph_ represents
the Greek ­[phi], or the Hebrew [Hebrew: P]. It might perhaps be more
proper to represent [Hebrew: P] by _p_ rather than _ph_; and to represent
[phi] by _f_, as the Italians have done in _filosofia_, _filologia_, &c.,
by which some ambiguities and anomalies in declension would be avoided.

[12] The affinity between the sounds of _v_ and _u_ is observable in many
languages, particularly in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

[13] Agreeably to the like pronunciation, the Welsh write this word _marw_,
the Manks _marroo_.

[14] It is still pronounced fuair in the Northern Highlands, and it is so
written in Irish. See Irish Bible, Gen. xxxv. 18, 19; John ii. 14, viii.
62, 53.

[15] So fathast _yet_, fein _self_, are in some places pronounced as if
they began with an _h_ instead of an _f_. The latter word is, by the Manks,
written hene.

[16] Over a considerable part of the Highlands that propensity to
aspiration, which has been already remarked, has affixed to _c_, in the end
of a word, or of an accented syllable, the sound of _chc_; as, mac _a son_,
torc _a boar_, acain _moaning_; pronounced often machc, torchc, achcain.

There is reason to believe that this compound sound of _chc_ was not known
of old, but is a modern corruption.

This pronunciation is not universal over the Highlands. In some parts the
_c_ retains its proper sound in all situations.

If the articulation in question had, from the first, been compounded, it is
highly probable that it would have been represented, in writing, by a
combination of letters, such as _chc_; especially as we find that the same
sound is represented at other times, not by a single consonant, but by a
combination, as in the case of _chd_. Why should it be thought that boc _a
buck_, and bochd _poor_, were originally pronounced alike, when they are
distinguished both in writing and signification?

The word [Hebrew: SHQ] _a sack_, has been transplanted from the Hebrew into
many languages, among the rest the Gaelic, where it has been always written
sac, although now pronounced sachc. In none of the other languages in which
the word is used (except the Welsh alone), has the final palatal been
aspirated. It would appear therefore that the sound sachc is a departure
from the original Gaelic pronunciation. The same change may have happened
in the pronunciation of other words, in which the plain _c_ is now
aspirated, though it may not have been so originally.

[17] Though _th_ be quiescent in the middle of a polysyllable, over the
North and Central Highlands, yet it is, with more propriety, pronounced, in
the West Highlands, as an aspiration; as, athair _father_, mathanas
_pardon_, pronounced a-hair, mahanas.

[18] I am informed that this pronunciation of _chd_ is not universal; but
that in some districts, particularly the East Highlands, the _d_ has here,
as in other places, its proper lingual sounds. In many, if not all the
instances in which _chd_ occurs, the ancient Irish wrote _ct_. This
spelling corresponds to that of some foreign words that have a manifest
affinity to Gaelic words of the same signification; which, it is therefore
presumable, were all originally pronounced, as they were written, without
an aspiration, such as,

     _Latin._         _Old French._       _Gaelic._

  Noct-u Noct-is, &c.   Nuict          an nochd, _to night_.
  Oct-o                 Huict          Ochd, _eight_.
  Benedict-um           Benoict        Beannachd, _blessing_.
  Maledict-um           Maudict        Mallachd, _cursing_.
  Ruct-us                              Bruchd, _evomition_.
  Intellect-us                         Intleachd, _contrivance_.
  Lact-is, -i, &c.                     Lachd, _milk_.
  Dict-o, -are, &c.                    Deachd, _to dictate_.
  Rego    }
  Rect-um }                            Reachd, _a law, institution_.

From the propensity of the Gaelic to aspiration, the original _c_ was
converted into _ch_, and the words were written with _cht_, as in the Irish
acht _but_, &c., or with the slight change of _t_ into _d_, as in ochd, &c.
This is the opinion of O'Brien, when he says the word lecht is the Celtic
root of the Latin _lectio_--the aspirate _h_ is but a late
invention.--_O'Br. Ir. Dict. voc. lecht._ In process of time the true sound
of _cht_ or _chd_ was confounded with the kindred sound of _chc_, which was
commonly, though corruptly, given to final c.

[19] It is certain that the natural sound of d aspirated is that of [the
Saxon ð] or _th_ in _thou_; as the natural sound of _t_ aspirated is that
of _th_ in _think_. This articulation, from whatever cause, has not been
admitted into the Gaelic, either Scottish or Irish, although it is used in
the kindred dialects of Cornwall and Wales.

[20] In sean _old_, the _n_ has its _plain_ sound when the following word
begins with a Lingual. Accordingly it is often written in that situation
seann; as, seann duine _an old man_, an t-seann tiomnaidh _of the old

[21] So in Latin, _canmen_ from _cano_ was pronounced, and then written
_carmen_; _genmen_ from the obsolete [Greek: genô] passed into _germen_.

[22] Another mode, proposed by a learned correspondent, of marking the
distinction in the sound of the initial Linguals, is by writing the letter
double, thus ll, nn, rr, when its sound is the same with that which is
represented by those double letters in the end of a syllable; and when the
sound is otherwise, to write the letter single; as, llamh _hand_, llion
_fill_, mo lamh _my hand_, lion mi _I filled_.

It is perhaps too late, however, to urge now even so slight an alteration
as this in the Orthography of the Gaelic, which ought rather to be held as
fixed beyond the reach of innovation, by the happy diffusion of the Gaelic
Scriptures over the Highlands.

[23] _Leathan re Leathan, is Caol re Caol._

Of the many writers who have recorded or taken notice of this rule, I have
found none who have attempted to account for its introduction into the
Gaelic. They only tell that such a correspondence between the vowels ought
to be observed, and that it would be improper to write otherwise. Indeed,
none of them seem to have attended to the different effects of a broad and
of a small vowel on the sound of an adjacent consonant. From this
circumstance, duly considered, I have endeavoured to derive a reason for
the rule in question, the only probable one that has yet occurred to me.

[24] As deanuibh or deanaibh _do ye_, beannuich or beannaich _bless_.

[25] It is worthy of remark that in such words as caird-eil _friendly_,
slaint-eil _salutary_, the substitution of _e_ in place of _a_ in the
termination, both misrepresents the sound, and disguises the derivation of
the syllable. The sound of this termination as in fear-ail _manly_, ban-ail
_womanly_, is properly represented by _ail_. This syllable is an
abbreviation of amhuil _like_, which is commonly written in its full form
by the Irish, as fear-amhuil, &c. It corresponds exactly to the English
termination _like_, in _soldier-like_, _officer-like_, which is abridged to
_ly_, as _manly_, _friendly_. By writing _eil_ instead of _ail_, we almost
lose sight of amhuil altogether.

[26] From the extracts of the oldest Irish manuscripts given by Lhuyd,
Vallancey, and others, it appears that the rule concerning the
correspondence of vowels in contiguous syllables, was by no means so
generally observed once as it is now. It was gradually extended by the more
modern Irish writers, from whom, it is probable, it has been incautiously
adopted by the Scottish writers in its present and unwarrantable latitude.
The rule we have been considering has been reprobated in strong terms by
some of the most judicious Irish philologers, particularly O'Brien, author
of an Irish Dictionary printed at Paris 1768, and Vallancey, author of an
Irish Grammar, and of various elaborate disquisitions concerning Irish
antiquities, from whom I quote the following passages: "This Rule [of
dividing one syllable into two by the insertion of an aspirated consonant]
together with that of substituting small or broad vowels in the latter
syllables, to correspond with the vowel immediately following the consonant
in the preceding syllable, has been very destructive to the original and
radical purity of the Irish language." _Vallancey's Ir. Gram. Chap. III.
letter A._ "Another [Rule] devised in like manner by our bards and rhymers,
I mean that which is called _Caol le caol, agus Leathan le leathan_, has
been woefully destructive to the original and radical purity of the Irish
language. This latter (much of a more modern invention than the former, for
our old manuscripts show no regard to it) imports and prescribes that two
vowels, thus forming, or contributing to form, two different syllables,
should both be of the same denomination or class of either broad or small
vowels, and this without any regard to the primitive elementary structure
of the word." _O'Brien's Ir. Dict. Remarks on A._ "The words _biran_ and
_biranach_ changed sometimes into _bioran_ and _bioranach_ by the abusive
rule of _Leathan le leathan_." _Id. in voc._ Fear. The opinion of Lhuyd on
this point, though not decisive, yet may properly be subjoined to those of
Vallancey and O'Brien, as his words serve at least to show that this
judicious philologer was no advocate for the Rule in question. "As for
passing any censure on the rule concerning broad and small vowels, I chose
rather to forbear making any remark at all upon them, by reason that old
men who formerly wrote arget _silver_, instead of airgiod as we now write
it, never used to change a vowel but in declining of words, &c. And I do
not know that it was ever done in any other language, unless by some
particular persons who, through mistake or ignorance, were guilty of it."
_Archæol. Brit. Preface to Ir. Dict. translated in Bp. Nicolson's Irish
Historical Library._

[27] Pinkerton's Inquiry into the History of Scotland.

