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  5. "Oibríonn na póilíní."

"Oibríonn na póilíní."

Translation:The police officers work.

August 26, 2014



I think that "gardaí" should be accepted in English, since nobody says "police" in Ireland, we say "gardaí", or just "gards".

It is again similar to the case of "Taoiseach", "gaeilgeoir" and "gaeltacht", words which are loan-words from Irish into Hiberno-English.


Technically though there is a difference between Gardaí Síochana and Póiíni. and of course most of the people from outside Ireland are not familiar with Gardaí


Oh yes, of course, but that's why I think Gardaí should perhaps also be accepted.

What is the difference? We only have the Gardaí, as far as I was aware? Not including the Special Forces or the Rangers that is.


Anyone on this app is learning Irish, thus knowing our culture and idioms are intrinsic to this process.


This was just a strange decision to me. The chances of a user of Gaeilge needing to know the generic term for police over "na Gardaí" is unimaginably small.


While it is true that when referring to the police service in the Republic of Ireland it is correct and common to use their designated title, an Irish speaker would indeed use this term to refer to the police service of other jurisdictions, including Northern Ireland, which has a sizeable population of Irish speakers, other policing services, such as the military police, and police services in general.

According to www.potafocal.com, the word is 1,053rd in order of frequency, which you will find to be accurate by listening to any Irish language news report; thus, its inclusion is more than justified within the course.


Where does Garda/Gardaí fall? I agree with all that you write, my question is order. This was encountered first by myself in the Ireland 1 section. I am fairly confident that Gardaí will be encountered before póilíní.


I believe our discussion is at cross purposes.

To answer your question, Garda is more frequent in usage at 536th in order of frequency, but to make this about frequency of usage is to miss the point. The addendum to my previous post was intended to demonstrate the high-frequency of the piece of vocabulary under scrutiny.

Apologies for repetition from my previous post, but it is only natural that the term is used more frequently as most Irish speakers are resident in the Republic of Ireland and use the term to refer to the civilian police force of that country, the one most likely to be under discussion there. To conclude from this, however, that the probability of an Irish speaker using the term 'póilíní’ is ‘unimaginably small’ is to stretch the imagination very little as it is entirely dependent on the context.

If an Irish speaker were to refer to the PSNI or NYPD, the chances of them using 'Garda’ are indeed ‘unimaginably small’, as it can only refer to the police force of the Republic of Ireland, hence its capitalisation; it is a proper noun and can only be used properly thusly. In the isolated context of this sentence, to use the term ’Gardaí' would be highly presumptuous amongst other things; therefore, priority is rightly given to the generic term.

As a side issue, while the term 'Garda' is likely to be encountered by learners first and may be included in Ireland-specific lessons in the future, the generic terms are more appropriate for learners outside of Ireland as their use is generalisable to their circumstances. For Irish learners, the term 'Garda' is already commonly understood by English speakers in this context, and, as such, it does not need to be taught to them, just as the meaning of NYPD does not need to be taught to New Yorkers.

To give priority unnecessarily to Ireland-specific terms would parochialise our course and, thereby, do a disservice to our learners, who may have a burning desire to discuss the affairs of more than one police force.


Well I certainly don't agree with your fourth paragraph there. Living in England, with lots of other Irish freidnds here, we still refer to the police here as the Gards, just as we would at home. And if I were to have a conversation in Irish with any of them, I definitely wouldn't use "póilíní", since I had honestly never heard the word before this course. It may be incorrect to call the English police "gards/ gáirdí", but it is certainly what I would use in everyday speeh, regardless of my location, as a Hiberno-English synonym of "police".


That has been my experience here in Texas as well with ex-pats (from whom I learned what Irish I have). Garda/Gardaí is just as likely a term as "cops" in slang or casual speech.

Dubhais mentioned the news for póilíní, which seemed spot on because I only ever encountered the word when my Irish was good enough to be able to listen to TG4 broadcasts and I had to look it up the first time.

