Middle Irish (sometimes called Middle Gaelic) is the Goidelic language which was spoken in Ireland, most of Scotland and the Isle of Man from the 10th to 12th centuries; it is therefore a contemporary of late Old English and early Middle English. The modern Goidelic languages—Irish, Scottish and Manx—are all descendants of Middle Irish.
The Lebor Bretnach, the "Irish Nennius", survives only from manuscripts preserved in Ireland; however, Thomas Owen Clancy has argued that it was written in Scotland, at the monastery in Abernethy.
Middle Irish is a fusional, VSO, nominative-accusative language.
Nouns decline for two genders: masculine, feminine, though traces of neuter declension persist; three numbers: singular, dual, plural; and five cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, prepositional, vocative. Adjectives agree with nouns in gender, number, and case.
Verbs conjugate for three tenses: past, present, future; four moods: indicative, subjunctive, conditional, imperative; independent and dependent forms. Verbs conjugate for three persons and an impersonal, agentless form (agent). There are a number of preverbal particles marking the negative, interrogative, subjunctive, relative clauses, etc.
Prepositions inflect for person and number. Different prepositions govern different cases, depending on intended semantics.
- ^ Mittleman, Josh. "Concerning the name Deirdre". Medieval Scotland. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
Early Gaelic (a.k.a. Old Irish) is the form of Gaelic used in Ireland and parts of Scotland from roughly 600–900 AD. Middle Gaelic (a.k.a. Middle Irish) was used from roughly 900–1200 AD, while Common Classical Gaelic (a.k.a. Early Modern Irish, Common Literary Gaelic, etc.) was used from roughly 1200–1700 AD
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