Graiméar na Gaedhilge/Part I Chapter VI

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CHAPTER VI.

Syncope.

33. Whenever, in a word of two or more syllables an unaccented vowel or digraph occurs in the last syllable between a liquid (l, m, n, r) and any other consonant, or between two liquids, the unaccented vowel or digraph is elided whenever the word is lengthened by a grammatical inflection beginning with a vowel. This elision of one or more unaccented vowels from the body of an Irish word is called syncope; and when the vowels have been elided the word is said to be syncopated.

34. The only difficulty in syncope is that it often involves slight changes in the other vowels of the syncopated word, in accordance with the rule caol le caol,

35. The following examples will fully exemplify the method of syncopating words.

(a) Nouns.

The genitive singular of—

maidin (morning) is   maidne not   maidine
obair (work} "   oibre "   obaire
carraig (a rock) "   cairrge "   carraige
pinginn
piġinn
(a penny)   "  
"  
pingne
piġne
"  
"  
pinginne
piġinne
caḃair (help) "   caḃra "   caḃara
caṫair (a city) "   caṫraċ "   caṫaraċ
lasair (a flame) "   lasraċ "   lasaraċ
olann (wool) "   olna "   olanna
buiḋean (a company)   "   buiḋne "   buiḋine
bruiġean (a palace)[1] "   bruiġne "   bruiġine

(b) Adjectives.

The genitive singular feminine of—

saiḋḃir (rich) is saiḋḃre not saiḋḃire
flaiṫeaṁail (princely)  " flaiṫeaṁla " flaiṫeaṁala
áluinn (beautiful) " áilne " áluinne
aoiḃinn (pleasant) " aoiḃne " aoiḃinne
uasal (noble) " uaisle " uasaile

(c) Verbs.

Root. Pres. Indicative.
codail codlaim, I sleep, not codailim.
siuḃail siuḃlaim, I walk, " siuḃailim.
innis innsim, I tell, " innisim.
abair abraim, I say, " abairim.
laḃair laḃraim, I speak, " laḃairim.

The same contraction takes place in these and like verbs in all the finite tenses except the future and conditional (old forms). See par. 298.

A thorough knowledge of when and how Syncope takes place will obviate many difficulties.


Wikisource notes
  1. Sic; the spelling bruighean is usually used in the sense ‘quarrel, strife’, while the sense ‘palace’ is spelled bruidhean.