puxill (puxill) wrote,
puxill
puxill

Supplemental Notes on Using the Defective Verb "IS"

Making sense of MacLaren's Lesson 18 : Using the Defective Verb "IS"

Nota Bene :-- This is my third attempt to figure this out. Hopefully, this time, I'll make it to the end of the list without getting seriously confused (again).

I'm going to start by describing the different types of sentences possible in the simplest terms.

1) pronoun subject and definite noun object
2) noun subject and definite noun object

3) pronoun subject and indefinite noun object
4) definite or proper noun subject and indefinite noun object
5) indefinite noun subject and indefinite noun object

6) definite noun subject and adjective


I've arranged them in this fashion for clarity's sake. My clarity, that is.

The first two :--
          1) pronoun subject and definite noun object
          2) noun subject and definite noun object

Each have only one form in use. One "register", if you will. To my mind, that makes them first as ... well, it's not intrinsically confusing.

The next four are forms that can be expressed in one of two ways; one way that is commonly heard and seen and is considered "low" or common and another - a high register, formal, "Shakespearean-type" language that is very rarely heard these days. For some reason, though, it's the second that gets all the attention and then - after the explanation, the learner is warned to not use it!

Line items 3 through 6 all use the defective verb introduce a relative clause that contains the subject of the sentence. All four use the preposition ANN.

The three line items grouped together :--
          3) pronoun subject and indefinite noun object
          4) definite or proper noun subject and indefinite noun object
          5) indefinite noun subject and indefinite noun object
... put the preposition ANN (or prepositional pronoun of ANN) in the clause proper. The preposition is used to indicate the subject of the sentence.

Something that all the everyday forms of usage of the defective verb "IS" have in common is that the verb is followed by a pronoun (or in the case of line item 6, something that approximates a pronoun, to wit, the prepositional pronoun ANN = "in it").

Before I start, some basic ground rules :--

- Is is often contracted to 'S before a vowel, a vowel sound, and the word mise.

- Bu is often contracted to B' when followed by a vowel or vowel sound

- The second person singular is TU (not "thu") when it directly follows any form of the defective verb IS.

- Cha
          -- becomes Chan before a vowel or vowel sound
          -- lenites words following it which begin with b, f, m, p, c, or g

- An becomes Am when followed by a word beginning with b, f, m, or p

- It would be a good idea to review the prepositional pronouns of ANN before we start. To wit :--

Singular
annam = in me
annad = in you/ thou
ann = in him
innte = her

Plural
annainn = in us
annaibh = in you
annta = in them



Without further ado ... Let's begin - with the common, often used, everyday forms.

1) pronoun subject and definite noun object
This is the simplest.
          VERB + (emphatic) pronoun SUBJECT + definite noun OBJECT
Examples :--  
 
'S mise an dotair.
B' esan an ciopair.
Is ise an tidsear.
Cha mhise an gille.
Cha bu tusa an tuathanach.
Chan iad na daoine.
Chan e am fear.
An iadsan na gillean?
Nach bu sibhse na h-iasgairean?
Thuirt i gur bu tusa am fear.
Thuirt e nach ise an tè.

I am the doctor.
You were the shepherd.
She is a teacher.
I was not the lad.
You were not the farmer.
They aren't the men.
He is not the one.
Were they the lads?
Weren't you the fishermen?
She said that you were the one.
He said that she is not the one.


2) noun subject and definite noun object
This one is also fairly simple.
          VERB + e + name SUBJECT + def noun PREDICATE

You notice that masculine pronoun stuck in there? Get used to it, you'll be seeing it a lot.
Examples :--  
 
'S e Calum an dotair.
B' e Iain an ciopair.
Chan e Seumas an tuathanach.
Nach e an gillean seo na daoine?
Cha b' e Mòrag agus Peadar na tidsearean.
An b' e Pòl an gille?
Nach e Donnchadh an t-iasgair?
Thuirt i gum b' e Peadar am fear.
Thuirt e nach e Sìne an tè.

