"The man and the woman."
Translation:An fear agus an bhean.
In that specific case (nouns in the nominative case after the singular definite article), then only feminine nouns are lenited. In the genitive, only masculine nouns are lenited after an. In other other grammatical circumstances, such as after the possessive pronouns, masculine and feminine nouns are treated the same way.
(I don't want to make it sound scarier than it is - lenition has a lot of different functions, and this is just one of the most basic ways, once you get used to it).
Thank you, this is helpful. Though I fear the lenitive rules get even more crazy and complex than this (and I thought the German dative was bad -- actually, I still think that). Truly, I'm terrified... but it's such a beautiful language, so it'll be worth it in the end.
The nominative case is the standard form of the noun - "man" - fear, "woman" - bean.
The genitive in English is usually indicated with apostrophe s, or "of" - "a man's hat" - hata fir, and the film title "Scent of a Woman" would be Cumhrán Mná, where fir and mná are the genitive forms of fear and bean.
Thank you, SatharnPHL, for the link to another exercise for its audio.
I hope members of the course staff are working to fill-in the missing audios in some of these exercises. This one, for instance, is the students' first exposure to "bhean", in which English speakers could not have guessed "bh" sounded like "v", so it is kind of critical to hear it pronounced properly.
I am restarting the Irish course today. I gave up the first time around exactly because too many exercises had no audio, and the pronunciation rules are rather complicated for students to be left on their own. I hope I will stick to the course longer this time around.
The nominative is the "default" case - "I have a book", "the cow is brown", etc.
In English, the genitive is usually indicated by "apostrophe s" or in some cases "of".
"The President of Ireland"/"Ireland's President" - Uachtarán na hÉireann (Éireann is the genitive of Éire).
"A man's hat" - hata fir - (fir is the genitive of fear).
"A can of beer" - canna beorach (beorach is the genitive of beoir).
There are a number of other constructions that trigger the genitive in Irish, that don't seem to involved "apostrophe s" or "of" at first blush, such as after the present progressive - "drinking beer" - ag ól beorach, but you will begin to recognize these situations with practice.
I'll keep the explanation entirely in English to avoid getting too complicated. Although English does not decline its nouns (anymore) as richly as other languages do. We have vestiges of this in our personal pronouns.
The nominative is for the subject or subject complement. It's usually unmarked in most languages. The English pronouns I/he/she/we/they are all strictly nominative. When you answer the phone and someone asks for Kingbluetrucker, you reply "This is he". "To be" is a stative verb (verb of state rather than verb of action) and thus takes a subject complement (not an object), which is in the nominative.
The genitive is largely what we call the possessive in English (although there is more to the genitive than just the possessive): my book; the head of the bed; the dawn of a new day; his lessons; etc.
No - nouns don't have "first person" and "second person" formulations. Verbs have "first person", "second person" and "third person" forms.
The form of the genitive in Irish varies - for some nouns it the same as the nominative singular for that noun. For other nouns it's the same as the nominative plural for that noun. And for some nouns it's not like either the nominative singular or plural.
That's "form" - what the genitive looks like. You asked about "function" - when the genitive is or should be used.
Grammatical gender has very little if anything to do with biological sex. It's just a category label for noun classes. There are even languages out there that use categories other than "masculine/feminine(/neuter)". Proto-Indo-European started out with "animate/inanimate", which eventually (but generally speaking not inevitably) morphed into "masculine/feminine/neuter" in most of its daughter languages.
In the case of German, it's because "Mädchen" ends with the diminutive "-chen" which makes the grammatical gender "neuter" regardless of the grammatical gender of the base word. According to SatharnPHL, something similar is going on here in Irish, where "cailín" has a diminutive suffix giving it a grammatically masculine gender.
Dutch used to have "masculine/feminine/neuter", but "masculine" and "feminine" got collapsed into "common". Grammatical gender in Dutch is usually discussed as "het" words and "de" words. In Dutch, all plurals are "de" regardless of whether they're "de" or "het" in the singular.
All feminine nouns don't "have an h". That "h" is called a séimhiú, and it's a mutation that only occurs in certain circumstances, and when those circumstances don't apply, there is no séimhiú.
Feminine nouns are lenited after the singular article definite "an". If you want to say "the woman" it is an bhean, if you want to say "a woman", it is just bean.
