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Glossary of grammatical terminology

Some grammatical terms used in LEACAN are as follows –


a

ablative – expression of motion from an object, cf. bho.

adessive – expression of location at an object, cf. aig.

allative – expression of motion to an object, cf. gu.


c

cessative – perfective aspectual expression of the end of a situation.

complement – a dependent which is either a direct or indirect object

compound preposition – a two-word, fixed phrase which functions like a simple preposition and takes the dative case. It is often formed by an adverb followed by a simple preposition (e.g. còmhla ris).

conjugate / conjugation – to change the verb depending on such factors as tense, person and number.


d

dative – a type of case-marking which follows many simple prepositions, e.g. aig a’ chaileig bhàin (cf. a’ chaileag bhàn)

decline / declension – to change the noun or adjective depending on such factors as case, number and gender.

definite – a noun is definite when preceded by the definite article (e.g. a’) or a possessive pronoun (mo, do, a, etc. ).

deictic centre – the ‘here and now’ of the narrative or conversation (e.g. the location of the speaker or narrative focaliser).

deictically neutral – (n)either distal (n)or proximal.

delative – motion from the surface of an object, cf. far.

dependent - the form of the verb which is used with, or ‘depends’ on, other particles e.g. a bheil, cha tèid, nach dèan.

direct object – the object is the thing or person that an action happens to. It is direct if there is no preposition (at, on, with, etc.), i.e. there is a direct relationship between the verb and its object: e.g. Tha mi a’ ceannach leabhar.

distal – expression of motion away from the speaker (or other deictic centre).


e

elative – expression of motion from the interior of an object, cf. à.

emphatic – when emphasis is shown, i.e. emphatic pronouns are mise, thusa, esan, etc.


g

genitive – a type of case-marking in Gaelic which indicates possession or close association (e.g. taigh an fhir mhòir) and which also occurs after some prepositions (e.g. chun, mu dheidhinn).


h

hypercorrection – where a grammatical rule in one situation is incorrectly applied to another situation, often when aiming at a more prestigious usage.


i

illative – expression of motion to the interior of an object, cf. do.

imperfective – expression of a situation from an inside aspect – ongoing and non-bounded, without explicit start or end points.

inchoative – perfective aspectual expression of the start of an imperfective situation.

indefinite – a noun without the definite article (‘the’) or a possessive pronoun (my, your, etc.).

independent – the form of the verb that is used ‘independently’ without other particles (an, cha, nach), e.g. tha, thèid, .

indirect object – the object is the thing or person that an action happens to. It is indirect if it is used with a preposition (at, on, with, etc.), i.e. the relationship between the verb and its object is not direct: e.g. Tha mi a’ dol dhan bhaile.

inessive – expression of location at the interior of an object, cf. ann an.

inversion – reversal of the basic order of words, i.e. placing the noun before the verb; Tha mi ag ionnsachadh Spàinntis. > Feumaidh mi Spàinntis ionnsachadh.

inverted – put in the reversed position from the basic order, subject to inversion.

intransitive – a verb or use of a verb which doesn't have an object, e.g. tha e a' falbh, bha iad a' rànail.


l

lenition – the process or result of ‘softening’ a consonant shown in Gaelic writing by adding an h.


m

modal verbs – a type of verb that expresses necessity or possibility, e.g. feum, faod.


n

non-inverted – is not put in the reversed position from the basic order, not subject to inversion.


o

object – see direct object, indirect object.


p

perfective – expression of a situation (event, activity, process or state) from an outside aspect, as a single, unanalysable, bounded whole.

perlative – expression of motion via the interior of an object, cf. tro.

personal pronoun – the word that indicates a person, mi, thu, e, i, etc.

possessive pronoun – a pronoun that indicates possession of something, mo, do, a, etc.

progressive – the form of the verb that expresses an action in progress, e.g. a’ leughadh, a’ seinn, a’ dèanamh.

preposition – a word which comes before a noun or noun phrase to express a relation to another word; air, aig, le, ri, mu dheidhinn, airson (see simple preposition).

pronoun – a word that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g. mi, thu) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse, e.g. e, i, siud.

proximal – expression of motion towards the speaker (or other deictic centre).


r

reflexive – referring back to the same subject, e.g. bhruidhinn mi rium fhèin.

relative clause – part of a sentence that cannot exist independently and describes a noun that comes before it in the main part of the sentence, e.g. an geama a bhios a' chlann-nighean a’ cluiche.

relative pronoun – pronoun used to introduce a relative clause, e.g. an leabhar a sgrìobh mi, an obair nach do rinn mi.


s

simple preposition – a type of word which comes before a noun or noun phrase to express a relation to another word; air, aig, le, ri. In Gaelic they are typically one word except for ann an.

specifier – the determiner or genitive possessor of a noun.

stranding – when a preposition occurs somewhere other than immediately adjacent to its object; for example, at the end of a sentence (e.g. an duine a bha mi a' bruidhinn ris)

subject – the main dependent of a verb.

sublative – expression of motion to the surface of an object, cf. air.

suffix – an element that is added to the end of a word, e.g. mo mhàthair-sa.

superessive – expression of location at the surface of an object, cf. air.


t

transitive – a verb or use of a verb which has an object, e.g. Nuair a bha e a' fàgail an taighe.