[28] _E.g._, troidh _a foot_, has been written troidh or troigh, either of
which corresponds to the pronunciation, as the last consonant is quiescent.
In Welsh, the articulation of the final consonant has been preserved, and
the word is accordingly written troed. This authority seems sufficient to
determine the proper orthography in Gaelic to be troidh and not troigh. For
a like reason, perhaps, it would be proper to write tràidh _shore_, rather
than tràigh, the common way of spelling the word, for we find the Irish
formerly wrote tràidh, and the Welsh traeth. Claidheamh _a sword_, since
the final articulation was wholly dropped, has been sometimes written
claidhe. The mode of writing it still with a final labial, though
quiescent, will probably be thought the more proper of the two, when it is
considered that claidheamh is the cognate, or rather the same word with the
Irish cloidheamh the Welsh cleddyf, and the French glaive.

[29] I flatter myself that all my readers, who are acquainted with any of
the ancient or the modern languages which have a distinction of gender in
their attributives, will readily perceive that the import of the term
Gender, in the grammar of those languages, is precisely what I have stated
above. The same term has been introduced into the grammar of the English
Tongue, rather improperly, because in an acceptation different from what it
bears in the grammar of all other languages. In English there is no
distinction of gender competent to Articles, Adjectives, or Participles.
When a noun is said to be of the masculine gender, the meaning can only be
that the object denoted by it is of the male sex. Thus in the English
grammars, gender signifies a quality of the _object_ named, while in other
grammars it signifies a quality of the _name_ given to the object. The
varieties of _who_, _which_, and _he_, _she_, _it_, refer not to what is
properly called the _gender_ of the antecedent _noun_, but to the _Sex_
real or attributed, or the _absence of Sex_, of the _object_ signified by
the antecedent. This is in effect acknowledged by writers on rhetoric, who
affirm that in English the pronouns _who_, _he_, _she_, imply an express
personification, or attribution of life, and consequently of Sex, to the
objects to which these pronouns refer. The same thing is still more
strikingly true of the variations on the termination of nouns, as _prince_,
_princess_; _lion_, _lioness_, which are all discriminative of Sex. It
seems therefore to be a mis-stated compliment which is usually paid to the
English, when it is said that "this is the only language which has adapted
the gender of its nouns to the constitution of Nature." The fact is, that
it has adapted the _Form_ of some of the most common names of living
creatures, and of a few of its pronouns, to the obvious distinction of
_male_, and _female_, and _inanimate_, while it has left its nouns without
any mark characteristic of _gender_. The same thing must necessarily happen
to any language by abolishing the distinction of masculine and feminine in
its attributives. If all languages had been constructed on this plan, it
may confidently be affirmed that the grammatical term _gender_ would never
have come into use. The compliment intended, and due to the English, might
have been more correctly expressed, by saying that "it is the only language
that has rejected the unphilosophical distinction of gender, by making its
attributives, in this respect, all indeclinable."

[30] Uan beag bainionn, 2 Sam. xii. 3. Numb. vi. 14. So leomhann boirionn,
Ezek. xix. 1.

[31] It must appear singularly strange that any nouns which signify females
exclusively should be of the masculine gender. The noun bainionnach, is
derived from the adjective bainionn, _female_, which is formed from bean,
the appropriate term for a _woman_. Yet this noun bainionnach, or
boirionnach, _a female_, is masculine, to all grammatical intents and
purposes. We say boirionnach còir, _a civil woman_, am boirionnach
maiseach, _the handsome woman_.

The gender of this Noun seems to have been fixed, not by its signification,
but by its determination, for most Derivatives in _ach_ are masculines; as,
oganach _a young man_, marcach _a horseman_, Albanach _a Scotsman_, &c. So
in Latin, mancipium, scortum, though applied to persons, follow the gender
of their termination.

[32] It was necessary to be thus explicit in stating the changes at the
beginning and those on the termination as unconnected independent
_accidents_, which ought to be viewed separately; because many who have
happened to turn their thoughts toward the declension of the Gaelic noun
have got a habit of conjoining these, and supposing that both contribute
their united aid toward the forming the _cases_ of nouns. This is blending
together things which are unconnected, and ought to be kept distinct. It
has therefore appeared necessary to take a separate view of these two
_accidents_ of nouns, and to limit the term _case_ to those changes which
are made on the termination, excluding entirely those which take place at
the beginning.

[33] It is to be observed that these names of the cases are adopted merely
because they are already familiar, not because they all denominate
correctly the relations expressed by the cases to which they are
respectively applied. There is no Accusative or Objective case in Gaelic
different from the Nominative; neither is there any Ablative different from
the Dative. For this reason, it is not only unnecessary, but erroneous, to
reckon up six Cases in Gaelic, distinguished not by the form of the Noun,
but by the Prepositions prefixed. This is to depart altogether from the
common and proper use of the term _Case_. And if the new use of that term
is to be adopted, then the enumeration is still incomplete, for we ought to
have as many Cases as there are Prepositions in the language. Thus, besides
a Dative do Bhard, and an Ablative o Bhard, we should have an Impositive
Case air Bhard, a Concomitative le Bard, an Insertive ann am Bard, a
Precursive roimh Bhard, &c. &c. Grammarians have very correctly reckoned
only five Cases in Greek, two in English, one in French [See _Moore_,
_Murray_, _Buffier_, &c.] because the variations in the form of the Noun
extend no further. Surely nothing but an early and inveterate prepossession
in favour of the arrangements of Latin Grammar could ever have suggested
the idea of Six Cases in Gaelic or in English.

[34] It is not improbable that anciently all feminine nouns, except a few
irregular ones, added a syllable to the nominative, as _e_ or _a_, in
forming the genitive. The translators of the S. S. have sometimes formed
the genitive of feminine polysyllables in this manner, as sionagoige from
sionagog, Mark v. 36, 38. But it appears more agreeable to the analogy of
inflection that such polysyllables should now be written without an _e_ in
the genitive.

[35] It is probable that this noun should rather be written àdh. See
McFarlane's Paraphrases, III. 3. also Lhuyd and O'Brien, _in loco_.

[36] Derivatives in _an_, and _ag_ should form their genitive according to
the general Rule, _ain_, _aig_; and in pronunciation they do so. When the
syllable preceding the termination ends in a small vowel, the Rule of 'Caol
re caol' has introduced an _e_ into the final syllable, which is then
written _ean_, _eag_. In this case writers have been puzzled how to form
the genitive. The terminations _eain_, _eaig_, would evidently contain too
many vowels for a short syllable. To reduce this awkward number of vowels
they have commonly thrown out the _a_, the only letter which properly
expressed the vocal sound of the syllable. Thus from caimean m. a _mote_,
they formed the gen. sing. caimein; from cuilean m. a _whelp_, g. s.
cuilein; from duileag f. a _leaf_, g. s. duileig; from caileag f. a _girl_,
g. s. caileig. Had they not yielded too far to the encroachments of the
Rule of 'Caol re caol' they would have written both the nom. and the gen.
of these and similar nouns more simply and more justly, thus: caiman, g. s.
caimain; cuilan, g. s. cuilain; duilag, g. s. duilaig; cailag, g. s.

[37] In many instances, the Plural termination _a_ is oftener written with
this final _n_ than without it. When the vowel preceding the termination is
small, the termination _a_ or _an_ is very needlessly written _e_ or _ean_,
to preserve the correspondence of vowels.

[38] We are informed by E. O'C. that this is the usual construction in the
Irish Dialect, and it appears to be the same in the Scottish. Thus, air son
mo dhà shùl, _for my two eyes_.--Judg. xvi. 28. Ir. & Scott. versions.

[39] So in Hebrew, we find a noun in the singular number joined with
_twenty_, _thirty_, _a hundred_, _a thousand_, &c.

[40] The Pronouns tu _thou_, se _he_, si _she_, siad _they_, are not
employed, like other nominatives, to denote the object after a transitive
verb. Hence the incorrectness of the following expression in most editions
of the Gaelic Psalms: Se chrùnas _tu_ le coron graidh, Psal. ciii. 4.,
which translated literally signifies, _it is he whom thou wilt crown_, &c.
To express the true sense, viz., _it is he who will crown thee_, it ought
to have been, se chrùnas _thu_ le coron graidh. So is mise an Tighearn a
slanuicheas _thu_, _I am the Lord that healeth thee_, Exod. xv. 26; Ma ta e
ann a fhreagaireas _thu_, _If there be any that will answer thee_, Job v.
1; Co e a bhrathas thu? _Who is he that will betray thee?_ John xxi. 20.,
Comp. Gen. xii. 3. and xxvii. 29.

