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Modern Irish: Grammatical Structure and Dialectal Variation (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics) Paperback – 29 Aug 1991
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"This carefully crafted book, the product of tremendous labour, should earn Ó Siadhail the thanks of the linguistics community. It has always struck me as odd that, given the extensive historical and descriptive studies of Irish, the language plays such a small part in theoretical linguistic discussions. The part it does play is principally in the arena of syntax, although that is certainly the area with the shortest tradition: the phonology and the morphology of the language are relatively ignored. This book certainly has the potential to reverse that situation by offering linguists of all stripes an excellent guide to the intricacies of Modern Irish." Language
"...Ó Siadhail has done a splendid job." C.M. Adderley, Language Quarterly
Micheal O Siadhail considers modern Irish dialects against the background of their common grammar, providing a comprehensive overview for Celticists and general linguists with an interest in dialectical comparison.
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And for such a dry subject, the book is unusually interesting. To attempt to summarise its thesis, the author maintains in effect that each speaker of Irish is an amateur etymologist. In the back of their minds, they have Platonic ideas of the words of the language, to which phonetic rules are applied to yield the spoken form. The book covers the phonetic rules that guide the several surviving dialects, and explains how the similar Ur-forms of the words yield the different results they do.
The book thus argues for the essential unity of Irish as a language, despite the divergence of its spoken forms. It also generates some sympathetic understanding for the cumbersome and daunting traditional orthography.
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