An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language/Outlines of Gaelic Etymology

An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language  (1911)  by Alexander MacBain
Outlines of Gaelic Etymology

Outlines of Gaelic etymology.


Gaelic belongs to the Celtic group of languages, and the Celtic is itself a branch of the Indo-European or Aryan family of speech; for it has been found that the languages of Europe (with the exception of Turkish, Hungarian, Basque, and Ugro-Finnish), and those of Asia from the Caucasus to Ceylon,1 resemble each other in grammar and vocabulary to such an extent that they must all be considered as descended from one parent or original tongue. This parent tongue is variously called the Aryan, Indo-European, Indo-Germanic, and even the Indo-Celtic language. It was spoken, it is believed, some three thousand years B.C. in ancient Sarmatia or South Russia; and from this as centre2 the speakers of the Aryan tongue, which even then showed dialectal differences, radiated east, west, north and south to the various countries now occupied by the descendant languages. The civilization of the primitive Aryans appears to have been an earlier and more nomadic form of that presented to us by the Celtic tribe of the Helvetii in Caesar's time. Here a number of village communities, weary of the work of, agriculture, or led by the desire of better soil, cut their crops, pulled down their lightly built houses and huts, packed child and chattel on the waggons with their teams of oxen, and sought their fortune in a distant land. In this way the Celts and the Italians parted from the old Aryan home to move up the Danube, the former settling on the Rhine and the latter on the Gulf of Venice. The other races went their several ways—the Indians and Iranians eastward across the steppes, the Teutons went to the north-west, and the Hellenes to the south.

The Aryan or Indo-European languages fall into six leading groups (leaving Albanian and Armenian out of account), thus:—

I. Indo-Iranian or Arian, divisible into two branches:

(a) Indian branch, including Sanskrit, now dead, but dating in its literature to at least 1000 b.c., and the descendant modern (dialects or) languages, such as Hindustani, Bengali, and Mahratti.

(b) Iranian branch, which comprises Zend or Old Bactrian (circ. 1000 B.C.), Old Persian and Modern Persian.
II. Greek or Hellenic, inclusive of ancient and modern Greek (from Homer in 800 b.c. onwards). Ancient Greek was divided traditionally into three dialects—Ionic (with Attic or literary Greek), Doric, and Æolic.
III. Italic, divided in early times into two main groups—the Latin and the Umbro-Oscan. From Latin are descended Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Rhoeto-romanie and Roumanian, called generally the Romance languages.

IV. Celtic, of which anon.

V. Teutonic, which includes three groups—(a) East Teutonic or Gothic (fourth cent, A.D.); (b) North Teutonic or Scandinavian, inclusive of Old Norse and the modern languages called Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish; and (c) West Teutonic, which divides again into High German (whence modern German), the Old High German being a language contemporary with Old Irish, and Low German, which includes Old Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, English, Dutch, and Frisian.
VI. Balto-Slavonic or Letto-Slavonic, which includes Lithuanian, dating from the seventeenth century, yet showing remarkable traces of antiquity, Lettic, Old Prussian of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, now extinct, Old Bulgarian or Church Slavonic, into which the Bible was translated in the ninth century, and the Slavonic modern languages of Russia, etc.

These six groups cannot, save probably in the case of Latin3 and Celtic, be drawn closer together in a genealogical way. Radiating as they did from a common centre, the adjacent groups are more like one another than those further off. The European languages, inclusive of Armenian, present the three primitive vowels a, e, o intact, while the Indo-Iranian group coalesces them all into the sound a. Again the Asiatic languages join with the Balto-Slavonic in changing Aryan palatal k into a sibilant sound. Similarly two or three other groups may be found with common peculiarities (e.g., Greek, Latin, and Celtic with oi or i in the nom. pl. masc. of the o- declension). Latin and Celtic, further, show intimate relations in having in common an î in the gen. sing, of the o- declension (originally a locative), -tion- verbal nouns, a future in b, and the passive in -r.

The Celtic group now comprises five living languages; in. the 18th century there were six, when Cornish still lived. These six Celtic languages are grouped again into two branches, which may be named the Brittonic and the Gadelic. The former includes the Welsh, Cornish, and Breton; the Gadelic comprises Irish, Manx, and (Scottish) Gaelic. The main difference between these two branches of the Celtic group consists in this: the velar guttural of the Aryan parent tongue, which we represent here by the symbol q, when labialised, that is when the sound w or u attaches itself to it, becomes in Brittonic a simple p and in Gadelic a c (k, Ogam qu). Thus the Welsh for "five" is pump, Cornish pymp, and Breton pemp, Gaulish pempe, whereas the Gaelic is cóig, Manx queig, and Irish cúig: the corresponding Latin form is quinque. Professor Rhys has hence called the two branches of the Celtic the P group and the Q group (from Ogmic qu = Gaelic c). The distinction into P and Q groups existed before the Christian era, for the Gauls of Caesar's time belonged mainly, if not altogether, to the P group: such distinctive forms as Gaulish petor, four (Welsh pedwar, Gaelic ceithir), epo-s, horse (Welsh ebol, Gaelic each), and pempe, five, already noted, with some others, prove this amply. At the beginning of the Christian era the Celtic languages were distributed much as follows: Gaulish, spoken in France and Spain, but fast dying before the provincial Latin (and disappearing finally in the fifth century of our era); Gallo-British or Brittonic, spoken in Britain by the conquering Gaulish tribes; Pictish, belonging to the Gallo-Brittonic or P group, and spoken in Scotland and, possibly, in northern England; and Gadelic, spoken in Ireland and perhaps on the West Coast of Scotland and in the Isles. The etymology of the national names will be seen in Appendix A. Our results may be summed in a tabular form thus:—

Gâdelic Manx
Q Group Gaelic
Dialects in Spain and Gaul(?)4
Gallo-Brittonic Brittonic Cornish
P Group Welsh

There are no literary remains of the Gaulish language existent; but a vast mass of personal and place names have been handed down, and also a few words of the ordinary speech have been recorded by the Classical writers.6 The language of Brittany came from Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries, and it may have found remains in Brittany of the kindred Gaulish tongue. The Brittonic languages—Welsh, Cornish, and Breton—appear first in glosses as early as the eighth century. These glosses are marginal or super-linear translations into Celtic of words or phrases in the Latin texts contained in the MSS. so "glossed." The period of the glosses is known as the "Old" stage of the languages—Old Breton, Old Cornish, Old Welsh. Real literary works do not occur till the "Middle" period of these tongues, commencing with the twelfth century and ending with the sixteenth. Thereafter we have Modern or New Breton7 and Welsh as the case may be. In this work, New Breton and New Welsh are denoted simply by Breton and Welsh without any qualifying word.

The Gaelic languages—Irish, Manx, and Scottish Gaelic—have a much closer connection with one another than the Brittonic languages. Till the Reformation and, indeed, for a century or more thereafter, the Irish and Scottish Gaelic had a common literary language, though the spoken tongues had diverged considerably, a divergence which can be traced even in the oldest of our Gaelic documents—the Book of Deer. In the eighteenth century Scottish Gaelic broke completely with the Irish and began a literary career of its own with a literary dialect that could be understood easily all over the Highlands and Isles. Manx is closely allied to Scottish Gaelic as it is to the Irish; it is, so far, a remnant of the Gaelic of the Kingdom of the Isles.

The oldest monuments of Gadelic literature are the Ogam inscriptions, which were cut on the stones marking the graves of men of the Gaelic race. They are found in South Ireland, Wales and Eastern Pictland as far as the Shetland Isles, and belong mostly to the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries. The alphabet, which is formed on a proto-telegraphic system by so many strokes for each letter above, through, or below a stem line, is as follows8:—

b, l, f, s, n; h, d, t, c, q;
m, g, ng, z, r; a, o, u, e, i.
Examples of Ogam inscriptions are:—

Sagramni maqi Cunotami
"(The stone) of Sagramnos son of Cunotamus."
Maqi Deceddas avi Toranias
"Of the son of Deces O'Toranis."
Cunanettas m[aqi] mucoi Nettasegamonas
"Of Cunanes son of the son of Nettasegamon."
Tria maqa Mailagni
"Of the three sons of Maolan."

These examples show that the state of declensional inflection was as high as that of contemporary Latin. The genitives in i belong to the o declension; the i, as in Old Irish, is not taken yet into the preceding syllable (maqi has not become maic). The genitives os and as belong to the consonantal declension, and the hesitation between a and o is interesting, for the later language presents the same phenomenon — the o in unaccented syllables being dulled to a. The Ogam language seems to have been a preserved literary language; its inflections were antique compared to the spoken language, and Old Irish, so near it in time as almost to be contemporary, is vastly changed and decayed compared to it.

Irish is divided into the following four leading periods:—

I. Old Irish: from about 800 to 1000 a.d. This is the period of the glosses and marginal comments on MSS. Besides some scraps of poetry and prose entered on MS. margins, there is the Book of Armagh (tenth century), which contains continuous Old Irish narrative.9
II. Early Irish, or Early Middle Irish: from 1000 to 1200 a.d. — practically the period of Irish independence after the supersession of the Danes at Clontarf and before the English conquest. The two great MSS. of Lebor na h-uidre, the Book of the Dun Cow, and the Book of Leinster mark this period. Many documents, such as Cormac's Glossary, claimed for the earlier period, are, on account of their appearance in later MSS., considered in this work to belong to this period.
III. Middle Irish: from 1200 to 1550 (and in the case of the Four Masters and O'Clery even to the seventeenth century in many instances). The chief MSS. here are the Yellow Book of Lecan, the Book of Ballimote, the Leabar Breac or Speckled Book, and the Book of Lismore.
IV. Modern, or New Irish, here called Irish: from 1550 to the present time.

As already said, the literary language of Ireland and Scotland remained the same till about 1700, with, however, here and there an outburst of independence. The oldest document of Scottish Gaelic is the Book of Deer, a MS. which contains half a dozen entries in Gaelic of grants of land made to the monastery of Deer. The entries belong to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the most important being the first—the Legend of Deer, extending to 19 lines of continuous prose. These entries form what we call Old Gaelic, but the language is Early Irish of an advanced or phonetically decayed kind. The next document is the Book of the Dean of Lismore, written about 1512 in phonetic Gaelic, so that we may take it as representing the Scottish vernacular of the time in inflexion and pronunciation. It differs considerably from the contemporary late Middle Irish; it is more phonetically decayed. We call it here Middle Gaelic, a term which also includes the MSS. of the M'Vurich seanchaidhean. The Femaig MSS.,10 written about 1688, is also phonetic in its spelling, and forms a valuable link in the chain of Scottish Gaelic phonetics from the Book of Deer till now. The term Gaelic means Modern Gaelic.