[41] This use of the Pronoun of the 2d person plural is probably a modern
innovation, for there is nothing like it found in the more ancient Gaelic
compositions, nor in the graver poetry even of the present age. As this
idiom seems, however, to be employed in conversation with increasing
frequency, it will probably lose by degrees its present import, and will
come to be used as the common mode of addressing any individual; in the
same manner as the corresponding Pronouns are used in English, and other
European languages.

[42] There seems hardly a sufficient reason for changing the _d_ in this
situation into _t_, as has been often done, as t'oglach for d'oglach _thy
servant_, &c. The _d_ corresponds sufficiently to the pronunciation, and
being the constituent consonant of the pronoun, it ought not to be changed
for another.

[43] The Irish are not so much at a loss to avoid a _hiatus_, as they often
use na for a _his_; which the translators of the Psalms have sometimes
judiciously adopted; as,

  An talamh tioram le na laimh
    Do chruthaich e 's do dhealbh. Psal. xcv. 5.

[44] In the North Highlands this Pronoun is pronounced sid.

[45] This Pronoun occurs in such expressions as an deigh na chuala tu
_after what you have heard_; their leat na th' agad, or na bheil agad,
_bring what you have_. It seems to be contracted for an ni a _the thing

[46] There is reason to think that ge b'e is corruptly used for cia b' e.
Of the former I find no satisfactory analysis. The latter cia b' e is
literally _which it be_, or _which it were_; which is just the French _qui
que ce soit_, _qui que ce fût_ expressed in English by one word
_whosoever_, _whichsoever_. We find cia used in this sense and connection,
Psal. cxxxv. 11. Glasg. 1753. Gach uile rioghachd mar an ceadn' _cia_
h-iomdha bhi siad ann, _All_ _kingdoms likewise, however numerous they be_.
See also Gen. xliv. 9, Rom. ii. 1.

[47] This pronoun is found written with an initial c in Lhuyd's "Archæol.
Brit." Tit. I. page 20. col. 2. ceach; again Tit. X. voc. Bealtine, cecha
bliadna _each year_. So also O'Brien, cach _all_, _every_, like the French
_chaque_. "Irish Dict." voc. cach.

[48] The pronouns _cach eile_ and _cach a chéile_ are hardly known in
Perthshire. Instead of the former, they use the single word càch pronounced
long, and declined like a noun of the singular number; and instead of the
latter, a chéile, as in this example, choinnich iad a chéile; thuit cuid,
agus theich càch, _they met each other; some fell, and the rest fled_. Here
càch may be considered as a simple pronoun; but the first clause, choinnich
iad a cheile, _they met his fellow_, hardly admits of any satisfactory
analysis. The phrases, in fact, seem to be elliptical, and to be expressed
more fully, according to the practice of other districts, thus: choinnich
iad cach a chiéle; thuit, cuid, agus theich cach eile. Now, if cach be
nothing else than gach _every_, (a conjecture supported by the short
pronunciation of the _a_, as well as by the authorities adduced in the
preceding note,) the expressions may be easily analysed: choinnich iad gach
[aon] a cheile; thuit cuid, agus theich gach [aon] eile; _they met every
[one] his fellow; some fell, and every other [one] fled_, See 1 Thess. v.

[49] In the older Irish MSS. the Particle _do_ appears under a variety of
forms. In one MS. of high antiquity it is often written _dno_. This seems
to be its oldest form. The two consonants were sometimes separated by a
vowel, and the _n_ being pronounced and then written _r_, (See Part I. p.
19.) the word was written doro. (See _Astle's Hist. of the Orig. and Progr.
of Writing, page 126, Irish Specimen, No. 6._) The Consonants were
sometimes transposed, suppressing the latter Vowel, and the Particle became
nod (_O Brien's Ir. Dict. voc._ Sasat, Treas,) and rod (_id. voc._ Ascaim,
Fial.) Sometimes one of the syllables only was retained; hence no (_O'Br.
voc._ No,) ro (_id. voc._ Ro,) and do in common use. Do likewise suffered a
transposition of letters, and was written sometimes ad. (O'Br. _voc._ Do.)

[50] This correspondence of the Termination with the Root was overlooked in
the older editions of the Gaelic Psalms; as pronnfidh, cuirfar, molfidh,
innsam, guidham, coimhdar, sinnam, gluaisfar, &c.

[51] The disposition in the Gaelic to drop articulations has, in this
instance, been rather unfortunate; as the want of the _f_ weakens the sound
of the word, and often occasions a _hiatus_. There seems a propriety in
retaining the _f_ of the Future, after a Liquid, or an aspirated Mute; as,
cuirfidh, mairfidh, molfidh, geillfidh, pronnfidh, brisfidh, &c., for these
words lose much in sound and emphasis by being changed into caithidh,
mairidh, &c.

[52] The incorporation of the Verb with a Personal Pronoun is a manifest
improvement, and has gradually taken place in almost all the polished
languages. There is incomparably more beauty and force in expressing the
energy of the Verb, with its _personal_ relation and concomitant
circumstances, in one word, than by a periphrasis of pronouns and
auxiliaries. The latter mode may have a slight advantage in point of
precision, but the former is greatly superior in elegance and strength. The
structure of the Latin and Greek, compared with that of the English Verb,
affords a striking illustration of this common and obvious remark. Nothing
can be worse managed than the French Verb; which, though it possesses a
competent variety of _personal_ inflections, yet loses all the benefit of
them by the perpetual enfeebling recurrence of the personal Pronouns.

In comparing the Scottish and Irish dialects of the Gaelic, it may be
inferred that the former, having less of inflection or _incorporation_,
than the latter, differs less from the parent tongue, and is an older
branch of the Celtic, than its sister dialect. It were unfair, however, to
deny that the Irish have improved the Verb, by giving a greater variety of
inflection to its _Numbers_ and _Persons_, as well as by introducing a
simple Present Tense. The authors of our metrical version of the Gaelic
Psalms were sensible of the advantage possessed by the Irish dialect in
these respects, and did not scruple to borrow an idiom which has given
grace and dignity to many of their verses.

[53] Such at least is the common practice in writing, in compliance with
the common mode of colloquial pronunciation. It might perhaps be better to
retain the full form of the Preposition, in grave pronunciation, and always
in writing. It is an object worthy of attention to preserve radical
articulations, especially in writing; and particularly to avoid every
unnecessary use of the monosyllable _a_, which, it must be confessed,
recurs in too many senses.

[54] The Preposition iar has here been improperly confounded with air _on_.
I have ventured to restore it, from the Irish Grammarians. Iar is in common
use in the Irish dialect, signifying _after_. Thus, iar sin _after that_,
iar leaghadh an tshoisgeil _after reading the Gospel_, iar sleachdadh do
niomlan _after all have kneeled down_, iar seasamh suas _after standing
up_, &c. See "Irish Book of Common Prayer." Air, when applied to time,
signifies not _after_, but _at_ or _on_, air an am so, air an uair so _at
this time_, air an la sin _on that day_. There is therefore sufficient
reason to believe that, in the case in question, iar is the proper word;
and that it has been corruptly supplanted by air.

[55] The Imperative seems to have been anciently formed by adding _tar_ to
the Root. This form is still retained in Ireland, and in some parts of
Scotland, chiefly in verbs ending in a Lingual; as, buailtear, deantar.
(See the Lord's Prayer in the older editions of the Gaelic Version of the
Assembly's Catechism; also, the "Irish N. Test." Matt. vi. 10. Luke xi. 2.)
In other verbs, the _t_ seems to have been dropped in pronunciation. It
was, however, retained by the Irish in writing, but with an aspiration to
indicate its being quiescent; thus, togthar, teilgthear, "Ir. N. T." Matt.
xxi. 21, Mark xi. 23, crochthar, Matt. xxvii. 22. So also the "Gaelic N.
T." 1767, deanthar. Matt. vi. 10, Luke xi. 2. In the later publications the
_t_ has been omitted altogether, with what propriety may be well doubted.

[56] To preserve a due correspondence with the pronunciation, the Pass.
Part. should always terminate in _te_, for in this part of the verb, the
_t_ has always its _small_ sound. Yet in verbs whereof the characteristic
vowel is broad, it is usual to write the termination of the Pass. Part.
_ta_; as, togta _raised_, crochta _suspended_. This is done in direct
opposition to the pronunciation, merely out of regard to the Irish Rule of
_Leathan ri leathan_, which in this case, as in many others, has been
permitted to mar the genuine orthography.

