Caibidil a hAon: The Noun (an tAinmfhocal)

the irregular declination (an Díochlaonadh Neamhrialta)

Many nouns are irregular- with respect to their plurals (e.g. duine - daoine, 4th declination)
Nouns are divided into declinations rather according to the genitive, for this is much more regular, and only very few, albeit common, nouns are resistant to a typification.

Of those, these are probably the most common:

Nom. Sing. m/f Gen. Sing. Dat. Sing. Nom. Plur. Gen. Plur. translation
an bhean 1 f na mná don mhnaoi, bhean na mná na mban woman
an deirfiúr f na deirféar - na deirfiúracha  na ndeirfiúracha sister (fam.)
an tsiúr 2 f na siúrach - na siúracha na siúracha sister (nun)
Dia, an dia m Dé, an dé - na déithe na ndéithe God
an lá m an lae don ló, lá na laethanta na laethanta day
an leaba 3 f na leapa - na leapacha na leapacha bed
an mhí f na míosa - na míonna na míonna month
an olann 4 f na holla - na holanna na n-olann wool
an talamh 5 f na talún - na tailte na dtailte land
Ó/Ua 6 m - Ua/Ó grandchild, descendent

1: The dative plural is/was mnáibh
2: siúr is mostly 5th declination, except the -r is broad in the nominative
3: leaba is actually a verbal noun (leabadh). This places it in the verbal noun class. Genitive: leabtha > leapa (-bth- is pronounced[p] )
4: Olann is a regular word of the 3rd declination. The genitive olla is produced via syncopation (the omission of a in olann) + suffix -a of the 3rd declination (following the old spelling, olna, today in the new standard olla both spoken and written, since ln > ll)
5: the genitive talún is actually also regular (5th declination), its earlier form was talmhan (dative: talmhain).
The variant talamh (masc) - talaimh - tailte is regular (1st declination),
Other nouns ending in -mh also once belonged to the 5th declination, e.g. breitheamh = judge, old genitive breitheamhan (in the new standard breithiún), hence the English term "Brehon Laws" for the Old Irish Law System and the plural breithiúnacha. Today most of these nouns belong to the 1st declination: breitheamh - breithimh
6: This applies to the Ó in names (the word ó = grandchild is 4th declination, genitive ó). The vocative is . The dative plural Uibh is sometimes to be found in town- and region names (Uibh Ráthach = Iveragh). Ua is also used as the nominative singular (and Ó also as genitive plural)

More about the declination of verbal nouns see here

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© Lars Braesicke 1999 / 2000

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