Caibidil a Trí Déag: Sentences and Syntax (Abairt agus Comhréir)
|with the help of the copula
cleft construction: subject, object, other sentence members
cleft construction: verb via verbal noun and déan
cleft construction: with comparatives
pseudo-cleft construction: verb, go/nach-subordinating clause , object, as an interrog. clause
cleft- and pseudo-cleft construction in the copular clause itself
without the help of the copula
complex subject, object, predicate in the classificatory clause
The syntax in Irish is quite rigid (PSO or. VSO, see word order ). Althought, this is often skirted with the following changes inf the word order. This actually does not only happen for a special emphasis (treisiú) or reinforcement (néartú), but also to bring variety in speech/writing and is therefore common.
The emphasis using a copular construction is the most common variety of changing the word order in Irish.
There are two basic variations, which actually - although rare - also exist in German:
the cleft construction (an abairt scoilte)
The part of the sentence to be emphasised is split off the sentence "cleft" and appears as the predicate of the copula in a copular clause. The rest of the sentence follows then as a relative clause. In German and Irish, both have a similar form.
e.g.: Is teach a thógann sé = It is a house, that he builds (instead of: Tógann sé teach = He builds a house )
the pseudo-cleft construction (an abairt bhréagscoilte)
This acts as the construction similar to e.g. "What he's building, is a house ".
In this case, the part being emphasised appears at the end of the sentence, but is represented at the beginning of the sentence with a pronoun (above e.g. "what", Irish "séard").
After the pronoun, follows a relative clause in Irish (different to the German).
e.g.: Séard a thógann sé ná teach = What he builds, is a house
In German, as opposed to Irish, cleft and pseudo-cleft constructions are a rather rare occurrance of rearranged clause elements. Much more common are freestyle rearrangements of the word order. This is not possible in Irish and therefore cleft- and pseudo-cleft constructs must take the place of that.
|normal syntax:||verb + subject + object||Féiceann tu an fear||You see the man||see you the man|
|emphasised subject||(Is + ) subject + a + verb + object||(Is) tusa a fhéiceann an fear||You see the man||Are you [it], that sees the man|
|emphasised dir. object||(Is + ) object + a + verb + subject||(Is é) an fear a fhéiceann tú||The man you see.||[It] is the man, that you see|
|emphasised indir. object||(Is + ) prep. + object + a + verb + subject||(Is) don fhear a thugann tú é||The man you give it to.||[It] is to-the man, whom you give it|
|emphasised Adverb||(Is + ) Adverb + a + verb + subject||(Is) abhaile a théann an fear||Home goes the man||[It] is home, [where] the man goes|
|normal syntax||verb + subject + ag + VN + object||Tá mé ag scríobh an leabhair||I am writing the book||am I at writing of the book|
|emphasised subject||(Is + ) subject + a + verb + ag + VN + object||(Is) mise atá ag scríobh an leabhair||I am writing the book||am I [it], that-is at writing of the book|
|emphasised verbal noun||(Is + ) ag + VN + a + verb + subject + object||(Is) ag scríobh atá mé an leabhar||Writing the book I am||is [it] at writing, that-am I the book|
|emphasised object||(Is + ) object + a + verb + subject + a + VN||(Is é) an leabhar atá mé a scríobh||The book it is, that I am writing||is it the book, that-am I to write|
If the verbal noun and object are split through the shift of the clause element, then the object is in the nominative/accusative and no londer in the genitive (2nd and 3rd example of the table)
If the object is pulled in front of the verbal noun in sentences in the progressive, then a (lenition!) takes the place instead of ag preceding the verbal noun (3rd example in the table)!
A theoretically plausable indirect relative clause like *Is scríobh a bhfuil mé an leabhar aige is not possible, ag and verbal noun are not split.
A verb cannot be emphasised in a cleft construction like those above, because it already stands at the beginngin of a normal sentence.
One can however place the verbal noun of the verb at the beginning, and following that, a relative clause with a form of the verb déan (= do) (similar as the poor German: Laufen tust du)
|normal syntax||verb + subject + object||Chonaic tu an fear||You saw the man||Saw you the man|
|emphasised verb:||verbal noun + a + déan + subject + object||Féiceáil a rinne tú an fear||Seen the man you have||Seeing did you the man|
This cleft construction is basically a sentence form with déan = do as an auxilliary verb like:
Rinne tú an fear a fheiceáil = You did see the man. (lit.: "did you the man to see ").
In this form, it is used most often with rare verbs, to avoid their inflexion.
|normal sentence||verb + subject (etc.) + níos / is + comparative||Bíonn na laethanta níos fuaire sa gheimhreadh||The days are cooler in the Winter||are the days thing-is cooler in the Winter|
|w/ relative clause||is + comparative + a + verb + subject (etc.)||Sa gheimhreadh is fuaire a bhíonn na laethanta||In the Winter, the days are cooler||In the Winter is cooler, (REL that which) are the days|
This applies not only to sentences with a special emphasis af one part of the sentence, but also in other occasions where a relative clause is needed.
This form also doesn't really serve to specially emphasise the comparative.
On the practical side, the resulting construction always forms a cleft construction (is + comparative + relative clause).
