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  5. "Tá úll agat."

" úll agat."

Translation:You have an apple.

August 25, 2014



Okay, I don't get this one. If I translate it word by word I get something like "to be an apple have" because I thought that tá is a form of "to be" (tá tú - you are). So why do I use "to be" here? Or is this some kind of exception and tá does not mean "to be"?


The literal translation would be: "An apple is at you".


Ah yes the joys of Irish- prepositions are seemingly valued over verbs (where we may use a verb in English a preposition is used in Irish).

It's great!


I read a very interesting book on the development of language called "The Unfolding of Language" by Guy Deutscher. In it, he talks about the idea that in virtually every example, these verbs like "to have," which express rather abstract ideas, evolve from common prepositions like this, where physical nearness is associated with ownership.


Very interesting! I love this sort of thing- have you listened to the history of english pod cast? It's pretty excellent agus talks alot about historical linguistics http://historyofenglishpodcast.com/

It's availeable on iTunes


Irish technically has no 'to have' verb at all. Great fun altogether.


That's exactly it. Irish loves to use noun phrases in places of verbs :).


Arabic has the same construction. "It is to me" or "it is with me" is far more common than a verb like "I possess (such and such)" which is possible, but sounds ridiculous.

That's the beauty of language learning, it destroys your preconceptions about how information has to be ordered, e.g. the idea that "to have" must be expressed verbally. Once you get over your first language biases, learning more is easier.


Similar to Russian ,except they use genitive, whereas the Irish and Arabic appear to use dative?


Arabic has no dative, only genitive, akkusative and nominative


Tà combined with agat means you have!


It's called an ergative construction, if I remember it right. In Russian there is a similar one, like "with you there is an apple", which sounds in it more natural than "I have an apple"


Definitely not an ergative construction in Russian. Russian has no ergative, I can say it as a Russian native speaker with a degree in linguistics


Sounds like "bir elma sende" in turkish


I am a native Russian speaker and after translating "an apple is at you" word-for-word into Russian I realized that the way we express the idea of ownership is the same in Irish and Russian, minus the fixed word order, which isn't really the case in Russian - we are more likely to put it as "an apple is at you", even though the word order can change. Now it's much easier for me to grasp the idea


I recently came across some academic work that differentiates between "H-Languages", that have a transitive verb for "have", and "B-Languages" that use a construction with the verb "be" for this purpose.

English, German, Spanish, Czech, Mapudungun, and Paraguayan Guaranı ́are "H-Languages". Russian, Latvian, Sakha, Korean, Hungarian, Irish, Peruvian Quechua, and Hindi are "B-languages".



That's a wonderful find, thank you so much for sharing it!


try: to be-an apple-at you


Rather IS an apple at you. is the present tense of the verb to be, and so means "is" or "are", rather than "be".

("Be", incidentally, is "bí"!)


Ah, that makes a bit more sense & I think I'm slowly getting it! Thanks :)


Irish has lots of that kind of thing. The language has a lot of 'prepositional pronouns' where prepositions are conjugated for person. They're mostly pretty predicable in form.

Also, 'bí'/'tá' is often used with prepositional phrases to express various kinds of 'being'. For instance 'tá bron orm' means 'I'm sad' (also, 'I'm sorry'), but literally translates as 'is sadness on-me'. 'tá ... ar rud' typically used to express feelings and other sensations.


I need some examples, I have... you have... he/she has... Please help me, I didn't found anything :(


tell me please if that is ok: I have an apple: ta úll agam, You have an apple: ta úll agat, He has an apple: ta úll aige, etc


Yup, that's just fine.


So it is like a contraction?


Not exactly. I'd characterize the prepositional pronouns as more like declensions. They can't be separated.



Thanks for the link!


Well, "tá" doesn't mean "be", exactly. It's present tense, and means "is" or "are".

Then again, "agat" doesn't mean "have". It means "at you" ("at" is ag and "you" is "tú", but you can't say ag tú - they always have to be combined into agat).

So the sentence means "there is an apple at you". This is the way you say "you have an apple".


Thanks for the explanation. Before your explanation I don't know how 'agat' means 'at you'.

I hope there will be something like this in the future. This Irish is really really new for me. The VSO, pronunciation, etc.


This might also help. It's a chart of all the declensions of the prepositional pronouns. http://i.imgur.com/xUFSc3Y.png

(It's from here, but the special characters don't show up for everyone: http://www.irishpage.com/quiz/preppron.htm )


Thanks, It's very helpful.


Tá can also effectively mean "there is/there are". Like hay in Spanish or há in Portuguese. This sentence translates as "There is an apple at you" That's just the way it's put in Irish.

EDIT: Disregard the comparison with hay/há!


That's debatable. If you want to make an existential statement in Irish, then you generally need the adverb 'ann', e.g. 'tá úll ann' = 'there's an apple', or 'tá trí úlla ann' = 'there are three apples'.


there is a similar construction in latin as well


Tá .... agat. = You have....

Tá ... agam = I have...

It is not helpful to think of it as "at me/you".


For all intents and purposes yes, it means You have an apple, and that's how it should be thought of but it's always helpful to know the true translation when trying to make sense of a new language. Some people were wondering why does tá (to be) have to be in a sentence stating "You have an apple", and the literal translation explains why.


While this seems to be a good shortcut now, be careful that it doesn't trip you up later. A lot of the preposition conjugations will no doubt show up in a little while.


I actually find it very helpful, but different people learn differently. :-) I do have a question about this, though. In Scottish Gaelic the same construction is used to talk about knowing a language. Tha Gàidhlig agam - I know Gaelic (lit. The Gaelic is at me). Is this the same in Irish?


