Vocative

 

The vocative case occurs in instances of direct address. The vocative noun is preceded by the vocative particle a, which causes lenition of the noun.

 

Nouns of all declensions are subject to lenition. For First Declension nouns, the vocative singular form is the same as the genitive singular.

 

 

For all declensions except the First Declension, the vocative plural form is the same as the nominative plural.

Examples:

 

Dia do bheatha, a mheic Mhaghnais (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 2, line 1)

a sholuis oidhche um iarnóin (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 33, line 16)

 

 

First Declension nouns have a distinct vocative plural form.

Examples:

 

bhar dtuir aoil, a Ultacha (Aithdioghluim Dána, poem 37, stanza 30)

brón oraibh, a Allmhurcha (Aithdioghluim Dána, poem 23, stanza 24)

 

 

 

For all other declensions, the vocative form is the same as the nominative singular and lenited where possible.

Examples:

 

a léaghthóir cuirfead síos ann so (Keating, “Marbhadh”)

Tuig a dhuine, nach lór duit (Keating, TBB, p. 8 line 164)

a laogh na mná Mainighe (Aithdioghluim Dána, poem 40, stanza 43)

a chruth séimhidhe (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 40, line 6)

 

 

When the noun in the vocative is a male proper name, the final consonant of the name is made slender where possible (though there are a few exceptions to this rule).  Female proper names are lenited, where possible, but the final consonant is not made slender.

Examples:

 

a Dhonnchaidh ghil .c. (IGT, RIA 24 P 8; Osborn Bergin, “Nominative and Vocative,” Ériu 9 (1921/23): 93)

Déanam cunntus, a Chathail (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 14, line 1)

Ísligh do mheanma, a Mhaoilir (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 21, line 1) [male name already slender, but lenited]

A Áodh ghil, A Áodh geal .c. aráon (IGT, RIA 24 P 8; Osborn Bergin, “Nominative and Vocative,” Ériu 9 (1921/23): 93)

A Mhór cuimhnigh an comann (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 15, line 1) [female name]

 

 

 

Except for the First Declension, plural nouns in the vocative have the same form as the nominative plural.

Examples:

 

Doirbh libh, a laochraidh Dhanar (Aithdioghluim Dána, poem 23, stanza 24)

 

 

 

In bardic poetry, the nominative is often used in places where the vocative would ordinarily be used.

Examples:

 

a cheann shaorshlóigh Shíthe Truim (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 41, line 15)

a rosg mear craobhuaine ceart (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 41, line 19)

a chosg foiréigne chrú gCuinn (Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, poem 41, line 67)

 

 

 

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