"Fi sy'n siarad."

Translation:It's me speaking.

October 26, 2016

41 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard996961

"I'm the one who's talking" - dk if this should be accepted, but it's hard to find the right form of words in English to reflect the changed emphasis of the Welsh.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ibisc

That would be a different pattern - Fi yw’r un sy’n siarad, or similar.

The translation given is fine - “It’s me (who is) speaking”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jane393370

This answer, which is seriously bad English, grammatically speaking, makes me cringe every time I here this sort of thing. I have to bite my tongue if someone I don't know well says it and if either of my children (both in their thirties) were to say this I would correct them. 'Me' cannot be the subject of a verb, only 'I' can. I know your 'correct' answer is in common use, but why can we not strive to keep to the rules and speak English properly (or at least allow those of us who were taught grammar at school to give a grammatically correct answer)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ibisc

'It is me' is the usual choice in both informal and formal English ('Longman Student Grammar of Written and Spoken English'). 'It is I' is usually considered over-correct ('Practical English Usage' (Swan)).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanamTraho

I'm fine with not being a hyper-prescriptivist, so I won't tell casual speakers that they're wrong for saying "it is me" in this situation. But I would genuinely say "it is I," and I'm not trying to be pretentious. My "over-correct" way of saying it is every bit as good as the more common way. Is it really so wrong to include both options?

I say this with a PhD in linguistics. It's my firm opinion that the crusade against prescriptivism often goes too far in eliminating perfectly legitimate phrasing as "too uppity," which is itself a form of prescriptivism.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

You are quite right about the prescriptive non-prescriptivism in the last paragraph.

But the main only purpose of this course is to learn Welsh not English, so as far as I am concerned, the only main criteria for inclusion of an alternative answer should be

  • Does it show you know what the Welsh means?
  • Is it common enough for it to be worth their while adding it?

With It is I, it clearly meets the first criterion. The problem with basing an exclusion on two particular sources (Longman and Swan) is that not everyone reads these or agrees with them. We cannot expect everyone to know what particular decision the writers came to on any given word, so they have to accept a range of the popular answers without concerning themselves as to logic of why any particular answer is popular. But there is a particular problem here, and that is that people have been taught that the I is correct, so they are likely to write it even if they do not normally use it. People speak a huge range of dialects, and they cannot include all options, so people could reasonably think that the standard they were taught is the best bet. It is even worse for the many people who use this course who do not have English as a first language. I think they have to avoid views on what is correct or not correct, and just accept that there is a sufficient number of people who translate this sentence using I to justify its inclusion.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tosh490909

Well said. Most of us are here to learn a language not get a degree in linguistics.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisJohn720252

Technically you are 100% right. But "It is I speaking" does not sound right at all! (Perhaps we have just got too conditioned to the "wrong" grammar.) Anyway, I put "I am speaking", which was declared acceptable, is more concise, and avoids all of the above!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

It's my belief that this use of me where grammar books say we should use I is not found in neighbouring languages such as German (but I would like confirmation). If so then we have to look for and explanation within the area where English is spoken, and the obvious explanation is that most of us that live in Britain or Ireland have many ancestors that spoke a Celtic language, none of which has an I/me contrast. In other words none of us in these islands has really got used to the funny rules brought in by invaders who spoke Germanic or Latin.

(French is an odd case since they generally distinguish, but they have a get-out strategy (moi) used in just the situations where English speakers get confused, so I wonder if that too has Celtic roots.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tosh490909

It's Welsh and how we say it. Nothing to do with english grammar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

Yes, the Welsh sentence is subject to the rules of Welsh grammar, but the English translation is subject to the rules of English grammar. You will already have seen my post arguing that the reason the English matches the Welsh so well is precisely because English grammar (as in what people actually say in ordinary speech, as opposed to what prescriptive grammarians or pedants say) is heavily influenced by the Celtic languages. This construction whilst good English in my opinion, and perfect English in the opinion even of the most prescriptive grammarian (apart from the I vs me argument) is far more common in areas with Gaelic heritage, in my experience in Scotland. I assume it is also especially common in Welsh-speaking areas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tosh490909

But people are learning a language not trying to get a degree in grammar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

I agree. But they have to write something as the translation into English, and different people cannot agree as to what is correct. They should clearly accept as answers the things that people are likely to say, provided it shows understanding of the Welsh. But the argument here is about what answer they give, not what answers they accept. Therefore, like it or not, it is an argument about English grammar, not Welsh grammar.

The thing about these discussions is that they serve a multitude of purposes, and so different people will find different threads interesting or useful. In particular, some people who do this course have a general interest in languages, or an interest in the relationship between Welsh and English, and so a discussion about the differences between Welsh and English grammar is entirely relevant.