Scottish Gaelic is written on the orthographic lines of Modern Irish, which in its turn represents the orthography of Old Irish. The greatest departure from ancient methods consists in the insistence now upon the rule of "Broad to broad and small to small." That is to say, a consonant must be flanked by vowels of the same quality, the "broad" being a, o, u, and the "small" e and i. Gaelic itself has fallen much away from the inflexional fulness of Old Irish. Practically there are only two cases—nom. and gen.: the dative is confined to the singular of feminine nouns (a-declension) and to the plural of a few words as laid down in the grammars but not practised in speech. The rich verbal inflexion of the old language is extremely poorly represented by the impersonal and unchanging forms of the two tenses—only two—that remain in the indicative mood. Aspiration, which affects all consonants now, (though unmarked for l, n, r), has come to play the part of inflection largely; this is especially the case with the article, noun, and adjective. Eclipsis by n is practically unknown; but phonetic decay is evidenced everywhere in the loss of inflection and the uniformising of declension and conjugation.

There are two main Dialects of Gaelic, and these again have many sub-dialects. The two leading Dialects are known as the Northern and Southern Dialects. The boundary between them is described as passing up the Firth of Lorn to Loch Leven, and then across from Ballachulish to the Grampians, and thence along that range. The Southern Dialect is more Irish than the Northern, and it has also adhered to the inflections better (e.g., the dual case still exists in feminine a nouns).11 The crucial distinction consists in the different way in which the Dialects deal with e derived from compensatory lengthening;12 in the South it is eu, in the North ia (e.g., feur against fiar, breug against briag, &c.) The sound of ao differs materially in the two Dialects, the Southern having the sound opener than the Northern Dialect.13 The Southern Dialect is practically the literary language.

Modern Gaelic has far more borrowed words than Irish at any stage of its existence. The languages borrowed from have been mainly English (Scottish) and Norse. Nearly all the loan-words taken directly from Latin belong to the Middle or Old period of Gaelic and Irish; and they belong to the domain of the Church and the learned and other secular work in which the monks and the rest of the clergy engaged. Many Latin words, too, have been borrowed from the English, which, in its turn, borrowed them often from French, (such as prìs, cunntas, cùirt, spòrs, &c.). Latin words borrowed directly into English and passed into Gaelic are few, such as post, plasd, peur, &c. From native English and from Lowland Scots a great vocabulary has been borrowed. In regard to Scots, many words of French origin have come into Gaelic through it. At times it is difficult to decide whether the Teutonic word was borrowed from Scottish (English) or from Norse. The contributions from the Norse mostly belong to the sea; in fact, most of the Gaelic shipping terms are Norse.


Under the heading of Phonetics we deal with the sounds of the language—the vowels, semi-vowels, and consonants, separately and in their inter-action upon one another.

§ 1. Alphabet.

The Gaelic alphabet consists of eighteen letters, viz., a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, I, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, and u. Irish, Old and New, have the same letters as the Gaelic. As this number of letters in no way adequately represents the sounds, signs and combinations are necessary.

Firstly, the long vowels are denoted by a grave accent: à, ì, ù, è, ò, the latter two having also the forms é, ó, to denote sounds analogous to those in English vein, hoar. Whereas à, ì, ù, which have only one sound, represent corresponding Indo-European sounds (ā, ī, ū), none of the long sounds of e or o represent simple corresponding I.E. sound.

The Gaelic vowels are divided into two classes—broad and small. The broad vowels are a, o, u: the small, e, i. The Gaelic diphthongs14 represent (1) simple sounds, (2) real diphthong sounds, or (3) modification of the consonants and carrying out of the law of “broad to broad and small to small.” They are as follows:—

ai, ao, [au][1] ài
ea, ei, eo, eu, éi, èi
ia, io, iu, ìo
oi, [ou][1] òi
ua, ui ùi

Here ea, ei, eu represent O. Ir. e, é, and are practically simple sounds, as certainly is ao. The forms ia, ua are genuine diphthongs, as are usually the long vowel combinations. The rest may be diphthongs, or may be a trick of spelling, as in the word fios (O. Ir. fis), where the o shows that the s has its normal sound, and not that of E. sh, as fis would imply.

Triphthongs occur in the course of inflection, and in the case of ao otherwise. These are—aoi, eoi, iai, iui, uai, eòi, iùi.

The consonants are classified in accordance with the position of the organs of speech concerned in their utterance:—

I. Liquids.—The liquids are l and r, with the nasals n and m. In writing, m only is “aspirated,” becoming to the eye mh, to the ear a v with nasal influence on the contiguous vowels. The other liquids, l, n, and r, are really aspirated in positions requiring aspiration, though no h is attached to show it.15 There is, however, only a slight change of sound made in these letters by the aspiration—a more16 voiced sound being given them in the aspirating position.

II. Mutes and Explosives.—These all suffer aspiration when intervocalic. They are classified as follows:—

Tenues. Mediæ. Aspirates.
Labials p b ph, bh
Dentals t d th, dh
Gutturals c g ch, gh

The dentals d and t become spirants17 when in contact with, or flanked by, the “small” vowels e and i. The other mutes are not affected by such contact.18 The aspirate sounds are—ph = f, bh = v, th = h, dh and gh before e, i = y, ch = German and Scotch ch. III. The Spirants.—These, outside the above spirant-made mutes, are f and s. The sound [resembling E.] sh is represented by s flanked with "small" vowels. The aspirate forms of these are—fh ( = the Greek open breathing or nothing practically), G. sh ( = h).

Celtic Alphabet.

The Celtic alphabet, as deduced from the Neo-Celtic dialects, checked by Gaulish, possessed the following sounds:—

I. Vowels:—
Short — i, u, e, o, a
Long — ī ( = ī, ē), ū, ē (=ei), ō (= au), ā (=ō, ā)
Diphthongs—ei, oi, ai, eu, ou, au
II. Liquidsr, l, m, n
III. Spirants—(h), s, j, v
IV. Explosives:— Tenues. Mediæ.
Labials b
Dentals t d
Gutturals k, kv, (p) g, gv (b)

It has to be noted that Indo-European p initial and intervocalic is lost in Celtic.19 Before another consonant, it manifests its former presence by certain results which still remain. Thus I. E. septṇ is G. seachd, supno-s becomes suan.

Indo-European Alphabet.

By a comparison of the six Indo-European or Aryan language groups, the sounds possessed by the parent tongue may be inferred. The following is the form of the I. E. alphabet which is used in the present work:—

I. Vowels: Short— i, u, e, o, a, ɘ
Long— ī, ū, ē, ō, ā
Diphthongs— ei, oi, ai, eu, ou, au
ēi, ōi, āi, ēu, ōu, āu
II. Semi-vowels:
, , represented in this work always by j, v. See the spirants.
III. Consonant-vowels: , , , , , , ṃ̄, ṇ̄
IV. Liquids and Nasals: r, l, m, n
V. Spirants: j, v, s, z
VI. Explosives20:— Tenues. Mediæ. Aspirates.
   Labial p b ph, bh
Dental t d th, dh
Palatal k g kh, gh
Velar q qh, ꬶh

§ 2. Vowel Modification.

In Gaelic the vowel or vowel combination of a syllable may undergo “mutation” (German umlaut) in the course of inflection or word-building. This mutation is caused by the influence exerted backward by the vowel of the next syllable now or previously existent. There are three classes of mutation in Gaelic caused either by a following (1) e or i, (2) a or o, or (3) u.

Mutation by “e” or “i.

a becomes (1) ai: cat, gen. cait, damh, g. daimh.
(2) oi (with double liquids usually) : dall, pl. doill, clann, g. cloinne.
(3) ui (with liquids): ball, pl. buill, allt, g. uillt. Also where Irish shows o: balg, O. Ir. bolc, pl. builg; so clag, falt, gal, fuil, car.
(4): i: mac, g. mic. Dialectally ai becomes ei, especially with liquids, and in ordinary G. eile represents O. Ir. aile; so seileach, too.
o becomes (1) oi: sgoltadh, sgoilte.
(2) ui: bonn, g. buinn, post, g. puist.
u becomes ui: dubh, comp. duibhe.
e becomes ei: beir for *bere, catch thou.
à, ò, ù become ài, òi, ùi: làimhe, òige, dùin.
eo, iu, ua become triphthongs; [the digraph ao + i forms a diphthong.]
ea becomes (1) ei: each, g. eich.
(2) i: ceann, g. cinn; the usual mutation.
eu, with liquids, becomes eòi: beul, g. beòil. It sometimes becomes ao: eudann, aodann.
ia is restored to éi: fiadh, g. féidh; irregularly—fiar, crooked, comp. fiaire, biadh, g. bìdh, [Dial. béidh, beidh, bi-idh.]
io becomes i: fionn, g. finn.

Mutation by "o" or "a."

o becomes a, a mutation of principal syllables rare in Irish: cas, Ir. cos, original *coxa; cadal for codal.
u becomes o: sruth, g. srotha; nuadh, nodha.
e becomes ea: cearc from *cerca.
i becomes ea: fear from *viro‑s.
éi becomes ia: the stem féidh becomes fiadh in the nom. (*veido‑s).
ì becomes ìo: fìor from *vîro‑s.

Mutation by “u.”

A succeeding u affects only i or e; it is a mutation which does not now operate. Thus fiodh comes from *vidu- (O. Ir. fid); bior from *beru (O. Ir. bir); sliochd from slektu‑; cionn from the dat. *cennū, from *cennō.

§ 3. Indo-European and Gaelic Vowels.

The representation in Gaelic of the I. E. vowels is very com­plicated owing to the prin­ciples of mutation discussed above.

I. E. i.

(1) Gaelic i, O. Ir. i, W. y.

bith, world, O. Ir. bith, W. byd, Br. bed: *bitu‑s, root ꬶi. So ith, fidir, nigh, fir (gen. and pl. of fear), as also nid from nead, etc.).

(2) G. ea, O. Ir. e.

beatha, life, O. Ir. bethu: *bitûs, stem *bitât‑, root ꬶi. So eadh, it, fear, geamhradh, meanbh, nead, seas, seasg, sleamh­uinn, sneachd.

(3) G. io, O. Ir. i.

G. fiodh, wood, O. Ir. fid, W. gwydd, Br. gwez: *vidu‑. So fios, iodh‑. The io of fionn, O. Ir. find is due to the liquid and medial mute, which together always preserve the i and even develop it from an original or en (ṇb, ṇd, ṇg).

(4) G., O. Ir. iu.

This is a mutation by u: fliuch, wet, from *vliqu‑; tiugh, *tigu‑s.

I. E. u.

(1) G., O. Ir. u, W. w (o).

G., O. Ir. sruth, stream, W. frwd: *srutu‑s. So bun, dubh, guth, muc, musach, slug, smug, tulach.
Here add G. ui: cluinn, luibh, uisge.

