1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Tá madra ag an mbuachaill."

" madra ag an mbuachaill."

Translation:The boy has a dog.

August 26, 2014

79 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/waste0fpaint

why is there an m before buachaill?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/magrise

preposition + an leads to eclipsis of the following consonant (doesn't apply to all prepositions, doesn't apply to all consonants). Read the lesson notes for more detail.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brigids.em

Thanks! I just asked about that on another thread (since I'm on my mobile and therefore can't access the lesson notes).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brigids.em

Go raibh maith agat for the links!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelP.D

Wish i could read lesson notes but can't access them


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WahahaDrills

The lesson explains it(better than I'd be able to since I'm still learning) so you might want to have a look at that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/.o_

Probably trapped on mobile.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/heartosay

FYI, in Munster Irish, both would be acceptable answers: "ar an" generally takes an urú down here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/galaxyrocker

It does in Connemara, too. Everywhere except Donegal, where none of them do.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnLonDubhBeag

"ar an" would mean "on the" though:

Tá madra ar an mbuachaill = A dog is on the boy.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/galaxyrocker

Multiple questions lead to this thread. He is talking about the one where it asks you to pick between "ar" and " ag"... Both are correct, since it doesn't tell you what it wants translated.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cgunning17

Guess the boy just fancys something else, eh?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coconutlulz

Same here in Dublin!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/minilauren

I know it's the boy has a dog, but I want to read it as the dog has the boy!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mediterranean

Actually literally it is "A dog is at the boy", if I'm not mistaken, but it means the boy has a dog.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Losa721809

seeing it that way, I could easily be lead to believe, "The dog is with the boy." The dog is at him .. is at him... is with him.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LinSardal

Is there any websites to learn Irish and find out more about the pronunciation? Because no offence Duo, but you don't seem to be enough for this one)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarksAaron

Thanks for mentioning this. There aren't nearly as many sound files in the Irish course as there are in e.g. the Swedish and Turkish courses, it seems. And since Irish spelling is so much more complex than those others, this course in particular really needs to have lots of audio feedback. Irish crew, can you please help us out?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LinSardal

Thanks and get a lingot! Btw, let me know if you need any help with Russian or Ukrainian.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pearl229496

In 17.5 Eclipsis lessons, I've NEVER heard "mbuachaill" pronounced. I think I know how it's supposed to sound but an audio verification would be helpful. This is my biggest complaint with Duolingo/Irish. Over 50 percent of sentences do not have any audio. Very frustrating when attempting to learn a difficult language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL

Imím ar maidin leis an mbuachaill agus fillim leis an gcailín
Rith sí leis an mbuachaill eile
Tá leabhar fiú ag an mbuachaill
Filleann sí leis an mbuachaill
Tá cabhair ón mbuachaill

Eclipsis does exactly what is says - the eclipsing letter eclipses the original letter, replace it's sound completely. So mbuachaill is pronounced as if it was muachaill. (ng is a bit more complex than that).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TylerKing931123

I don't understand the m in front of buachaill. I see this alot with other words like g with cailin. Can someone explain please.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarksAaron

This is a feature in Irish grammar called "eclipsis". An in-depth explanation can be found here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ga/Eclipsis


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judah791387

Please explain, I don't have a strong connection to the web.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarksAaron

Hoo boy, ok. So, certain grammatical contexts trigger a following word to undergo eclipsis. What eclipsis means in terms of pronunciation is that the initial sound of the eclipsed word becomes "harder" (in phonetic terms, it becomes either pre-nasalized or voiced). In terms of spelling, a certain letter gets added in front of the first letter of the eclipsed word.

Here are the sounds that undergo eclipsis, with their eclipsed form:

Pre-nasalized:

b --> mb

d --> nd

g --> ng

Voiced:

p --> bp

t --> dt

c --> gc

f --> bhf

Words that start with a vowel get "n-" (n dash) attached to the front, unless the preceding word ends with "n".

The three main grammatical contexts in which eclipsis occurs are:

1) After the plural possessive pronouns "ár" (our), "bhur" (your/y'all's/your guys'), and "a" (their)

2) After the numbers seven, eight, nine, and ten

3) After the combination of a preposition and the definite article "an"

There are a few other minor rules, but this covers most of it. Hope that helped!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BaiShann

can you access the web thru' a browser on your mobile? if so, you can access the notes by way of the links given above or do a, what else, a Google search. That always turns up lots of good Duolingo links.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katelyn1234567

dats called an úru I dunno why its there


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gabrielstuesday

wait why is it not aige??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarksAaron

"aige" would be "he (has a dog)" instead of "the boy (has a dog)"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cannoli77

I was wondering the same thing! So does that mean when using agam, agat, aici, aige, etc., you cannot use nouns like girl, boy, man, woman?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coconutlulz

In this case, no. Like in English, a pronoun ("him") would replace the noun ("buachaill").

