I do be running...
Is the "correct" answer even grammatically correct standard English?
I concur with many of the sentiments expressed already on this topic.
I translated the phrase idiomatically as "I go running" in an attempt to convey the present continuous element of the Irish yet distinguishing it from "rithim".
Needless to say, as I feared, my translation was rejected in favour of the ridiculously literal "I do be running."
No, it's not grammatically correct standard English. However, I concur that it's the best way to convey this. However, I feel Irish wouldn't say something like this - they'd use Rithim, as the present tense (except for a few verbs) only carries a habitual aspect for native speakers.
I've read through several of your replies and explanations on this, but I'm still very confused.
Is the following correct?
Rithim le mo deartháir = I run with my brother (regularly/often).
Táim ag rith le mo deartháir = I am running with my brother (right now, though not necessarily regularly).
Bím ag rith le mo deartháir = I am regularly/often running with my brother (and at any given point in time, I will probably be running with my brother at that moment).
I speak Standard American English and have a lot of experience with other forms of English, but I've never heard "I do be running" as something separate from "I run". I've tried finding other online resources, but nothing has proven to be very helpful yet.
I think that I understand this (but is only a 'think')
I agree with your first two examples but I think the third should be:
Bím ag rith le mo deartháir = I am regularly/often running with my brother and I am running now.
It seems to be a tense between present simple (I run - regular, habit) and present continuous (in US English Present progressive) (something happening now or around now).
There are parts of rural England where this is used.
Could anyone confirm/comment/correct?
khmanuel, bím ag rith means “I run regularly and I’m running now”; rithim means “I run regularly” without saying anything about whether or not I’m running at this very moment (other than the implication that I’m not running now, since a progressive verb aspect would have been used to communicate that).
PatHargan, yes, the ag rith part of Bím ag rith is progressive, which is why it means that the running happens now.
I know that this was posted 3 years ago, but it is important to point out that PatHargan was correct, and scilling is wrong. Bím ag rith uses the same ag verbal-noun construction as the progressive, and the Hiberno-English "I do be running" faithfully replicates this, but neither the Irish nor Hiberno-English phrases describe an action that is actually happening now. The habit of running with your brother is in progress, but the action of running with your brother isn't.
You know, I think it's just so foreign to me that it's difficult for me to really understand how both of those things could be expressed in the same sentence. The only way I can really interpret this particular sentence that way is if I imagine calling someone on the phone and they say to me, "I be running", or "Bim ag rith", and what they mean is that they are actually running while talking on the phone to me, which is unusual enough, but in addition, they for some reason need to let me know that running is something they do on a regular basis in addition to right this moment. This is just outside my experience, really. Is there another verb that could be conjugated using 'bim' that would make more sense?
My problem with the sentence it's current correct translation (I often run…) is that no one would say just that. Yes ‘bím’ is the habitual, but you'd be much more likely to actually add ‘go minic’ (often) or ‘gach lá’ (every day) rather than rely on the habitual itself.
The problem with "the current correct translation" is that it isn't a translation of bím ag rith le mo dhearhtáir.
rithim is already habitual - you can just say rithim le mo dheartháir go minic.
Adding go minic to bíonn doesn't really solve the problem with this particular exercise.
Where do you go on Tuesday evenings? Bím ag rith le mo dheartháir.
How are you preparing for that 5K next month? Bím ag rith le mo dheartháir.
PatHargan, yes, the ag rith part of Bím ag rith is progressive, which is why it means that the running happens now. Just being in the habit of running (without stating anything about whether one is currently running or not) would be expressed by Rithim, avoiding the use of a verbal noun which would express the progressive aspect.
I vaguely understand this, but what is the actual difference in meaning between bim ag rith and rithim? Does the second one mean "I run regularly, but I can't really say how often and it's possible that I haven't run in several years, although I could start running again any time now", and the first one mean, "I run regularly and I have run recently enough that you could consider my running to be ongoing and not interrupted by really long pauses"?