You can hear bhean pronounced in a number of other exercises:
Cloisim an bhean - "I hear the woman"
Freagraím an bhean - "I answer the woman"
An bhean liath - "The gray woman"
Tá an bhean bródúil astu - "The woman is proud of them"
You can get a general introduction to the basic sounds in Irish, and the way they change, in Karen Reshkin's video on YouTube - Sounds and Spelling of Irish / Fuaimniú & Litriú na Gaeilge
h written after a consonant indicates that the consonant has undergone lenition, which is the softening of a sound. If you look at the IPA chart http://www.ipachart.com/ you'll notice that it's organized on the Y-axis according to manner of articulation from "harder" to "softer" -- that is, from most amount of air blocked to least (at which point, vowels, which involve no air blockage at all, get their own listing). It's the opposite of fortition, which is the strengthening of a sound.
With Irish lenition sometimes the place of articulation also changes.
- /b/ becomes /v/
- /p/ becomes /f/
- /m/ becomes /w/
- /k/ becomes /x/ (similar to German Bach or Scottish loch)
- /t/ and /s/ become /h/
- /d/ becomes /ɣ/ (similar to the French
- /f/ goes away altogether
I've seen it described as aspiration, but that's not the same thing at all. Aspiration is simply pronouncing a sound more breathily, like the different way we say
p in "pit" and "spit".
The Irish for "woman" is bean. You lenite bean when the circumstances call for lenition (such as after the singular definite article in the nominative case Tá an bhean ag teacht), and you eclipse bean when the circumstances call for eclipsis (such as after certain simple preposition plus the singular definite article - Tá hata ag an mbean).
The most common circumstances that cause lenition are outlined in the Tips & Notes for the Lenition skill. The most common circumstances that cause eclipsis are outlined in the Tips & Notes for the Eclipsis skill.
The key point here is that "when do I use bean and when do I use bhean?" is the wrong question. The question that you need to work on is "Is there anything happening in this sentence that will cause me to lenite or eclipse bean?". It is just a slight change of focus, but it will pay off in the long run.
Thank you SatharnPHL. There was no reply button under your reply so I was unable to reply to your answer directly. I've kept the dictionary link. I can't wait until I understand what you are saying. I'm one month in but determined to know something before we land in Dublin this September. Thank you again.
You're unlikely to get much of an opportunity to speak Irish in Dublin, unless you go out of your way to find such an opportunity (keep an eye on the twitter feed for Pop Up Gaeltachts, for example), though you will find plenty of bi-lingual signage and displays like this:
Completely eradicated under the EU? The main impact the EU has had on the state of the language has been to provide a significant number of well paid jobs for Irish speakers working as translators! Irish is one of the official languages of the EU.
The pattern of ongoing decline of the language in the Gaeltachts was established long before the EU existed. Unless you are arguing that the Irish language would be stronger if Ireland had remained one of the poorest countries in Western Europe, then the EU isn't the problem.
"only speak Irish" is not just optimistic, it's a bit unrealistic.
You can speak Irish in Dublin (there are more fluent Irish speakers in Dublin than in any of the Gaeltachts) but you have to seek it out. Most of the public libraries have a ciorcal comhrá at least once a week, but you need to check in advance, and there's a pop-up Gaeltacht on the last Thursday of every month, and you can drop into CnaG on Harcourt St any day of the week.
Here are the population details for the Rathcairn Gaeltacht from the 2011 Census. Only about a third of the population speak Irish daily outside of school.
Meath Gaeltacht Areas
All Irish speakers 1,054
Speaks Irish daily within the education system only 275
Speaks Irish daily within and outside the education system 100
Speaks Irish daily outside the education system 221
Speaks Irish weekly outside the education system 90
Speaks Irish less often outside the education system 258
Never speaks Irish outside the education system 102
There is no "accusative" in this exercise, but even if there was, Irish doesn't have a distinct accusative form - for the most part, the accusative is the same as the nominative.
Feminine nouns like bean are lenited after the singular definite article an in the nominative case.
Differences in spelling and differences in pronunciation always go hand in hand.
Yeah, there are more features on the website.
When you have two nouns where one is an attribute of the other, like Tír na nÓg or muintir na hÉireann or lár na cathrach, the definite article between the nouns governs the whole phrase- you don't put a definite article before this type of construction.
But here you have two definite nouns separated by a conjunction, so each noun needs its own definite article.
mná is the plural of bean.
An fear agus an bhean - "the man and the woman"
Na fir agus na mná - "the men and the women"
(mná is also the genitive of bean, but that would make it "woman's" in some cases, and "woman" as an adjective in others - hata mná - "a woman's hat", tiomânaí mná - "a woman driver", baintreach mná - "a widow").
When starting out, just rote memorization. There are rules, but it's complicated and as with any natural language, there will be exceptions and irregularities.