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  5. "Is é Pól uachtarán na hÉirea…

"Is é Pól uachtarán na hÉireann."

Translation:Paul is the president of Ireland.

August 26, 2014



While we all appreciate Pól, the true Uachtarán na hÉireann is Miggledy Higgins.


Can it not be just "is Pól uachtarán na hÉireann"? Is the "é" after "is" necessary?


So, I'm going to describe this in the way my class was taught. It'll be watered down, because y'know, we were first semester Irish students without much grammar knowledge. So, your word order is going to be VANTP.

V = verb

A = Indefinite nouns

N = Names

T = Definite nouns

P = Pronouns

So that's your general order. If you use a definite noun, a proper noun, or a name, you need to include the pronoun (é, í, iad, srl - note, after , these prefix an "h") before the first one.

So in your first sentence you have and indefinite noun (araicnid) and a definite noun (an damhán alla). So, putting these in order (A before T), you get Is araicnid an damhán alla. However, you need the pronoun before the definite noun. Since damhán alla is feminine, you use í. This giving you Is araicnid í an damhán alla.

Your second one you have a name (Pól) and a definite noun (uachtarán na hÉireann). So, putting those together, you get Is Pól uachtarán na hÉireann. Yet, you still need that pronoun. Is é Pól uachtarán na hÉireann.

Hope that helps explain it a little. And note, this is really basic, and barely scratches the surface of the copula.


That's very helpful. Now, I just need to remember it.


How do we know, besides Duolingo's preferred method of trial and error, that araicnid is feminine?


In general, you need to memorize gender and declension. teanglann.ie is a great dictionary resource that will tell you this.

Despite that, sometimes you can guess the gender of nouns to a pretty high degree of accuracy. One heuristic I use is that nouns that end in a slender consonant (that is, preceded by a slender vowel like i or e) are usually feminine.

You can find a more detailed guide to gender heuristics here: https://thegeekygaeilgeoir.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/making-sense-of-irish-gender/

  • 1482

There is slightly more concise description at http://nualeargais.ie/foghlaim/nouns.php

The article that you referred to does suggest that single syllable words ending in -cht are masculine and multi-syllable words ending in -cht are feminine (which is more detail than the page that I linked to), but then it says that bunreacht is an exception, because it's a multi-syllable word that is masculine, but bunreacht is a compound word, taking it's gender from the single syllable reacht .


Thanks, I was looking for that but couldn't remember where it was. It's a great tool.


Taking sentences like "Is múinteoir (é) Pól", etc. as a pattern, could we reverse the order? "Is uachtarán na hÉireann é Pól"? As far as I understood the copula works a bit like the "=" (equals) sign.


It'd shift the meaning a little, and you'd need to move é to right after the copula.


Thanks. Could you elaborate a little - in what way does the meaning change? Is that only a matter of emphasis?

I tried to find some info online and turns out that Wikipedia adds in another detail that I missed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_syntax): 'If the predicate is indefinite, it follows the copula directly, with the disjunctive pronoun and subject coming at the end: Is múinteoir í Cáit. "Cáit is a teacher."'

I guess in this case it's not really indefinite as there is only one president of Ireland (shouldn't there be a definite article?).


There is an article - the na in Uachtarán na hÉireann. Since it'seems a genitive phrase, the article goes between the two.

And the meaning changes from Paul being the subject to the President of Ireland being the subject. So instead of labeling Paul as PoI, you're labeling the PoI as Paul.


@galaxyrocker: I can't reply below for some reason. Thanks for the answer, I haven't looked at genitive yet, so I didn't recognize the structure. It all makes sense now.


Sorry if this a stupid question, what's a copula? Are they; Is, tá, ní, níl? The verbs at the beginning of the sentence?


The copula, as used in Irish, is the (defective) verb is and its forms. No others are called that


Paul has had quite a life, hanging out with crabs, coming from a land of talking deer and foxes, to being the president of freakin Ireland.


Surely he can't be President and Taoiseach? Isn't that unconstitutional?


Oh, so thats who Pól is. Wait, but how is he able to walk on water?

[deactivated user]

    Why is there a "pay attention to the accents" notice included in the correction of the English translation?


    Because Duolingo are a sinister force from another planet bent on gaslighting us all.


    Michael is president actually


    Actualy michel d higgins is the president of ireland


    Why is it a plural the, 'na' instead of singular 'an' when it comes before Ireland?

    • 1482

    Éire is a femine noun, and na is the singular definite article for feminine genitive nouns.

    os comhair na scoile - "in front of the school"
    bia na bialainne - "the restaurant's food"


    Paul's moved up in the world ain't he


    Pól is sure living the life


    The first word in the Irish form of the this expression, "is", was pronounced in the audio with final [s]; i think it is pronounced with final [š].

    • 1482

    I've no idea what you think [š] sounds like (it's not part of the standard IPA character set, as far as I know), but the wiktionary entries that include pronunciation guidance suggest that in many languages it's what we call a slender s in Irish. In which case you would be wrong - the s in is is generally pronounced [s], with a broad s, despite the fact that it is next to a slender vowel.


    By [š], i meant what the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcribes as [ʃ], the initial consonant of English ship, sheet. I thought people would figure out that i meant that. Thank you for your explanation.


    Is Uachtarán not a proper noun?

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