From the Wikipedia page "Hiberno-English":
The Irish equivalent of the verb "to be" has two present tenses, one (the present tense proper or "aimsir láithreach") for cases which are generally true or are true at the time of speaking and the other (the habitual present or "aimsir ghnáthláithreach") for repeated actions. Thus, "you are [now, or generally]" is tá tú, but "you are [repeatedly]" is bíonn tú. Both forms are used with the verbal noun (equivalent to the English present participle) to create compound tenses. This is similar to the distinction between ser and estar in Spanish.
The corresponding usage in English is frequently found in rural areas, especially Mayo/Sligo in the west of Ireland and Wexford in the south-east, Inner-City Dublin along with border areas of the North and Republic. In this form, the verb "to be" in English is similar to its use in Irish, with a "does be/do be" (or "bees", although less frequently) construction to indicate the continuous, or habitual, present:<pre>
"He does be working every day." Bíonn sé ag obair gach lá. "They do be talking on their mobiles a lot." Bíonn siad ag caint go minic ar a bhfóin póca. "He does be doing a lot of work at school." Bíonn sé ag déanamh go leor oibre ar scoil. "It's him I do be thinking of." Is air a bhíonn mé ag smaoineamh.</pre>
This construction also surfaces in African American Vernacular English, as the famous habitual be.
If everyone here who refuses to learn anything other than their "own" standard of English, rather than focusing on where the IRISH language is coming from, there would be a lot less moaning and whining in the comments.
I, and many others, use "do be" and "does be" in common speech with my friends and there is not an eye blinked, and it is understood. And I know this will be downvoted, but if you want to learn Irish, you have to learn the perhaps "non-standard" English that accompanies it here, known to others as Hiberno-English.
I am aware it is hard to understand, and if clarification is needed that is fine, but please try to avoid commenting nonsense about how America and Britain don't use it - that's fine, but it is used in rural Ireland here, and it is quite common.
I does be gettin' quare thick at this though, some small of rage off of yas all here, quare taken for ye all...
Thing is, this Duolingo course is announced on the Language Courses page as ‘Irish for English speakers’, not ‘Irish for Irish English speakers’ or ‘Irish for Hiberno-English speakers’. We don't necessarily refuse to learn anything other than — we may be willing to learn many languages, but we'd like to learn every one of them through a language we already know. Learning Irish through Hiberno-English only makes sense if one happens to be a speaker of Hiberno-English, and it isn't what we subscribed to.
This sentence is an example of what I mean when I say we sometimes have to translate twice. Once into English, and then backwards into Hiberno-English. The first time I saw "peann reatha" in a book the "English" translation given was "biro." I'm American--I had no idea what the heck a "biro" was, but I could understand "running pen." However, to get the "right" answer, it took translating "peann reatha" into English ("running pen") and then backwards into dialect English. That's fine when the other modern dialects of English all agree with each other and American is the odd one out, but none of the other dialects of standard English except Hiberno English would accept "I do be running" as a grammatically correct and meaningful sentence. This sentence should accept "I habitually run with my brother" which would be correct in England, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand--even if it doesn't quite include the idea that one is running at that exact moment. That's the closest correct English sentence in all other dialects except Hiberno English.
I'm a professional novelist. My editor would never accept "I do be running with my brother" as grammatical plain English, but would only accept it in a passage written as dialog for local color (which can include any form of slang dialog as long as it's consistent for the character speaking). If I tried to tell her it was correct English she would laugh at me and insist I rephrase.
By "meaningful" I mean that no other dialect of English would understand "habitually" as the meaning the speaker was trying to convey. It's not a translation if it just sounds like an odd, awkward sentence and doesn't actually convey meaning. This sentence would only communicate its "English" meaning outside Ireland to a few small, scattered, regional populations--not to English speakers as a whole.
I understand what you're saying, but we should never really allow novel editors to be the arbiters of what's right and wrong. They have their own reasons for doing what they do. I'm reading Pinker's "The Sense of Style", in which editors often get short shrift indeed.
