Here is a decent explanation. It's been covered in a few lessons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_syntax#The_copula_is
It has taken me until now - four years after this message - to find Tips and Notes on the computer. When you hit a lesson set (say, Basics 1) a rectangle opens below it that tells you which set you're on and how many still to go before you reach level 5.
At the top right of that rectangle is a lightbulb icon. THAT's where I found the Tips and Hints! I could have screamed...
Scroll down on this page for the Tips and Notes. I use the computer and the mobile phone. If you have wifi, you can access the internet page that the computer users see. https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ga/Basics-1
Rumoured, avatars are optional so you cannot assume someone is on mobile by that.
ataltane, the Tips & notes appear on the top left on my computer lesson pages.
With real verbs (like tá or itheann, but not with the copula is), it works like this:
sé = he; é = him
sí = she; í = her
siad = they; iad = they
Two potentially confusing things:
The other personal pronouns have only one form (mé = I or me; tú = you)—which is just like the English word 'you'.
The copula pattern (with 'is') always takes the shorter form (é, í, iad), if it exists, though an English speaker might expect the longer form (sé, sí, siad).
Would it have something to do with the fact that this is copula ends with a letter "s" and those persons sé, sí and siad begin also with a letter "s"? I immediately made that association.
I also think that only sé, sí, and siad have their initial "s" dropped — while there are other grammatical persons with an initial "s" — because they are third persons, and in many languages third persons have particularities in their behaviours. At least, that is how I understood it.
I'm not sure what you're asking.
Irish grammar is different from English grammar. English is SVO (subject-verb-object) or SVC (subject-verb-complement). Irish is VSO or VCS.
Word-for-word, "is fear é" is "is man he". Irish also does not have any indefinite articles. In English, we put it as "he is a man".
No, the first lesson did not teach you to say "Is fear sé" for "he is a man" and "Is bean sí" for "she is a woman".
If that's what you wrote down in your notes, the discrepancy is in your notes, because you won't find any evidence of "Is fear sé" or "Is bean sí" on Duolingo.
sé, sí and siad are only ever used as the Subject of a verb, and adjacent to that verb, they are not used with the copula.
Irish does not have an indefinite article so both English versions are accepted with or without an indefinite article, however in this sentence format the indefinite article would be most common. "He is a man." and "It is a man." are now both accepted. Without an indefinite article "He is man." would mean that he represents the entire category of "man".
There's several ways you can do this. If you just wanted to say "He is the man", with no emphasis, it'd be Is (é) an fear é. The first é is not used in Ulster Irish, but required in the other two dialects and the Caighdeán.
If you wished to emphasize "him", you can say Is eisean an fear
It depends on where you're doing your lessons, and this has been addressed in a few places already, including in the sticky posts in the Discussion link above for the Irish lessons, but the short answer is this:
On iPads and iPhones: You can install additional Apple dictionaries and keyboards for other languages under Settings General Keyboard Keyboards. You shouldn't need to install additional keyboards in Irish, because most keys in the keyboard long-press to reveal accented variants.
On Android: You should use a keyboard like Swiftkey or the Google keyboard, both of which allow you to turn on keyboards for multiple languages, and you also long-press to get accented variants of letters.
On Windows: There's a few ways to get these to appear: unicode characters or install a new keyboard. If you do unicode characters, you'll want a number pad on your computer and then you type a four-digit numeric code starting with 0. Here's the full chart:
Vwl ALT Code
- Á - ALT+0193
- É - ALT+0201
- Í - ALT+0205
- Ó - ALT+0211
- Ú - ALT+0218
Vwl ALT Code
- á - ALT+0225
- é - ALT+0233
- í - ALT+0237
- ó - ALT+0243
- ú - ALT+0250
Sym ALT Code
- £ - ALT+0163
- € - ALT+0128 (Source: http://symbolcodes.tlt.psu.edu/bylanguage/irish.html)
The other method is to install the Windows English International Keyboard, which most people are able to switch to by hitting WIN+Spacebar. You might even already have the keyboard installed! It comes standard on most Dell PCs and laptops.
The keyboard works by using two and three key chords to output letters. That means that your quote keys become "dead" keys in the sense that you don't see anything the first time you type a single or a double quote. Once you hit a space key or any other key that doesn't have an accent, you'll see your quote character. However, if you do hit a character with an accent, then you get the accented variant:
' + a = á ' + e = é ' + i = í ' + o = ó ' + u = ú
You also get additional characters for other languages that show up when you hold down the right alt key and press letters: ß ø ð þ æ etc
To install the keyboard on Windows 8/Windows 10, open the Control Panel, then click on "Clock, Language, and Region," and then under Language click "Change Input Methods". You'll then see boxes with names of languages in them, including your local language. Mine is "English (United States)." If you have US English like I do, click Options on that row. The next window will show you Input Methods, and you can click "Add an input method". You will see a long list of additional keyboards, including the Windows English International keyboard. Select that and click add.
Once it's done installing, you should see a little button in your tray next to the clock that will say ENG INTL or ENG US. If you click that you'll actually see a list of the other keyboards you have installed. Like I said, you might even already have it installed. Try holding down the windows key and hitting the spacebar. If you see a list of keyboards show up and it lets you choose ENG INTL then you're all set. Switch to that keyboard and start typing accented letters!
"is" is for equating things:
- is fear é.
é = fear
He is a man.
- is bean í
í = bean
She is a woman.
- is úll é
é = úll
It is an apple.
"tá" is for comparing things:
- tá sí ard.
She is tall.
- tá an t-úll blasta.
The apple is tasty.
"tá" is also used for "having", since Irish does not have a word for "to have". Instead, they say "to be at one".
- tá oráiste agam.
an orange is at me
I have an orange.
- tá cailín ag Pól.
a girl is at Paul
Paul has a girlfriend.
Not quite. The hint you saw shows "Is .. é" means "He is," and the dots in the middle mean the whatever the guy happens to be, but in Irish, "Is" is not a verb. "Is" is the Irish copula, which is a particle which is used to express definition or identification. You can almost think of it like "is" is letting you know something is being defined, but it doesn't inflect or change like a verb for the subject.
You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_syntax#The_copula_is