When a verb, whose characteristic vowel is broad, terminates in a Liquid,
the final consonant coalesces so closely with the _t_ of the Pass. Part.
that the _small_ sound of the latter necessarily occasions the like sound
in pronouncing the former. Accordingly the small sound of the Liquid is
properly represented in writing, by an _i_ inserted before it. Thus, òl
_drink_, Pass. Part. òilte; pronn _pound_, proinnte; crann _bar_, crainnte;
sparr _ram_, spairrte; trus _pack_, truiste. But when the verb ends in a
mute, whether plain or aspirated, there is no such coalescence between its
final consonant and the adjected _t_ of the Participle. The final consonant
if it be pronounced retains its broad sound. There is no good reason for
maintaining a correspondence of vowels in the Participle, which ought
therefore to be written, as it is pronounced, without regard to _Leathan ri
leathan_; as, tog _raise_, Pass. Part. togte; croch _hang_, crochte; sàth
_thrust_, sàthte; cnamh _chew_, cnamhte.

The same observations apply, with equal force, to the Pret. Subj. in which
the _t_ of the termination is always pronounced with its _small_ sound, and
should therefore be followed by a small vowel in writing; as, thogteadh,
chrochteadh, not thogtadh, chrochtadh.

[57] In all _regular_ verbs, the difference between the Affirmative and the
Negative Moods, though marked but slightly and partially in the Preterite
Tense, (only in the initial form of the 2d Conjugation,) yet is strongly
marked in the Future Tense. The Fut. Aff. terminates in a feeble vocal
sound. In the Fut. Neg. the voice rests on an articulation, or is cut short
by a forcible aspiration. Supposing these Tenses to be used by a speaker in
reply to a command or a request; by their very structure, the former
expresses the softness of compliance; and the latter, the abruptness of a
refusal. If a command or a request be expressed by such verbs as these, tog
sin, gabh sin, ith sin, the compliant answer is expressed by togaidh,
gabhaidh, ithidh; the refusal, by the cha tog, cha ghabh, cha n-ith. May
not this peculiar variety of form in the same Tense, when denoting
affirmation, and when denoting negation, be reckoned among the
characteristic marks of an original language?

[58] This part of the verb, being declined and governed like a noun, bears
a closer resemblance to the Latin Gerund than to the Infinitive; and might
have been properly named the Gerund. But as Lhuyd and all the later Irish
Grammarians have already given it the name of Infinitive, I choose to
continue the same appellation rather than change it.

[59] The Editor of the Gaelic Psalms printed at Glasgow, 1753, judging, as
it would seem, that cuidich was too bold a licence for cuideachaidh,
restored the gen. of the full form of the Infinitive; but in order to
reduce it to two syllables, so as to suit the verse, he threw out the
middle syllable, and wrote cuid'idh.

[60] I have met with persons of superior knowledge of the Gaelic who
contended that such expressions as--ta mi deanamh _I am doing_, ta e
bualadh _he is striking_ (see page 83), are complete without any
Preposition understood; and that in such situations deanamh, bualadh, are
not infinitives or nouns, but real participles of the Present Tense. With
much deference to such authorities, I shall here give the reasons which
appear to me to support the contrary opinion.

1. The form of the supposed Participle is invariably the same with that of
the Infinitive.

2. If the words deanamh, bualadh, in the phrases adduced, were real
Participles, then in all similar instances, it would be not only
unnecessary, but ungrammatical, to introduce the preposition ag at all. But
this is far from being the case. In all verbs beginning with a vowel, the
preposition ag or its unequivocal representative _g_ is indispensable; as,
ta iad ag iarruidh, ta mi 'g iarruidh. Shall we say, then, that verbs
beginning with a consonant have a present participle, while those that
begin with a vowel have none? But even this distinction falls to the
ground, when it is considered that in many phrases which involve a verb
beginning with a consonant, the preposition ag stands forth to view, and
can on no account be suppressed; as, ta iad 'g a bhualadh _they are
striking him_, ta e 'g ar bualadh _he is striking us_. From these
particulars it may be inferred that the preposition ag must always precede
the infinitive, in order to complete the phrase which corresponds to the
English or Latin pres. participle; and that in those cases where the
preposition has been dropped, the omission has been owing to the rapidity
or carelessness of colloquial pronunciation.

3. A still stronger argument, in support of the same conclusion, may be
derived from the regimen of the phrase in question. The infinitive of a
transitive verb, preceded by any preposition, always governs the noun,
which is the object of the verbal action, in the genitive. This is an
invariable rule of Gaelic Syntax; thus, ta sinn a' dol a dh' iarruidh na
spréidhe, _we are going to seek the cattle_; ta iad ag iomain na spréidhe,
_they are driving the cattle_; ta iad iar cuairteachadh na spréidhe, _they
have gathered the cattle_. This regimen can be accounted for on no other
principle, in Gaelic, than that the governing word is a noun, as the
infinitive is confessed to be. Now, it happens that the supposed participle
has the very same regimen, and governs the genitive as uniformly as the
same word would have done, when the presence of a preposition demonstrated
it to be a noun; so, ta mi bualadh an doruis, _I am knocking the door_; ta
thu deanamh an uilc, _you are doing mischief_. The inference is, that even
in these situations, the words--bualadh, deanamh, though accompanied with
no preposition, are still genuine nouns, and are nothing else than the
infinitives of their respective verbs, with the preposition ag understood
before each of them.

4. The practice in other dialects of the Celtic, and the authority of
respectable grammarians, affords collateral support to the opinion here
defended. Gen. Vallancey, the most copious writer on Irish grammar, though
he gives the name of participle to a certain part of the Gaelic verb,
because it corresponds, in signification, to a part of the Latin verb which
has obtained that name, yet constantly exhibits this participle, not as a
single word, but a composite expression; made up of a preposition and that
part of the verb which is here called the infinitive. The phrase is fully
and justly exhibited, but it is wrong named; unless it be allowed to extend
the name of Participle to such phrases as _inter ambulandum_, [Greek: en
tôi peripatein].--Lhuyd, in his Cornish Grammar, informs us, with his usual
accuracy, that the Infinitive Mood, as in the other dialects of the
British, sometimes serves as a Substantive, as in the Latin; and by the
help of the participle _a_ [the Gaelic ag] before it, it supplies the room
of the participle of the present tense, &c. "Archæol. Brit." page 245, col.
3. This observation is strictly applicable to the Gaelic verb. The
infinitive, with the particle _ag_ before it, _supplies the room of the
present Participle_. The same judicious writer repeats this observation in
his "Introduction to the Irish or Ancient Scottish Language": The
Participle of the Present Tense is _supplied_ by the Participle _ag_ before
the Infinitive Mood; as, _ag radh_ saying, _ag cainnt_ talking, _ag
teagasg_ teaching, _ag dul_ going, &c. "Arch. Brit." page 303, col. 2.

[61] It may appear a strange defect in the Gaelic, that its Verbs,
excepting the substantive verbs Bi, Is, have no _simple_ Present Tense. Yet
this is manifestly the case in the Scottish, Welsh, and Cornish dialects
(see "Arch. Brit." page 246, col. 1, and page 247, col. 1.); to which may
be added the Manks. Creidim _I believe_, guidheam _I pray_, with perhaps
one or two more Present Tenses, now used in Scotland, seem to have been
imported from Ireland, for their paucity evinces that they belong not to
our dialect. The want of the simple Present Tense is a striking point of
resemblance between the Gaelic and the Hebrew verb.

I am indebted to a learned and ingenious correspondent for the following
important remark; that the want of the simple Present Tense in all the
British dialects of the Celtic, in common with the Hebrew, while the Irish
has assumed that Tense, furnishes a strong presumption that the Irish is a
dialect of later growth; that the British Gaelic is its parent tongue; and
consequently that Britain is the mother country of Ireland.

[62] From observing the same thing happen repeatedly or habitually it is
naturally inferred that it will happen again. When an event is predicted it
is supposed that the speaker, if no other cause of his foreknowledge
appears, infers the future happening of the event from its having already
happened in many instances. Thus the Future Tense, which simply foretells,
conveys to the hearer an intimation that the thing foretold has already
taken place frequently and habitually. In Hebrew, the Future Tense is used
with precisely the same effect. In the law of Jehovah he _will_ meditate;
_i.e._, he _does_ meditate habitually. Psal. i, 2. See also Psal. xlii. 1,
Job ix. 11, xxiii. 8, 9, &c., _passim_.

[63] Though this be the precise import of the Compound Tenses of the second
order, yet they are not strictly confined to the point of time stated
above; but are often used to denote past time indefinitely. In this way,
they supply the place of the Compound Tenses of the first order in those
verbs which have no passive participle.

