Appendix:Irish second-declension nouns

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The Irish second declension is made up primarily of feminine nouns; there are only three masculine nouns. The nominative singular ends in a broad (velarized) or slender (palatalized) consonant. The genitive singular is formed by adding -e to the nominative singular and palatalizing the final consonant if it is not already slender.

The vocative and dative singular are identical to the nominative singular. (However, in the archaic literary language and in some dialects, the second declension has a distinct dative case formed by dropping the -e from the genitive singular but retaining the slender consonant.)

The plural can be formed in any of a variety of ways, which can be grouped into two basic types: the weak plural forms and the strong plural forms.

Weak plurals[edit]

A weak plural in Irish is a plural formation in which the genitive plural is distinct from the nominative plural. The weak nominative plural is formed by adding -a to the broad consonant (for example, póg (a kiss) has nominative plural póga and deoir (tear) has nominative plural deora). The genitive plural is formed by dropping the -a of the nominative plural, e.g. póg (identical to nominative singular), deor (distinct from nominative singular). The vocative and dative plural are identical to the nominative plural. (However, in the archaic language and in some dialects the dative plural is formed by adding -aibh to the broad consonant, e.g. pógaibh, deoraibh.)

póg (kiss) Singular Plural
Nominative póg póga
Vocative a phóg a phóga
Genitive póige póg
Dative póg
(archaic) póig
póga
(archaic) pógaibh
deoir (tear) Singular Plural
Nominative deoir deora
Vocative a dheoir a dheora
Genitive deoire deor
Dative deoir deora
(archaic) deoraibh

Other examples:

All nouns ending in the suffixes -lann and -óg/-eog:

  • -lann, gen. sg. -lainne, nom. pl. -lanna, gen. pl. -lann
  • -óg, gen. sg. -óige, nom. pl. -óga, gen. pl. -óg
  • -eog, gen. sg. -eoige, nom. pl. -eoga, gen. pl. -eog

Some nouns undergo a vowel change before the slender consonant of the genitive singular:

At least one undergoes a vowel change before the broad consonant of the plural:

The genitive singular of nouns ending in unstressed -(e)ach is formed with -(a)í, which in the older spelling was -(a)ighe. The archaic dative singular of these forms ends in -(a)igh.

gealach (moon) Singular Plural
Nominative gealach gealacha
Vocative a ghealach a gealacha
Genitive gealaí
(obsolete spelling) gealaighe
gealach
Dative gealach
(archaic) gealaigh
gealacha
(archaic) gealachaibh
girseach (girl) Singular Plural
Nominative girseach girseacha
Vocative a ghirseach a girseacha
Genitive girsí
(obsolete spelling) girsighe
girseach
Dative girseach
(archaic) girsigh
girseacha
(archaic) girseachaibh

Other examples:

A few weak plurals exceptionally in -e rather than -a:

Strong plurals[edit]

A strong plural in Irish is a plural formation in which the all cases of the plural are identical (except for the archaic and dialectal dative plural in -(a)ibh). Many words of the first declension form a strong plural with one of the endings -(e)anna, -í, -(e)acha, -ta, -te, -tha.

áit (place) Singular Plural
Nominative áit áiteanna
Vocative a áit a áiteanna
Genitive áite áiteanna
Dative áit áiteanna
(obsolete) áiteannaibh

Plurals in -(e)anna:

Plurals in

Plurals in -(e)acha

Plurals in -ta, -te, -tha:

Some nouns undergo a vowel change before the slender consonant of the genitive singular:

A few nouns undergo syncope of an internal syllable in the genitive singular and/or the plural:

Duals[edit]

Some nouns referring to things that usually occur in pairs have a separate dual form that is used when the word is modified by dhá (two). It is identical in form to the (archaic) dative singular (i.e. it is formed by dropping the -e from the genitive singular). Moreover, in these words the dative singular is not archaic, but is commonly found.

All of these nouns have a weak plural.

Singular Dual Plural Gloss
Nominative Genitive Dative Nominative Genitive
bos boise bois dhá bhois bosa bos palm of the hand
bróg bróige bróig dhá bhróig bróga bróg shoe
cluas cluaise cluais dhá chluais cluasa cluas ear
cos coise cois dhá chois cosa cos a foot, leg
lámh láimhe láimh dhá láimh lámha lámh a hand

In some dialects, the dative singular of these nouns is also used as the nominative singular.

Masculines[edit]

There are three masculine nouns in the second declension. All three have strong plurals.

See also[edit]