Malcolm is the doctor.
John was the shepherd.
James isn't the farmer.
Weren't those lads the men?
Sarah and Peter weren't the teachers.
Was Paul the lad?
Isn't Duncan the fisherman?
She said that Peter was the one.
He said that Jane isn't the one.

It is possible to substitute in a gender or number specific pronoun for the e, but it doesn't seem to be necessary.
Examples :--
          Cha b' iad Mòrag agus Peadar na tidsearan.
          Thuirt e nach i Sìne an tè.


There now, that was simple enough. Now is where it gets a ... bit ... complicated.

For the next three line items, the pattern is
          VERB + e + PREDICATE + a tha + form of preposition ANN + SUBJECT

That's it. That's all the confusion. Doesn't look all that complicated, though, does it?
          VERB + e + PREDICATE + a tha + form of preposition ANN + SUBJECT

3) pronoun subject and indefinite noun object
Here is where you need to use the prepositional pronouns. Ready?
Examples :--  
 
'S e dotair a th' annam.
B' e ciopair a th' ann.
Chan e tuathanach a th' annad.
Cha b' e tidsearan a th' annta.
Chan e daoine a th' annainn.
An b' e gillean a th' annta?
Nach e iasgairean a th' annaibh?
Nach b' e iasgair a th' annaibh?
Thuirt i gum b' e fear a th' annad.
Thuirt e nach e tè a th' innte.

I am a doctor.
He was a shepherd.
You aren't a farmer.
They weren't teachers.
We aren't men.
Were they boys?
Aren't you fishermen?
Weren't you a fisherman?
She said that you were one.
He said that she isn't one.



So what happens if we toss in proper nouns?

4) proper or definite noun subject and indefinite noun object.
Here, instead of the prepositional pronouns, you use the preposition itself, which takes the form of ann an (ann am when followed by a name beginning with b, f, m, or p) and the form of anns an/ anns am/ anns a' for definite nouns.

          Is + e + PREDICATE + a tha + {ann an/am or anns an/am/a'} + SUBJECT
Examples :--  
 
'S e dotair a th' ann an Calum.
B' e chiopair a th' ann an Iain.
Chan e tuathanach a th' ann an Seumas.
Cha b' e tidsearan a th' ann Mòrag agus Peadar.
Chan e daoine a th' anns na caileagan sin. .
An b' e gille a th' ann an Pòl?
Nach e iasgairean a th' anns na gillean?
Nach b' e iasgair a th' ann an Donnchadh?
Thuirt i gum b' e fear a th' ann an Peadar.
Thuirt e nach e tè a th' ann an Sìne.

Malcolm is a doctor.
John was a shepherd.
James isn't a farmer.
Sarah and Peter weren't teachers.
Those girls aren't men
Was Paul a lad?
Weren't the lads fishermen?
Wasn't Duncan a fisherman?
She said that Peter was one.
He said that Jane isn't one.

Oh cool! All you have to do is replace the prepositional pronoun of ANN with the proper form of the preposition itself and the noun. That was MUCH easier than I was expecting!



5) indefinite noun subject and indefinite noun object
Now that we've dealt with definite noun SUBJECTS and pronoun SUBJECTS (which are sort of definite by definition ... which sounds like a tautology but isn't), let's look at what happens when both the subject and the object are indefinite.

Same form as with definite subject and indefinite object (except that the form ANN takes is simpler) :--
          VERB + e + PREDICATE + a tha + ann an/am + SUBJECT
Examples :--  
 
'S e iasg a th' ann am breac.
Cha b' e iasg a th' ann an iolaire.
An e cat a th' ann an iolaire?
Nach bu cù a th' ann am bradan?
Thuirt iad gur b' e cat a bha ann an taibhse.
Thuirt i nach bu cù tha ann am madadh-allaidh.

A trout is a fish.
An eagle was/ would be not a fish.
Is an eagle a cat?
Wouldn't a salmon be a dog?
They said a ghost was a cat.
She said that a wolf isn't a dog.




