"Is she a farmer? She is not."

Translation:An feirmeoir í? Ní hea.

August 22, 2015

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Can anyone explain the negation: Ní hea? I don't think I've seen this construction in the lessons yet.


To supplement SteffanieS’ reply, ea is a generic pronoun that’s only used with the copula in modern Irish. The responses is ea and ní hea ( causes an immediately following pronoun that begins with a vowel to be preceded with an H) can be given to classificational copular questions (i.e. those copular questions that have an indefinite complement) in the present tense, in the same way that English would generically use “yes” and “no”, or (in the particular case of this question) “she is” and “she isn’t” respectively.


I will answer while waiting for Those Who Know to respond. This seems related to "An ea?" which meant, "Is it?" It seems to literally translate to, "It is not," which is a fancy way to say, No, since there is no single word to mean No in Irish. Now, awaiting the real answer....


Why "An feirmeoir" and not "Is feirmeoir"?


Is feirmeoir í is a statement - "She is a farmer". English just reverses the order to make a a question "She is" -> "Is she?". To ask a question in Irish, you use the interrogative form of is, which is an.
An feirmeoir í? - "Is she a farmer"


Ar fheirmeoir í? Would this also be correct? Using the copula question?


An feirmeoir í? is using the copula question.

An fheirmeoir í? is the past tense "Was she a farmer?"

(I note that Gnag mentions in passing that ar is used for an in Connacht, but it doesn't say anything about whether lenition applies in that case).


Could Ní hí be a translation for "She is not"?


Not in this exercise.

According to GnaG:

If the predicate is a definite noun, an appropriate personal pronoun is used instead (é/í/iad).
If the predicate is an indefinite noun, one uses ea ("it").

An feirmeoir í Áine? - Ní hea.
An í Áine an feirmeoir? - Ní hí.

That said, I can't find many examples of a bare Ní hí. or Ní hé. in print.

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