Think if it like this for all of the prepositional pronouns:

  • agam - ag mé - at me
  • agat - ag thú - at you
  • aige - ag é - at him/it
  • aici - ag í - at her/it
  • againn - ag sinn / ag muid - at us
  • agaibh - ag sibh - at you (plural)
  • acu - ag iad - at them

You can use pronouns and prepositional pronouns with nouns, but it wouldn't make sense in this case. To use the pronouns, you must already establish context, i.e. what or whom you are talking about.

One example where you could use the two would be: "an fear ar maith leis an bord" - "the man, who likes the table". This involves the copula, which has its own special rules.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cannoli77

Thank you! That makes more sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judah791387

How is it not "The dog has a boy?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/afroceltic

-The possessive form is like this Ta ... ag

Tá [possessed] ag [possessor] A) if possessor is represented by a pronoun in the sentence then... tá madra agam- I have a dog. tá madra agat- you have a dog. tá madra aige- he has a dog. etc. -so the pronoun/possessor is contracted into ag with singular words (agam,agat,aige, aici,againn,agaibh, acu) we have to memorize sooner or later.

Now B) If possessor is represented by specific identification like "an mbuachaill", then i) ta madra ag an mbuachaill - the boy has a dog ii) ta madra ag Judah- Judah has a dog. iii) ta madra ag buachaill- A boy has a dog.

overall, the possessor will either be included in a word form of ag or it will be to the right of ag separated by space. it is like: tá madra agam= ta madra ag mé (though no one says or writes this i think) = Tá [possessed] ag [possessor]. in short, possessor is always to the right of ag while possessed is in the middle of ta and ag.

Ta madra ag an mbuachaill. Tá madra aige!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/B-mhongoadh

the dog has a boy would be ' tá buachaill ag an mhadra ' (sic)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coconutlulz

Only in Ulster Irish, though. In other dialects and the standard, it would be "ag an madra", as "ag an" triggers eclipsis but you can't eclipse "m".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/patbo

Actually, madra is a Munster word. In Ulster it would be ag an mhadadh.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarpeGuitarrem

Can someone break down the syntax on this one for me? I guess it's the presence of the Tá that throws me off here. I'm trying to work out how you figure out what the subject and verb are. Is "Tá...ag" the verb here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coconutlulz

Tá - is (this is the verb; specifically it is the present indicative independent affirmative progressive analytic of 'bí', which means 'to be')

madra - a dog

ag - at

an - the

buachaill - boy (but the 'ag an' results in an eclipsis [urú], which turns it into 'mbuachaill').

Does that make sense?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarpeGuitarrem

Ah, yes, that makes sense. So madra -is- the subject of the sentence, but the verb is translated in a way that makes it seem like buachaill is the subject? (i.e., "The boy has a dog", when it's more like "The dog is at the boy"?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F

Madra is the subject, in Irish. Boy is the subject, in English.

It's kind of like how in English you'd say "I like x", but in Spanish it's "Me gusta x" because they frame it as "x is pleasing to me".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mediterranean

I think you are correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/p8c

ah! yes i think that's it. so, i was completely wrong in a prior post on the positions of the direct object and subject.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexMoby

If it's a boy (and not the), the sentence would be "Tá madra ag buachaill" ? And does the ellipsis occures even if it's the plural "the boys) ? For example, is "Tá madra ag an mbuachailli." correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ballygawley

No, plural does not take eclipsis:

Tá madra ag na buachaillí

(except in genitive)

http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/eklipse.htm

after the genitive plural article na e.g. na dtithe = of the houses


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joe999479

Does "Ta madra aige" mean the same thing?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ballygawley

"he has a dog" is not exactly the same thing, so that is the reason it is not accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GrainneJohnston

Hi can you help me understand this. I cant see the sense. Why can we not say Ta buachaill madra aige Thank you for any help.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarksAaron

The main thing is that this "have" construction is very different from how the English phrase is constructed. In Irish, the construction is literally "Is (a) dog at the boy". Tá is the verb, madra is the subject, and ag an mbuachaill is a prepositional phrase indicating the posessor. If you said "Tá buachaill madra aige", it would literally mean "Is (a) boy (a) dog at-him", or "He a boy has a dog", something like that. That's why it can't be done :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GrainneJohnston

Thank you so much for that. I was is thrown off I meant to write An buachaill madra aige. Looking at previous sentences it seemed to illustrate that construction for to have, is that phrase possible or am I still wrong :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarksAaron

Haha, I think you're seeing "aige" as a verb like "has", so that "An buachaill madra aige" would be "the boy has a dog". But "aige" means "at-him", and the real verb is "tá", so "an buachaill madra aige" also wouldn't work, it's literally "the boy at-him a dog" or "the boy he a dog". To say "the boy has a dog", you don't need "aige" - that's only to say "he has a dog" - "tá madra aige". "The boy has a dog" is "Tá madra ag an mbuachaill" :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chulchen