I agree it's weird English if you're not from Ireland, but I've heard plenty of people say "I do be this/I do be that" over the years. Maybe other English-speaking cultures could learn this one, they way we all have to grok other countries' idioms all the time?
I think the point that a lot of people are trying to make isn't that "I do be running" is wrong, but rather that "I am running" or "I am often running" is also correct, since many (most?) national Englishes do not make a distinction between a present habitual tense and a present progressive tense.
For languages that don't distinguish between "I run" and "I am running" (German, for example, in which both of these sentences would be simply "ich laufe"), you wouldn't be marked wrong for favouring one over the other; by analogy, the present progressive should be acceptable in non-Hiberno-English where Hiberno-English might require something slightly different.
That was suggested in one of the billion comments in this thread, and someone else replied that that didn't convey the currentness of the bím ag rith, ie that it is going on as we speak. If I recall correctly, I took that into account when suggesting "I am often running", since adverbs that indicate regularity are not generally used with the progressive present in (most) English (dialects).
The problem there is that scilling is completely wrong in his insistence that bím ag rith implies that I am running as I speak these words.
Bím ag rith does not imply that this activity is happening right this minute, it means that running is an ongoing activity that I am regularly involved in.
For example, if you meet a friend for a beer after work, and you say "I'm working for MegaCorp Inc", he understands what you mean, even though MegaCorp inc doesn't allow it's employees to drink beer while they are working. Bím ag obair le OllCorp - it's an ongoing activity, even though I'm not currently actively engaged in it as I speak those words.
English relies entirely on context to differentiate between something that I'm actually doing, and something that I'm doing intermittently. "I'm reading a book about pirates", even though I'm clearly not, because I'm typing this answer into Duolingo. "I'm learning French", even though I'm currently talking in English in the Irish course. This are all bíonn activities, rather than tá activities, and they are current, without being immediate.
You're right, William: German would translate both "I run" and "I am running" as "ich renne".
However, you're wrong thinking that not distinguishing between present tense and present progressive wouldn't be marked wrong. In fact students in Germany have to learn the difference between the two present tenses and they have to learn when to use which.
Having gone through that I think it's fair enough to allow Irish a third present tense that has another colour of meaning.
We are trying to appeal to all English dialects and have translations which feel natural for every one to say. Obviously though we have to keep the Irish population in mind considering Iirsh is the national language of the country and has directly influence the English which is spoken here. Lots of work done but obviously still more to do.
This sentence certainly seems to make more sense in Irish, though it is correct in English. The translation given is quite literal. The "bím" tells you that it is a recurring action (a habitual action), so this could be used in a sentence like "I do be running with my brother at this time", though the more common way of saying this in English would be "I run with my brother (every day, every week, etc.) at this time".
Well, if you know African-American Vernacular English, you can say "be," which is a habitual marker as well.
I be running with my brother is the same meaning as above, in that dialect.
In Standard English - "I am habitually running with my brother." Personally, I'd prefer Rithim le... (I run with), which still conveys the habitual but doesn't contain the progressive aspect.
I understand what you're getting at, but "do be" still doesn't sit well with me because I have always heard it in the context of African-American Vernacular, as you said, and so equated it almost exactly to "Táim ag rith . . ."
I am running with my brother. We're training for a marathon and each weekend we run 10 miles together. It's only wednesday today however, so I'm not physically running at this moment, but I am presently running with my brother as a regular and habitual action.
Would this be an example of when Bím ag rith would be better? Táim ag rith doesn't seem like it would fit in this case, and while Rithim le could fit, it seems more apt to a situation where "I run regularly as I have for the past 30 years and will continue to do"
Technically, "I am running with my brother".
However, it's the constant present tense and that's probably where the confusion is coming from. Physically, it means "I am running with my brother" but there is a difference between "Táim ag rith le mo dheartháir" and "Bím ag rith le mo dheartháir". Probably the easiest way to explain it is "I run with my brother every day" as opposed to a once off action which is what "Tá mé" would imply.
