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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyLAnders1

Cad, Cen, Ca, Ceard, a, ata, an bhfuil

I'm not getting it. I've done great until this point and now I am just lost. It is, in part, because DL is now throwing all 3 dialects at us and in part because of how they can be used in different ways. I have 5 pages of notes on question forms and I still can't get it right. The only thing I seem to understand is when to use a vs ata, meaning you use ata when there is not another verb form present, and I understand that you use them for questions that would be answered with a "ta" form - but that hasn't help me much. (sorry, can't do accents on this keyboard) I also can't remember which C word to use for which type of question. I have all the charts that show, for example, that who is "ce" and what is "cad", but "what" can be also be "cen" or "ca"....so seriously, I'm LOST. The only ones I can consistently get right are "cen uair" or "cen fath" - those I understand. I also don't understand when to use "an bhfuil" and all of the commentary of the grammatical tense of "bi" isn't helpful, I need an simple answer. I think it's also confusing because the translation to English isn't direct. For example, we might say "What does...." but in Irish, it is actually a form of "is." I have scoured the internet for resources and I'm not coming up with anything. And then there are the questions where you don't use a "c" word at all. Can anyone help? I am on the last level of lessons for this topic. :( I've come too far to give up now.

April 11, 2019

10 Comments


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

The only thing I seem to understand is when to use a vs atá, meaning you use atá when there is not another verb form present, and I understand that you use them for questions that would be answered with a "tá" form - but that hasn't [helped] me much.

This instance of a is a relative particle, which is analogous to the relative pronouns “that”, “which”, or “who” in English. Atá is a combined form of a + that is used in direct relative clauses, e.g. na mná atá anseo (“the women who are here”). More detail on relative clauses can be found here.

(sorry, can't do accents on this keyboard)

You most likely can set up your keyboard to type letters with diacritics; the particular way of doing so depends upon which operating system is installed on your computer.

I also can't remember which C word to use for which type of question. I have all the charts that show, for example, that who is "cé" and what is "cad", but "what" can be also be "cén" or "cá"....so seriously, I'm LOST.

Irish interrogatives (the “C words”) have more dialectal variation than English interrogatives (the “W words”) do. Since you have all of the Irish interrogatives charted and your problem is remembering them, I’d suggest writing out in longhand some simple English questions with their Irish translations — the exercising of “muscle memory” will help you to remember what they mean.

I also don't understand when to use "an bhfuil" and all of the commentary of the grammatical tense of "bi" isn't helpful, I need an simple answer.

An bhfuil is used to ask a non-copular “am/are/is” question, e.g. An bhfuil na mná anseo? (“Are the women here?”). This an is an interrogative particle which causes eclipsis, and bhfuil (the eclipsed version of fuil ) is the “dependent” form of ; it’s called “dependent” because its use is dependent upon one of a certain set of particles preceding it.

I think it's also confusing because the translation to English isn't direct. For example, we might say "What does...." but in Irish, it is actually a form of "is."

The reason for the lack of a direct translation is that Irish interrogatives have an implied copula, which often then require the use of a relative clause, e.g. Cad é is fearr leo? (“What do they prefer?” — more literally, “What (is) it that-is better with-them?”). Such syntactic differences are part and parcel of learning another language.

And then there are the questions where you don't use a "c" word at all. Can anyone help?

Other than interrogative particles such as an and nach, what other non-“C words” are you thinking of?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyLAnders1

Thank you. I am probably over thinking it. Would you ever use "an bhfuil" with Cad, Cén, Cá? What's confusing me too is that if Cá and Cén both can mean "what" - then how do you know which one to use for Cén fáth? Or is that actually "which reason" and not "what reason?"

For example of how translation is confusing me: What does she have? I would think "an bhfuil" - for "does" (right? Or is that wrong?) but that's not really how the question is asked in Irish. Instead its "what has she?" - which would be "atá" - do you see what I mean?

I'm trying to think of the other types of questions - "Do you play?" I think was one that I saw that was not a c-word interrogative. I appreciate your help!


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

Would you ever use "an bhfuil" with Cad, Cén, Cá?

No.

What's confusing me too is that if Cá and Cén both can mean "what" - then how do you know which one to use for Cén fáth? Or is that actually "which reason" and not "what reason?"

Since cén = + an, I tend to think of cén as “which”, but idiomatic English often prefers “what” over “which”, e.g. translating Cén t-am é? as “What time is it?” rather than “Which time is it?”. In the case of Cén fáth?, it’s simplest to translate it as “Why?”.

For example of how translation is confusing me: What does she have? I would think "an bhfuil" - for "does" (right? Or is that wrong?) but that's not really how the question is asked in Irish. Instead its "what has she?" - which would be "atá" - do you see what I mean?

“What does she have?” would be Cad é atá aici? (or Cad é atá uirthi? if the context is a health problem) — an English “W-word” tends to be translated by an Irish “C-word”. An bhfuil would be used in a yes/no question like An bhfuil an cháis aici? (“Does she have the cheese?”) or An bhfuil an bhruitíneach uirthi? (“Does she have the measles?”). Because Irish doesn’t have an independent “have” verb, it asks an “am/are/is … at/on X” question to express the English “do/does X have …” meaning.

I'm trying to think of the other types of questions - "Do you play?" I think was one that I saw that was not a c-word interrogative. I appreciate your help!

“Do you play?” would be An imríonn tú/sibh? (or An seinneann tú/sibh? if the context is a musical instrument), using the interrogative particle an.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyLAnders1

Thank you! This helps. I was definitely over thinking it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyLAnders1

For "what color is on the shirt?" Could you use either cad or cén? And if so, is that because the question is slightly different, but the same question? Cén dath atá ar an leine? = Which color is ón the shirt? And Cad dath atá ag an leine = What color is on the shirt?


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

Yes, either cad or cén could be used — but their sentence structures would differ. The “what” in “What color is on the shirt?” is an interrogative determiner, but the “what” in “What is on the shirt?” is an interrogative pronoun. Since cad is only an interrogative pronoun, an analogous English question would have to be asked with an interrogative pronoun, like “What is the color that is on the shirt?” — Cad é an dath atá ar an léine? .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyLAnders1

Oh ok. So in concept I was thinking right - just the wrong form.

I just went through 3 exercises with almost no mistakes so you have been a great help!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
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  • 1253

You can't say Cad dath.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
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  • 1253

"Does she have X?" - An bhfuil X aici? That's the interrogative form of "She has X" - Tá X aici.

"What does she have?" isn't just "what" in front of "does she have X?", because "X" is the actual subject of the verb in that sentence in Irish (the verb is and X is the subject). So the construction in Irish is actually "What is it that she has?" - cad (é) a tá aici?. The "it"-é is implied, and the relative particle a is combined with (it doesn't combine with any other verbs).

It might also be helpful to think of cén as cad é an in certain cases.

Questions like "do you play?" don't use a "w" question word in English ("who", "why", "what", "when", "where"), so they don't use a c question word in Irish, just the interrogative particle an before the verb - an imríonn tú?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyLAnders1

Ohhhhhh ok. So it's a different structure - what does she have? Does she have? This is starting to click now. Thank you!!!

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