(2) G., O. Ir. o.

bonn, bottom, O. Ir. bond, W. bon, *bundo‑s. So bothan, con, dogs’, do‑, so‑, domhan, dorus, tom, os, trod.

I. E. e.

(1) G., O. Ir. e, W. e.

Simple e is rare in G.: leth, side, O. Ir. leth, W. lled, *letos. So teth, hot.

(2) G. ea, O. Ir. e.

G. each, horse, O. Ir. ech, W. ebol, Lat. equus. So numerous words—eadh, space, bean, beart, cearc, ceart, dearc, dearg, deas, fearg, geal, geas, meadhon, meanmna, meas, neart, reachd, seach, seachd, sean, searg, teach, teas, treabh.

(3) G. ei, O. Ir. e.

G. beir, take, O. Ir. berim, W. adfer, Lat. fero. So beil (meil), ceil, ceirtle, ceithir, creid, deich, deis, [Dial.] ready, meirbh, seinn, teich, teine.

(4) G., O. Ir. i.

G., O. Ir. fine, tribe, root ven, O. H. G. wini, Ag. S. wine, friend. So cineal, gin, ite, mil, misg, sinnsear, tigh, tighearna.

(5) G. io, O. Ir. i.

G. bior, spit, O. Ir. bir, W. ber, Lat. veru. So iol‑, sliochd, smior, biolaire, ciomach, tioram.
(6) G. ui in ruith, ruinn = rinn (bis), ruighinn and righinn: (Cf. roinn, [Dial.] did, for rinn; ruigh­eachd). So trusdair, stuthaig.
(7) Compensatory long vowels in G. and O. Ir. These arise from loss of one consonant before another, one of which must be a liquid.
a. ent becomes G. eud, O. Ir. ét. G. ceud, first, O. Ir. cét, W. cynt. So seud, journey. Similarly *enk; G. eug, death, O. Ir. éc; *brenkâ, G. breug, lie, O. Ir. bréc,; *enkt, G. euchd, E. Ir. écht (Cf. creuchd, *crempt‑?); *centsô; G. ceus, crucify. Parallel to these forms in ent, enk are those in ṇt, ṇk, such as ceud, one hundred, O. Ir. cét, W. cant, Lat. centum (so deud, eug, geug).
b. ebl: in G. neul, cloud, O. Ir. nél, W, niwl.
egr: in G. feur, grass, O. Ir. fér, W. gwair.
egn: in G. feun, O. Ir. fén: *vegno-s.
etl: in G. sgeul, O. Ir. scél, W. chwedl.
etn: in G. eun, O. Ir. én, W. edn.
c. G. eadar and thig show short vowels for original *enter and enk. This is due to sentence accent in the case of eadar and to the word accent in the case of thig or to both.
For ceum, leum, etc., see under .

I. E. o.

(1) G., Ir. o.

G. co‑, comh‑, with, O. Ir. co‑, com‑, W. cy‑, cyf‑, *kom‑; so ro- (= Lat. pro), fo (= Gr. ὑπό), nochd, naked, night, ochd, mol, bodhar, gon, gort, roth.

(2) G., O. Ir. u, ui.

G., O. Ir. muir, sea, W. môr, Br. mor, from *mori. So druim (*dros-men), guidhe, guil, guin, sguir, suidhe, uidhe, uileann, uircean, gu, to, cu‑, fu‑, fur- (for = *vor).

(3) G. a, O. Ir. o.

G. cas, foot, O. Ir. cos, W. coes, *coxā. So amh, balg, call, falt, gart, gar, calltuinn. So, too, compounds. With con as in cagainn, cadal, cagar, caisg, as against coguis (O. Ir. concubus), with its u sound terminal.

(4) Compensatory long vowels.

G. dual, lock of hair, *doglo‑, Got. tagl, Eng. tail. So òl (*potlo‑), buain, (*bog-ni- or *bongni‑), cluain, cuan, bruan, sròn, còmh‑.

I. E. a.

(1) G. a, ai, O. Ir. a, W. a.

G., O. Ir. can, sing, W. cana, Lat. cano. So many words, such as abhainn, ad‑, agh, air, altrum, anail, anam, cac, damh, gad, mac, maide, marc, nathair, salann, &c.

(2) G. à before rd, rn, m.

See àrd, bàrd, bàrr, càrn, sgàird, càm, àm, màm.

(3) G. i.

In two cases only: mac, g. mic; sile [Dial. for seile], saliva, O. Ir. saile.

(4) G. u, ui.

This happens in contact with liquids. The prep. air becomes ur‑, uir‑, urchar, uireas­bhuidh. So muigh from *magesi. Common in oblique cases: allt, g. uillt, ball, buill, &c.

(5) G. ea, ei for e.

G. seileach, willow, E. Ir. sail, W. helyg, Lat. salix. So ealtuinn, eile, eir- for air-, eilean, [Dial.] training, deigh, ice.

(6) G. oi.

This change of I. E. a into Gaelic oi is due mostly to a liquid followed by a “small” vowel.
G. oil, rear, E. Ir. ailim, Lat. alo. So oir for air‑, coileach, goir, troigh, coire, loinn, &c., and goid, oide.

(7) Compensatory lengthenings in G.

a. As à, ài:
G. dàil, meeting, O. Ir. dál, W. dadl, where ‑atlo- is the original combi­nation, ‑agr- appears in nàire, sàr, àr.

b. As eu, ao, ia:
It has been seen that ceud, hundred, corresponds to W. cant, Lat. centum. The Celtic, in these cases, is regarded as having been ṇt, ṇk, (*kṇto‑n). See under .
An undoubted case of a landing by compensation into eu (= é) is deur, tear, O. Ir. dér, O. W. dacr, I. E. dakru. Prof. Strachan has extended this analogy to words like meur, breun, léine, sgeun, mèanan. The case of deur seems rather to be an anomaly.21

I. E. ɘ.

This is the I. E. “indefinite” vowel, appearing in Celtic as a, in the Asiatic groups as i, and generally as a in Europe (Greek showing also ε). Henry denotes it by ä, a more conve­nient form than Brugmann’s ɘ. Some philol­ogists refuse to recognise it.

G. athair, father, O. Ir. athir, I. E. pɘter-, Gr. πατήρ, Skr. pitar.

It is common in unaccented syllables, as G. anail, breath, W. anadl, *anɘ-tla, Gr. ἄνεμος. In the case of syllables with liquids it is difficult to decide whether we have to deal with a, ɘ, or a liquid vowel; as in G. ball, member, *bhal-no‑, root bhɘl, whence Gr. φαλλός, Eng. bole.

I. E. Long Vowels.

I. E. ī and ū are so intimately bound with ei and eu (ou) that it is difficult to say often whether we have to deal with the simple vowel or the diphthong as the original. For ī see , sìn, sgìth, brìgh; for ū, see cùl, dùil, element, dùn, cliù, mùch, mùin, rùn, ùr. The W. in both cases (ī, ū) show simple i.

I. E. ē appears in Celtic as ī, G. ì: as in G. fìor (fìr), true, O. Ir. fír, W. and Br. gwir, Lat. vêrus. So lìon, mìal (mìol), mìos, rìgh, sìth, sìol, sìor, tìr, snìomh.

I. E. ō and ā appear both as ā in the Celtic languages—Gadelic á, W. aw, Br. eu. For ō, see blàth, gnàth, làr, dàn, snàth. For ā, see bàn, bràthair, cnàimh, càr, clàr, dàimh, fàidh, gàir, màthair, sàth, tàmh. But ròin, ròn, nòs, mòin, all from â? ò in finals, etc., may equal u: *svesor = O. Ir. siur, fiur, Med. Ir. siúr.

I. E. Diphthongs.

I. E. ei (èj?) appears in G. in two forms—as éi and ia. Thus—

a. G. éi, O. Ir. éi, W. wy, Br. oe, oa. See féith, géill, méith, réidh, séid, sméid.


b. G. ia, O. Ir. ia. This is due to the influence of a succeed­ing broad vowel. See cia, ciall, cliathach, criathar, fiadh, fianuis, giall, iarunn, liagh, riadh, riar, sgiath, sliabh. Consider these—feuch, lèan, glé, and, possibly, gèadh.

I. E. oi (ōj?). This consistently appears in G. as ao long, O. Ir. ái, ói, later oe, ae, (óe, áe), W., Br. u. See caomh, claon, fraoch, gaoth, gaol, laogh, maoin, maoth, taobh.

I. E. ai can with difficulty be differentiated from oi; certainly not on Celtic ground, nor, indeed, outside Greek and Latin. The following are real cases: G. aois, caoch, saothair, taois.

I. E. eu and ou are also confused together in the modern Celtic languages. They both appear as either G. ua or ò.

a. G. ua, O. Ir. úa, W., Br. u.
G. buaidh, victory, O. Ir. buaid, W. bud, Gallo-British Boudicca, “Victoria.” See also buachaill, cluas, luath, ruadh, ruathar, truagh, tuath, uasal.
b. G. ò; as bòidheach from buaidh, tròcair from truagh, lòchran, còs for cuas.

I. E. au23 appears in G. as ò or ua, much as do eu, ou. Thus—G. , a lie, O. Ir. , gáu, W. gau, Br. gaou. Also òigh, virgin, from augi‑, fuachd, uaigneach.

§ 4. I. E. Semi-Vowels and Consonant Vowels.

The semi-vowels are denoted by Brugmann as and , by Henry as y and w; and these forms are used by them not merely for inter­vocalic semi-vowels but also for the diph­thongs which we have printed as ei, oi, ai, eu, ou, au, which Henry, for instance, prints as ey, ew, etc. In this work Fick is followed in the forms of the diph­thongs, and also, where necessary, in his signs for the semi-vowels, viz., y and v, with j and v as signs for the spirants.

I. E. y, j, v.24

I. E. y and j disappear in Gadelic, but are preserved in the Brittonic as i. Thus ìoc, heal, O. Ir. íccaim, W. jach, I. E. yakos, Gr. ἄκος, Skr. yáças; see deigh and òg. For I. E. j, compare G. eòrna, for eò‑rna, *jevo‑, Gr. ζειά, spelt, Skr. yáva; also eud, jealousy, *jantu‑, Gr. ζῆλος, zeal, Skr. yatná.

I. E. v is thus dealt with:—

(1) Initial v: G., O. Ir. f, W. gw, as in G. falt, hair, Ir. folt, W. gwalt; also fàidh, Lat. vâtes, feachd, fear, Lat. vir, fiadh, fichead, fine, fiodh, with succeed­ing consonant flath (*vlati‑), fliuch, fraoch, fras, freumh, etc.

