Grammar questions.

Latest post Thu, Feb 2 2017 18:30 by Dale D. 14 replies.
  • Wed, Jan 4 2017 9:25

    • Ryboss47
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    Grammar questions.

    Alright, time to get started on this year.

    I'd also like to note that I discovered the other night that "deir" is not lenited simply because the rule for "abair" is the d-initial forms of the verb are immune to lenition.

     

    As I was studying last night, some questions arose as always:

    1.  Tá teach ag Seán.  Why is "ag" not inflected to "aige"?  In this sentence, Seán is indeed the third-person singular masculine noun that ag is associated with.

    2.  Cén freagra a thugann Seán?  I was thinking, in English the literal translation would be "What is the answer Sean gave?"  In terms of English, "tugann" is past tense.  In terms of Irish, it's rendered a present tense form of tabhair.  Why is that?  Is it because in terms of Irish it's perceived as "What answer did Sean give?"

    3.  "ina" has a consonant in between a slender and broad vowel.  What's the big idea here?!?! Who's "ina" trying to fool??

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  • Wed, Jan 4 2017 19:36 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Haigh, Ryan.  Some good questions.

    1.  The prepositional pronoun "aige" means "at him."  You would not say "Seán him has a house" or "Him Seán has a house".  Pronouns, by their very nature, refer to someone who has already been referred to.  Now, if you said, "Seán is ainm dó.  Tá teach aige." that would be correct.  "His name is Seán.  He has a house."

    2.  Actually, "thugann" is the past tense form of "tabhair".  Usually when a verb beginning is lenited, it is the past tense form.  When it doesn't, it is usually an irregular verb so it morphs differently than regular verbs.  Tabhair is irregular, but that includes past and present tenses, and the past tense form is actually the lenited version of the present tense.  The leniton is not caused by the "a" particle in this case, but is an indication of verb tense.

    3.  Ah, the "ina" question.  You will find this kind of broad-to-slender crossover any time you have a compound word, which is essentially what "ina" is.  "Ina" is a form of the preposition "i" (in) combined with the possessive adjective "a".  The "n" is added to unite them.  Please look up "i" (in) in the Teannglann.ie Irish-English dictionary.  It will show you all the forms "i" will take in various uses and combinations, including all the prepositional pronoun forms.

    You will note this same broad/slender crossover in many Irish compound words.  For example, "bunreacht" is the Irish word for "Constitution" and it comes from the Irish words "bun" meaning "base" and "reacht" meaning "law"; when compounded it means "basic law" which is one way to define the word "constitution".  The two words are simply shoved together, and no broad-slender consideration is given, or needed.  The same can be found with many words beginning with "comh-" which is actually a prefix, but does not force a change in spelling of the word it gets attached to:  "comhdhéan" "constitute", "comhlíon" "fulfill".

    Any time you see what looks like a spelling rule violation, look for the compound word factor.  There are some other exceptions, "anseo" being the one that immediately comes to mind, but I have read somewhere that the evolution of that word created the spelling violation where one previously did not exist.

    I hope those items are helpful to you.....

    Dale D 

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  • Thu, Jan 5 2017 1:04 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Regarding number 2 above:

    I have rechecked, and "thug" is the past tense for "tabhair", so I may be incorrect in my assertions on that item.

    Maybe a more correct translation would be, "What answer does Seán give?"  Probably not a common use in English but ok in Irish?

    Dale D

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  • Fri, Jan 6 2017 19:40 In reply to

    • Ryboss47
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    I definitely over thought the literal translation, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing; it's keeping me on my toes about every aspect.  However, I did overlook a simple translation that you gave.  "What answer does Seán give?" or "What is the answer Seán gives?" makes so much more sense to me now.  Thank you for all of your input.

    I currently don't have any novels as Gaeilge but I plan to order some one day, my first two in mind being The Hobbit and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on Amazon.

    This got me thinking how quotes would be translated, or rather what comes after or before them.  "[Quote]-said Ryan."  In novels and stories, both written and spoken, would this be translated using the past tense form?  "[Quote]"-dúirt Ryan.  Something along the lines of that?  Or "Ryan dúirt"?  I'm not positive how this would work with the VSO syntax.

