4.4 Irish English Use of Prepositons
4.4.4 The Preposition of
Filppula (1999) focuses on the ‘attributive of’ which he describes as “the connection of ‘of’ to form a certain kind of NP structure consisting of two nouns joined by ‘of’. The first noun, although most often itself modified by an adjectival attribute, assumes the function of a kind of adjectival attribute to the second noun with a clearly intensifying force” (238)
There was two Learys and two Murphys, Lawlor, Curtis and Hehir; seven men.
And by all accounts they were all big giants o’ men.
Filppula (1999: 238) says that although this feature of ‘of’ can be also seen in other dialects in the British Isles, in Irish English it “appears to be particularly well-developed and productive…” Joyce (1910/1988: 42, qtd. in Filppula 1999: 239) offers the Irish parallel in the form of construction such as
‘amadán fir’ meaning ‘a fool of a man’ and adds that “it is far more general among us, for the obvious reason that it has come to us from two sources (instead of one) – Irish and English.” Moylan (1996, gtd. in Filppula 1999: 239) states that many of the functions of ‘of’ “are consistent with those of Ir. ‘de’”
such as in amadán de shuine meaning ‘a fool of a person’. To support the Irish origin of this feature Filppula states the existence of the pattern in Hebridean English.
All in all, from the discussion above is obvious that Irish again played an important role in formation of this type of usage of ‘of’ which is especially supported by the presence of a similar pattern in HebE and by the existence of an Irish English equivalent.
Irish English generally adopted many features from Irish – whether phonological, linguistic or stylistic ones. The study offers an account of few peculiarities of the Irish English grammar. It explains that the formation of these special structures was caused by the influence of the Irish language which has played an important role in lives of the Irish. The thesis discusses nuances in distinguishing between several perfective aspects that Irish English enables thanks to the substratal influence. Further it shows an extensive use of the prepositions to convey certain meanings: in StE it would be seen as incorrect, however, a nearer look at the Irish system explains such treatment of the prepositions. Similarly, the thesis clarifies the Irish overuse of the definite article and what is called unbound reflexives. Although in many of the cases concerned a possible superstratal influence can be argued, there still is a strong evidence for at least reinforcing substratal influence.
The aim of the paper was to reveal the way the Irish speak and at the same time to explain a reason of a non-standard usage of English which is a hundreds of years lasting influence of the Irish language.
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