(2) Intervocalic v. This disappears in G. leaving the vowels to coalesce with varying results, thus:—
a. ‑ivo- produces , as in beò, *givo‑s, Lat. vivus, or ia in biadh (*bïvoto‑n, cf. dia), dian.
b. ‑evo- produces , as in ceò, *skevo‑, Eng. shower; deò, W. dywy, *devo‑, Lat. fûmus, eòrna. Stokes gives cliù as *klevos, Thurney­sen as kloves‑.
c. ‑ovi- gives nuadh, *novios, ‑ovo- in crò (*krovos), ‑ovṇ- in òg.
d. ‑avi- in ogha (*pavios); dàth (*daviô); ‑avo- in clò.
e. ‑eivi- in glè, ‑eivo- in dia.

(3) Post-consonantal v.

a. After liquids it becomes bh. See garbh, marbh, searbh, tarbh, dealbh, sealbh, meanbh, banbh.
b. After explosives it disappears save after d, (ꬶv): feadhbh, widow, O. Ir. fedb, faobh, baobh. For gv, see g below.
c. After s, it sometimes disappears, sometimes not. Thus piuthar is for *svesôr, O. Ir. siur, whereas in searbh (*svervo‑s), solus (but follas), seinn, etc., it dis­appears.

The Consonant Vowels.

These are , , , ; , , ṇ̄, ṃ̄. The regular representation of , in G. is ri, li (mutated forms being rea, rei, lea, lei). See the following regular forms: bris, britheamh, fri, lit; also the modified forms—bleath, bleogh­ainn, breith, cleith, dreach, leamhann, leathan (?), sreath.

The numerous Gaelic a forms of I. E. e roots containing liquids fall to be noticed here. Some of them Brugmann explains as glides before sonants, somewhat thus: G. mair, remain, O. Ir. maraim, would be from mṛra‑, root mer, Lat. mora; so sgar from sker; garbh, marbh.

Add the following:—alt, carbad. (Lat. corbis), bàrr, bard, cairt, garg, mall, dall, sgàird (Lat. muscerda), tart, tar; fras, flath, fraigh, graigh, braich. With modified vowels in—coille (*caldet‑), doire, foil, goile, goirid, sgoilt.

The long vowels and appear regularly as (?) . See làn (*pḹ‑no‑, Skr. pūrnas), slàn, tlàth, blàth. Long seems to appear as ār in dàir, màireach, fàireag (?).25

Vocalic n and m may be looked for in G. samhail, which Brugmann explains as sṃmḷli‑s, in tana, thin; reversed in magh and nasg.

Compensatory plays a great part in G., appearing usually as eu (ao). We have ceud, hundred, W. cant, deud, W. dant, teud, eud, eug, eudann, éiginn, geug. The negative appears before vowels as an, before c, t, and s, as eu, éi: eutrom, éislean, &c. The most curious result arises from ‑ṇgm‑, which ends in G. as eum‑; see ceum, W. cam, leum, W. lam, and add teum, W. tam, from *tṇd-men.

Before the medials b, d, g, both and become in (ion), im (iom), and original in retains its i (cf . fionn). Thus we have im‑, iom- from ṃbi, Lat. ambi, also ìm, ionga, imleag, ciomach.

I. E. “r” and “lLiquids.

Gaelic r and l represent the I. E. liquids r and l. Initially we may select ràmh, reachd, ruadh, rùn, loch, laigh, labhair, leth; after p lost—ro, ràth, làmh, làn, làr. Medially r and l are “aspirated,” but the sounds have no separate signs—dorus, tulach, geal, meil, eile, seileach, etc. Post-conso­nantal r and l appear in sruth, srath, etc., cluinn, fliuch, slug, etc. In ‑br, ‑tr, ‑dr, the combi­nations become ‑bhar, ‑thar, ‑dhar, while in ‑cr, ‑gr, ‑bl, ‑tl, ‑dl, ‑cl, ‑gl the respec­tive explo­sives disappear with lengthen­ing of the preceding vowel. For ‑sl, see below (‑ll).

Ante-consonantal r and l preserve the explosives after them—ard, bard, ceart, neart, dearg, dearc, allt, calltuinn, gilb, balg, cealg, olc, etc.

Gaelic ‑rr arises from ‑rs; see bàrr, èarr, carraig; from the meeting of r with r, as in atharrach; from rth, as in orra from ortha, Lat. orationem. Again ‑ll comes from ‑sl, as in uaill, coll, ciall, etc.; especial­ly from ‑ln‑, as in follas, ball, feall, etc.; from ‑ld‑, as in call, coille, and many others.

Gaelic ‑rr arises from ‑rp; corran, searrach (St.); Ir. carr, spear, cirrim, I cut, forrach, pole. KZ. 35.

I. E. “n” and “mNasals.

I. E. n and m appear normally in G. as n and m, save that I. E. terminal m in neuter nouns, accu­sative cases, and genitives plural, became in Celtic n. (1) Initial n appears in nead, Eng. nest, neart, neul, nochd, naked, night, nathair, nuadh, nasg, na, not, etc. (2) After an initial mute, n appears in cnàimh, cneadh, cnò, gnàth, etc. After s, in snàth, snìomh, snuadh, snigh, sneachd. After b it changes the b into m (mnatha for *bnâs). (3) Inter­vocalic n is preserved—bean, làn, maoin, dàn, rùn, dùn, sean, etc. (4). Pre­conso­nantal n is dealt with variously:

a. Before the liquids, n is assim­ilated to m and l, and dis­appears before r.

b. Before the labials, n becomes m in modern Gaelic. Before t, c, the n dis­appears with lengthen­ing of the previous vowel, as in ceud, first, breug, cóig. Before d and g, it is preserved, as in cumhang, fulaing, muing, seang, but it assim­ilates dfionn (*vindo‑s), bonn, inn‑, binn. For ‑ngm, see under and g.
c. Before s, n disappears as before t and c. Compare mìos, feusag, grìos, sìos.

(5) Post-consonantal n disappears after l, leaving ll (see under l), but is preserved after r, as in càrn, eòrna, tighearna, etc.

a. After s, that is, ‑sn becomes ‑nn; as in dronn for *dros-no‑, donn, uinnsean, cannach, bruinne, etc.
b. The mutes, t, d, c, g, p, disappear with compensatory lengthen­ing of the previous vowel: ‑tn‑, as in eun, buan, ùin; ‑dn‑, as in bruan, smuain; ‑cn- is doubtful—cf. tòn, also sgeun, breun, leòn; ‑gn, as in feun, bròn, uan, sròn; ‑pn, as in suain, cluain, cuan; ‑pn? tepno = tĕn; apnio = ăne (Lit. aps); lipn = lĕn, follow; but supn = suan; copn = cuan (Stokes); cn, gn, and tn initial become r in pro­nouncing; but the vowel is nasal—gnàth is gràth with nasal à; bn becomes mn, as in mnaoi, pro­nounced mraoi; even snàth becomes dialectal­ly sràth, especial­ly in oblique cases.
c. After b, that is, bn changes into mh‑n, as in domhan (*dubno‑), sleamh­uinn.

The G. combination ‑nn arises therefore from (1) n before n, (2) n before d, and (3) from ‑sn; or (4) it is a doubling of n in an un­accented syllable at the end of a word (tighinn, etc.), or, rarely, of a one-syllable word like cinn, cluinn, linn. In Islay, ‑in becomes ‑inn; duinne is for duine; minne gen. of min, etc. In general, gloinne is comp. of glan.

Initial m appears in mìos, muir, mil, maide, etc. Before the liquids r and l, the m becomes b, as in braich, brath, brugh, blàth, bleith, bleogh­ainn. Inter­vocalic m is always aspirated—geimheal, amhuil, like, cruimh, amh, damh, cnàimh, làmh, caomh. In combi­nations with other conso­nants, various results occur:—

(1) Pre-consonantal m.

a. Before liquids, m is preserved in an aspirated form (geamh-radh, etc.), but there are no certain ancient cases. Of course, m before m results in preserved m (cf. amadan, comas, comain).

b. Before s, m should disappear, but no certain Celtic cases seem to occur. In the historic language, m before s results in mp or p as usually pro­nounced, as in rompa for rom + so, that is, *rom-sho; so iompaidh, umpa.
c. Before the explosives. Original mb is now m, as in the prefix im‑, iom‑, in imleag, tom. I. E. m before t and k (q) became n (as in ceud, breug), and dis­appeared with compen­satory lengthen­ing. Compare also dìdean, eiridinn. Pre­historic mg, md fail us; in the present language both appear aspirated (mhgh, mhdh).
(2) Post-consonantal m. After the liquids r, l, and n, the m is preserved. Whether an inter­mediate s is in some cases to be postu­lated is a matter of doubt (as in gairm, from *gar-s-men? W. garm). See cuirm (W. cwrw), gorm, seirm, deilm, calma, ainm, meanmna, anmoch.

After s, m becomes in the older language mm, now m; druim comes from *dros-men. But s is very usual as an inter­mediate letter between a previous consonant and m: many roots appear with an addition­al s, which may original­ly have belonged to an ‑es neuter stem. We actually see such a develop­ment in a word like snaim, which in E. Ir. appears as snaidm (d. snaidm­aimm), from a Celtic *snades-men. In any case, a word like ruaim postu­lates a Pre-Celtic *roud-s-men. See also gruaim, seaman, reim, lom, trom.

After the explosives the m is aspirated and the explosive dis­appears, as in the case of freumh (vṛdmâ); but seemingly the accented prefix ad- preserves the m: cf. amas, amail, aimsir.

Preserved G. m, intervocalic or final, may arise from (1) m or n before m, (2) s before m (also ‑bsm, ‑tsm, ‑dsm, ‑csm, ‑gsm), (3) ‑ngm, or ‑ṇgm, as in ceum, leum, beum, geum, or ‑ndm as in teum, (4) nꬶ becoming mb as in ìm, tum, tom, etc., or (5) mb (‑mbh), as in im‑, iom‑.

§ 5. Vowel Gradation or Ablaut.

The most character­istic roots of the I. E. languages are at least triple-barrelled, so to speak: they show three grades of vowels. The root pet, for instance, in Greek appears as pet, pot, pt (πέτομαι, fly, ποτάομαι, flutter, πτερόν, wing). The first grade—e—may be called the “normal” grade, the second the “deflected” grade, and the last—pt—the “reduced” or “weak” grade. The reason for the reduced grade is evident; the chief accent is on another syllable. Why e inter­changes with o is not clear. The leading I. E. series of vowel grada­tions are six in number, as follows:—

Normal. Deflected. Weak.
1. e-series e o nil
but ei oi i
2. ē-series ē ō ɘ
3. ā-series ā ō ɘ
4. ō-series ō ō ɘ
5. a-series a ā (a)
6. o-series o ō o

Corresponding to the e, o, nil series are the two “strong” vowel grades ē, o, as in sed, sit, sod, sēd, sōd, si‑zd, found in Latin sedeo (sed), G. suidhe (sod), G. sìth [properly sìdh], peace (sēd), Eng. soot (sōd), Lat. sīdo (si‑zd).