     

     

    I also want to start learning verbs by incorporating them into sentences.  Very simple sentences though.  The first I'd like to start with is "tabhair".  Come to think of it, even in English I don't often use "give" in the present tense that often unless it's a command.  When I use "give" it's usually future tense...I've been sitting here trying to think of some examples to have translated and simply can't come up with anything.  A Dale, you are much more experienced.  Would you be able to come up with examples for:

    -tugaim

    -tugann 

    -tugann sé, sí

    -tugaimid

    -tugann siad

    -tugann sibh

     

    I'm not worried about any dialectal forms of the words right now, I figure I'll get there when I get there.

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  • Sat, Jan 7 2017 0:53 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Haigh, Ryan.

    i have seen "duirt" both before and after a quote or dialog, but I think the predominant placement is ahead of the name--"quote," duirt Ryan.  I have also seen "arsa" used for "said".

    It sounds like you have some pretty heavy duty novels you want to read, but I would suggest you consider something a little lighter to start.  I do not know if you are familiar with "The Little Prince" but I bought the Irish version, "An Prionsa Beag" and it was very pleasant to read, the Irish idioms were very well executed, and it was very fun to read.  It is well enough above the "children's book" level, but directed at that audience, so it is an easy read, both in English and Irish.

     

    i will think about the verbs conjugation you asked about and see if I can come up with some ideas.

    Slán!

    Dale D

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  • Sat, Jan 7 2017 23:23 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Haigh, Ryan.

    I just thought of one present tense application for "tabhair" although I guess, technically, it uses the imperative mood.

    I had decided while still in Ireland that, when I was ready to get married, I wanted to propose in Irish, then translate for effect.  When I asked a couple of young men who were studying Irish how one would propose in Irish, they first looked in their dictionaries, and one of the suggestions from the dictionary I had was "Bí sásta liom is pós mé."  (Be satisfied with me and marry me.)  Well, I was very disappointed, because that seemed more like begging than romantic.  Then one of the guys said, "Tabhair dom do lámh" would be the correct way to propose in Irish.  It means "Give me your hand" literally, but means, of course, "Give me your hand (in marriage)."  So, if you are ever in the mood to propose marriage, you might consider that one, and translate if necessary.

    I will try to think of some other things for "give" but I have to run right now....

    Dale D

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  • Sun, Jan 8 2017 10:56 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Haigh, Ryan.

    Here's one that seems right:

    Tugaim corrlach trom dó.  "I give him long odds."  (Literally I give long odds to him.)

    The same might apply with "permission" -- "cead".  "Tugaim mo cead duit."  "I give my permission to you."

    One interesting thing I found out about "tabhair" from reading up on it on teannglann.ie is that it has three principle definitions and several subdefinitions:

    1. Give, a: grant, bestow, provide, confer, contribute.

            b: voice, express, present, deliver, impart, administer

            c:  assign, allot; pledge, show; cause, occasion

            d: wage, engage in

            e: lead or pay out (as a cable or string)

            f:  yield as produce

            g:  spend, devote (time, life)

            h:  Suffer loss of

            i: give way, fail

    2. Take  a: carry, convey, escort

            b: cause to go

            c: enable to go

            d: perform, execute, make

    3. Bring a: bring them here

            b: cause to come

            c: enable to come

            d: bring about, cause, compel

    All of these are given with usage samples so you can see how they are employed.  "Tabhair" is used directly for uses like "bring":  "tabhair anseo iad" bring them here, and similar constructs.  I have noticed that many Irish verbs are highly complex in their definitions, and using a one-word definition like "give" will fall short of explaining all the uses.

    I hope this is not clouding the issue with too many facts, but looking through the definitions, especially of verbs, seems to be a really useful exercise in learning how to say a variety of things in Irish.

    Dale D

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  • Thu, Jan 26 2017 7:33 In reply to

    • Ryboss47
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Ok, I moved onto the next part of my book finally which is the next conversation.  As anyone could anticipate happening, what I studied and how I studied from the previous conversation in the book has definitely helped me along with all of your answers and input to my many questions.  Again, it's all very appreciated.

