Dative

 

In Early Modern Irish a noun is in the dative case when it is preceded by certain prepositions.

 

Prepositions that govern the dative: a/as, do, de, ar, ó, ós, ag; and ar, fá and i except when used with verbs of motion, in which instances they govern the accusative.

Examples:

 

i gcrú chaoilshleagh (“Inaugural Ode”, line 3)

ó Raith (“Inaugural Ode”, line 6)

ar seanchlár Banbha (“Inaugural Ode”, line 12)

tairngir don inghin (Keating, “Marbhadh”)

 

 

When a noun following a preposition governing the dative is followed by an epithet, the epithet is subject to lenition. However, non-mutation of the epithet in these situations is also common. (By contrast, when a noun following a preposition governing the accusative is followed by an epithet, the epithet is subject to eclipsis.) (Eoin Mac Cárthaigh, IGT 1, p. 32-33)

Examples :

 

rí ar seanchlár Banbha (“Inaugural Ode”, line 12) [example of non-mutation with dative noun]

 

do sgoil Fé[i]nius[a] (Eoin Mac Cárthaigh, IGT 1, p. 32) [example of dative noun, but no lenition of epithet]

do sgoil Fheiniusa (Eoin Mac Cárthaigh, IGT 1, p. 32-3) [example of dative noun with lenition of epithet (same as above example, but from different MS)]

 

 

With other prepositions, the noun preceded by the preposition takes the accusative case.

 

Prepositions that govern the accusative: amhail, gan, go h-, ‘to’,idir, lé, mar, ré, seach, tar, tré, um; and ar, i n-, and after verbs of motion. (Bergin, Stories From Keating, p. xi) (Damian McManus, “An Nua-Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach,” p. 433)

 

For more, see section on The Accusative Case.

 

 

For some prepositions, however, nouns following the preposition can take either the dative or the accusative, depending on the situation.

 

Prepositions that take both the dative and accusative: ar, i n-, and after verbs of motion.

Examples:

 

7 Chonchubhair [a bheith] ‘na rígh Uladh (Keating, “Marbhadh”) [preposition i is stationary here; not used with a verb of motion]

 

 

For singular nouns, the dative form is sometimes the same as the nominative form, but in Early Modern Irish many nouns have a distinct dative singular form.

Examples:

 

as an seanchus (G. Keating, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, “Díonbhrollach” Section 9, p. 90) [example where dative spelled like nominative]

ó Mhaigh Seanáir (G. Keating, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, Part I, Section 15, p. 2) [example of distinct dative form]

 

 

All plural nouns, though, have a distinct dative plural form ending in –(a)ibh.

Examples:

 

coinbhliocht idir Chonnachtaibh 7 Ultaibh (Keating, “Marbhadh”)

Gabhais fearg Naoise gona bhráithribh (G. Keating, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, section XXXII)

ag ithe na feola as a lámhaibh (G. Keating, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, “Díonbhrollach,” Section 3, p. 22)

Some examples of variant forms of the dative plural:

 

Nominative                 Dative Plural

luibh                            luibhibh or luibheannoibh

 

buachail(l)                   buachaillibh or buachuillighibh

 

prionnsa                      prionnsoibh or prionnsadhaibh

 

 

 

Maculine singular nouns beginning with sh- and feminine singular nouns beginning with s- are affixed with an initial t when preceded by a preposition that governs the dative case. (Damian McManus, “An Nua-Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach,” p. 360)

Examples:

 

tiomna an tshósair ‘gan tsheanóir (IGT ii example 493; IGT i section 68) [masculine]

ma tá san tshíodh (IGT i, section 39; IGT ii, example 1260) [masculine]

ón tsín gáethaigh (IGT ii, example 646) [feminine]

 

 

After preposition + the singular definite article + noun:

 

When a preposition that governs only the dative is followed by the singular definite article, the following noun is typically subject to lenition. (However, if a preposition that governs only the accusative is followed by the singular definite article, then the following noun is subject to eclipsis.)

Examples:

 

mar théid ó’n Sionainn soir go h-Áthcliath (Keating, Foras Feas ar Éirinn I-II, p. 114) [dative, no lenition]

san dara caibidil don chéadleabhar (Keating, Foras Feas ar Éirinn, Book II, Section 48, p. 376) [example of dative with lenition]

don chrích sin uile (Keating, Foras Feas ar Éirinn, Book II, Section 48, p. 378) [example of dative with lenition and distinct dative form]

 

 

When a preposition that governs the dative or the accusative is followed by the singular definite article, initial mutation of the following noun typically depends on which case (dative or accusative) the preposition governs in that particular instance. For instance, san (i + an) governs the accusative when it concerns motion, i.e. when san = “into the.” On the other hand, san governs the dative when used in the (stationary) sense of “in the.”

 

The preposition plus article ar an typically follows the same rules as san, where it governs the accusative in instances involving motion, and the dative in instances involving stationary relationships. However, there is some confusion in actual usage as to whether a particular instance of ar an involves motion or not. Thus, ar an often governs the accusative in instances where the dative might be expected (and vice versa). (Eoin Mac Cárthaigh, IGT 1, p. 28)

Examples:

 

tarla an tshleadh san bhfear úd thall (Damian McManus, “An Nua-Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach,” p. 433) [example of “i + an” regarded as accusative, thus eclipsis of noun]

tarla an tshleadh san fhior úd thall (Damian McManus, “An Nua-Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach,” p. 433) [example of “i + an” regarded as dative, thus dative singular form of noun and lenition]

atá fear ‘na rioth ar an chnuc (Damian McManus, “An Nua-Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach,” p. 433) [example of “ar an” stationary, thus governing dative and causing lenition]

Rachad ar an gcnoc (Damian McManus, “An Nua-Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach,” p. 433) [“ar an” with verb of motion, thus accusative/eclipsis]

 

 

 

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