[64] See Moor. So tha 'n tigh 'g a thogail, _the house is in building_.

[65] Téid the Fut. Negat. of Rach to _go_, has been generally written
d'théid; from an opinion, it would seem, that the full form of that Tense
is do théid. Yet as the participle _do_ is never found prefixed to the
Future Negative of any regular verb, it appears more agreeable to the
analogy of conjugation to write this tense in its simplest form téid. See
"Gael. New Test." 1767, and 1796, Mat. xiii. 28. xiv. 15. A different mode
of writing this tense has been adopted in the edition of the "Gael. Bible,"
Edin. 1807, where we uniformly find dthéid, dthoir, dthig.

[66] Throughout the verb tabhair, the syllables _abhair_ are often
contracted into _oir_; as, toir, torinnn, &c. Acts xviii. 10. Sometimes
written d'thoir, d'thoirinn; rather improperly. See note 65.

[67] Tig rather than d'thig. See note 65.

[68] A Pres. Aff. of this Verb, borrowed from the Irish, is often used in
the G. SS. Deiream _I say_, deir e _he saith_, deir iad _they say_.

[69] Dubhairt, dubhradh, are contracted for do thubhairt, &c. Abairinn,
abaiream, abairear, are often contracted into abrainn, abram, abrar.

[70] It may appear an odd peculiarity in the Gaelic, that in many of the
most common phrases, a proposition or question should thus be expressed
without the least trace of a Verb. It can hardly be said that the
Substantive Verb is _understood_, for then there would be no impropriety in
expressing it. But the fact is, that it would be completely contrary to the
idiom and usage of the language, to introduce a Substantive Verb in these
phrases. It will diminish our surprise at this peculiarity to observe that
in the ancient languages numerous examples occur of sentences, or clauses
of sentences, in which the Substantive Verb is omitted, without occasioning
any obscurity or ambiguity; and this in Prose as well as in Verse. Thus in
Hebrew; Gen. xlii. 11, 13, 14. We [are] all one man's sons--we [are] true
men--thy servants [are] twelve brethren--the youngest [is] with his
father--ye [are] spies--&c.

  [Greek: Ouk agathon polukoiraniê.]--_Iliad_, B. 204.
        [Greek: kaka kerdea is' atêsi.]--_Hes._ [Greek: E. kai Ê. a].
        [Greek: egô de tisou tachupeithês.]--_Theoc. Idyl._ 7.
      Et mî genus ab Jove summo.--_Virg. Æn._ VI. 123.
      Varium et mutabile semper Femina.--_Æn._ IV. 569.

Omnia semper suspecta atque sollicita; nullus locus amicitiæ. _Cic. de
Amic._ 15.

  mira feritas, foeda paupertas; non arma, non equi, non penates;
victui herba, vestitui pelles, cubile humus; sola in sagittis spes,
&c.--_Tacit. de. mor. Germ. Cap. ult._ In these and the like examples, the
Substantive Verb might have been expressed, if with less elegance, yet
without grammatical impropriety. What has been frequently done in other
languages, seems, in Gaelic, to have been adopted, in certain phrases, as
an invariable mode of speech.

The omission of the Substantive Verb is not unknown in English; as,

 "In winter awful thou."--_Thomson._
 "A ministering angel thou."--_Scott._
 "A cruel sister she."--_Mallet._

[71] The effect of this Tense in narration seems to be very nearly, if not
precisely, the same with that of the Present of the Infinitive in Latin; as
in these passages:

                 "----misere discedere quaerens,
  _Ire_ modo ocius; interdum _consistere_; in aurem
  _Dicere_ nescio quid puero."--_Hor. Sat. 1. 8. v. 9._

 "At Danaum proceres, Agamemnoniæque phalanges
  Ingenti _trepidare_ metu; pars _vertere_ terga,
  Ceu quondam petiêre rates; pars _tollere_ vocem."--_Æneid. VI. 492._

     "----nihil illi _tendere_ contra;
  Sed _celerare_ fugam in sylvas, et _fidere_ nocti.'--_Æneid. IX. 378._

"Tarquinius _fateri_ amorem, _orare_, _miscere_ precibus minas, _versare_
in omnes partes muliebrem animum."--_Liv. I. 58._

"Neque post id locorum Jugurthæ dies aut nox ulla quieta fuere: neque loco,
neque mortali cuiquam, aut tempori satis _credere_; cives, hostes, juxta
_metuere_; _circumspectare_ omnia, et omni strepitu _pavescere_; alio atque
alio loco, saepe contra decus regium, noctu _requiescere_; interdum somno
excitus, arreptis armis, tumultum _facere_; ita formidine quasi vecordia
_exagitari_."--_Sall. Bell. Jugur. 72._

[72] "An ceannard a mharbhadh" may be considered as the nominative to the
verb chaidh; and so in similar phrases; much in the same way as we find in
Latin, an Infinitive with an accusative before it, become the nominative to
a verb; as "_hominem_ hominis incommodo suum _augere_ commodum _est_ contra
naturam." _Cic. de. Offic._ III. 5. "Turpe _est eos_ qui bene nati sunt
turpiter _vivere_."

[73] So in Hebrew, the article prefixed to the nouns _day_, _night_,
imports the present day or night. See Exod. xiv. 13.

[74] Perhaps the proper Prep. in these phrases is _de_, not _do_--see the
Prepositions in the next Chap.--as we find the same Prep. similarly applied
in other languages; de nuit _by night_, John iii. 2; de nocte, Hor. Epis.
1. 2, 32; de tertia vigilia, Cæs. B. G.

[75] These expressions are affirmed, not without reason, to refer to the
supposed destruction of the world by fire, or by water; events which were
considered as immeasurably remote. (See Smith's "Gal. Antiq." pp. 59. 60).
Another explanation has been given of dilinn, as being compounded of dith,
_want, failure_, and linn _an age_; qu. _absumptio sæculi_.

[76] Perhaps am fàn, from fàn or fànadh _a descent_. (See Lhuyd's "Arch.
Brit." tit. x. _in loco_.)

[77] _i.e._ anns an teach, anns an tigh, _in the house_. So in Hebrew,
[Hebrew: MBYT] _within_, Gen. vi. 14.

[78] Deas, applied to the hand, signifies the _right hand_. So in Hebrew,
[Hebrew: YMYN] signifies the _right hand_ and the _South_.

[79] Iar, as a Preposition, signifies _after_ or _behind_. In like manner
in Hebrew, [Hebrew: ATR] signifies _after_, or the _West_.

[80] Probably co luath _equally quick, with equal pace_.

[81] The probable analysis of seadh is, is é, _it is_, pronounced in one
syllable, 's e. When this syllable was used as a responsive, and not
followed by any other word; the voice, resting on the final sound, formed a
faint articulation. This was represented in writing by the gentle aspirate
_dh_; and so the word came to be written as we find it. In like manner ni
h-eadh is probably nothing else than a substitute for ni he, _it is not_.

[82] This mode of incorporating the Prepositions with the personal pronouns
will remind the Orientalist of the Pronominal Affixes, common in Hebrew and
other Eastern languages. The close resemblance between the Gaelic and many
of the Asiatic tongues, in this particular, is of itself an almost
conclusive proof that the Gaelic bears a much closer affinity to the parent
stock than any other living European language.

[83] "In corroboration of this (Mr. S.'s) hypothesis, I have frequently met
_de_ in old MSS. I have therefore adopted it in its proper place."--E.
O'C.'s "Grammar of the Irish Gaelic." Dublin, 1808.

[84] In many places, this Prep. is pronounced hun.

[85] Tar éis, on the track or footstep. See O'Brien's "Ir. Dict." _voc._

[86] On consulting O'Brien's "Ir. Dict." we find son translated _profit,
advantage_, cum _a fight, combat_, réir _will, desire_. From these
significations the common meaning of air son, do chum, do réir, may perhaps
be derived without much violence.

[87] See Gaelic Poems published by Doctor Smith, pp. 8, 9, 178, 291.

[88] There is in Gaelic a Noun cion or cionn, signifying _cause_; which
occurs in the expressions a chionn gu _because that_, cion-fàth _a reason_
or _ground_. But this word is entirely different from ceann _end_ or _top_.