"do be" is not a proper English construction any more. It's archaeic and has been eliminated even from common Irish construction. It was in Irish usage until probably around 30 year ago, 20 in much more rural areas. For anyone who wasn't reared in the countryside however, it's hard to get your head around the construction. "I do be going out to work at seven o'clock usually but this morning I am leaving at six" implies that the person in question leaves for work at 7am on a daily basis but this morning he leaves earlier. Does that make sense?
Bí and tá have the same root verb. This will become more obvious when you do the past tense, "Bhí mé ag rith le mo dheartháir" is "I was running with my brother."
Very interesting explanations here, but DL has to stop marking people wrong for translating it into English as "I am running with my brother." What would be helpful would be a way of explaining this kind of structure to people who are learning Irish, but DL doesn't seem to be set up to get into that level of explanation (hence the discussion page, I guess.)
Ha! Pirate was my first thought as well. I personally don't mind all the back and forth commentary about who says this or that. Doesn't sound like whining to me. I'm from the Southern US and don't hear "do be" in common language but assumed it was common in other English speaking areas.
Why is 'I often run' insisted on as the answer rather than 'I run' if the objective is to translate the Irish phrase 'I do be running' into grammatically correct English? There is no implication of frequency, simply that the activity is habitual or customary- you could say 'bím ag rith leis gach Nollag' for example i.e. a regular but not 'often' activity. Also some consistency in application of the rule would be helpful - I noticed that 'they are often' is not acceptable as a translation for 'bíonn siad' in another question, but instead the Duolingo translation is 'they do be'? On my laptop version of Duolingo , 'I do be running' is not offered as a possible translation for 'bím ag rith' which it ought to be if the rule was consistently applied between questions.
A question out of curiosity for all Hiberno-English speakers here – is 'I do be [gerund]' a structure that you use often? I've been told that it's usual to say 'I'm after [gerund]' instead of 'I have just', 'I have [language]' instead of 'I speak [language]' and answer yes/no questions with 'I do' or 'I don't' as literal translations from Irish, which I found very interesting, but I was wondering about this one.
Aye, and I have to say, after years of trying to get my head round this - realising that 'bím' means 'I do be' makes much more sense to me than trying to remember the distinction between habitual, progressive and something in between. ( I do recognise , tho', it's no help to those unfamiliar with the dialects)
I've read everyone of the comments on this thread and I STILL haven't the foggiest idea what this actually means.
OK, maybe it is used in Ireland, but surely the Irish must mean something by it that is different to either 'rithim' or 'ag rith'. I just don't get it . At. all.
Once upon a time all Irish verbs had different present tense forms depending on whether you were talking about something happening right now or something that happens repeatedly or habitually. It’s a bit like the difference between the simple past and the imperfect in French (except it’s the present).
These days the habitual form has become the regular form for all verbs except tá.
So you could say:
rithim gach lá (“I run every day”) OR
bím ag rith gach lá (“I run every day”, lit. “I’m running every day” OR “I do be running every day”)
BUT táim ag rith gach lá would be wrong because tá is about now not every day.
Does that make any more sense?
Oh, that! That’s a complete red herring. There no significant difference between rithim gach lá and bím ag rith gach lá.
There is a technical difference, but mostly it’s just the fevered imagination of some people here. They both use habitual tense, though the habitual sense of all verbs except tá is maybe not so well understood now since there isn’t a contrasting non-habitual form any more.
The important difference is between táim ag rith and the other two.
It isn’t required to get across a present habitual meaning, but it does make it unambiguous.
Like in English, though, the other time words in the sentence can also carry this information.
There are also some expressions that don’t have a verb paradigm (e.g. to have, or ag súil le where súil is used like verb though it isn’t one) so there are cases where bíonn/etc is the only option.
As another American English speaker thoroughly confused by the "do be" construction Duolingo insists on here, might I suggest the following alternate translations?
(1) I am as (per) usual running with my brother;
(2) I am running with my brother, as (or more colloquially, like) I do
Yet I'm still confused, as I'm seeing disagreement on this thread over whether "I do be running" necessarily means right at the moment; some people seem to indicate that it's equally valid to translate it as a thing regularly done these days.
