Boergstrom, Really Old, like 1950s old

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  • Lenition of initial consonants: cat- dà chat
  • Prefixation of a nasal consonant: cat- an cat; phonemically: /(ə) Nkahd/
  • Palatalization of final consonants on root morphemes: an cat – a’ chait, na cait; this is often accompanied by, or even replaced by, vocalic mutation: an ceann- na cinn.


  • Palatalization of final consonants occurs, but is ‘relatively unimportant’
  • Lentition (a & a dh’) is productive in characterizing the relative mode of all tenses

Borgstroem makes the claim that the syntax of the modes of verbs parallels that of the cases of nouns:

  • Nominative – independent
    • Can be used without a sentence, ie. as an answer to a question
    • In the sentence the verb comes first and the nom second
  • Genitive – relative
    • The genitive noun is always governed by some antecedent
      • A noun
        • Biadh a’ choin
        • The dog’s food
      • A verbal noun governs its object in the genitive
        • Thà a’ bhò ‘g ithe an fheòir
        • The cow is eating the grass
      • A compound preposition:
        • air son, an aghaidh
      • Sometimes a simple preposition
        • fad, bharr
      • The adjective làn
        • Làn fala
        • Full of blood
      • Also, two nouns in genitive case maybe coordinated without repetition of the antecedent
    • The relative verb is always governed by some antecedent
      • a noun
        • Baidh a dh’itheas an cù
        • food that the dog will eat
      • Certain conjunctions
        • 'nuair, mà, mar, agus
      • Interrogatives
        • Cò thuigeas sin?
        • Who can understand that?
      • Topicalized(?)/left dislocated(?) words
        • ‘s ann am maireach a thilleas e
        • ‘it is tomorrow he will return’
  • Dative – dependent
    • A noun in the dative is always governed by a preposition
      • Of the 15 prepositions that can be conjugated, all except chun and eadar govern a noun in the dative
      • Unlike in the above cases, when dative nouns are coordinated, there must be a preposition before each one.
    • A verb in the dependent case is always governed by a proclitic particle
      • as in the dative noun case, when dependent verbs are coordinated, the particle must be repeated in each instance


  • Nom/indep forms do not presuppose any antecedents
  • Gen/rel forms presuppose antecedents which are often nouns or have a certain affinity to nouns; the antecedent need not be repeated in coordinated phrases
  • Dat/dep forms presuppose immediately preceding antecedents which are not nouns, adjectives, or verbs.

Where the parallelism breaks down

  • NOM nouns can fill-in for other forms in certain contexts
    • After verbal nouns
      • ‘g ithe feur
    • Before another noun in GEN
      • Air cas a’ ghille
    • After the prepositions gun and eadar
  • The independent form of the verb, however, never occurs after a governing antecedent

Discussion of morpheme boundaries (Key Points):

  • Stressed syllables are with few exceptions, word initial
    • Munster Irish diverges
  • Root morphemes are with few exceptions, word initial
  • Gaelic may be a “mildly synthetic” language