Is there a reason why it's written like this & not something like "Ta tu ag chodladh"?
Do you know if that's the only right way to say it though? Cause the "you are swimming" one was worded very differently, so I'm wondering if there's some kind of difference between certain verbs here that aren't acknowledged in english.
It's not a special case or idiomatic. Irish contrasts a bunch of stuff you'd just use the progressive for in English.
When you use 'ag [vn]', it implies it's something you're actively doing, thus 'tá mé ag snámh' = 'I am swimming'.
On the other hand, you use 'i [poss] [vn]' when referring to a passive activity or state. Thus 'tá tú i do chodladh' = 'You are sleeping'. If you wanted to say 'I am sitting', you'd say 'tá mé i mo shuí' - both are states or passive activities.
Using the latter form for swimming would imply that you're unconscious or being dragged along. Using the former for sleeping or sitting would imply that you're somehow actively sleeping or that you've grabbed the edges of the chair and are pushing yourself into the seat, or more realistically that you're in the process of going from standing to sitting.
There's a bit more with 'ag' that I guess would be worth covering. If you wanted to say that Síle is kissing Pól, you'd say 'Tá Síle ag pógadh Pól'. Simple enough. But if you had a pronoun as the object of 'pógadh', you'd use 'do [poss] [vn]' instead: 'Tá Síle do mo phógadh' - 'Síle is kissing me'.
There are also some fixed idioms that use 'ar [vn]', but I can't recall any off the top of my head.
From your explanation, this seems to me to be very similar to active vs passive voice in English. Of course, I could very well be wrong, but hopefully if other, more skilled, speakers of Irish come along, they may be able to prove me right (hopefully!)
It's not related to the active and passive voices, it's just that the terminology I used was similar.
'Active' and 'passive' when referring to voice refer to who the subject of the clause is. In an active voice clause, the actor [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_%28grammar%29] (the one performing the action) is the subject, whereas in a passive voice clause, it's the 'patient' [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_%28grammar%29] (the target of the action) who is the subject.
However, when it comes to these two verbal noun constructions, the 'ag' one refers to something which is actively ongoing, whereas the 'i' one refers to something which is simply a state of being. In the case of sitting, the 'ag' construction thus refers to you going from a standing position to a sitting position, while the 'i' construction refers to the end product of that change: the state of sitting. With sleep, while you ware the one doing the sleeping, it's not something you actively do, but rather it's a state you're in.
Can you explain what [vn] means? I'm assuming that [poss] means possessive, am I correct?
Would you phrase any passive verb with "i do?" (or i mo, if referring to the self?) I'm relatively new to studying the language and I can't find this expression online or any others, so I'm a bit confused still. Is 'ag' used in combination with any other word to create an active tense of the verb?
(This is going to be a bit of a text dump, so apologies!)
[vn] means a verbal noun goes in that position, and yes, [poss] is short for 'possessive'.
It's passive in the sense that you've achieved a state which you're staying in as opposed to passive in the grammatical sense. In retrospect, either 'stative' or 'state-of-being' would've been a better term to use than 'passive'. English doesn't distinguish between the progressive (the 'ag [vn]' form in Irish) and state-of-being (the 'i [poss] [vn]' form in Irish), which I referred to as 'passive' (because there really isn't a great term for it in English). This might help a little: http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/verbnom1.htm#VerlZustand
Generally, when you're forming a progressive, you use 'ag [vn]'. This is true of just about all verbs. Some verbs are naturally state-of-being verbs, such as 'cónaigh', of which 'cónaí' is the verbal noun because you obviously can't progressively live somewhere: you're either living there or not, so in that case 'ag cónaí' (the progressive form) wouldn't make sense, so you use the state-of-being form, which would be 'i mo chónaí', &c., because it's a state you're in.
The use of the verbal noun in Irish is kind of a hairy area. Unfortunately, Irish is very different from your standard Indo-European language (in spite of being an I-E language), so it can sometimes be difficult to find a way to express these things in ways people would be familiar with and get across the proper grammatical nuance!
'Codlagh' isn't a word. You might be confusing that with 'codlaigh', which is an alternate form of 'codail'. Alternatively, you might be thinking of the verbal noun of 'codail', which is 'codladh'. As to why the dictionary form goes to from 'codail' to 'codladh', that's because it's in the second declension, which we can tell because it's a syncopated polysyllabic verb ending in -il.
 The rough equivalent of the passive in Irish are the autonomous forms, but let's not get into that just yet!
