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Foclóir Briathra Gaeilge

Published online: Valency Dictionary of Irish Verbs (‘Foclóir Briathra Gaeilge’, FBG)

From 1 September 2016 the Irish language has a new online dictionary: Foclóir Briathra Gaeilge (FBG), the Valency Dictionary of Irish Verbs at This is a newly written dictionary, never published anywhere before, which documents the meanings and usage patterns of Irish verbs. Even though the digital lexicography of Irish is at a remarkably high standard already, this is an innovation because it brings a deeper insight: never before have Irish verbs been documented with such systematic accuracy. FBG is designed to be useful to fluent speakers and learners alike. With the help of plentiful example sentences the dictionary explains how verbs are used to make meaning in natural contemporary Irish. It is an opportunity to learn about the variety of functions that verbs perform in the Irish of fluent speakers and writers.
FBG is output from a research project conducted over many years by the well-known Celtic linguist Dr Arndt Wigger and his colleagues at the universities of Wuppertal and Bonn in Germany, financed by DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). The researchers analysed Irish verbs in a large corpus of texts and compiled a valency dictionary: a structured collection of data about Irish verbs, their types, their meanings and usage patterns, their typical collocates (words that are used along with them) and so on. FBG is based on two corpora: ‘Caint Chonamara’ (spoken language) and ‘Corpas Náisiúnta na Gaeilge’ (mostly written language). It is believed that FBG gives a fair picture of Modern Irish, formally, socially and historically justifiable, yet remaining in the 20th century.
Explanations in FBG are given in English and German, online users can switch between the two metalanguages. The dictionary currently covers some 200 verbs, from highly frequent ones (‘cuir’, ‘déan’, ‘bain’) to less commonly encountered ones (‘coisc’, ‘baist’, ‘clis’). An additional 100 are being worked on and will be added to FBG gradually in the near future. FBG is a living dictionary in the sense that the team will respond to comments from the public and will continue updating the dictionary in the future.
FBG has been published as a section of the Pota Focal website, one of the most popular reference resources for Irish. Additionally, it is available for download from this website in machine-readable format under an open-source license (Open Database License), allowing researchers to reuse FBG without cost and without the restrictions of copyright. The preparation and publication of FBG in this online format has been supported financially by COGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta).


Some new Research has been added to the COGG website over the last few weeks. You can browse these by following the link below:

or by clicking on the ‘Taighde’ button on this sites homepage.

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