But, whatever, if it is going to be accepted as another possible answer that'll get the mission accomplished.


You may not agree with it, but what you say in your post would seem to agree with it unless I have misunderstood. I have already conceded that we should accept it as a translation, but it is not the best one for the reasons outlined above and, at further risk of repetition, below.

'Gardaí' and its associated terms are proper nouns, which derive from and refer exclusively to An Garda Síochana when used correctly in Irish or in Hiberno-English or indeed any dialect thereof. A "garda", on the other-hand, is a "guard" or "guardian". The police in England are neither even if called so. In a similar way, I might refer to them as Mounties, but, unless they are moonlighting in Canada, this does not make them so.

Individual usage is idiosyncratic and impossible to address, as it is self-referential by nature. In any case, I am happy that you learned a new term from the course.


I think like true wolfhound you have sniffed out the truth. The news is formal usage subject to regulation, to which we can cater easily the course, what you say with your friends might not be.

In this case, I'm trying to meet you half-way, because, although I have temporally relocated to Tír na nÓg for my personal sanity, I am aware of informal usage in Ireland.

As WolfhoundJack has correctly stated, we could accept "cops" and a whole host of other words under the rubric of informal usage, but we would inevitably fall short in our attempts to the detriment of the rest of the course.

Forgive the attempt at humour, but we will not police whatever you or people you know call the police, but, just as a disclaimer, they may choose to do so!


That burning desire would be assayed as the beginner becomes more proficient in the target language.

You write as someone who has never studied other languages. To repeat an earlier comment, it is the norm for the target language to be imbued with the culture of the country or countries where it is the first language. Learing a language is so much more than just learning words, it is about the music, the idioms, the way of life, the customs, the mindset and spirit of the country where it is the native tongue. This, in its totality, adds invaluable flavour to the language and gives deeper understanding to the words. Those very words can rich in story themselves. For example, go raibh maith agat means thank you. But literally translates as, "That good may be with you." Now that latter gives a glimpse into the hearts of the Irish people. Gardaí Síochána can be translated as the generic, "police" but again the literal translation, "Guardians of the Peace" has so much more flourish and hints at the reasoning behind the choosing of these specific words and the historical context from which they come. All of this richness imbue dry words with life, zest and interest. Not for me a monochrome world.


We do teach many aspects of Irish culture. If you complete other lessons in the course, you will see this. There are two ‘Ireland’ lessons at least released.

An Garda Síochána is the official name of the police service in Ireland, in both English and Irish. It is not habitually translated into English in any form in an Irish context; in other contexts and languages , the common and correct practice would be to mention it by name and follow it with a descriptor, such as ‘the Irish police’.

This is to be contrasted with the Irish Army, officially ‘Óglaigh na hÉireann’.

I don’t think you should presume to know what study I have made of other languages, but in any case your assumption is incorrect. Furthermore, this is not relevant to the translation of “póilíní” in the above sentence.

What you say is true of good language education broadly; within the limits of the format and of an ab initio course, I think it a reasonable effort to incorporate cultural references.


So this was an interesting discussion thread. Ive also been learning Irish from Nemo and Rosetta Stone. Both taught "gardaí" as the word for police. It dudnt wven occur to me that they would have a different word until this lesson.


I'm English, and I was initially very confused, because I have always thought that the term for police in Irish is "gardai". Having read through the discussion here, I understand why the generic term has been used in these lessons, but I would have really appreciated a note explaining this when the term was translated.

For a moment, I wondered whether I'd accidentally swapped language courses. Mind you, it is quite early in the morning, and I'm easily confused... :-)!


why is the police are working wrong?


Because Irish, like English, has a separate construction for present progressive and present habitual (which, in the speech of natives, is all the simple present can refer to for most verbs).


What about "the police works"?

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na pólíní is plural - in English, "works" is only used for 3rd person singular, not 3rd person plural.

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