The e-series in full is as follows:—

Normal. Deflected. Weak.
e simple e o nil
ei ei oi i
eu eu ou u
er (or el, en, em) er or

To all these correspond "reduced" long forms—to ei belongs to ī, to eu belongs ū, and to the consonant-vowels corres­pond the long , , ṇ̄, ṃ̄. We may also here add the triple ve, vo, u (vet, vot, ut, as in G. feitheamh, ùine, uiridh; vel, vol, ul as in falt, O. Ir., Mod. Ir. folt, olann).

Some Gaelic examples will now be given.

(1) The e-series. G. eadh, uidhe from *pedo‑, *podio-; tigh, tugha, from *tegos, *togio‑; geas, guidhe from ged, god; cleachd, cleas, cluich, etc. In ei we have the complete set meit, moit, mit in mèith, maoth, meata or miosa; further cliathach, claon from klei, kloi; fianuis, fios from veid, vid; gaoth, geamhradh from ghoi, ghi; and others. The diph­thongs eu, ou cannot be differen­tiated, but the short form of the root occurs, as in ruadh, roduidh from roud, rudd; buail, buille from bhoud, bhud; cluas, cluinn from kleu, klu; nuadh, nodha (?) The liquids show the changes also: beir, breith from ber, bṛ, and in the sense of speech we have also bràth, judgment (bṝtu‑). The root pel is especial­ly rich in forms: iol (*pelu‑), uile (*polio‑), lìon (*plēno‑, Lat. plēnus, from plē), làn (either *plōno, plō, Eng. flood, or *pḹ-no‑, from pḹ‑), that is, root forms pel, pol, pḷ, plē, plō, pḹ, meaning “full.” In n we have teann, tana (*tendo- tṇnavo‑, according to Brugmann), and teud; from gen we get the long forms gnē in gnìomh and gnō in gnàth. In nem we have nèamh, heaven, O. Ir. nem, and nàmhaid, foe, from nōm (Gr. νωμάω).

(2) The ē and other series. One of the best examples of the ē series is snē, snō (snā), spin, which gives snìomh (*snēmu‑) and snàth, thread (*snātio‑). From comes sìol (*sêlo‑) and, possibly, sàth, transfix (sôto‑). The ā- series is not differen­tiated in G. nor is the ō- series; but from a short we get, among others, the root ăg, lead, in aghaidh, etc., and āg in àgh, success, àghach, warlike. The diphthong ai has as its “reduced” grade i. The name Aodh in Mackay repre­sents O. Ir. Aed, aed, fire, Gr. αἴθω, I burn.

§ 6. The Spirants.

The I. E. spirants were j, v, s, and z. We have already discussed j and v under the heading of semi- vowels, from which it is difficult to diffe­rentiate the conso­nantal j and v. Here we deal with s and z, and first with s.

(1) Initial s. Before vowels and the liquids, I. E. s remains intact in Gadelic. In Brittonic s before vowels becomes h; before l, n, and m, it dis­appears, while before r it or its resultant effect is preserved (see sruth, srath, sròn).

a. I. E. sv appears in Gadelic as s usually, more rarely as f and p or t; in W. the form is chw. See searbh, seal, , sibh, séid, etc. The G. piuthar appears in Ir. as siur, fiur, from *svesōr, while pill (*svelni‑) gives fill and till; compare also séisd (téis).
b. I. E. sp (sph) is treated in Celtic much as sv. And spr appears as sr; cf. sròn, straigh­lich, slis, sonn, sealg, sine.
I. E. st appears in Gadelic as t, as in tigh, , tighinn, taois. But str, stl, become sr, sl, as in srath, sreothart, sreang, slios, slat, sloinn, slaid. Some hold that st may appear as simple s, which is the case in Welsh, but the instances adduced can be otherwise explained (cf. seirc, sail, searrach (St.), seall).
I. E. sq, sqh, appear in Gaelic as sg, O. Ir. sc, as in sgàth, sgath, sguir, etc. The W. precedes the sg with a y as in ysgwyd, Ir. sgiath, G. sgiath, shield: I. E. sqv is in W. chw, as G. sgeul, W. chwedl, sgeith, W. chwydu.
I. E. skn appears in Gaelic as sn, as in sneadh.

(2) Intervocalic s. This becomes h and disappears; compare tagh (*to-gusô), do‑, chì, etc.

(3) Terminal s disappears altogether; but in closely connected combi­nations of words its former existence is known from the so-called euphonic h, as in the article genitive feminine and nom. plural before vowels (na h‑òighean = *sendâs augeis), also O’ H- of Irish; and it may be the origin in most cases of prothetic s.

(4) Pre-consonantal s. A prehistoric case of ‑sr is not forth­coming, but éirich comes from *ek-s-regô. Before l, m, and n the s dis­appears, and the liquid is doubled (m of Gaelic being for older mm), as already shown under these letters. Medial sv appears as f in the older language (see seinn), and it is still seen in tabhann (*to-sven‑), feabhas.

Before the explosives, s is preserved before the tenues, which in the modern language become mediæ. The combi­nation sp is not certain; but ‑sc becomes ‑sg (see fasgadh, seasg, measg, etc.), st becomes s (older ss) simply, as in seas (= *sisto‑), fois, fàs, dos, etc. Before the medials s becomes z, which see for results in Gaelic; *sg becomes g; sp becomes s.

(5) Post-consonantal s. After the liquid r the s is assimilated to the r, and the result is rr, as in bàrr, èarr, etc. From ‑ls- seemingly s results, at least in the later language; ‑ms, ‑ns become s with compen­satory lengthen­ing for the previous vowel; ‑ds becomes t, as in an t‑each (= *sindos eqos); Thn. adds fitir (= *vid-sar). For m-sh = mp, see under m.

The explosives combine with the s and disappear into O. Ir. ss, now s, as in uasal (= *oups- or *ouks‑), lus, leas (*led-so‑), lios, as, out (= eks), and many others.

Gaelic preserved s intervocalic, therefore, arises from (1) st, as in seas; (2) from ‑ms, ‑ns, as in mìos; and (3) from ‑ps, ‑ts, ‑cs. Gaelic ‑st arises from this s by a sort of modern resto­ration of previous st, only, however, x may also become modern st (as in aiste, now aisde, out of her). Final x dis­appears, as in caora, .

I. E. z.

Even in I. E. this is assured only before the medial explo­sives. Thus G. nead, nest, is from I. E. nizdo‑s: so maide, brod, cead, gad, séid. Again ‑zg seems to have developed in G. into g; compare beag, biog, mèag, griogag, eagal (= ex-gal‑), rag.

§ 7. The Explosives or Mutes.

The I. E. explosives formed a possible sixteen in number between tenues, mediæ and the double set of aspirates (ph, bh, th, dh, kh, gh, qh, ꬶh). The tenues aspirate were “rare and of no import­ance” in the resulting languages, save only in Sanskrit and Greek. The mediæ aspirates are the prede­cessors of aspirates of the modern languages. But in the Celtic languages these media aspirates were merged into the mediæ them­selves, so that b and bh appear in Celtic as b, d and dh as d, g and gh as g, and and ꬶh as g. The Balto-Slavonic, in this matter, shares the peculi­arity of the Celtic.

All the explosives, when intervocalic, are “aspirated” in Gaelic—p to ph, b to bh (= v), t to th (= h), d to dh (= y), c to ch, g to gh, (= y); the cor­respond­ing Welsh changes are the tenues to mediæ, and the mediæ to f, dd, and nil in the case of g. Inter­vocalic preserved explo­sives in Gaelic arise from a doubling of the explosive, the cause of which in many cases is obscure. The following are the leading cases and causes of inter­vocalic G. mutes:

(1) Doubling of the explosive in the course of inflection or word-building.

a. Inflection. The participle passive in ‑te preserves the t or d of the root as t; thus [caith gives caithte,] bàth (for bàdh) gives bàite, ràdh gives ràite, etc.
b. Word-building. The prepositional prefixes which end or ended in a consonant preserve the succeed­ing explosive; even vowel-ending prepo­sitions like air (*are), aith- (*ati) do the same, if the accent is on the prepo­sition. Thus—abair is for ad-ber, aitreabh is for ad-treb, aidich is for ad-dam, faic for ad-ces‑, agair for ad-gar. In the way of affixes, we have ruiteach from rud‑t and ruicean from rud‑c, creid from *cred-dhô; compare the compounds boicionn, laoicionn, and craicionn.

(2) After sunk n or m. Thus deud comes from dṇt, and so with ceud, teud; ceud, first, from *cento‑, so seud; eug from ṇko‑, etc.

(3) After sunk spirant z. This is assured for zd, as in brod (*broz-do‑, Norse broddr), cead, gad, maide, nead; but zg giving g is doubtful—eagal seems for *es-gal or *ex-gal‑, beag for ꬶvezgo‑s (Lat. vescus), mèag for mezgo‑.

(4) Cases corresponding to double explosives in other languages: cat and Lat. catta (borrowing?), cac and Gr. κάκκη. Compare also slug.

(5) Doubtful cases. Many of these cases can be satisfactorily explained as due to suffixes immediate­ly affixed to consonant-ending roots. Thus brat may be for brat-to‑, trod for trud-do‑, ìoc for *yak-ko‑, breac for mṛg-ko‑. Even suffixes in ‑bho- and ‑ꬶo- (Eng. k in walk) are not unknown, and they might account for reub (*reib-bo‑, *reib-bho‑, Eng. reap, rip), slug for slug-go‑, etc. Dr Whitley Stokes has given a different theory founded on the analogy of a Teutonic phonet­ical law, stated thus by Brugmann: “bn, dn, gn became bb, dd, gg before the principal accent in primitive Teutonic, thence pp, tt, kk (by Grimm’s law), which were further treated just the same as pp, tt, kk, which had arisen from pn, tn, qn, and from I. E. bhn, dhn, ghn, ꬶhn.… O. H. G. sluccho, slukko, glutton [*sluk-no‑], M. H. G. sluchen, gulp, have hiccup, allied to Gr. λύζω, λυγγα­νάομαι, I have hiccup.” These last words are allied to G. slug, which Dr Stokes refers to a pre-Celtic *slug-nó‑, the accent being on the suffix ‑no‑. The weakness of this hypoth­esis lies in the fact that uniform results are not found from it. Thus breac, from mṛg-nó‑, should be breag, not breac, on the analogy of slug.