 The dictionary form of a verb in Irish is the singular imperative form, as this is a stable base for conjugating verbs. Irish doesn't have any concept of an infinitive form, like you find in French, English, German, Spanish, &c., although the verbal noun can act similarly to an infinitive when used with particular particles and prepositions.
 Syncopated means that when it's conjugated, the last syllable collapses, causing the vowels to disappear, thus 'codail' has the root 'codl-' in its conjugated forms such as 'codlaíonn', &c. Another example of a syncopated polysyllabic verb would be 'imir', meaning 'play (a game)', which goes from 'imir' to the root 'imr-' for conjugation, e.g. 'imríonn'.
I think I might start turning all this into a series of blog posts so that I can give people links and progressively improve the explanations, which would be a bit better than explaining these things in comments!
I'm going to start turning any of my comments into posts like this one: https://i.canthack.it/the-progressive-in-irish.html
Yup, every verb has a verbal noun, just as every verb in English has a present participle, gerund, and infinitive. The verbal noun in Irish serves a similar, though not identical, purpose to the gerund, present participle, and infinitive in English.
Thank you so much, talideon. That helps clear a lot of confusion that I had; though as usual I have one more question. Do all verbs have a verbal noun associated with them?
talideon: the easiest term for your 'state-of-being' is "continuous". "Progressive" is a non-habitual dynamic imperfective, and "continuous" is a non-habitual stative imperfective. Although terminology around aspect and aktionsart is always confused and variable.
Which does raise a question, though: is this distinction in Irish a distinction of aspect (grammatical) or of aktionsart (lexical)? Can you change from progressive to continuous to make a point, or is it fixed by the semantics of each verb?
To give some examples... a language with genuinely aspectual progressive/continuous would use different constructions to express:
"I'm competing in the F1 world championship" (I'm currently driving the car) vs "I'm competing in the F1 world championship" (I'm a registered competitor, but actually right now I'm on a yacht in Monaco).
"I'm reading the Bible" (go away, I'm in the middle of one of the fun bits), vs "I'm reading the Bible" (my project for the year is to read the Bible, and I'm halfway through, though I haven't actually picked it up in a bit)
"I'm writing a novel" (that's why you can hear me typing as I talk to you on the phone), vs "I'm writing a novel" (I've done plot summaries and character sheets and everything, and one of these day I'm actually going to start deciding on some actual words).
"I'm having sex with my secretary" (so i'll have to phone you back) vs "I'm having sex with my secretary" (it's been going on for years and I'm worried my wife might find out)
Conceptually these are all progressive (ongoing action) vs continuous (ongoing state of affairs). Some languages, like English, have no specific way to distinguish (other than adding extra words like 'right this moment'). Some languages, like iirc Mandarin, regularly use two different constructions for each pair. But some languages pick one construction for each verb and stick with it (so, "sleep" is always continous but "write" is always progressive).
Can Irish switch at will, or is it fixed for each verb?
Nouns that are direct objects of verbal noun phrases must be in the genitive..
Tá Síle ag pógadh Póil
(Pól being the object of Síle's action - kissing)
Tá Síle ag tabhairt póige (singular) / póg (plural) do Phól
(an phóg or na póga being the direct object[s] of Síle's action - giving, and Pól being the indirect object in the dative following the preposition do)
This is more of a general complaint. Why is the amount of words that are pronounced out loud on the irish courses very minimal? I am completely clueless on how to pronounce 99% of these irish words. I'm also learning Italian and Italian seems to give more pronunciations.
The Irish course has human audio instead of computer generated audio like the Italian course. Therefore, the Irish pronunciations take more time and effort to pronounce (but it's worth it because they are more accurate!). However, every word in the Irish course is pronounced at least once, so you are guaranteed to hear every word at least once. If you want more pronunciation help, visit forvo.com.
That is brutal to remember.. why "i do" chodladh? .. back to reading the rules.. what lesson was that again?
well so far we've been learning habitual present like Codlaim "I sleep". here we have the other form of present which is not explain in the Verb present 1. so am I the only one having a problem whit this ?
codladh what group is that ? has to be the second one but is it leathan or caol ?
Codlaim isn't the habitual present, it's the simple present. Only 'Bí' has an habitual present (bíonn).
'Codladh' is the verbal noun of 'codail' ('sleep'). You're correct that it's second conjugation. Specifically, it's second conjugation because it's a syncopated polysyllabic verb with a dictionary form ending in -il. However, 'codail' is a bit of a weird verb, as it acts as if it's actually 'codlaigh', which is a variant spelling of the verb. This means that rather than being conjugated like, say, 'imir', it actually conjugates more like a second conjugation verb ending in -igh, but for various etymological reasons, the verbal noun's ending is spelled irregularly though the pronunciation is regular: as -adh rather than the expected -ú. For instance, the word for 'opium' in Irish is 'codlaidín', which is the diminutive of 'codhladh'.