    So I'll jump right into it starting with the sentence that the questions came from.

    1. Tá áthas orm casadh leat, a Chathail.

    2. Cuirfidh mé glach ort anocht, a Bhairbre.

    3. Slán libh.   Slán agat.

     

    Questions.

    1.  Can you say "Tá áthas orm casann tú, a Chathail"?  I still have trouble understanding grammar rules in English.  Why is "to meet" being used and considered a verbal noun and not just a verb?

    2.  Same principle here.  Why "glaoch ort" and not "glaonn tú"?

    3.  Is this more literally translated as "Health (be) with you"?  The verb assumed to be there in the middle of it.  Or is "slán" now simply considered "goodbye" in both Béarla agus Gaeilge?  As Béarla, "Goodbye with you" doesn't sound that pretty or make much sense.  (Update: I now see that "libh" can also mean "to you").  So in this case "Goodbye to you" sounds perfectly normal which brings me back to my question.  In this sense does "slán" moreso mean "goodbye" than "health"?

    4.  This one just popped into my head.  "Cuirfidh mé".  This is translated as "I will".  Is it possible to use the first person future tense of "bí" in place of this?

     

     

    If there's anything I'm still having trouble understanding, it's the verbal noun vs. verb problem.  By looking at it, I can assume that it is a verb that is being used as a noun.  In the words of Michael Scott "why don't you explain it to me like I'm 5."

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  • Thu, Jan 26 2017 17:32 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Haigh, Ryan.

    Tá áthas orm a fheicim thú imeacht a dhéanamh.

    This is an area of learning Irish/Gaeilge that is very difficult for native English speakers, because it requires us to change somewhat our way of thinking about what is (or is not) a verb.

    You need to start thinking of prepositional pronouns, not so much as verbs per se, but as being verbal (that is, being verb-like).  Seano explained this to me once, saying, in so many words, that Irish is based much more on prepositions than on verbs, whereas English is based rather strictly on verbs.  So it is not so much that an implied verb exists in these usages as that the verbal sense of the prepositional pronoun needs to be understood.  In connection with that, we also have to accecpt a certain amount of "fluidity" for the definition (English) that we would apply to any given preposition because their uses do not always follow the strict ways they would be used in English.

    In your first sentence, I don't know if the grammar "casann tú" would be objectionable, but I suspect it would be unusual for Irish.  Even in English, we might be inclined to say, "I would like to meet with you (leat)" rather than "...meet you."  Saying "meet you" in this case implies not having previously met before, so assuming "with you" seems more correct to me anyway.  Second, I think that the "you" in your adjusted version would become a direct object, and thus should mutate to "thú".  But using "leat" solves both problems.

    For #2, "glaoch ort" would literally be "call on you" (rather than "call you", and the idiom implies a personal visit as opposed to a telephone call.  I am not sure what context is implied within the sentence as given, but even if a telephone call is meant, I think the use of "ort" will be preferred.  Again, thinking of "ort" as having a verb-like quality, means that the call is being transferred onto you as the object of the action.

    #3:  "Slán" does mean "health", but it has come to be used as the common form of "good-bye".  Even the English "good-bye" implies "travel well" or "stay well" at its essence.  The "libh" is the plural of "leat" so it means you are saying it to a group who is leaving you, and they are replying to you "slán agat" as the second person singular.  Were you with your family, the reply would be "slán agaibh".  This is the proper form of saying good-bye when people are departing from one another.  The person who is leaving says to the one who is staying, "Slán agat," health remain at you, and the one staying says to the one leaving, "Slán leat" health go with you.  Again, plurals may be applied as appropriate.  It is also appropriate to simply say, "Slán" with no other embelishment.

    4.  The use of "cuirfidh" seems to me to be a grammatical way of "shunning the passive voice".  The verb  is almost always considered passive in nature, because it merely denotes existence.  "Cuir" has a meaning of "causing something to happen" so a more literal interpretation might be "I will with a purpose call on you tonight."  Or, "I will cause myself to call on you tonight."  Unusual constructs in English, I grant you, but it puts the impact of action on the will to do something in the future.