I. E. p.

Initial and intervocalic I. E. p disappears in Gaelic, as in athair, Lat. pater, eun for *pet-no‑, eadh for pedo‑, iasg against Lat. piscis, ibh against bibo (for pibo), làn against Lat. plenus, làr and Eng. floor, etc. For inter­vocalic p, see fo (*upo), for, teth, caora, (*kaperax), saor, (*sapiros), etc.

Lat. and G. agree in the initial of the numeral five—quinque and cóig, though the I. E. was penqe. In feasgar the G. guttural­ises an original vesperos without Latin counte­nancing it. Initial sp appears as s; see sealg, spleen, sonn, sliseag, sine, sir.

When p appears before the liquids and t, c, or s, it is not lost in G.; it leaves its influence either in a new combi­nation or in compen­satory lengthen­ing. Thus suain is for supno‑s, and see cluain, cuan. G. dias seems from *steip-s‑â, W. twys, and uasal may have had an original form like ὑψηλός, Eng. up. (Cf. teanga and dingua). In seachd, Lat. septem, the p is guttural­ised; we may add here *neachd, O Ir. necht, Lat. neptis, Eng. niece; creuchd, drèachd. Possibly leac may be for lep-kâ.

G. intervocalic p is, of course, due to some combination. In leapa, genitive of leabaidh, it arises from *leb-tha; and we must explain similarly tap (*tabaidh arising from *tab-tha); so raip, streap.

For t taking the place of p through an initial h compare the deriva­tions offered for torc, turlach, tuil, tlàm, tlùs for lùths.

I. E. b, bh.

These two become b in Gaelic and the other Celtic languages, I. E. b is rare in any language; in G. it appears in ibhim (*pibô). treabh, domhain and drùchd (*dhreub-tu‑).

(1) Initial I. E. bh, G. b. See beir, balg, ball, bàn, blàth, bloom, bragh, biuthainn, buaidh.

(2) Intervocalic I. E. bh, G. bh (= v), O. Ir. b, W. f. See abhainn, cràbhach, dubh, gobhal.

(3). Pre-consonantal bh or b.

a. Before r it remains—abhra, gabhar, dobhar, Gaul. dubrum.
b. Before l it disappears with compensatory lengthening—neul for neblo‑s.
c. Before n it becomes mh now—sleamhuinn is for *slibno‑s, Eng. slippery; so domhain. These are I. E. b.
d. Before t, I. E. b becomes ch as in drùchd.

(4) Post-consonantal b, bh. It is preserved after the liquids r and lcarbad, cearb, earb, gilb, sgolb. After m it preserves the m, as in im‑, iom- from ṃbi, ambi. After s it is preserved in eabar; after d in abair, leòb, faob, aobrann; perhaps after g in leabaidh, *leg-buti- (?).

(5) Gaelic intervocalic b. In reub and gob we seem to have a suffix ‑bo‑, *reib-bo‑, gob‑bo; also cliob from clib-bo‑, root qḷg, Gr. κολοβός, stumpy (?). Oftenest b is produced from a previous d, especial­ly of the prefixes—as abair, abadh, faob, etc. (see the paragraph above).

I. E. t.

Initially this is Celtic t; intervocalic, it is aspirated, and otherwise it is variously modified.

(1) Initial t, G., O. Ir., W. t. See, among many, tiugh, tar, teth, teich, tais, tora, tlàth, tnùth, tri, treabh.

(2) Intervocalic t, G. th (= h), O. Ir. th (d), W. d. See athair, màthair, ith, roth, ceithir, leth, etc. Sometimes in non-accented syllables it appears as dh, as in biadh from *bîvoto‑s, and this is always the case with the infin­itives in ‑atu- (glan-adh). Irregular­ly fàidh for fàith.

(3) Pre-consonantal t not initial. Before r it is preserved, as in criathar, briathar, etc. Before l it dis­appears with compen­satory lengthen­ing—sgeul, W. chwedl, òl, beul, etc.; so before n, as in eun. Before s the t dis­appears and the s is preserved, as in miosa, ris, sàs. Words like fios are from vid-s-tu‑, formerly explained as from vid-tu‑. Before another t, t is preserved in the resultant t of G., as in ite, etc.; ‑td- seems to become ‑dd‑; ‑tc- becomes O. Ir. cc, G. c, as in freic­eadan; ‑tg- becomes gg, that is g, as in freagair.

(4) Post-consonantal t. After r and l it is preserved, as in beart, ceart, ceirtle, alt, falt; after n and m it sinks to d, as in ceud, etc. As seen, ‑bt becomes ‑chd, as in druchd, while ‑pt is in seachd. After c or g, the t sinks in G. to d, preserv­ing the guttural as an aspirate: ochd, nochd, bochd, reachd. O. Ir. has ‑cht here and W. th.

(5) Gaelic intervocalic t. The t of a root is preserved when the suffix begins in t, as [in caithte, spent,] in ite, Ir. ette, *pet-tiâ, lit, *pḷt-tion‑. The d of the affixes preserves it, as in aitreabh, taitinn, ruiteach, réit. The t of the following does not belong to the ultimate root: ciotach, *sqvi‑tto‑, Eng. skew, croit, root kur, lot, root lu.

I. E. d. dh.

This is a uniform Celtic d initial; Gaelic dh between vowels and W. dd.

(1) Initial d, dh. See deas, dearc, deich, druim, dùn, damh, etc., for d; for dh, dubh, domhan, dearg, dorus, dall; also dlighe.

(2) Intervocalic d, dh. See fiodh, *vidu‑, eadh, suidhe, fiadh, guidhe, etc.

(3) Pre-consonantal d, dh non-initial. Before r, l, n, the d dis­appears with compen­satory lengthen­ing, as in àireamh (*ad-rím‑) àros, àrach, buail, (*boud-lo‑), but buille is for *bud-s-lio‑; smuain for smoud-no‑, Before m it sometimes dis­appears, as in freumh, *vṛd-mâ, but with an accented prefix the d and m become m, as in aimsir, amal, amas. With s it coalesces into s, as in musach, or in uisge for *ud-s-qio‑, or fios for *vid-s-tu‑. Before the explo­sives, with b it coalesces to bb, now b, as in abair, etc. So with t, as in aitreabh; with d, as in aidich; with c, as in faic; with g, as in agair.

(4) Post-consonantal d, dh. The liquid r preserves a following d, as in àrd, bàrd, sgàird, òrd, etc. It assim­ilates with l, as in coille, call, moll, mullach; and with n, in fionn, O. Ir. find, bonn, O. Ir. bond, binn. For zd, see next paragraph. The explo­sives before d are unusual, save t and d, for which see next paragraph.

(5) Intervocalic G. d. There are three sources at least for this d:—

a. The d from nt in ceud, teud, beud, etc.
b. The d arising from the spirant z before d, as in brod, *brozdo‑, cead, gad, maide, nead, druid.
c. From ‑dd- as in creid, goid, rodaidh, trod, etc.; also aidich, *ad-dam‑.

I. E. “k” and “q.”

These appear in G. uniformly as c; but in the Brittonic languages q, if labial­ised, becomes p as in Greek.

(1). Initial k. See cluinn, , ceud, hundred, cac, cridhe, caomh, còrn.

Initial q simple. See caraid, W. câr, ceud, first, W. cynt, coille, W. celli, cas, W. coes, coileach, W. ceiliog, etc.

Initial q labialised, that is, qv: casd, W. pâs, ciall, W. pwyll, ceithir, W. pedwar, ceann, W. pen, coire, W. pair, co, W. pa, cruimh, W. pryf.

It seems clear that G. g at times represents I. E. k, q, as W. has the latter. Compare G. geug with W. cainc, Skr. çañku; but W. ysgainc shows the reason for the anomaly—an s initial has been dropped, and in dropping it the G. reduced c to g. Further compare garmainn, giomach. Cf. dias.

(2) Intervocalic k, q. The G. is ch, W. g, b. Compare cruach, W. crûg, fichead, deich, loch; also each, W. ebol, seach, W. heb, etc.

(3) Pre-consonantal k, q. Before r, l, n, the c disappears with compen­satory lengthen­ing as in deur, Lat. dacrima, meur, dual, muineal, tòn; and compare Prof. Strachan’s deriva­tions for mèanan, breun, càin, lèana. With s, the result in G. is s, O. Ir. ss, W. ch, as in uasal, W. uchel. Before explo­sives, cb, cd, cg do not appear; ct becomes chd, for which see under t (4); for c‑c, see paragraph (5) here.

(4) Post-consonantal k, q. After r and l, the guttural appears as c, as in cearc, uircean, malc, olc, falc, etc. After n (m), it sinks to g, with a preceding long vowel, as in eug, breug, already discussed. After s, the c is preserved, but in G. it is written as g, as in measg, nasg, teasg, etc. After explo­sives, the t and d of the prefix or root preserves the c following, for which see under t and d pre-consonantal. For c or g before c, see next paragraph.

(5) Intervocalic Gaelic c. It may arise from ‑tk, ‑dk, ‑kk, ‑gk. From ‑tk in freic­eadan (*frith-com-et-án); ‑dk in faic, acarach, ruicean, acuinn; ‑kk in muc, *mukkus, cac, craicionn, ìoc, leacainn; from ‑gk in bac, boc, breac, cnoc, gleac. The word mac, son, postu­lates a Gadelic makko‑s as against the Ogmic maqvi (gen.) and W. mab; it is difficult to account for the G. form.

I. E. g, gh; , ꬶh.

These consonants all, save in one case, appear in G. as g, aspirated to gh, and W. shows g and nil in similar circum­stances. The exception is in the case of , which when labial­ised, becomes G. and W. b. But ꬶh, whether labial­ised or not, becomes g in G.

(1) Initial I. E. g: in guth, gin, gnàth, geimheal, . I. E. gh is in geamhradh, gabh, gag, geal, white, I. E. simple appears in geal, leech, goir, goile, gearan, guala, gràdh; I. E. ꬶh in gar, grian, gaol, guidhe, geas, guin. Labial­ised appears in bean, Eng. queen, bior, beò, , brà, quern, bràghad.

(2) Intervocalic Celtic g. See deigh, aghaidh, greigh, truagh, bleogh­ainn, tigh, bragh, etc. In the termi­nation of words it appears often as ch: teach (*tegos), mach, (*magos), imlich, im[th]ich, éirich, fuirich. Inter­vocalic labial­ised does not seem to exist in modern G.