Grammatically speaking, Scottish Gaelic and Irish are largely the same. It's in matters of phonology, orthography, and vocabulary where they really diverge.

And yes, this is one of those cases where they're almost exactly the same: tá gaeilge agam.


I've heard bilingual Irish people talk about a person 'having' a language when they were speaking English, so the Irish Gaelic idiom seems to have shaped at least some people's use of Irish-dialect English. It was really cool to hear how the expression carried over! :-)


It's far from confined to that example or to bilingual Irish people. Hiberno-Irish, the vernacular language of Ireland, has absorbed so many features of Irish that it's hard to know where to start listing them. This holds even for the majority of Irish people who have next to no Irish.

For a brief intro, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiberno-English#Grammar_and_syntax , though the influence goes beyond grammar and syntax and into phonology


Thanks for the link -- it's fascinating! Have a lingot!


It's thanks I do be giving you.


Judging from how the idiomatic translation is "You have" and the literal translation says "At you"...I take it there is no Irish verb that means "to have" exactly?


You're correct.

Nor does it have a verb meaning 'to need'. For that, you use 'bí' + 'ó', so if you wanted to say 'I need money', you'd say 'tá airgead uaim'. This is actually a common pattern in langauges: languages that don't have a specific verb meaning 'have' will invariably lack a verb meaning 'need'. Russian, for example, behaves similarly.


This is exactly the kind of gem a philologist like me loves to stumble across!

So if Irish doesn't have "to have" and instead says "is at", and accordingly does not have "to need", then what is the literal English translation for how it's expressed in Irish?

Thank you.


If you want to clearly distinguish needing from wanting, you do it periphrastically, much as in the French 'avoir besoin de'. The equivalent of 'besoin' in Irish is 'gá', thus ' tá gá ag (duine) le (rud)', is how you'd express '(somebody) needs (something)', which literally translates as '[there] is need at (person) for/with/by (thing)'.


O_o "ta se" = he is, " ta ... agat" = You have. Am I completely on the wrong track?


That's correct.


"ta" means he and you?


Tá means "is." It's "agat" and "sé" that change it from "he is" to a possessive. (Sorry for butting in! Explaining things helps me remember...)


huh. I'm not disputing what you're saying (actually this is a tangent), but I'm wondering now what the word order is for "Ta" (which I probably read recently in the section tips X) ) otherwise since I think the Irish copula "Is" seems to usually put what English would use as a predicate before what we'd think of as the subject. (usually we say "I am x" or "he is w" while it seems to be "Is x me" and "Is w e")

So, um... V adj S or V S adj here?


Sentences that start with is are Verb-Complement-Subject. All other sentences, including those that start with , are Verb-Subject-Object. The other difference with is is that sé/sí/siad become é/í/iad.



I find it easier to think of it as:

Ta ull agat= An apple is yours (= you have an apple).


On similar line of thought, I would think it means "your apple" but I might be too early in the lessons to say that for sure is same as possessive. I just think of it as similar to in french where one can say "La pomme est à toi" which literally translates as "The apple is at you."


The best translation of Tá úll agat is "You have an apple".

"Your apple" is d'úll.



So there is no translation for the articles "a/an"?


Irish does not have indefinite articles.


Hungarian also uses the verb "to be" for possession.


latin has dative of possession also, mihi est malum.


What's the purpose of Ta


It means "is".


Ples tell me what does it mean


Tá úll agat.
Let's break this down.

is one of the two ways to say "to be" in Irish (roughly similar to Spanish). In some uses such as this one, it can be thought of as "there is".
úll means "apple". Irish does not have the indefinite article (a/an in English).
agat literally means "at you". Irish does not have the verb "to have". Instead of saying "You have X" they say "There is X at you".


So what does agat mean by itself then?


It's a prepositional pronoun that means "at you" for the singular "you".
Here is a chart: http://i.imgur.com/xUFSc3Y.png


My attempt at a literal translation is "Is [an] apple at thee" which has no ambiguity. Perhaps the verb being first might throw some (e.g. English speakers) into thinking it's a question. It's not.


Question: could "ta ùll ag tu?" Also work? Or is it absolutely mandatory to contract "ag tu" into "agat"?


If you were to directly translate this, it means something like "you have an apple on you" according to my Irish family.


"There is an apple at you."

A chart of the prepositional pronouns


If you phrased it as a question, how would it look then?


An bhfuil úll agat?

... I think.


Ta úll agat: you have an apple Taim úll agat: I have an apple?


I have an apple: Tá úll agam.


Literally: is apple at-me


Now, I have no reason to learn gaelic, but i wanted to impress my friends and learn something that i might use one day. This is the first lesson and at first "fear" and "bean" i pronounced like I would in english "feer" and "Been" and then i heard the translayor talk and i got so confused.


Does tá here means something along the line of "to exist"?


Yes. It's literally "is apple at-you".



Tá means both 'you' and 'he/she'?


I understand almost all of this except for one thing, how is it clear who the object is?

Úll is the subject, tá is the verb, and agat is a preposition, right? So how is the object clear, does the verb encode object as well?


agat is a prepositional pronoun, a combination of the preposition ag and a 2nd person singular pronoun.

tá úll ag Pól - "Paul has an apple"
tá úll ag an mbuachaill - "the boy has an apple"
tá úll agam - "I have an apple"
tá úll agat - "you have an apple"
tá úll aige - "he has an apple"
tá úll aici - "she has an apple"
tá úll againn - "we have an apple"
tá úll agaibh - "you guys have an apple"
tá úll acu - "they have an apple"


I think it should have an audio for each irish word. Who else agree with me? Please, help me asking the app for the same thing : )

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