the ms context tells us that the manuscript from which this was copied in the late 14th century is now lost, and so its age can’t now be determined by any means. the embedded fáistine must be older than the original text because it was embedded in it as it is a quote. but how much older can’t be ascertained. the text may have been copied from texts many centuries older, or from relatively recent ones – there is not now any way of knowing, and there is no way of knowing how much the 14th century scribes updated the language of their material or even translated it from other dialects or even languages.
OK Vyv. Here goes. One of the problems with this is it takes me a long time to explain detailed and complex things to someone who is not interested in listening to them, which is boring, time-consuming and unrewarding. I have a job, and a life. The age of the texts can be determined by the linguistic features there in. Vyvyan you would need to learn a bit about how Irish MSS work - lots of texts of varying periods all gathered together. There is no doubt that the Tripartite Life is in Old Irish, so pre-900AD: on other evidence I'd say about 800 or so. The language f the 'quote' is identical to that of the surviving texts. Most medieval irish narrative texts are in a form called 'prosimetrum', a mixture of prose with verse for bit of high emotion or speech - exactly as we have here. There is nothing to suggest this is a quote rather than a very common stylistic feature - slipping little bits of verse into a prose narrative. If you don't see that I can only presume you've never read any old or middle irish text, even in translation.
class a infixed pronouns: I know what infixed pronouns are in cornish,
The system in cornish/middle welsh is VASTLY simpler than the OIr one.
but can’t detect one here. show me one, le do thoil.
the -s- of fris-gerat is a 3 sing masculine infixed pronoun. they start phasing them out after 900 - the neuter ones occassionally get fossilised onto the preverb, altering the stem of the verb in Middle Irish.
long e future? do you mean fris-géarat?
Yep - well done.
tocfa and canfaid are translated as futures, despite differences in endings which might suggest they are different tenses.
No!! THEY COME FROM DIFFERENT VERB CLASSES, of which Old Irish has at least five including deponents in some classes, strong verbs, and weak verbs. And so they have differing endings in the tenses. You clearly don't know anything about the system: so don't presume that because you
haven't researched it, it doesn't exist, and isn't understood. You need Green's Old Irish Verbs and Vocabulary, or to look at Thurneysen's Grammar.
wouldn’t tocfa, if lenited be a conditional – ‘tálcheann would come’? why, having used the almost modern –fidh in the modernised, and –fai in the older versions to denote the future tense is there suddenly this switch to a form that has disappeared entirely from modern irish (correct me if i’m wrong)? can you tell me about when this feature disappeared?
Yes, I can. Old Irish had several ways of making the future, depending on the verb class. Some lengthened the stem-vowel, usually -e- (as in fris-gerat), some had an ending with -f-, and some did various other things such as reduplication of the root consonant and the insertion of an -a-. Some also insert an -s- (mainly ''strong' verbs). Then they cleared this up so that the Modern Irish system which you are familiar with has lost for example its absolute/conjunct distinctions, the active/deponent distinction, plus the strong verbs have been ironed out, only remaining as traces in a handful of irregulars. You can't look from Mod Irish back - you have to look from Old Irish forward to make sense of things. These features were well on the way before 1200 for your info Vyv (as I can tell you from having read and taught a number of Middle Irish texts.)
meter and alliteration: since we don’t know the date of it, how can we know that other texts with the same meter and alliteration, which are also not datable, are of the same date?
The language dates it, as i keep telling you. That you choose not to believe it is not my problem. Besides, this pattern of highly rhythmic, alliterative, syllabic verse is very very Old Irish (usually called a roscad or a retoiric)....by the Middle Irish period they are usuing more complex schemes of rhyming quatrains, usually the metres of deibhidhe
. Are you familliar with the meanings of these terms?
meter and other poetic features are very persistent in english, german etc, with poets (and especially song-writers) writing in the 21st century still using metres and verse forms that were second nature to poets and song-writers centuries ago.
English and German are not Irish. Styles also go out of fashion. Roscad was one of the ones that did (people still write poetry in deibhide and so on) - but roscad is earlier, and characteristically Old Irish.
i'm totally unconvinced about the meaning of this poem, the dating of it, and the title it has been given - since all of these are determined with reference to the dictionary of the irish language, which as you know i believe is very often howlingly wrong, and i'm not alone in this.
I heard you. I see no evidence whatsoever for what you say. None. I think the term 'howlingly wrong' has been misapplied. And you are actually alone in this.
the scholarship that produced it is more than a century old, texts dubiously translated
We were lucky a undred years ago to have an immensely gifted generation of translators, such as Whitely Stokes. Sure, when I translate a text I sometimes find places where they got it wrong - but not often. And all these texts have been retranslated since then. The schlarship of a hundred years ago is strong and very sound (though even Thurneysen occassionally got it wrong!)
Vyv I imagine you're sitting in your house. I don't expect you have shelves of Old Irish texts, Grammars, Stair na Gaeilge,
the paradigms and glosses. I don't imagine you've ever actually read a text through either conscientiously on your own or with a skilled teacher. This is why you aren't seeing things clearly and are labouring under disabling misapprehensions. You just haven't done the work. A working knowledge of Modern Irish does not an Old Irish scholar make.
superstitious cruel sorcerers, who delighted in bizarre puns and obscure twists of meaning.
Ever read Finnegans Wake?! Or indeed any Irish literature? Love of word-play has always been characteristic of the Irish genius from the earliest days to Paul Muldoon. And as for cruel sorcerers - the texts are full of ultra-violence and magic. It's not a misrepresentation. It's your projections that would distort it into being otherwise.
i had accepted megli’s assertion that he had dated it accurately according to linguistic features he described, although he has since discovered that he was in error, having at last discovered - by means of a belated web search – what he had not known at the time of writing the post concerned - that this poem comes not from any 8th century manuscript but from a late 14th century manuscript copied from earlier sources now lost, so it’s original can’t be dated, and its linguistic features can’t be known.
Vyv - there are no 8th century Irish MSS - it had not crossed my mind that the MS would be early tha 1150. (Well there's the Book of Armagh, but that's mainly in latin with a few little bits in old irish.) But the language of the text is Old Irish, so pre-900. I was not in error. You would like to make it so by twisting things, as always. Its linguistic features MUST be between 750 and 900. (pre-750 you wd expect suffixed pronouns. Know what they are? Thought not.) On that basis I dated it quite accurately from the start.
what he has said in effect is that the same features that indicate an eighth century text can occur in 14th century texts and are also found practically unchanged in a very much more recent modernisation of that text.
My goodness you twist little a little eel!! The update is clearly 20th century, done by someone who knows OIr. So that doesn't count. And yes, old irish texts are almost all contained in MSS that date from 1150-1400: but we can date the language using the Glosses (know what they are?)
To put it it layman's terms: Irish monks, speaking old irish, glossed bibles in old irish in the 6th and 7th centuries, in continental monasteries. These are numerous enough to enable us to give a complete description of the language. At the same time, or a hundred or so years later, narrative texts were being composed in ireland in the same language. These have been copied and recopied, ending up in MSS dating from 1150-1400, but clearly in the same form of the language as those 7th century glossators were using - Old Irish.
this becomes even more apparent when it turns out that the faistine concerned, as megli at last discovered, and rightly added that a truly competent scholar would have ascertained that straight away before the discussion developed.
You've missed a clause out in that sentence. It doesn't make sense. try checking your work.
Right I have to go to work - will reply more to this later.