But the bottom line is that you can choose which threads to follow, so it does not matter if you do not find this particular thread useful. They sometimes remove posts that are considered irrelevant, but this thread is not irrelevant even if not everyone finds it interesting.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tom420379

I fully agree with you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

You have not parsed the sentence correctly. Whilst the me is the subject of the standing, standing is not a finite verb and therefore does not determine what case the subject goes in. The main clause here is It is me. Because of confusion about what case the me should be in in sentences like this, grammarians have invented (or recycled) the term complement so they can say that the me is not the object of the verb is. This is a cop-out in order to explain why it is not in the accusative in languages like Latin, French, German and grammar-book English. Colloquial English speakers never really got this weirdness, which is why we use the Celtic practice not distinguishing clearly between I and me.

The standing is analysed as a participle which is considered a sort of adjective in traditional grammars. It agrees with the me, not the other way round, and is in the accusative in languages such as Latin and even Old English where you can actually tell its case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wpTCu1Yo

The answer "It is I" is correct English. After a linking verb you use the 1st person. To test this, reverse the construction. "It was I." to read "I was it." You would not say Me was it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Liz-Bl

Many, many years ago, on US television, there was a quiz show called "College Bowl." Two teams of four students from generally upper tier universities competed by answering questions on general topics. One such topic, once, was English grammar, and the question asked the students to complete this sentence with the correct verb form of the verb to be: "It is I who ____ speaking" (or "in charge," or "upset," or some such). The first student to buzz in missed the point, as did the second and all 6 of the remaining contestants on both teams. They had guessed every conceivable form, except the one that the quiz show deemed correct: "It is I who AM speaking." Neither team got the point. I knew this (hyper-) correct answer because of an equivalent completely ordinary French structure: C'est moi qui SUIS en charge," where the marker for (first) person bleeds over into the relative clause. The same thing happens in "Our Father, who ART in heaven," where the vocative (2nd person) carries over. But in productive English grammar, those days are long gone. I have enjoyed earlier comments on this post.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

College Bowl has apparently been revived. The British version, University Challenge, is still going strong, although it did have a hiatus. I don't dispute what you say about "hypercorrect" English. As far as I know, the only people who think this is correct are people who think Latin grammar is a good guide to English grammar. In particular, when they translated the Lord's Prayer that went out of their way to keep as much of the "original" Latin as possible (although it is not original at all), so it is not a guide to English grammar for most people.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tosh490909

Interesting but this is a Welsh course .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Griff1382

...and? People were already talking about grammar in this thread....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Liz-Bl

...with a large component of translation (to/from English).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Norma494284

please at least allow "it is I speaking" as an acceptable alternative for we pedants.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drowswell

Loving the frustration these things cause people xD I wonder how everyone feels about the song "This is Me", or Adele singing "Hello. It's me."

Actually.....

"Fi sy 'ma"?

"Helo. Fi sy'n siarad."?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Griff1382

DuoLingo really ought to accept "it is i speaking," it being grammatically correct (especially considering how clunky and unidiomatic the above English translation is already). A USAian would probably say "I'm the one talking" or "I'm the one who's talking," but DuoLingo won't accept either of those. Hélas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margaret885737

What versions of the other pronouns would we use here? Eg 'SHE is speaking now.' 'WE are talking now.' ....thinking 'me too' issues. Diolch.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ibisc

fi, ti, fe/fo, hi, ni, chi, nhw - I/me, you, he/him, she/her, we, you, they/them


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margaret885737

Diolch, ibisc. Dach chi'n ateb yn gyflym, bob tro!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Douglas680894

Ernest T Bass: "I can see you but you can't see me, iss me, iss me, iss Ernest T!"

On the other hand, try this: which do you prefer, "It's me who did it" or "It's I who did it"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/q3DyeyIO

Hi Doug - My objection is NOT to DL using their version of the vernacular. It is to DL marking as wrong an answer that is actually grammatically correct- - why can't DL accept the grammatically correct answer as “another acceptable answer”?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tom420379

I agree completely. I realize that what is acceptable English is changing. But that does not mean that the “old” grammar we all learned has suddenly become “wrong.”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas318777

One of the benefits of studying Welsh is that it becomes easier to see how the authors of English grammars got it so wrong. First, English has less scope for emphasising things by fronting them, which is why we have to bring in extra pronouns like “it” that Welsh doesn't need. Second, Welsh subordinate clauses are often joined on to their parent clauses without any of the linkages (“that”, “who”, “which is” et cetera) that are usually needed in English).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jane393370

I do so agree with these comments about the 'old' grammar, but to me ( and, presumably you) it is still the current grammar.

Learn Welsh in just 5 minutes a day. For free.