[89] Some confusion has been introduced into the Grammar of the Latin
language, by imposing different grammatical names on words, according to
the connection in which they stood, while they retained their form and
their signification unchanged; as in calling _quod_ at one time a Relative
Pronoun, at another time a Conjunction; _post_ in one situation a
Preposition, in another, an Adverb. An expedient was thought requisite for
distinguishing, in such instances, the one part of speech from the other.
Accordingly an accent, or some such mark, was, in writing or printing,
placed over the last vowel of the word, when employed in what was reckoned
its secondary use; while, in its primary use, it was written without any
distinguishing mark. So the conjunction _quòd_ was distinguished from the
relative _quod_; and the adverb _post_ from the preposition _pòst_. The
distinction was erroneous; but the expedient employed to mark it was, at
least, harmless. The word was left unaltered and undisguised; and thus
succeeding grammarians had it the more in their power to prove that the
relative _quod_ and the conjunction _quòd_ are, and have ever been, in
reality, one and the same part of speech. It would have been justly thought
a bold and unwarrantable step, had the older grammarians gone so far as to
alter the letters of the word, in order to mark a distinction of their own

[90] From this use of the preposition _air_ arises the _equivoque_ so
humorously turned against Mr James Macpherson by Maccodrum the poet, as
related in the Report of the Committee of the Highland Society of Scotland
on the authenticity of Osian's Poems, Append. p. 95. Macpherson asked
Maccodrum, "Am bheil dad agad air an Fhéinn?" literally, "Have you anything
on the Fingalians?" intending to inquire whether the latter had any poems
in his possession _on_ the subject of the Fingalian history and exploits.
The expression partakes much more of the English than of the Gaelic idiom.
Indeed, it can hardly be understood in Gaelic, in the sense that the
querist intended. Maccodrum, catching up the expression in its true Gaelic
acceptation, answered, with affected surprise, "Bheil dad agam air an
Fhéinn? Ma bha dad riamh agam orra, is fad o chaill mi na còirichean."
"Have I any claim on the Fingalians? If ever I had, it is long since I lost
my voucher."

[91] This use of the preposition _ann_ in conjunction with a possessive
Pronoun, is nearly akin to that of the Hebrew [Hebrew: l], [for] in such
expressions as these: 'He hath made me [for] a father to Pharaoh, and [for]
lord of all his house;' _rinn e mi 'n am athair do Pharaoh, agus 'n am
thighearn os ceann a thighe uile_, Gen. xlv. 8. 'Thou hast taken the wife
of Uriah to be [for] thy wife;' _ghabh thu bean Uriah gu bi 'n a mnaoi
dhuit fein._ 2 Sam. xii. 10.

[92] This syllable assumes various forms. Before a broad vowel or consonant
_an_, as, anshocair; before a small vowel or consonant _ain_, as, aineolach
_ignorant_, aindeoin _unwillingness_; before a labial _am_ or _aim_, as,
aimbeartach _poor_; sometimes with the _m_ aspirated, as, aimhleas
_detriment_, _ruin_, aimh-leathan _narrow_.

[93] The conjunction ged loses the _d_ when written before an adjective or
a personal pronoun; as, ge binn do ghuth, _though your voice be sweet_; ge
h-àrd Jehovah, Psal. cxxxviii. 6.

The translators of the Scriptures appear to have erred in supposing ge to
be the entire Conjunction, and that _d_ is the verbal particle do. This has
led them to write ge d' or ge do in situations in which do alters the sense
from what was intended, or is totally inadmissible. Ge do ghluais mi, Deut.
xxix. 19, is given as the translation of _though I walk_, i.e. _though I
shall walk_, but in reality it signifies _though I did walk_, for do
ghluais is past tense. It ought to be ged ghluais mi. So also ge do ghleidh
thu mi, Judg. xiii. 16, _though you detain me_, ought rather to be ged
ghleidh thu mi. Ge do ghlaodhas iad rium, Jer. xi. 11, _though they cry to
me_, is not agreeable to the Gaelic idiom. It ought rather to be ged
ghlaodh iad rium, as in Hosea, xi. 7. Ge do dh' fheudainnse muinghin bhi
agam, Phil. iii. 4, _though I might have confidence_. Here the verbal
particle is doubled unnecessarily, and surely not according to classical
precision. Let it be written ged dh' fheudainnse, and the phrase is
correct. Ge do 's eigin domh am bas fhulang, Mark xiv. 31, _though I must
suffer death_: ge do tha aireamh chloinn Israel, &c., Rom. ix. 27, _though
the number of the children of Israel be_, &c. The present tenses is and tha
never take the do before them. Ged is eigin, ged tha, is liable to no
objection. At other times, when the do appeared indisputably out of place,
the _d_ has been dismissed altogether, contrary to usual mode of
pronunciation; as, ge nach eil, Acts xvii. 27, 2 Cor. xii. 11, where the
common pronunciation requires ged nach eil. So, ge d' nach duin' an
t-aodach, &c. ge d' nach biodh ann ach an righ &c. (McIntosh's "Gael Prov."
pp. 35, 36), where the _d_ is retained even before nach, because such is
the constant way of pronouncing the phrase.

These faulty expressions which, without intending to derogate from the high
regard due to such respectable authorities, I have thus freely ventured to
point out, seemed to have proceeded from mistaking the constituent letters
of the conjunction in question. It would appear that _d_ was originally a
radical letter of the word; that through time it came, like many other
consonants, to be aspirated; and by degrees became, in some situations,
quiescent. In Irish it is written giodh. This manner of writing the word is
adopted by the translator of Baxter's "Call." One of its compounds is
always written gidheadh. In these, the _d_ is preserved, though in its
aspirated state. In Scotland it is still pronounced, in most situations,
ged, without aspirating the _d_ at all. These circumstances put together
seem to prove the final _d_ is a radical constituent letter of this

I have the satisfaction to say that the very accurate Author of the Gaelic
Translation of the Scriptures has, with great candour, acknowledged the
justice of the criticism contained in the foregoing note. It is judged
expedient to retain it in this edition of the Grammar, lest the authority
of that excellent Translation might perpetuate a form of speech which is
confessed to be faulty.

[94] To avoid, as far as may be, the too frequent use of _a_ by itself,
perhaps it would be better always to write the article full, an or am; and
to apply the above rules, about the elision of its letters, only to
regulate the pronunciation. Irish books, and our earlier Scottish
publications, have the article written almost always full, in situations
where, according to the latest mode of Orthography, it is mutilated.

[95] The practice of suppressing the sound of an initial consonant in
certain situations, and supplying its place by another of a softer sound,
is carried to a much greater extent in the Irish dialect. It is termed
_eclipsis_ by the Irish grammarians, and is an evidence of a nice attention
to _euphonia_.

[96] The Dat. case is always preceded by a Preposition, ris a' bhard, do 'n
bhard, aig na bardaibh; in declining a Noun with the article, any _Proper
Preposition_ may be supplied before the Dative case.

[97] So in English, _Grandfather_, _Highlands_, _sometimes_; in Latin,
_Respublica_, _Decemviri_; in Italian, _Primavera_; in French, _Bonheur_,
_Malheur_, &c. from being an adjective and a noun, came to be considered as
a single complex term, or a compound word, and to be written accordingly.

A close analogy may be traced between the Gaelic and the French in the
collocation of the Adjective. In both languages, the Adjective is
ordinarily placed after its Noun. If it be placed before its Noun, it is by
a kind of poetical inversion; dorchadas tiugh, _des tenebres epaisses_; by
inversion, tiugh dhorchadas, _d' epaisses tenebres_; fear mòr, _un homme
grand_; by inversion, in a metaphorical sense, mòr fhear, _un grand homme_.
A Numeral Adjective, in both languages, is placed before its Noun; as also
iomadh, _plusieurs_; except when joined to a proper name, where the
Cardinal is used for the Ordinal; Seumas a Ceithir, _Jaques Quatre_.

[98] The same seems to be the case in the Cornish Language. See Lhuyd's
"Arch. Brit." p. 243, col. 3.

When an Adjective precedes its Noun, it undergoes no change of termination;
as, thig an Tighearn a nuas le ard iolaich, _the Lord will descend with a
great shout_, 1 Thes. iv. 16; mar ghuth mor shluaigh, _as the voice of a
great multitude_, Rev. xix. 6.

[99] Thus, bhur inntinn _your mind_, Acts xv. 24.

[100] This, however, does not happen invariably. Where the _Sex_, though
specified, is overlooked as of small importance, the Personal or Possessive
Pronouns follow the _Gender_ of the Antecedent. See 2 Sam. xii. 3.

[101] I am aware of the singularity of asserting the grammatical propriety
of such expressions as ciod e Uchdmhacachd? ciod e Urnuigh? as, the nouns
uchdmhacachd, urnuigh are known to be of the feminine Gender; and as this
assertion stands opposed to the respectable authority of the Editor of the
Assembly's Catechism in Gaelic, Edin. 1792, where we read, Ciod i urnuigh?
&c. The following defence of it is offered to the attentive reader.

