Notes and Queries
(412.) Dath (colour) is used in Co. Donegal as a strong
equivalent of anything — e.g., ní'l dath agam de; ní rabh
dath istigh nach airgead. The latter instance is interest-
ing as showing nach in sequence in past time, a practice
also previously noticed in the Ulster use of gur'b.
Nár(bh) and gur(bh) do not seem to be used in Ulster,
even if they exist. The two phrases were both heard
used in conversation by Anne McFadden, a native of
Kilcar, in southern Donegal.
(413.) Rabh is the correct way to spell historically the
Leath Chuinn (Connacht and Ulster) form of this
word, as it is descended from the literary rabha used
by Northern writers. Many examples of rabha occur
in the Book of Clanranald. Raibh, on the other hand,
is a similar abbreviation of raibhe, the literary form
used by Leinster and Munster writers. Both raba
and raibe (O.Ir. robe, rabi) are found in M. Irish.
(414.) Rabha and raibhe show a variation between a
broad and a slender form of a word. Many other
examples of the like exist, especially in dialect; thus
clagarnach, heavy rain, of Co. Clare is claigearnach
in Co. Cork; sgafaire, a fine fellow, is sometimes
pronounced sgaifire, by some in S.E.
Ulster; d'oibir is said in Donegal for d'obair, worked,
practised; coigear (Co. Meath) for cogar; ciallaidhe (Co.
Armagh) for céillidhe; smulgadán, the collar-bone, in
Co. Donegal, for smuilgeadán of Co. Tyrone; cuibhe (for
cuibhidh) is now spoken in Munster for the former book-
form cubhaidh, meet, fit; cuimhin in Munster for the
Northern cumhan, cumhain, found in the older litera-
ture; cuirthear and curthar (cuirtear and curtar) are
found alternating in many districts, &c., &c. All
these tend to show that caol le caol agus leathan le leathan
exists perceptibly even in the mouths of unlettered
people, and that the very fault alleged against the rule
by its opponents — viz., that it settles the spelling by
unsettling it — i.e., by making two spellings possible —
is existent, though not to any great extent, in the
language itself. The absurdity of attempted improve-
ments(!) lilke buailfar, beidhfar, &c., is then suffi-
cently clear, from the fact of different speakers
making the whole of a word either broad or slender,
as in the above instances.
FOCLÓIR STAIRIÚIL NA NUA-GHAEILGE (FNG) / THE HISTORICAL DICTIONARY OF MODERN IRISH
ACADAMH RÍOGA NA HÉIREANN (ARÉ) / THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY (RIA)
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