This form is, of course, not to be used if the relative clause should only serve to highlight the comparative:
e.g.: an fear a bhí níos sine ná mise = the man who was older than me
An emphasis of the verb as in the above patterns (i.e. as the cleft construction) is only possible in the form of the verbal noun.
The verb, or the action clause, can also be emphasised, by placing certain expressions in front of it that point to the fact that the action is in the spotlight of interest.
Such expressions as: "Is é an chaoi" = "the way it is " or "is é an rud = the thing is", "is amhlaidh = so it is " or "is ea = it is "
This is grammatically a "pseudo-cleft construct".
|normal syntax||verb + subject + object||Bhuail tu an fear||You hit the man||hit you the man|
|emphasised verb:||Is é an chaoi + a/ar + verb + subject + object||Is é an chaoi ar bhuail tú an fear||What you did was hit the man||is it the way, that hit you the man|
|Is é an rud + a + verb + subject + object||Is é an rud a bhuail tú an fear||is it the thing, that hit you the man|
|Is amhlaidh + a + verb + subject + object||Is amhlaidh a bhuail tú an fear||is [it] so, REL hit you the man|
|Is ea + a + verb + subject + object||Is ea a bhuail tú an fear||is it, REL hit you the man|
"Is a an chaoi" requires an indirect relative clause (comp. adverbial indir. relative clause), hence the eclipsis after a or lenition after ar in the preterite (hence ar bhuail in the above example instead of a bhuail in the other examples)
"Is é an rud" can be contracted to one word: séard (Séard a bhuail tú an fear). "Is ea" becomes then "Sea"
Such a subordinating clause can only be emphasised through the formation of a "pseudo-cleft construction", similar to the emphasis of verbs.
|normal syntax||verb + subject + go/nach ...||Dúirt sé go bhfaca sé an fear.||He said that he saw the man.||said he that saw he the man.|
|emphasised clause||Is é an rud + a + verb + subject + (ná) + go/nach ...||Séard a dúirt sé (ná) go bhfaca sé an fear.||What he said is that he saw the man.||is-it-the-thing, that said he (but) that he saw the man.|
"Is é an rud" can be contracted to one word: Séard
Instead of "séard" one can use other expressions, e.g. rud eile = something else / what's more, etc.
e.g.: Rud eile atá speisiúil faoin teach seo ná go raibh cónaí air ann = Something else interesting about this house is that he had lived there .
Similar to the go/nach-subordinating clause, an infinitive construction may be also be emphasised by a pseudo-cleft construction:
e.g.: Séard a dúirt sé leis ná an féar a bhaint. = What he told him was is that he was to cut the grass .
An object can be emphasised using a cleft construction (see above), but also with a pseudo-cleft construction. The emphasis comes about when one moves the object to the end of the sentence.
This way of shifting emphasis is also possible for subjects, but less common and most likely restricted to interrogative clauses.
|normal syntax||verb + subject + object||Chonaic mé capall||I saw a horse||saw I a horse|
|emphasised object:||Is é an rud + a + verb + subject + ná + object||Séard a chonaic mé ná capall||What I saw, was a horse||is-it-the-thing, that saw I but a horse|
"Is é an rud" can be contracted to one word: séard
Note the use of the conjunction ná (lit.: but): It's possibly comparable to: You've seen nothing but a horse.
Similar pseudo-cleft construction syntaxes may also be attained in (mostly rhetorical) questions.
Instead of "is é an rud (séard)" comes then words like céard, cad, cé.
Here, instead of ná often ach:
Céard eile a chonaic sí ansin ach capall? = What else did she see there but a horse?
Cad a dhéanfainn, mar sin, ach é a bhualadh? = What else should I have done but to hit him ?
Cleft- and pseudo cleft constructs are formed using the copula, but also appear in various copular clauses themselves,
see here: emphasis in the copular clause.
If a subject is modified by an expansion (e.g. a relative clause or other adverbial construct) is becomes rather long and there fore clumsy in the normal PSO-sentence structure.
Therefore, it can move to the beginning of the sentence (i.e. shifted to the left. Hence the term left shift )
The actual main clause follows unchanged, the subject is represented there in its normal position by a reflexive pronoun, to ensure continuity of meaning.
In the German or English comparative clause such a pronoun is lacking, so below, the extra "he" is rather atypical.
e.g. (subject bold, expansion italicised):
|normal:||Bhí an fear a chonaic mé ar an tsráid ag dul abhaile.||The man that I had seen on the street, went home.|
|shifted:||An fear a chonaic mé ar an tsráid, bhí sé ag dul abhaile.||The man, that I had seen on the street , (he) went home.|
In negative clauses, one can often shift the object to the front. It shows a particularly strong emphasis (of the negation, not the object).
It is one of the rare forms, in which one actually goes against the PSO syntax rule.
|normal:||Ní bhfuair mé litir.||I didn't receive a letter.|
|shifted:||Litir ní bhfuair mé.||Not one letter did I receive.|
In clauses in the progressive:
Here, the object can also be positioned at the beginning of negative clauses, it then is in the nominative/accusative.
There is then a instead of ag preceding the verbal noun.
|normal:||Ní raibh mé ag saothrú pingine.||I didn't earn a penny.|
|shifted:||Pingin ní raibh mé a shaothrú.||Not one penny did I earn|
The sentence form Dochtúir is ea é = He is a doctor is meant here
For more information, see: emphasis in the copular clause