In every question the words which convey the interrogation must refer to
some higher genus or species than the words which express the subject of
the query. It is in the choice of the speaker to make that reference to any
genus or species he pleases. If I ask 'Who was Alexander?' the
Interrogative _who_ refers to the species _man_, of which _Alexander_, the
subject of the query, is understood to have been an individual. The
question is equivalent to 'What man was Alexander?' If I ask 'What is Man?'
the Interrogative _what_ refers to the genus of Existence or Being, of
which Man is considered as a subordinate genus or species. The question is
the same with 'What Being is Man?' I may also ask 'What was Alexander?'
Here the Interrogative _what_ refers to some genus or species of which
Alexander is conceived to have been an individual, though the particular
genus intended by the querist is left to be gathered from the tenor of the
preceding discourse. It would be improper, however, to say 'Who is man?' as
the Interrogative refers to no higher genus than that expressed by the word
_Man_. It is the same as if one should ask 'What man is Man?'

In the question 'What is Prayer?' the object of the querist is to learn the
meaning of the term _Prayer_. The Interrogative _what_ refers to the genus
of Existence, as in the question 'What is Man?' not to the word _Prayer_,
which is the subject of the query. It is equivalent to 'What is [that thing
which is named] Prayer?' In those languages where a variety of gender is
prevalent, this reference of the Interrogative is more conspicuously
marked. A Latin writer would say '_Quid_ est Oratio*?' A Frenchman, 'Qu'
est-ce que la Prière?' These questions, in a complete form, would run thus;
'Quid est [id quod dicitur] Oratio?' 'Qu' est-ce que [l'on appelle] la
Prière?' On the same principle, and in the same sense, a Gaelic writer must
say, 'Ciod e urnuigh?' the Interrogative Ciod e referring not to urnuigh
but to some higher genus. The expression, when completed, is 'Ciod e [sin
de 'n goirear] urnuigh?'

Is there then no case in which the Interrogative may follow the gender of
the subject? If the subject of the query be expressed, as it often is, by
_a general term, limited in its signification_ by a noun, adjective,
relative clause, &c; the reference of the Interrogative is often, though
not always not necessarily, made to _that term_ in its general acceptation,
and consequently be 'What is the Lord's Prayer?' Here the subject of the
query is not _Prayer_, but an individual of that species, denoted by the
term _prayer_ limited in its signification by another noun. The
Interrogative _what_ may refer, as in the former examples, to the genus of
Existence; or it may refer to the species _Prayer_, of which the subject of
the query is an individual. That is, I may be understood to ask either
'What is that _thing_ which is called the Lord's Prayer?' or 'What is that
_prayer_ which is called the Lord's Prayer?' A Latin writer would say, in
the former sense, 'Quid est Oratio Dominica+?' in the latter sense,
'Quaenam est Oratio Dominica?' The former of these expressions is
resolvable into 'Quid est [id quod dicitur] Oratio Dominica?' the latter
into 'Quaenam [oratio] est Oratio Dominica?' The same diversity of
expression would be used in French: 'Qu' est-ce que l'Oraison Dominicale?'
and 'Quelle est l'Oraison Dominicale?' The former resolvable into 'Qu'
est-ce que [l'on appelle] l'Oraison Dominicale? the latter into 'Quelle
[oraison] est l'Oraison Dominicale? So also in Gaelic, 'Ciod e Urnuigh an
Tighearna?' equivalent to 'Ciod e [sin de'n goirear] Urnuigh an Tighearna?'
or, which will occur oftener, 'Ciod i Urnuigh an Tighearna?' equivalent to
'Ciod i [an urnuigh sin de 'n goirear] Urnuigh an Tighearna?'

* See a short Latin Catechism at the end of Mr Ruddiman's Latin Rudiments,
where many similar expressions occur; as 'Quid est fides? 'Quid est Lex?
Quid est Baptismus? Quid Sacramenta?' &c.

+ So Ruddiman, 'Quid est Sacra Coena?'

[102] The same arrangement obtains pretty uniformly in Hebrew, and seems
the natural and ordinary collocation of the Verb and its Noun in that
language. When the Noun in Hebrew is placed before the Verb, it will
generally be found that the Noun does not immediately connect with the Verb
as the Nominative to it, but rather stands in an absolute state; and that
it is brought forward in that state by itself to excite attention, and
denotes some kind of emphasis, or opposition to another Noun. Take the
following examples for illustration: Gen. i. 1, 2. 'In the beginning God
created [[Hebrew: BR' 'LHYM] in the natural order] the Heaven and the
Earth.' [Hebrew: WH'RTS HYTH]; not and the Earth was, &c., but 'and with
respect to the Earth, it was without form,' &c. Thus expressed in Gaelic:
'agus an talamh bha e gun dealbh,' &c. Gen. xviii. 33. 'And the Lord went
his way [[Hebrew: WYLK YHWH] in the natural order] as soon as he had left
communing with Abraham;' [Hebrew: W'BRHM SHB], not simply 'and Abraham
returned,' &c., but 'and Abraham--he too returned to his place.' In Gaelic,
'agus Abraham, phill esan g' aite fein.' See also Num. xxiv. 25.--Gen. iii.
12. 'And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, [Hebrew:
HW' NTNH LY] _she_ it was that gave me of the tree, and I did eat.' Gen.
iii. 13. 'And the woman said, [Hebrew: HNCHSH HSHY'NY], not merely 'the
Serpent beguiled me,' but '_the Serpent_ was the cause; it beguiled me, and
I did eat.' Exod. xiv. 14. '_Jehovah_--he will fight for you; but as for
_you_, ye shall hold your peace.' This kind of emphasis is correctly
expressed in the Eng. translation of Psal. lx. 12, 'for he _it is that_
shall tread down our enemies.' Without multiplying examples, I shall only
observe that it must be difficult for the English reader to conceive that
the Noun denoting the subject of a proposition, when placed after its Verb,
should be in the natural order; and when placed before its Verb, should be
in an inverted order of the words. To a person well aquainted with the
Gaelic, this idiom is familiar; and therefore it is the easier for him to
apprehend the effect of such an arrangement in any other language. For want
of attending to this peculiarity in the structure of the Hebrew, much of
that force and emphasis, which in other languages would be expressed by
various particles, but in Hebrew depend on the collocation alone, must pass
unobserved and unfelt.

[103] I am happy to be put right, in my stricture on the above passage, by
E. O'C., author of a Gaelic Grammar, Dublin, 1808, who informs us that
_truaighe_ is here the Nominative, and _Iosa_ the Accusative case; and that
the meaning is not _Jesus took pity on them_, but _pity seized Jesus for

[104] This construction resembles that of the Latin Infinitive preceded by
the Accusative of the Agent.

        ----Mene desistere victam,
  Nec posse Italia Teucrorum avertere regem?--I. Ænid 28.

[105] So in English, the Infinitive of a Transitive Verb is sometimes used
instead of the Present Participle, and followed by the Preposition _of_;
as, 'the woman was there gathering of sticks.' 1 Kings xvii. 10.

  -------- some sad drops
  Wept at completing of the mortal sin.--"Parad. Lost."

See more examples, Num. xiii, 25, 2 Sam. ii. 21, 2 Chron. xx. 25, xxxv. 14,
Ezek. xxxix. 12.

[106] On the same principle it is that in some compound words, composed of
two Nouns whereof the former governs the latter in the Genitive, the former
Noun is seldom itself put in the Genitive case. Thus, ainm bean-na-bainse,
_the bride's name_; it would sound extremely harsh to say ainm
mna-na-bainse; clach ceann-an-teine, not clach cinn-an-teine, the stone
which supports a hearth fire.

[107] These examples suggest, and seem to authorise a special use of this
idiom of Gaelic Syntax, which, if uniformly observed, might contribute much
to the perspicuity and precision of many common expressions. When a
compound term occurs, made up of a Noun and an Infinitive governed by that
Noun, it often happens that this term itself governs another Noun in the
Genitive. Let the two parts of the compound term be viewed separately. If
it appear that the subsequent Noun is governed by the _former_ part of the
compound word, then the latter part should remain regularly in the Genitive
Case. But if the subsequent Noun be governed by the _latter_ part of the
compound word, then, agreeably to the construction exemplified in the above
passages, that latter part, which is here supposed to be an Infinitive,
should fall back into the Nominative Case. Thus tigh-coimh_i_d an Righ,
_the King's store house_, where the Noun Righ is governed by tigh, the
former term of the compound word; but tigh comh_ea_d an ionmhais, John
viii. 20, _the house for keeping the treasure_, where ionmhais is governed
by coimhead, which is therefore put in the Nominative instead of the
Genitive. So luchd-coimh_i_d, Matt. xxviii. 4, when no other Noun is
governed; but fear-coimh_ea_d a' phriosuin, Acts, xvi. 27, 36, where the
last Noun is governed in the Genitive by coimh_ea_d, which is therefore put
in the Nominative. So also fear-coimh_i_d, Psal. cxxi. 3, but
fear-coimh_ea_d Israeil, Psal. cxxi. 4. Edin. 1799. Tigh-bearr_ai_dh nam
buachaillean, _the shearing-house belonging to the shepherds_, 2 King, x.
12, but tigh-bearr_a_dh nan caorach, _the house for shearing the sheep_.
Luchd-brath_ai_dh an Righ _the King's spies_; but luchd-brath_a_dh an Righ,
_the betrayers of the King_. Luchd-mort_ai_dh Heroid, _assassins employed
by Herod_; but luchd-mort_a_dh Eoin, _the murderers of John_.