I've been looking for a source for whether the habitual present implies both progressivity and habituality, i.e. that something is being done now and that it is regularly done.
From wikipedia habitual be seems to have the progressive and habitual aspect that scilling mentions, but I can't find a good source that definitely makes the case one way or another.
Do you have one?
One of the many threads on this topic contains an image from Star Trek TNG, with speech bubbles where Picard asks O'Brien "Why can't you be at your station on Fridays?" and O'Brien replies "I do be watching the Late Late"
That's a perfectly ordinary use of "do be", and even Irish people who wouldn't be caught dead uttering "do be" will have no difficulty understanding it. People who aren't from Ireland might not get it, even if they think they know what "do be" means.
It has no obvious progressive interpretation.
“I am…” is wrong. That would be tá. It would be better to translate both “bím ag rith…” and “rithim…” as “I run” because in English that can mean something you do habitually or regularly. The verb Bí is the only Irish verb that still has this distinction between habitual and non-habitual. You could make the distinction in all verbs a couple of hundred years ago. I think Irish took up the habitual present as the one form for the present (ending -ann/íonn), but Scottish Gaelic kept the non-habitual (though it has limited use).
Every language contains phrases and sense that are difficult to translate - which is one reason why vernacular dialects thrive - often ( and beautifully) slang/vernacular express meanings that standard English can't ( as well as rhythms) and that's sometimes why new phrases are generated usually in slang. It's also why sometimes we use phrases in the original tongues - savour faire, aikido, ect.
Bris sé orm - 'it broke on me' . 'It broke to my disadvantage' doesn't really work . Nor does simply 'it broke' convey the whole meaning.
The Belfast phrase 'here's me...' is almost impossible to translate into standard English.
She is definitely saying bím ag rith, rather than bí mé ag rith.
Apart from the fact that the analytic form would be bíonn mé, rather than bí mé, if you open the audio clip directly in your browser, you should get the option to play it at half-speed, and it will be clear that the sound between m and g is the a of ag, not the é of mé.
Where is the "often" e.g. "go minic" in this sentence? I run with my brother IS a correct translation. Also I come from Wexford, one of the sites of "do be" usage and whilst it is used in casual conversation it would never be written down, and I am sick and tired of telling Duolingo that!
"He is with your mother" (right now) is Tá sé le do mháthair. "He is with your mother" (habitually) is Bíonn sé le do mháthair.
If "he" is in Dublin today, and your mother is in Cork, the first statement is, de facto false - the obviously aren't with each other. The second statement can be true, even if they aren't actually in one another's company at this moment of time, though.
"I am running" describes something that is happening right now - tá mé ag rith. The sentence in this exercise bím ag rith does not describe an action that is happening right now, and does not translate as "I am running". To capture the habitual aspect of bím ag rith, you can say I run, but it's not an ideal translation - bím ag rith uses the habitual form of the verb bí, whereas "I run" uses the habitual form of the verb "run".
The pronunciations are quite distinct.
If you say anything fast enough, you can loose the distinctions, but usually by the time you encounter speech that is fast enough to blur that type of distinction, context provides additional information that the brain uses to interpret the indistinct audio.
There is a huge discussion here about it. If you had read it you might have found out.
Bím is the habitual tense which is used to described things that happen “usually”, “repeatedly” or “often”. Since English doesn’t have the same tense you need to add “often” (or some other expression) to translate it correctly.
Often the Irish will also use a similar expression WITH the habitual anyway, e.g. “Bím ag rith le mo dheartháir go minic” (often), “Bím ag rith le mo dheartháir gach seachtain” (every week), etc.
The phrase "do be" conveys an ancient way of expressing the habitual. Before the modern entertainment technology, story telling was a nochturnal past time. People would often ask the story teller to " Be telling." Or the comment that, " a crowd of young boys do be making a lot of noise." might get a reply. "Yes, they do be." A peculiar form in English, but it does accurately convey the Irish meaning.