Plural Formation

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  • for a definition of plural see Plural (definition)
  • for an article on the inflection of adjectives in the plural see XXX

Nouns

Plural Article

before
f, b, m, p all other consonants before vowels
Nom/Acc (common case) na na h-
Dat
Gen nam nan

Attenuation (Slenderization)

Type 1.1. Orthographic i

Make the final consonant slender orthographically by inserting an i before the final consonant (attenuate the final consonant). This sometimes shifts the pronunciation of the final vowel as well. /bor'əNəx/ --> /bor'əNiç/.

Common singular Common/Dative plural English
am balach na balaich boy
am boireannach na boireannaich woman
an cat na cait cat
an t-òran na h-òrain song
an solus na soluis light

Type 1.2: Orthographic vowel change

Make the final vowel slender (attenuate it) by changing the orthographic vowel

The following vowel changes mark attenuation

  • i) a --> ui
  • ii) ea --> i
  • iii) ea --> ei
  • iv) ia --> èi
  • v) ò --> ùi
  • vi) eu --> eòi
  • vii) io -> i (this is is rarely found after the spelling reform)


Common singular Common/Dative plural English
am bòrd na bùird table
am fiadh na fèidh deer
an t-iasg na h-èisg fish
am mac na mic son
an t-òrd na h-ùird hammar

Suffix (e)an

Suffix -an

Common singular Common/Dative Plural English
a' bhròg na brògan shoe
am brat na bratan carpet
a' bhùth na bùthan shop
a' chas na casan foot/leg
a' chluasag na cluasagan pillow
a' chraobh na chraobhan tree
a' dhealbh na dealbhan picture
an gille na gillean boy
an làr na làran floor
an leanabh na leanabhan child
a' mhuc na mucan pig
a' nighean na nigheanan girl
am pàisde na pàisdean infant
a' phòg na pògan kiss
an sgàthan na sgàthanan mirror
a' sgian na sgianan knife
an uinneag na h-uinneagan window

Suffix -ean

Common singular Common/Dative plural English
an càird na càirdean relative
an caraid na caraidean friend
an clòsaid na clòsaidean closet
an t-iasgadair na h-iasgadairean fisherman
an taigh na taighean house
an t-sùil na sùilean eye

Make slender and suffix -ean

Common singular Common/Dative plural English
an clàrsach na clàrsaichean harp
an rathad na rathaidean road
am monadh na monaidhean moor


Syncope and suffix -(e)an

The Broad and Slender of new consonant cluster may change., then suffix -ean or -an

Common singular Common/Dative plural English
am bràthair na bràithrean brother
an dorus na dorsan door
an t-ubhal na h-ubhlan egg


Suffix annan

Common singular Common/Dative plural English
an rium na riumannan room
oidhche oidhcheannan night

Suffix t(e)an

(other changes including deleting final vowel and broadening and making slender)

Common singular Common/Dative plural English
am baile na bailtean town
a' bheinn na beanntan mountain
an sgoil na sgoiltean school

Suffix (a)ichean/achan

Suffix aichean

singular plural English
am bus na busaichean bus
an car na càraichean car
an sgona na sgonaichean scone

Suffix -ichean

singular plural English
am bocsa na bocsaichean box
am bàta na bàtaichean boat
an lampa na lampaichean lamp
an t-ogha na h-oghaichean grandchildren

Syncope and Suffix -aichean

singular plural English
cathair na cathraichean chair
an seòmar na seòmraichean room

Suffix -achan

singular plural English
a' chiste na cisteachan chest

Suffix -chan

singular plural English
am balla na ballachan wall
an sofa na sofachan sofa

Irregular Plurals

singular plural English
a' bhò na ba cow
a' chaora na caoraich sheep
an cù na coin dog
an duine na daoine husband/person
a' mhuir na marannan sea
a' phiuthair na peathraichean sister

Adjectives

Most monosyllabic adjectives receive a suffix '-a' when describing a plural noun.

  • mòr --> mòra
  • beag --> beaga
  • math--> matha
  • dubh --> dubha

If a monosyllabic adjective has an 'i' as the final vowel in the word, the plural suffix is an '-e'.

  • glic --> glice

Aspirate the first consonant if the preceding noun is pluralized by attenuation (slenderization), but not otherwise.

  • bord mòr --> bùird mhòra (cf. gillean mòra)

Multisyllabic adjectives do not mutate nor do they receive a suffix:

  • latha grianach --> laithean grianach

See Also

External Links

References

  • Fisher, Muriel (2004) Scottish Gaelic: Level 1. Seattle: Each-Mara Publications.