"The girl has water."
Translation:Tá uisce ag an gcailín.
Can someone clarify what the difference is between "Tá uisce ag an gcailín" and "Tá uisce aicí an cailín"?
When does one use the prepositional form instead of just "she has"? I'm trying, but this doesn't seem to equate to anything in English, so I'm having a hard time getting a grasp on it.
It is misleading to say that "possession is expressed by" there is water at the girl"".
English speakers might find it useful to explain Tá.. ag.. by reference to "at", but Irish speakers do not think of that ag as "at", any more than English speakers think of the "have" in "I have eaten my dinner" as an indicator of possession.
Picky, but true. However, we are explaining this to English speakers, and so it is useful to explain it in this way.
The request was for an explanation of what the expression equates to "in English", and why we simply don't say "she has" in Irish. These are reasonable questions from a learner, and they specifically require a literal mapping onto English to answer.
As Altatane said:
In particular, eclipsis occurs after preposition + definite article
The Tips & Notes for the Eclipsis skill says:
Eclipsis occurs after certain prepositions where they are joined by the singular definite article an:
ar an mbord - "on the table"
thar an bhfuinneog - "over the window"
With one small exception (certain words that start with s), gender is not taken into consideration.
There are other things that can cause Eclipsis, but the eclipsis in this exercise is cause by the ag an before cailín.
As explained in the Tips & Notes for the Phrases skill, Irish doesn't have a verb that means "have". It uses a different construction, a phrasal verb with the verb bí and the preposition ag. "Girl" isn't the subject of the verb in Irish, because there is no such verb. Uisce is the subject of the sentence in Irish, and the preposition ag is used to specify who possesses that subject. This is still a VSO sentence.
"X has Y" - Tá Y ag X.
ag is not a verb, it's a preposition.
Irish doesn't have a verb for "have" (a feature that it shares with languages like Russian, Hindi and Korean).
Instead, you use a construction with the verb bí (tá in the present tense) and the preposition ag.
Tá X ag Y - "Y has X"
Tá rud ag duine - "A person has a thing"
Tá uisce ag an gcailín - "The girl has water"