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  5. "Is maith leat an mhairteoil."

"Is maith leat an mhairteoil."

Translation:You like the beef.

August 26, 2014



Can anybody explain why "mairteoil" becomes "mhairteoil" with a "h" in this situation?


I cannot work out this one exactly


"Mairteoil" is a feminine noun and therefore gets a "h" (séimhiú) after the definite article "an".


Also note that there is a lenition hidden in the modern spelling. The old spelling was Mairtfheoil, in which you can see "feoil" the word for meat.


This is going to kill me!


Yeah, it's like in English where the word "shepherd" is a herder of sheep. Where's the E gone? Argh, it's killing me.


Never mind that. What about English words that end with "ough"?


so beef is the meat from the mart, the place to buy and sell animals; cows, pigs etc... is there any relation to this and the irish word for Tuesday: Dé Máirt? were there areas that marts happening on tuesdays?


Mart is the Irish word for a cow carcass, hence:

Mairteoil = Mairtfheoil = Cow carcass meat.

Máirt for "Teusday" is a gaelicisation of the Roman god Mars.


Does that mean that muiceoil means pig carcass meat? I saw the similarity and was trying to figure out why when I find your comment.


Very close. 'Muc = pig' so the exact same process occurs:

Muiceoil = Muicfheoil = Pig meat.

The older spelling had the 'fh' to indicate it came from feoil = meat.


Thanks :) It's always helpful to understand how and why when possible :P Lingot!


Why not "You like beef." which would be more natural in English?


Because "an" is the definite article ("the"). But it does bring up a question. Lots of European languages DO use the definite article with "in general" uses - me gusta los perros is both "I like dogs" and "I like the dogs". Does Irish work this way?


It does for some types of words, e.g. abstract nouns and languages, but it’s the exception rather than the rule in Irish.


could this sentence be used as a question with the right intonation?


Nope. Verbs always need to change to form questions. In fact, in conservative dialects, there is no question intonation at all (or so I'm told).

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