Compounding, preposed adjectives and intensifiers in Scottish Gaelic

Csonka, Veronika (2016) Compounding, preposed adjectives and intensifiers in Scottish Gaelic. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis deals with the topic of compounding in Scottish Gaelic, in particular the relationship between marked adjective + noun compounds (e.g. deagh oidhche ‘good night’) and their unmarked noun + adjective alternatives (e.g. oidhche mhath, literally ‘night good’). The first part of the thesis surveys the relevant linguistic literature on compounding, with a specific focus on compounding in Celtic languages, and the research question for the investigation is specified as follows: in which circumstances do Gaelic speakers use the marked adjective + noun constructions in contrast to the umarked alternatives?
The investigation itself consists of two experimental studies. The first of these is a corpus study using a 2.5 million word, mainly 20th century subcorpus of Corpas na Gàidhlig, a 19 million word corpus of Scottish Gaelic texts covering a range of genres, dialects and historical periods. In the course of this study, all phrases in which these adjectives occurred were collected and analysed. To annotate data the freeware AntConc concordance package was used, followed by a statistic analysis of the annotated phrases. A range of hypotheses were developed as a result of the corpus study, for example: (a) the role of conceptuality, subjectivity and emphasis in the use of preposed adjectives as opposed to their plain counterpart; (b) the religious register of ma(i)th good; and (c) the role of contrast in the use of attributive plain adjective aosta compared with the highly productive use of the preposed adjective seann- to convey the meaning ʻold’.
The second experimental study involved interviews with native speakers, with the aim of providing further evidence relating to these hypotheses. 10 interviews were conducted with native speakers of Gaelic, mainly applying pictures and translations of the relevant adjectival phrases, investigating the meaning, stress pattern and hyphenation of these, as well as the default adjectives in loan words or with tangible nouns (e.g. vehicles, animals), etc.
This combined methodology revealed various factors that influence the choice between marked adjective + noun and unmarked noun + adjective constructions, including: (a) dialect (with the overall use of preceding adjectives in South Uist, but the preference for math ʻgood’ in Lewis); (b) register (ma(i)th in religious texts); (c) conceptualisation in the vocabulary (by the preceding adjectives deagh- ʻgood’ and droch- ʻbad’ qualifying abstract concepts, whereas the plain adjectives math ʻgood’ and dona ʻbad’ tangible and countable nouns); (d) pragmatic factors such as the emphatic nature of deagh- as opposed to math; and (e) grammatical factors (see the use of deagh-/droch- in subjunctive clauses, particularly in time expressions).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Gaelic adjectives, Gaelic compounds, Gaelic intensifiers, Gaelic orthography.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1501 Scottish Gaelic Language
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Supervisor's Name: Ó Maolalaigh, Professor Roibeard
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Veronika Csonka
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-8220
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 11:25
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2017 12:25
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8220

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