(3) Pre-consonantal Celtic g. Here ‑gr, ‑gl, ‑gn, become ‑r, ‑l, ‑n with vocalic lengthen­ing, as feur, *vegro‑, àr, nàir, fuar, àl, fual, feun, *vegno‑, sròn, uan, tàin, bròn, etc. Before m, g is found in the combi­nation ng‑m, which results in m with a preceding long vowel, as in ceum, leum, geum. Before s it becomes x and modern s, W. ch, as in uasal, W. uchel, as for ex, os, deer, W. ych, cas, las, uiseag. Before explo­sives the g is variously preserved: ‑gb, ‑gd may be passed over; ‑ct, ‑gt appear as chd, as in seachd, bliochd, smachd, nochd, sneachd, etc.; ‑gk ends in ‑kk, now c, for which see post-conso­nantal k; ‑gg appears as g, as in slug, bog, clag, lag, slige, smugaid.

(4) Post-consonantal Celtic g. After r and l the g is preserved in G., but often in W. becomes y; see dearg, fearg, searg, garg, lorg, balg, cealg, dealg, tulg. After n ordinary g is preserved, as in cumhang, long, muing, seang, fulaing. But labial­ised became b, and then coalesced with the n into mm, now m as in ìm, butter, Lat. unguentum, tum, cam, tom, ciomach, and in modern times cum, keep, from *congv in congbhail. For ng‑m see the foregoing paragraph. For sg see the next paragraph. After the explo­sives, the g is preserved in the combi­nations ‑tg (freagair), ‑dg (agair), and ‑gg, which see below.

(5) Intervocalic Gaelic g. It arises from ‑sg firstly, which in pre-Celtic times was ‑zg, as in beag, mogul, griogag, mèag, eagal, etc., which see under I. E. z above. From the explosive combi­nations we have tg in freagair, *frith-gar‑, eagna, eagar; dg in agair, agus. The ‑gg must arise from a suffix in ‑go‑, which was operative in early Gadelic, if we discard Dr Stokes’ view already set forth. Cf. Eng. walk, hark, lurk, skulk, smirk. For this ‑gg see paragraph third above.

Intervocalic g may arise from a lost n before c, as in breug, geug, eug, etc. The previous vowel is length­ened save in a few cases where the word—or sentence—accent has brought about a short syllable. Thus thig has short i, and in G. leig is short. This is regularly the case with the results from the prefix con, confused with cos, as in cogais, O. Ir. concubus, cadal, cagar, cogadh, etc.

§ 8. Accent.

In Gaelic, only the stress accent exists, and it is placed always on the first syllable. The accent of the Old Gaelic was likewise on the first syllable, save in the case of the verb. Here in the compound­ed verbs the stress accent rested on, as a rule, the second syllable; but the imper­ative placed the accent on the first syllable, and this also took place after the negative and inter­rogative particles and after the conjunc­tions gu’n and na’n (da’n). Thus faic, see thou, is for f‑aid‑c, with accent on the prepo­sition ad, for it is imper­ative; the future chì stands for the old present at-chí, videt, where the accent is on the root . Again in cha’n fhaca the negative brings the accent on the prefix ad, that is, f‑ad-ca. When the accent is on the prefix, its ending consonant and the initial consonant of the root coalesce and result in a preserved G. inter­vocalic consonant, but the root suffers trun­cation: when the accent is on the root, these conso­nants are aspirated, and the root is preserved. The ten irregular verbs in G. present suffi­cient illus­trations of this rule. The prepo­sition con, when accented, was always con, when un­accented it was com (comh). In the un­accented syllables, long vowels become short (àireamh from *ád-rîm, anail for O. Ir. anál), and in many cases change complete­ly their grade, as from small to broad (e.g. còmhnadh, O. Ir. congnam, from gnìomh, and the compounds in ‑radh and ‑lach).

II. Word-building.

Word-building consists of two parts—composition and deriva­tion. The first deals with the compound­ing of separate words; the second deals with the suffixes (and prefixes) that make up the stem of a word from its root.

(1) The compound may be two stems welded together: righ-theach, palace, *rîgo-tegos, “king’s house”; righ-fhàidh, royal prophet—“king who is a prophet”; ceann-fhionn, white-headed, penno-vindo‑s; ceithir-chasach, four-footed; dubh-ghlas, dark-blue; crannchur, lot, “casting the lot.” These are the six leading relation­ships brought out in compounds. In Celtic the first stem is nearly always in o‑, as Teuto-bōdiaci, G. sean-mhathair (but Catu-slôgi, Mori-dûnum, G. Muirgheal). Consider the following compounds: iodhlann, mìolchu, òircheard, buarach, cèardach, clogad, bàthach, eilthire, gnàth-fhocal, moirear, leth-chas, leth-trom, etc.

The following are common prefixes: ath‑, re‑, ath-ghlac, re-capture; ban‑, she, ban-altrum, bantrach; bith‑, ever‑, bith-bheò, bith-bhuan; il‑, iol‑, many; ion‑, fit; sìr‑, sìor‑, ever‑, fìr‑, fìor‑, very, saobh‑, pseudo‑.

The following suffixes belong to this branch of word-building:—

‑lach, from *slougo‑, now sluagh; seen in teaghlach, dòrlach, òglach, youth, etc.
‑radh, from *rêda, W. rwyd (see réidh); seen in reabhradh, madraidh, dogs, òigridh, youth, macraidh, sons, rìghre, kings, gnìomharra, deeds.
‑mhor, ‑or, from mór, great; it makes adjec­tives from nouns, etc.: lìonmhor, etc.
‑ail, like; from samhail, amhail: rìoghail for rìogh-amhail, king‑like.
‑an, diminutive masculine, O. Ir. án, Ogmic ‑agnos, for *apo-gno‑s, root gen, bear (Stokes): as in fearan, truaghan, etc.
‑ag, diminutive fem. in G., O. Ir. ‑óc (masc. and fern.), from óc, óg, young: seen in caileag, etc.
‑seach. This feminine termination has been explained by Stokes as from O. Ir. es, a fem. form, with the adjec­tival addition *iqâ, and this es he deduces from W. es, which comes from Lat. issa. Cf. baiseach, cláir­seach, bonnsach, céirseach or ciarseach (Ir.).

(2) The compound may be one noun governing another in the genitive: mac-leisg, and all the personal names in mac, gille, maol.

(3) Uninflected prefixes:

a. Negative prefixes—I. E. , G. an before vowels, aineol, ion‑, in- before b, d, g (iongantas), eu- (ao‑) before t, c, s (aotrom for é-trom, *ṇ-trommo‑s).
To this negative add also mi‑, neo‑, as- (eas‑), di- (der- = di-air‑).
b. Prefixes of quality: do (do-char), and so- (so-char); and the intensive ro‑.

(4) Old adverbial forms and all prepositions. These prepositions are often combined with one or two other prepo­sitions.

ad‑, Lat. ad: faic = f‑ad-ci; àireamh (= ad-rîm‑).
aith‑, ad‑, *ati‑, re‑, continual­ly confused with the above prep. (aith gives accented é as in épiur; ad gives a as in aca): abair (*ad-ber‑), agair, aith­reachas (*ati-réc‑), etc. Compound­ed with to- in tagair, tapaidh, taitinn, taitheasg, taisg, etc.; with fo- in fàg (fo-ad-gab).
air, by, on: air-leag, eir-idinn, òir-dheirc, oir-thir, urchair, ùrlar. Compound­ed with com in comhairle; with to- in tairis, tairg, tèarainn; with di‑ in dearmad; with imm- in iomar-bhaigh, iomarchur.

as, out, es‑: as-eirigh, as-creideamh, eas-bhuidh, éi-rich. Compound­ed with air: uireas­bhuidh; with to‑, teasairg; with to-for- in tuair­isgeul; with to-fo-ar in tuarasdal; with to-fo- in tuasgail.
eadar, between; eadar-sgaradh.
iar, after; in *iarfaighim, now feòraich; iarogha.
in, in; with to- in tional and comh-thional. With a double nn in ionnsuidh.
inn‑, ionn‑, to, Gaul. ande‑: in fionnogha; with to- in tionn-sgainn, tionndadh (Zeuss). Confused with in, ind, above.
im‑, iom‑, about: iomair, iomradh, imich, iompaidh (*imb‑sh). Compound­ed with com in caochladh; with to- in timchioll, tiomsach, tiomnadh.
od‑, ud‑, out, Eng. out: obann, obaidh. Compounded with aith- in ìobairt; with di- in dùisg; with fo in fògair; with to- in tobar, tog.
con‑, comh‑, co‑: coimhead, comaidh, caisg, cogadh. Compound­ed with im- in iomchorc; with con in cogais (O. Ir. concubus); with to-aith- in teagasg, teagamh.
di‑, de, de: dìmeas, dìoghail, dìomhain, dìreach; also deach, dèan,
do‑, to: this is the unaccented form of to‑.
fo, under: in foghnadh, foghlum, falach, fulaing. Compound­ed with to- in tòrachd, tuisleadh (to-fo-ess‑) tuarasdal (to-fo-ar-as‑), tuasgail (to-fo-as‑).
for, far, super: in forail, forradh, fàrdorus, farmad, furtachd. Compound­ed with to in tormach, tuair­isgeul.
fri‑, ri, to, *vṛt, Lat. versus; it appears as frith, fris: in freagair, fritheil, freic­eadan (frith-com‑).
ro‑, before: in robhas, rosg, rabhadh, radharc. Compounded in rug (ro-ud‑).
tar, across, tairm‑: in teirig, toirmisg.

Stem Suffixes.

The following are the most important suffixes used in Gaelic for stem formation:—

1. o‑, â‑, as in cùl (*cûlo‑), aitreabh, cas (*coxâ).

2. tro‑, tlo‑, trâ‑, tlâ‑: criathar, krei-tro‑, anail, (*ana-tlâ), sgeul, cineal.

3. jo‑, jâ‑, ijo‑, ijâ‑: eile, suidhe, (*sod-i-on). See no‑, ro‑, tjo‑, sqio‑.

4. vo‑, vâ‑, uvo‑, uvâ‑: tarbh (*tar-vo‑), each (*ek-vo‑), beò, (bi-vo‑).

5. no‑, nâ‑, ṇno‑, eno‑, ono‑: làn, slàn, duan, domhan, leathan (letano‑s). It is secondary in iarunn; cf. tighearna (*teg-er-nio‑).

6. mo‑, mâ‑: trom, lom, caomh.

7. ro‑, , ṛro‑, etc.: sìor, mór, làr, àr, bodhar. Here comes the Gaelic numeral stem ‑âro‑n, as aonar, one person, cóignear, five persons; it is allied to Lat. ‑ârius, ‑ârium, Gaelic ‑air, ‑eir, denoting agents or doers—clàrsair, harper, etc.

8. tero‑, ero‑: in sinnsear, uachdar, eadar.

9. lo‑, lâ‑, ḷlo‑, etc.: coll (*cos-lo‑), sìol, neul, ciall, giall.