    I have tried to explain the principles surrounding the use of prepositional pronouns in a verb-like usage, but the specific uses of which prepositional pronouns for which idioms is something you simply learn over time.  There is a very good lesson on many of these in the Is Feidir Liom lessons online, which are free, and very good to go through.  They can be found at www.isfeidirliom.ie and I highly recommend them.  Lesson 6 deals with idiomatic uses of do, ar, ag and le, and gives a very good start to this topic, although there are many other ways that they are used.  The title of the program, Is Feidir Liom, means, of course, I Can, and shows one of the many ways that prepositional pronouns are used with the copula, and that opens up a whole 'nother branch of discussion on this topic.

    So, I hope these thoughts are helpful to you.  Keep striving to understand it, and eventually all these things will fall into place......

    Dale D

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  • Thu, Jan 26 2017 17:41 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Oh, Ryan, I will mention, in case you go to the Is Feidir Liom lessons to look at this, that the teacher in those lessons refers to the prepositions as "keywords".  You can gather from that the implications of what Seano was trying to teach me, that these are more than simple "prepositions" but they have significant uses beyond that scope.  I do not know if this particular teacher created that terminology himself to help students understand this use of prepositions, but it certainly conveys the same idea that they have a quasi-verbal quality.

    Dale D

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  • Thu, Jan 26 2017 17:56 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    P.S.  Ryan, I apologize that my explanations above probably exceeded the age threshhold of 5 that you requested.....  ;o}

    Dale D

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  • Tue, Jan 31 2017 9:33 In reply to

    • Ryboss47
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    It's quite alright Dale lol.  So moving on, as always some more questions.

    I'm using the Colloquial Irish course book(primarily Connacht) as well as the included audio online at http://www.routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/colloquial/language/irish.php

     

    1.  For the ages, in Track 7 about half way through it sounds like they're pronciating "d'aois" with a "g" sound.  Still being a beginner, I was under the impression that this feature was primarily in the Ulster accent.  Does Connacht incorporate any features such as this from the other accents?  Or is it possible that I'm not hearing it correctly?

    2.  Again in Track 7, for 20 years old:  it sounds like he's saying "fiche bliana d'aois" whereas the book reads "fiche bliain d'aois".  Is this interchangeable?  Or is he simply saying it in such a way that it sounds like the first one but is actually the latter?

    3.  In Track 8:  The book dialogue reads "Is é seo Cathal Mac Donncha."  To my ears it doesn't sound like the speaker is saying "Is é seo.." at all.  It sounds like she's shortening "Is é" into " 's " and combining that with "seo".  So it sounds like " 's seo.." and followed by "te Cathal.."  I'm not sure if this sounds or looks correct at all.  I'm eager to hear your input.

     

    Sin é go foill.  Grma!

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  • Tue, Jan 31 2017 14:04 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Haigh, Ryan.

    I am not at all surprised that such a pronunciation anomaly would show up in Connacht.  I am not an expert on any of the dialects, although my initial interest, and study of the language, concentrated on Munster, so I probably will have that bias to my pronunciations.  Oh, well.  In any case, even in Munster there are treatments of "D" where it takes on a more "G" like sound, principally when lenited next to a broad vowel, yet when next to a slender vowel, it's more like a "Y" sound.  Go figure.....

    On #2, I would think that "bliana" (plural of blian) would be correct usage, so it may be a misprint in the book....

    #3:  Slurring out of whole syllables and/or particles does not seem to be uncommon in any of the dialects, and the slurring of an "S" sound seems to be an invitation to do it!  The vocal sound of the copula "is" is often used as an abbreviation for "agus" and can be written either as "is" or I have also seen it (in Munster at least) written as "'s" (apostrophe-S).  I am not sure where the "te" would come from, and whether to blame the book or the recording for the seeming inconsistency, but I have noticed in a couple of other courses, including both Buntús Cainte and Gaeilge Inniu, that speakers often seem to deviate from the written script with no offered explanation, so I am left to wonder if it is a misprint or a mis-cue........  Sorry I can't be of more help on this one.