6) definite noun subject and adjective
The common usage of the defective verb "IS" to express a sentence that contains a definite noun subject and an adjective, like the other common usage forms discussed in line items 3 through 5, contains a relative clause using the verb "A BHITH" and it employs the prepositional pronoun "ANN", meaning "in it", but ... in this instance, the prepositional pronoun follows the defective verb.

          VERB + ann + adjective PREDICATE + a tha + definite noun SUBJECT

I suppose you could think of it as "in it is {the adjective} that {the subject} is".

Or maybe not. However you rationalize it, the pattern (once again) is :--
          VERB + ann + adjective PREDICATE + a tha + definite noun SUBJECT
Examples :--  
 
B' ann mòr a bha am bradan.
Chan ann beag a tha an t-iolaire sin.
An b' ann mòsach a bha an cat?
Nach ann luath a tha an t-each?
Thuirt e gur ann mall a tha an cù.
Thuirt i nach b' ann crùbach a bha a' bhò.

The salmon was big.
That eagle isn't small.
Was the cat furry?
Isn't the horse fast?
He said that the dog is slow.
She said that the cow wasn't lame.


That doesn't really seem all that difficult to understand, so why am I having such a hard time with the defective verb?



Well, in the interests of completeness, whether I want to or not (which I don't); here are high register forms of the defective verb "IS" - with the common forms for comparison. (And so I don't get confused again.) (I hope.)

3- redux) pronoun subject and indefinite noun object
Examples :--
High Register Form English Common form

Is dotair mi.
Bu chiopair e.
Cha tuathananch thu.
Cha bu tidsearan iad.
Cha daoine sinn.
An bu ghillean iad?
Nach iasgairean sibh?
Nach bu iasgair sibh?
Thuirt i gum b' fhear thu.
Thuirt e nach tè i.

I am a doctor.
He was a shepherd.
You aren't a farmer.
They weren't teachers.
We aren't men.
Were they boys?
Aren't you fishermen?
Weren't you a fisherman?
She said that you were one.
He said that she isn't one.

'S e dotair a th' annam.
B' e ciopair a th' ann.
Chan e tuathanach a th' annad.
Cha b' e tidsearan a th' annta.
Chan e daoine a th' annainn.
An b' e gillean a th' annta?
Nach e iasgairean a th' annaibh?
Nach b' e iasgair a th' annaibh?
Thuirt i gum b' e fear a th' annad.
Thuirt e nach e tè a th' innte.


5- redux) indefinite noun subject and indefinite noun object
Examples :--
High Register Form English Common form

Is iasg breac.
Cha b' iasg iolaire.
An cat iolaire?
Nach bu cù bradan?
Thuirt iad gur bu cat taibhse.
Thuirt i nach cù madadh-allaidh.

A trout is a fish.
An eagle was/ would be not a fish.
Is an eagle a cat?
Wouldn't a salmon be a dog?
They said a ghost was a cat.
She said that a wolf isn't a dog.

'S e iasg a th' ann am breac.
Cha b' e iasg a th' ann an iolaire.
An e cat a th' ann an iolaire?
Nach bu cù a th' ann am bradan?
Thuirt iad gur b' e cat a bha ann an taibhse.
Thuirt i nach bu cù a tha ann an madadh-allaidh.


6- redux) definite noun subject and adjective
Examples :--  

Bu mhòr am bradan.
Cha bheag an t-iolaire sin.
An bu mhòsach an cat?
Nach luath an t-each?
Thuirt e gur mall an cù.
Thuirt i nach bu chrùbhach a' bhò.

The salmon was big.
That eagle isn't small.
Was the cat furry?
Isn't the horse fast?
He said that the dog is slow.
She said that the cow wasn't lame.

B' ann mòr a bha am bradan.
Chan ann beag a tha an t-iolaire sin.
An b' ann mòsach a bha an cat?
Nach ann luath a tha an t-each?
Thuirt e gur ann mall a tha an cù.
Thuirt i nach b' ann crùbach a bha a' bhò.
Tags: gaelic, gaidhlig, gramar, grammar, leasanan, lessons, maclaren
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 2 comments