https://www.duolingo.com/Kate_Fishman

Two very nooby Irish questions

Firstly, what is the difference in usage of "Tá" and "Is", and when are they used?

Secondly, what is the difference in usage of "Níl" and "Ní", and when are they used?

Please someone help me with these 2 problems, as I've been struggling with them as long as I've known them.

2 years ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

I'm still a noob, and this is how I try to remember the difference in my current noob stages (someone correct me if I'm wrong so far):

When you want to say:

(1) "Noun" is "noun", or "pronoun" is "noun" or vice-versa, use Is (which is in negative, and an in a question)

(2) "Noun"/"Pronoun" is "adjective"/"at location x"/"at time x" etc., use (which is níl in negative, and question word an (not the same "an" as above) + bhfuil in a question)

Look at the recent discussion scilling linked as well, and try to check every discussion where the verb and the copula are used, very often people ask similar questions or clarifications, and a lot of useful tips and examples are hidden in those.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

Examples (hope I got those right):

(1) "It is an apple", you compare "it" with "apple", therefore

Is úll é. Ní úll é. An úll é?

(2) "The apple is in the fridge", you specify the location of the apple, therefore

Tá an t-úll sa chuisneoir. / Níl an t-úll sa chuisneoir. / An bhfuil an t-úll sa chuisneoir?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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In (2), an t-úll would be used rather than an úll.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

^ RIGHT! correcting this right away!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kate_Fishman

That was very very helpful. Thank you so much!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

The next tricky part in the duolingo tree comes with the question words (as Knocksedan mentions, some of them have an embedded copula), and how to order the nouns and pronouns, and which pronouns to use with the copula.

I think it's easier to break it down in small pieces with simple statements, so that's why I shared you my first "trick" without mentioning the other aspects.

I'm at the part where I still scratch my head with some of the question words, but I think I got the pronoun madness under control now -- thanks to our very helpful duolingo friends scilling, Knocksedan, and galaxyrocker, who all give advice in almost every discussions in the Irish forums ;)

Good luck!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LuchairF
LuchairF
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I would like to second your statement about Knocksedan, scilling and galaxyrocker, their input and explanations are invaluable. It literally means having access to tutors; i get most of my queries answered by searching the forum for their comments. Duolingo ought to give them some sort of award - or reward would probably be more appropriate.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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  1. See this discussion from a week ago.

  2. Níl is the negative of ; is both the negative of is and a general negating particle (e.g. ní ithim úlla).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kate_Fishman

Unfortunately no matter how many times I read that discussion it seems to go over my head. Is the copula form used ONLY in the cases mentioned or are there other cases?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

The basic form of the copula in Irish is the equivalent of "noun is noun" in English. The structure can change slightly (X is the Y, A X is a Y, The X is a Y) and many of the "who, what, why, where" type questions also use the copula, but the place to get started is to remember that you say tá sé fuar, but is fear é, because fuar is an adjective, and fear is a noun.

Níl and is even simpler, (though it does help to recognize when the copula is used).

is the negative participle used to negate present tense verbs - ní rithim, ní léann sí an leabhar, ní ólaimid beoir. The twist, though, is that the verb , which uses the form in the present tense, uses a different form after the interrogative and negative participles - an bhfuil and ní fhuil, except that ní fhuil has collapsed to níl. So Níl is only ever used when the positive form of the sentence would be . If the positive form of the sentence uses anything else except , you use .

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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If you want a thorough examination of when the copula is used (note that it’s not a form of — it’s an entirely different verb), read the Gramadach na Gaeilge chapter on the copula.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

The difference between and is is the same as between and níl. At the very basic, look at what you're using. If there are two nouns or a noun and a pronoun, use is or . Otherwise use or níl (which is merely forms of )

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Blonde_Mason

thanks people in the comments ;)

1 year ago
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