I am aware that this distinction has been little regarded by the
translators of the Scriptures. It appeared, however, worthy of being
suggested, on account of its evident utility in point of precision, and
because it is supported by the genius and practice of the Gaelic language.

[108] For this reason, there seems to be an impropriety in writing chum a
losgaidh, 1 Cor. xiii. 3, instead of chum a losgadh.

[109] The same peculiarity in the use of the Article takes place in Hebrew,
and constitutes a striking point of analogy in the structure of the two
languages. See _Buxt. Thes. Gram. Heb. Lib. II. Cap. V._

[110] This solecism is found in the Irish as well as in the Scottish Gaelic
translation. The Manks translation has avoided it. In the Irish version and
in the Scottish Gaelic version of 1767, a similar instance occurs in Acts,
ii. 20, _an_ la mor agus oirdheirc sin _an_ Tighearna. In the Scottish
edition of 1796, the requisite correction is made by omitting the first
Article. It is omitted likewise in the Manks N. T. On the other hand, the
Article, which had been rightly left out in the Edition of 1767, is
improperly introduced in the Edition of 1796, in 1 Cor. xi. 27, an cupan so
an Tighearna. It is proper to mention that, in the passage last quoted, the
first article _an_ had crept, by mistake, into a part of the impression
1796, but was corrected in the remaining part.

[111] The inserted _m_ or _n_ is generally written with an apostrophe
before it, thus gu'm, gu'n. This would indicate that some vowel is here
suppressed in writing. But if no vowel ever stood in the place of this
apostrophe, which seems to be the fact, the apostrophe itself has been
needlessly and improperly introduced.

[112] I much doubt the propriety of joining the Conjunction ged to the Fut.
Affirm.; as, ge do gheibh na h-uile dhaoine oilbheum, _though all men shall
be offended_, Matt. xxvi. 33. It should rather have been, ged fhaigh na
h-uile dhaoine, &c. The Fut. Subj. seems to be equally improper; as, ge do
ghlaodhas iad rium, _though they shall cry to me_, Jer. xi. 21, Edit. 1786.
Rather, ged ghlaodh iad rium, as in Hosea, xi. 7. So also, ged eirich
dragh, 's ged bhagair bàs, _though trouble shall arise, and though death
shall threaten_. Gael. Paraph. xlvii. 7. Edin. 1787. See page 134. Note 93.

[113] The terminations _air_, _oir_, seem from their signification as well
as form, to be nothing else than fear _man_, in its aspirated form fhear.
From these terminations are derived the Latin terminations _or_, orator,
doctor, &c., _arius_ sicarius, essedarius, &c.; the French _eur_, vengeur,
createur, &c.; _aire_, commissaire, notaire, &c., _ter_, chevalier,
charretier, &c.; the English _er_, maker, lover, &c., _ary_, prebendary,
antiquary, &c., _eer_, volunteer, &c.

[114] Timcheal na macraidhe _beside the young men_, Lhuyd, O'Brien. voc.
timcheal. This passage proves macraidh to be a singular Noun of the fem.
gender, not, as might be thought, the Plural of mac. So laochruidh,
madraidh, &c., may rather be considered as collective Nouns of the singular
Number than as plurals.

[115] The same termination having the same import, is found in the French
words cavalerie, infanterie, and in the English cavalry, infantry,

[116] In the Gaelic N. Test, the _Gentile_ Nouns [Greek: Korinthios,
Galatai, Ephesioi], are rendered Corintianaich, Galatianaich, Ephesianaich.
Would it not be agreeable to the analogy of Gaelic derivation to write
Corintich, Galataich, Ephesich, subjoining the Gaelic termination alone to
the Primitive, rather than by introducing the syllable _an_, to form a
Derivative of a mixed and redundant structure, partly vernacular, partly
foreign? The word Samaritanaich, John iv. 40, is remarkably redundant,
having no fewer than three _Gentile_ Terminations. From [Greek: Samareia]
is formed, agreeably to the Greek mode of derivation, [Greek: Samareitai].
To this the Latins added their own termination, and wrote _Samaritani_;
which the Irish lengthened out still further into Samaritanaich. The proper
Gaelic derivation would be Samaraich, like Elamaich, Medich, Persich, &c.
The Irish Galiléanach is, in the Scottish Translation 1796, properly
changed into Galiléach, Acts v. 37.

[117] The termination _ail_ is a contraction for amhuil _like_. In Irish
this termination is generally written full, fearamhuil, geanamhuil, &c.
From the Gaelic termination _ail_, is derived the Latin termination _alis_,
fatalis, hospitalis, &c., whence the English _al_, final, conditional, &c.
See page 33. Note 25.

[118] Two or three exceptions from this rule occur; as the Plurals _dée
gods_, mnai _women_, lai _days_. But these are so irregular in their form
as well as spelling, that they ought rather to be rejected altogether, and
their place supplied by the common Plurals diathan, mnathan, lathan or

[119] As if we should write in English impious, impotent, without a hyphen;
but im-penitent, im-probable, with a hyphen.

[120] O beautiful ringlet.

[121] The above is the passage so often referred to in the controversy
concerning the antiquity of Ossian's Poems. It was natural enough for the
zealous Bishop to speak disparagingly of anything which appeared to him to
divert the minds of the people from those important religious truths to
which he piously wished to direct their most serious attention. But
whatever may be thought of his judgment, his testimony is decisive as to
the existence of traditional histories concerning Fingal and his people;
and proves that the rehearsal of those compositions was a common and
favourite entertainment with the people throughout the Highlands at the
time when he lived.

[122] _i.e._, the Hebrides.

       *       *       *       *       *

Corrections made to printed original.

page 17, "slat a rod": 'flat ...' in original.

page 31, "dligheach lawful,": 'dlighecah' in original.

page 34, "beo and ail": 'and and' over line break in original.

page 48, "iasg m. _fish_, g. s. eisg;": 'g. s. eifg' in original.

page 50, "n. p. and g. p. 'leabraichean'--When the nominative plural is
twofold, the genitive is so too; as 'fear' n. a man," these two line
missing in the 1892 edition are re-instated from that of 1812.

ibid, "rather than phairiseachaibh": 'phairseachaibh' in original (1812
edition: phairlseachaibh).

page 53, "mathair f. a mother, g. s. mathar": 'g. s. mathair' in original.

page 60, "300 Tri cheud fear.": '309' in original.

page 61, "120 Am ficheadamh fear thar cheud.": '200' in original.

page 69, "3 Do bhuail e": 'bhuall' in original.

page 89, "The Future marks future time": 'makes future time' in original
(1812 edition: marks).

page 90, "bha mi ag bualadh an dé": 'buailadh' in original.

page 116, "Tar, Thar, over, across.": 'accross' in original.

page 134, "Bheil fhios, 'l fhios": ''l fhois' in original (1812 edition:

page 145, "D. A', 'n Chlarsaich fhonnmhoir": 'fhonnoir' in original, there
is no explanation why the 'mh' should be dropped.

page 146, "Perhaps a distinction ought to be made": 'ought to made' in

page 162, "commonly put in the Comparative form": 'Comparitive' in

page 176, "Aobhach": 'Aobhachh' in original.

page 176, "Extract from Bishop Carsuel's Gaelic translation", etc: this
appears in fact to be the Gaelic version of the following English section
concerning the Poems of Ossian.

Footnote 89: "placed over the last vowel": 'the the' on footnote break
across two pages in original.

Footnote 93: "an adjective or a personal pronoun": 'of' for 'or' in
original (1812 edition: or)

Footnote 102: "Gen. i. 1, 2. 'In the beginning ...'": 'Gen. i. 1, 5' in

Footnote 107: "made up of a Noun and an Infinitive": 'Infinite' in original
(1812 edition: Infinitive)

Footnote 110: "improperly introduced in the Edition of 1796": 'properly' in
original (1812 edition: improperly)

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