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  5. "What does the fox say?"

"What does the fox say?"

Translation:Cad a deir an sionnach?

August 26, 2014





To put the things straight - is the "a" particle needed when I am asking about the direct object of the sentence, while the question without the "a" is a question about the subject? Like:

Cad a itheann an madra? - What does the dog eat? Cad itheann an madra? - What eats the dog? (The dog has been eaten by something)

Thanks for answering!


This is a good question. Anyone know the answer?


There IS actually a difference!


Cad a n-itheann an madra? = What eats the dog?


When "cad" refers to the object of the verb, the verb is eclipsed.


Ar fheabhas!


What is the "a" in this sentence? Could you say, "Cad deirann an sionnach?"


"a" is a preposition used to link the verb with a preceding noun or pronoun (question words are interrogative pronouns). You've probably actually seen it on here before, in atá (a + tá), like "Conas atá" linking "how" and "to be."

It's kind of like "that" used in dependent clauses in English:

The fox says => deireann an sionnach

What (is it) that the fox says => cad a deireann an sionnach

You could also think of it like the "does" in the English construction:

The fox says => What does the fox say

The fox eats => What does the fox eat

Though that doesn't hold true for the other uses of "a." You'll also see it with things like "the man who is..." or "I came to ask..." Anytime you have a verb coming after a noun in the sentence, as far as I can tell...


The elimination of white space in these comments drives me crazy - it makes it difficult to organize clear explanations and examples. ><


In case it's still useful to know, if you end a line with three spaces and hit the enter key, you'll get a line break.


Two spaces are sufficient.


Thanks for the explanation ckalenda. That is very helpful.


That is, indeed, helpful. Thank you very much.


Is there a way a student could know this form before being asked it?


Not with Duolingo's model. You're tested first, you learn afterwards.


I thought that the official standard for "abair" in the present tense was deirm, deir tú/sé/sí, deirimid and deir sibh/siad?


Dialects are not inferior to "official". All are equally correct. In fact the standard is artificial.

And in Connemara we say "céard" not "cad". Both are correct too.


Madra rua = fox though. That's what we've been taught in school


Is sionnach vs madra rua a local thing? The first word i learned for fox was mad(r)a rua.


Is "Cén a deireann an sionnach?" acceptable? It was marked wrong and when I hovered over "what" "cén" was one of the options along with "cad".


Cén is used before nouns - it is a contraction of "cé an." You would use it for questions like "what time," "what day," or "what age" (cén uair, cén lá, cén aois). Also, where, why, and how: "cén áit," what place; "cén fáth", what reason; "cén chaoi/dóigh," what way.


feck it why doesnt it allow "mada rua" sure thats they way they say it in Donegal Haii!


i always thought madra rua was fox too - as in it's a red dog! but there's a different word for red too. :(


Could someone give me a brief rundown of how this "say" verb conjugates? I've gottten used to analytic forms ending in "-ann" and was confus.


You can find the full conjugation of any verb on the Grammar tab at teanglann.ie.

Abair is one of the 11 irregular verbs in Irish.


Have we declined --deir-- yet? I missed it...


is "cad a rá an sionnach" incorrect?


I was told fox was madra rua not sionnach... ima gonna track down my irish teacher.


Both madra rua an sionnach are used - madra rua is a "common name", sionnach is a more correct term, and is used in the Irish for words like "vixen" (sionnach baineann) or "fox cub" (coileán sionnaigh).

Sionnach is actually more common than madra rua among fluent speakers.

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