I have the impression that no matter which grammar I use (eclipse, lenition) it is in any Irish dialect correctly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spark151

What are the rules for eclipses


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shawn361442

So, I accidentally translated this sentence as "The boy has a mother." That's what 5 years of Spanish gets me. Madra and madre are too close. Hopefully I don't call my mother a dog; I already accidentally called her a man when I first started and got man and woman mixed up!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IrishSelkie

LOL. I thought the sentence was "A dog has the boy".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaeveMcCarthy198

Am I the only one who thought it was "the dog is on the boy!?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/afroceltic

The boy has a dog


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lorax83

I just dont understand eclipsis


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coconutlulz

You will often see eclipsis used with a combination of a preposition and the singular definite article, i.e. the dative case.

Eclipsis is just a consonant that is tacked onto the start of a word and which changes the sound of the first syllable.

For example:

  • ar an mbord - on the table - the eclipsis is "m"

  • ag an gcailín - at the girl - the eclipsis is "g"

  • faoin (faoi an) ngluaisteán - under the car - the eclipsis is "n"

There are some things to consider here:

  • This only applies to words which can take eclipsis, which depends on the first letter of the word.

  • Not all preposition + "an" + noun combinations will necessarily give eclipsis; "den" ("de an"), "don", ("do an") and "sa" trigger lenition instead. For example, "don chailín", "for the girl".

  • Ulster Irish uses lenition for this case instead of eclipsis, e.g. "ar an bhord".

  • Eclipsis is used in other contexts, too.

These resources should help:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_initial_mutations

http://www.nualeargais.ie/gnag/gram.htm

http://www.nualeargais.ie/gnag/ag.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anna795979

Guys, I generally don't understand what eclipses in words are. Why and where do you use ag? Why do words have letters after an "ag", such as ag gcaife and ag mbean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coconutlulz

"ag" just means "at" - it's a preposition.

This sentence literally means "a dog is at the boy". To say that someone has something in Irish, we say that the thing is at them.

You will often see eclipsis used with a combination of a preposition and the singular definite article, i.e. the dative case.

Eclipsis is just a consonant that is tacked onto the start of a word and which changes the sound of the first syllable.

For example:

  • ar an mbord - on the table - the eclipsis is "m"

  • ag an gcailín - at the girl - the eclipsis is "g"

  • faoin (faoi an) ngluaisteán - under the car - the eclipsis is "n"

There are some things to consider here:

  • This only applies to words which can take eclipsis, which depends on the first letter of the word.

  • Not all preposition + "an" + noun combinations will necessarily give eclipsis; "den" ("de an"), "don", ("do an") and "sa" trigger lenition instead. For example, "don chailín", "for the girl".

  • Ulster Irish uses lenition for this case instead of eclipsis, e.g. "ar an bhord".

  • Eclipsis is used in other contexts, too.

These resources should help:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_initial_mutations

http://www.nualeargais.ie/gnag/gram.htm

http://www.nualeargais.ie/gnag/ag.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/addictedto11

Stupid question: Why is "The boy has the dog" wrong when "an" means "the?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/patbo

Because there is only one an in this sentence. Your sentence would be an madra ag an mbuachaill.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nahuatl1939

i thought that HE HAS was TA AIGE ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/James828345

The sentence is about the boy specifically, not an indefinite "him."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jan_Kisi

would it be "tá mbuachaill ag madra" sense the subject comes first


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoanThe3rd

not with "Tá...ag" - for whatever reason (i'm a newbie too, so don't ask me to explain why), when it's set up as "Tá ... ag" it's always "Tá - possessed object - ag - possessor"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/guppynico2

Could it also be Ta buachaill ag an madra?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoanThe3rd

No - see my comment just above here. With 'Tá ... ag' sentences, the item the person possesses always comes Before the 'ag'.

Ta buachaill ag an madra = The dog has a boy.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NDCCalum

I am really struggling with eclipsis. Can anyone advise me whether it makes more sense to knuckle down and memorize the rule, or just keep practicing until I can intuit when it's used?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL

There is more than one "rule". While all of the "rules" are quite simple, some of them crop up more often than others, and you're more likely to forget to use a rule that you don't encounter very often, so more practice will definitely help.

But in my experience it's more important to recognize "this is a place where initial mutations come into play", and then figure out which initial mutation (lenition, eclipsis, h, n, t prefixes, etc). You know that they kick in with numbers, with prepositions, to mark gender in some cases, and with possessive adjectives, and that vowels need special treatment. Get used to recognizing those situations when they crop up, and deciding which is the right initial mutation will get easier.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MiaHelenaS

I feel like playing The Sims 4

Related Discussions

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.