What you're learning in this exercise is the present progressive. I wrote up some notes that might help: https://i.canthack.it/the-progressive-in-irish.html
Codlaim isn't the habitual present, it's the simple present. Only 'Bí' has an habitual present (bíonn).
All present tense verbs in Irish are habitual, except tá - you use bíonn for the habitual aspect of bí in the present tense.
What do you mean by that? I think you are both confused. We used to have a distinction between the analytic and synthetic forms, say, téann mé and téim but that has fallen out of use hundreds of years ago and the modern dialects just use either for both a simple present (I eat) and habitual present (I do eat).
Claiming that codlaim (codlaím in CO?) is not the habitual present is wrong but so is the implied claim that all present tense verbs do not convey the meaning of the 'simple present'.
There were no explanation of the present progressive at this point. This sentence is a bit confusing and feels out of place when we try to get used to conjugating the present habitual, I hope this will be addressed in 2.0 (either move this sentence to the lesson that explains present progressive, or add notes to explain it summarily in Verbs I).
What would something like the song "Táimse im' chodladh" mean? It seems like it should be I am sleeping, but I have never seen this conjugation of bí before.
So might this verb be considered a reflexive verb, as in French or Italian?
No. It's distinguishing between two kinds of continuous action: it distinguishes between action you're actively performing verses ones you're passively performing. As an example, positioning yourself so as you can sit in it would be something you're actively doing, whereas when you're actually sitting in the chair, you're fully seated and thus only passively performing the act of sitting.
Using the example here, 'tá tú ag codladh' would be like saying 'you are trying to fall asleep', whereas 'tá tú i do chodladh' means that 'you are now actually sleeping'. In the former, you're trying to enter a particular state, whereas in the latter, you've achieved that state, and it's ongoing.
Hmm...I think I get it. I love the specificity, it seems so elegant. Ok, thank you for your help!
How many of these are there? Off the top of my head, there are suí, luí, codladh, seasamh. I feel there are many more "passive states" that do not use this construction déanaim bolg le gréin, to give one example. What I am getting at is that you are correct in that all of the uses of this construction are passive states, but not all passive states use the construction. In fact, very few do.
So really it's no different than ta being now and is being ongoing. Or Mo capall verses capall agam?
I'm not sure what you mean. This has nothing to do with any of that. This is one of the forms of the present progressive.
'Tá' (the name of the verb is actually 'bí') is the existential verb (there is, there exists), whereas 'is' is the copula and expresses something more like equivalence.
Also, I think you might be confused about 'mo chapall' and 'capall agam'. The latter is just a meaningless sentence fragment unless you have the verb 'bí' in the sentence, e.g. 'beidh capall agam' = 'I will have a horse', 'bhí capall agam' = 'I had a horse', 'tá capall agam' = 'I have a horse'. 'Bí + ag' is how 'have' is expressed in Irish.
What if you wanted to ask: Are you sleeping? How would you place the words or is there a completely different way of saying that all together?
No, it's not that different; it just requires some changes to the verb part of the sentence. You just phase it as a question: An bhfuil tú i do chodladh.
In that sentence, 'An' is the interrogative particle (marking it as a yes/no question). 'Fuil' is the dependent form of 'tá', and is subject to eclipsis because it's preceded by the interrogative particle, thus it's written 'bhfuil'. The rest is as in a normal sentence.
So, where in a regular indicative sentence you have:
<independent verb form> <subject> [<object>]
In a yes/no question, you have:
'An' <eclipsed dependent verb form> <subject> [<object>]
Here are more details on how the various verbal particles work: http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/part.htm
what kind of tense is that? I've never had that before... there were no learning units.
How come a tense suddenly just appears without any introduction?
There is NO audio and I have NEVER seen this word before. how is chodladh pronounced ?
The Irish for "you sleep" is codlaíonn tú.
"you are asleep" and "you sleep" don't mean the same thing in English, and tá tú i do chodladh and codlaíonn tú don't mean the same thing in Irish.
I wrote "you are in your sleep". Should this not be an acceptable answer, even if it's not the most natural way to write it in English?
No, because you're translating the words, not the meaning, and the direct translation into English makes no sense. The point of these exercises to to show you understand the words and the meaning behind them.