https://www.duolingo.com/BobCollier1

Thinking in Irish

Tá fiosrach agam.

Being an English person learning the Irish language, this is a thought in my mind prompted by a discussion regarding a particular difference in the way an English and an Irish person would describe the same thing. "Cúig phráta" was the phrase in question - "Five (of) a potato" whereas an English speaker would say "Five potatoes" plural.

I wonder whether or not it might be helpful in learning the Irish language if differences between 'thinking in Irish' and 'thinking in English', as it were, were taught with literal translations instead of the translations being anglicised.

I'm thinking of phrases like "Tá brón orm", for example, which I've never seen translated anywhere I've been so far on my 'learning Irish' travels as anything other than "I am sad". It doesn't say "I am sad", it says "Sadness is on me". It seems to me this is not merely a linguistic difference - it's actually a different perception of reality.

"Tá bia uaim" - it doesn't say "I want food". That's an anglicisation of "Food is from me".

"Tá fáilte romhat" doesn't say "You're welcome". That's an anglicisation of "A welcome is before you".

Why does thinking in Irish need to be anglicised? It doesn't need to be anglicised to be understood.

As I said, curiosity is at me.

1 year ago

3 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/SatharnPHL

"Tá bia uaim" - it doesn't say "I want food". That's an anglicisation of "Food is from me".

You have that the wrong way around - "tá bia uaim" is how you translate "I want food" into Irish. There is no anglicisation involved, just translation. If anything, it's the literal "food is from me" that is anglicised Irish. (it's even worse when people translate "tá sé fuar" as "is it cold" rather than "it is cold").

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

Exactly. This whole post sounds very Sapir-Whorf-y, a theory which has pretty much been debunked in the strong form, and is still questionable even in the weak form. Tá bia uaim just means 'I want food', the same way the English 'I want food' means it. Different ways to express the same thing; doesn't mean their thoughts are different, etc.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RyanBossler

I would consider myself obsessed with the idea of "Literal vs. Closest English Approximation". My strategy to learning the language has always been to break down the phrases, picking apart and translating each word to find the literal meaning. I find it to be an excellent strategy but when I read the phrase after that, I simply see it as the CEA while in the back of my head I am still translating it as the literal phrase. It almost has the same understanding as using English idioms. We know what the actual meaning is behind the words and we know not to take the words literally. In essence, what I'm trying to say is that yes I know that the phrase has a literal translation that wouldn't normally be said that was in English but I don't overthink it and just take it as it is. That'd be my advice for you and anyone else learning as well.

1 year ago
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