10. dhro‑, dro‑, dhlo‑, dlo‑: odhar, uallach.

11. bho‑, bhâ‑: earb, gob (*gob-bo‑).

12. to‑, tâ‑. This is the participial termination in most I. E. languages. In G. it is used for the past passive. Also in the adjec­tives nochd, bochd, gnàth, etc.; nouns dligheadh, dearmad, gort.

13. tjo‑, tjâ‑: Gr. ἀμβρόσιος. This forms the passive participle in G.: briste, caithte, etc.

14. tâ- of abstract nouns: ìobart, now ìobairt.

15. to- comparative. This appears in the ordinal numerals: deicheamh, O. Ir. dechmad, for *dekṃmeto‑.

16. ko‑, kâ‑: òg, young, juvṇ-ko‑.

17. qo‑, qâ‑, qio‑, āqo‑; sùileach for *sûli-qo‑s; cuimhneach, creid­mheach. Especial­ly the adjec­tives and nouns in ach, as marcach, buadhach. Further, the form iche (‑iqio‑s) denoting agent; maraiche, etc.

18. sqo‑, sqio-: as in measg, seasg, uisge.

19. ꬶo‑, ꬶâ: see muing, Danish, manke; cf. Eng. walk, hark, etc.

20. Stems in i‑: àird, muir, maith, deigh. In ni‑, tàin, cluain, buain; in mi‑, cruimh, cnàimh; in li‑, samhail, dùil; in ti‑, fàith, féith, breith, bleith, etc.—a form in which some infini­tives appear.

21. tâti‑, that is, Celtic tât‑, tûs: beatha, life, *bitûs, g. *bi-tât-os.

22. Stems in u‑: tiugh, fliuch, dub, loch. In nu‑, linn, O. Ir. lín, lênu‑; in tu- there are many—bith, iodh‑, fios (*vid‑s-tu‑), guth, cruth; especial­ly reachd and its like in chd. Here come the infini­tives in adh (‑ātu‑).

In G. ‑eas, as of abstract nouns, the form arises from tu‑ being added to an ‑es stem: aois, *aiv-es-tu‑; so dorus, follus.

23. Stems in ‑n: , àra, ìm, ionga. In ‑ien, there is Éire, Éireann. The stems in tiô are very common; the oblique cases are in ‑tin‑; see eiridinn, faotainn, etc.: common in infini­tives. Similarly common is ‑men, ‑mon, in ainm, cuirm, druim, leum; and masculine in britheamh, ollamh, talamh.

24. Stems in ‑r; only the family names athair, màthair, etc.

25. Stems in ‑t, ‑nt: nochd, night: caraid, friend—a participial form.

26. Stems in k or q: G. nathair, g. nathrach, so làir, lasair, cathair, etc.

27. Neuter stems in ‑es: teach, leth, magh, gleann.

28. Comparative stems in ‑jes, ‑is‑, jos: , greater *mâ-jôs, sine, Skr. san-yas‑.

Adair in tughadair, dialladair, figheadair, breabadair, etc. (?)

Two or three stems peculiar to Gaelic may be mentioned. Adjectives in ‑idh, O. Ir. ‑de, as diadhaidh, come from an original ‑dio‑. Endings like maireann, firionn have been correlated with the Lat. gerund, itself a much disputed form. The preserved d in words like flichead, moisture, O. Ir. fliuchaidatu, has been variously referred to *‑antu- or ‑ato-tût; possibly the latter is its origin.

III. Synopsis of Gadelic accidence.

A. Declension.

1. o-stems. Masc. o-stem ball, member.

Gaelic. Old Irish. Gadelic.
Sing. Nom. ball ball ballos
Gen. buill baill baill
Dat. ball baull ballū (ballōj. Jub.)
Acc. ball ball n‑ ballon
Voc. bhuill baill balle
Dual N., A. dà bhall dá ball ballō
G. dà bhuill (?)
D. dà bhall dib mballaib ballobin
Plur. Nom. buill baill ballī (balloi)
G. ball ball n- ballon
D. ballaibh ballaib ballobis
A. buill baullu ballōs (balons)
V. bhalla baullu ballōs

Neuter io-stem cridhe, heart

S. N., A. cridhe cride n- kridion
G. cridhe cridi kridiī
D. cridhe cridiu kridiu
V. chridhe cride n- kridion
Pl. N., A. cridheachan cride kridia
G. cridheachan cride n- kridion
D. cridheachan cridib kridiobis
V. chridheachan chride kridia

2. â-stems: all feminine. cas, a foot.

Gaelic. Old Irish. Gadelic.
S. Nom. cas coss coxā
G. coise coisse coxies
D. cois coiss coxī (coxai)
A. cas coiss n- coxin
V. chas choss coxa
Dual A. dà chois dí choiss coxē
G. dà chois dá choss coxō
D. dà chois dib cossaib coxābin
Pl. N. casan cossa coxās
G. cas coss n- coxan
D. casaibh cossaib coxābis
A. casan cossa coxās
V. chasa chossa coxās

3. i-stems. Feminine noun sùil, eye.

S. Nom. sùil súil sūlis
G. sùla súla sūlōs (sūlous)
D. sùil súil sūlī
A. sùil súil n- sūlin
V. shùil shúil sūli
Dual N. dà shùil dí shúil sūlī
G. dà shùil dá súla sūlō
D. dà shùil dib sulib sūlibin
Pl. N. sùilean súli sūleis (sūlejes)
G. sùil súle n- sūlion
D. sùilibh súlib sūlibis
A. sùilean súli sūleis
V. shùilean shúli sūleis

4. u-stems. Masculine noun bith, world.

S. Nom. bith bith bitus
G. bith betho bitous
D. bith biuth bitu
A. bith bith n- bitun
V. bhith betho bitou
Pl. N. bithean bithi bitois, (bitoves)
G. bith bithe n- bition, (bitovon)
D. bithibh bithaib bitubis
A. bithean bithu bitūs
V. bhithean bithu bitūs

5. Consonantal Stems.

(a). Stem in r; athair, father.

Gaelic. Old Irish. Gadelic.
S. Nom. athair athir atīr
G. athar athar atros
D. athair athir atri
A. athair athir n- atren
V. athair athir ater
Dual N., A. dà athair dá athir atere
G. dà athair dá athar atrō
D. da athair dib n-athrib atrebin
Pl. N. athraichean athir ateres
G. athraichean athre n- atron
D. athraichean athrib atrebis
A. athraichean athrea aterās (aterṇs)
V. athraichean athrea aterās

(b). Stem in men; neut. ainm, name.

S. N., A. ainm ainm n- anmen
G. ainme anma, anme anmens
D. ainm anmaimm anmṇbi
Pl. N., A. ainmeannan anmann anmena
G. ainmeannan anmann n- anmenon
D. ainmeannan anmannaib anmenobis

(c). Stem in guttural c; fem. nathair, serpent.

S. Nom. nathair nathir natrix
G. nathrach nathrach natracos
D. nathair nathraig natraci
A. nathair nathraig n- natracen (natṛcṇ)
Dual N., A. dà nathair dí nathraig natrace
G. dà nathair dá nathrach natrace
D. dà nathair dib nathrachaib natracobin
Pl. N. nathraichean nathraig natraces
G. nathraichean nathrach n- natracon
D. nathraichean nathrachaib natracobis
A. nathraichean nathracha natracās
V. nathraichean nathracha natracas

(d). Neuter stem in ‑es; tigh, house.

S. N., A. tigh teg, tech tegos
G. tighe tige tegesos
D. tigh tig tegesi
Dual N. dà thigh dá thech tegese
Gaelic. Old Irish. Gadelic.
G. dà thigh dá thige tegesō
D. dà thigh dib tigib tegesobin
Pl. N. tighean tige tegesa
G. tigh tige n- tegeson
D. tighibh tigib tegesobis

6. Adjectives.

Adjectives belonged (1) to the o- and the a- declensions, as *marvos, *marvâ, *marvon, now marbh, declined like the nouns of o- and a- declen­sions; (2) i- declen­sion, as maith, *matis, *matis, *mati, the neuter nom. being the stem; (3) u- declen­sion, as *tigus, *tigus (?), *tigu, now tiugh; and (4) conso­nantal adj., *tepens, te, téit, etc. Compar­ison was in two ways—(1) caomh: O. Ir. cóem, coemiu, coemem: *koimos, *koimjôs, *koimimos; (2) luath: O. Ir. lúath, lúath­ither, lúathem: *loutos, *louti­teros, *loutimos.

The numerals may be seen in the Dictionary in their Celtic form: *oinos, *dvâ, *treis, etc.

The pronouns are so phonetically gone astray that they cannot be restored.

B. Conjugation.

Active Voice. Indicative—Present. Verb beir, bear.

S. 1. beiridh mi berimm berommi*
2. beiridh tu beri beresi
3. beiridh e berid bereti
Rel. beireas beres beret-se
P. 1. beiridh sinn bermme berommesi
2. beiridh sibh berthe berete
3. beiridh iad berit berenti (beronti)
Rel. beireas berte berent-eis

Dependent Present.

S. 1. bheir mi do-biur berô
2. bheir tu do-bir beres
3. bheir e do-beir beret
P. 1. bheir sinn do-beram beromos
2. bheir sibh do-berid berete
3. bheir iad do-berat beront

The first sing. is from theme-vowel-less verbs: *ber-mi. Cf. orm, tharam even agam, asam.

Secondary Present or Subjunctive.

Gaelic. Old Irish. Gadelic.
S. 1. bheirinn no berinn berîn (?)
2. bheireadh no bertha berethâs
3. bheireadh e no bered hereto
P. 1. bheireamaid no bermmis berimmiss (?)
2. bheireadh sibh no berthe berethi
3. bheireadh iad no bertis berintiss (?)


S. 1. do ghabh ro gabus gabassu
2. ghabh ro gabis gabassi
3. ghabh ro gab gabas-t
P. 1. ghabh ro gabsam gabassomos
2. ghabh ro gabsid gabassete
3. ghabh ro gabsat gabassont


S. 1. beiream
2. beir beir bere
berthe berethēs
3. beireadh e berad beretō
P. 1. beireamaid beram
2. beiribh berid berete
3. beireadh iad berat berontō

Passive. Indicative—Present.

S. 3. beirear e berir beretor
P. 3. beirear iad bertir berentor

Secondary Present or Subjunctive.

S. 3. bheirteadh e no berthe
P. 3. bheirteadh iad no bertis

Past Tense.

S. 3. chanadh e ro chét cantos, "cantus"
P. 3. chanadh iad ro chéta cantâs (n.f.)


S. 3. beirear e berar
P. 3. beirear iad bertar


cainte cete cantjos

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dialectal, before ll, nn, mh, bh, though not in the script.