    I hope my explanation of prepositional pronouns made some sense to you, and that I didn't drone on too long on the subject................

    Slán leat!

    Dale D

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  • Thu, Feb 2 2017 13:08 In reply to

    • otuathail
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Hi Ryan, Dale,

    Re. #1 Words like dedo, dó, dá, duit, daoibh, dóibh, and so on, are very often pronounced (and sometimes informally written) as dhedho, dhó, dhádhuitdhaoibhdhóibh giving that g sound. So d'aois would be something like dh'aois giving you that g sound.

    Re. #2 For twenty years of age it's fiche bliain d'aois, where bliain is singular. Listening to Track 7 on the link you provided, the speaker is definitely saying fiche bliain not fiche bliana.

    Re. #3 On the track 8 recording, the speaker is saying seod é Cathal... 

    Both is é seo Cathal... and seod é Cathal... are correct and mean the same thing. You're probably more likely to see is é seo Cathal... in writtem form more so than hear it spoken. It's a bit formal sounding for colloquial speech. You'll usually hear seod é in the spoken language. You might also see seod é written in informal contexts. I don't know where the d in seod came out of.

    It maybe that the purpose of the written text is to teach you the full, correct, unabbreviated written form, where as the audio gives you the actual colloquial speech used by native speakers. You can hear examples of this through track 8 where the they say tú fhéin but the written text I'm guessing has tú féin, again where they say cén uimhir atá a'd but the written text will have cén uimhir ata agat and slán a'd instead of slán agat.

    Sometimes the spoken fom of Irish doesn't always sound the same as you might expect  from looking at the written words. Words are mashed together, bits are left out, bits are added. The individual words don't always come out in their entirety in the spoken form. There's probably a way of explaining this grammatically, but I don't know what it is. It's just something you pick up from listening to native speakers - it's called having the blas of the language :) For example, I'd write níl a fhios agam, but I'd say níl 's a'm; I'd write cá bhfuil tú but I'd say cá'l tú; I'd write áiteacha but I'd say áiteachaí (with an í at the end); I write cén chaoi a bhfuil tú, but I'd say something that sounds more like cé ch'uil tú; I'd write gabh i leith but say something that sounds like guhlye

    The speakers on the audio tracks you're using sound like they're from Cois Fharraige or An Cheathrú Rua or thereabouts along the south Conamara coast.

     

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  • Thu, Feb 2 2017 18:30 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Grammar questions.

    Haigh, otuathail, agus go raibh míle maith agat!

    Thanks for the explanations and comments.  I am familiar with many of the sounds that are glided over or omitted, but sometimes I am resistant to them, particularly where "féin" is concerned, mostly because I often hear the "f" pronounced, then sometimes don't, so I err on the side of caution.  As I mentioned prevously to Ryan, I am sure it all comes with time and exposure, but getting good exposure here in California is a bit difficult, and it is not looking like I'll be visiting Ireland anytime real soon......

    The dropping of the "f" (and that has a completely different connotation in English, doesn't it?) seems most common in the final syllable of the future tense of verbs, but seano once told me (he lives in Belfast) that he would seldom pronounce an "f".  Even in the "formal" training materials I have gone through, though, both in Buntús Cainte and Is Féidir Liom, the "f" in the future tense verb conjugations goes silent.  Looking over the various conjugations, it amazes me that anyone can keep them straight, but with a good ear and practice, I'm sure you get used to it.

    I think the grammatical explanation you are looking for is "colloquiallism".  People tend to modify their language from the formal in every area of the earth, and the US is a prime example for the English language.  In the southern US, you might hear someone say, "Ain't you gonna come ovah t' mah place tomorry?" Someone unexperienced with English would probably have great trouble understanding them, but native speakers can gather, just throgh inference, that the person is saying, "Aren't you going to come over to my place tomorrow?"  The southern US is probably the most extreme example we have, and throughout the south there are variants and regional colloquialisms that can take visitors by surprise.

    So for now, I continue to concentrate on learning the "formal" Irish and have to wait on learning the colloquialisms of the dialects.  Maybe some day I will giet an opportunity to see if I can actually communicate with someone there....

    Dale D

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