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"Is é an fear is cáiliúla é."

Translation:He is the most famous man.

4 years ago

29 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AyHaich
AyHaich
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Is the second "é" necessary? Or does it actually change the meaning of the sentence?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

Yes, as the second "é" is what corresponds to the "He" in the English translation.

The first "é" is a generic pronoun that refers to the first noun and matches it in gender, so it will be "í" for feminine nouns.

Literally the duolingo sentence means:

He is it, the most famous man.

The "He" corresponds to the second "é" and the "it" corresponds to the first "é", "an fear is cáiliúla" then explains what that "it" is. Think of the sentence:

Is é é = He is it.

Then this sentence can be thought of as being like:

Is é (i.e. an fear is cáiliúla) é = He is it (i.e. the most famous man).

In Kerry Irish this is made even stronger where native speakers will say:

an fear is cáiliúla is é é = The most famous man, he is it.

Again the two pronouns do not need to match in gender as they refer to two different things. The first is the gender of the information you are giving, in this case masculine as "an fear" is masculine. The second pronoun is the gender of the subject you are talking about. I'll take a slightly more complicated sentence to show the distinction:

Sin é an saghas duine í Bríd = That is the type of person that Bríd is.

The information here is "an saghas duine = the type of person", this is masculine so we have é. Bríd however is feminine so we have "í" for the second pronoun.

This is probably one of the most complicated aspect of Irish grammar!

Note: The first é is optional in Ulster Irish. The one agreeing with the noun giving the information.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AyHaich
AyHaich
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Thank you very much!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

Have some lingots for a great explanation. Also, isn't the one you say is from Kerry really just emphasizing that he's the most famous man?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

It originated that way, but would now just be the normal way of saying these sentences in Kerry.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hopswatch
Hopswatch
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If that is the most complicated aspect of Irish grammar, I'm really not that worried.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

The full copular system is quite complicated to be honest, this is just a rare example where Duolingo starts to reach into it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hopswatch
Hopswatch
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Have you got a link to an overview of it? I love grammar. Especially in overviews.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/freymuth
freymuth
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You should add that in Ulster Irish, the second é is not necessary. I took your explanation as the full story and lost a heart when asked to mark all correct translations of "He is the most famous man".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

Really? I thought in Ulster Irish it was the first é that was optional. I'll put a note in regardless.

I believe the second é is necessary as you'd have no subject otherwise. The first é could be dispensed with as it just matches the information/predicate in gender and doesn't carry any crucial information. That's why Ulster dispensed with it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stina458417

See, that makes SO much sense and matches my linguistic instincts. I can't quite feel why that first é is needed.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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AnLonDubhBeag, thanks for the explanation. The Irish-to-English translation was offered to me before an English-to-Irish translation, so the pattern was new to me. The key for me is that Irish doesn’t have a superlative form of adjective; if this was mentioned in the Tips and Notes, I’d missed it. The comparative form for a definite noun, e.g. an fear is cáiliúla (“the more famous man”), becomes superlative when used with the copula, e.g. Is é [comparative] é., with the pronouns matching as you’d described.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

Actually "An fear is cáiliúla" by itself means "The most famous man"

níos cáiliúla = more famous.

is cáiliúla = most famous.

For example:

Táim ag caint leis an bhfear is cáiliúla = I'm talking to the most famous man.

The only time "Is cáiliúla" can mean "more famous" is when it occurs at the beginning of a sentence which also includes "ná":

Is cáiliúla Seán ná Mícheál = Seán is more famous than Mícheál.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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Thanks for the correction — I must have misinterpreted the examples in my grammar book. They were given, Irish and English, as Is í an tsúil chlé an tsúil is fearr agam (“My left eye is the better [of the two]”) and Is é Seán an gasúr is fearr sa rang (“John is the best boy in the class”). They must have meant that “better” is preferred over “best” for the English translation of the first sentence, since only two eyes were being compared. Both examples used is fearr, hence my confusion.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Laureland86

What notes? There weren't any relating to this lesson. Not that I saw anyway...

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnieKetchum

THe best discussion on Irish grammar I have read so far as to a difficult sentence, very helpful.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/khmanuel
khmanuel
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I'm gradually grokking the two 'e's. But why is 'cailiuila' used here instead of 'cailiuil'?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lancet
Lancet
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  • cáiliúil, níos cáiliúla, is cailiúla = famous, more famous, most famous
  • dathúil, níos dathúla, is dathúla = colourful, more colourful, most colourful
3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ballygawley
Ballygawley
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Both your examples were ending in "-iúil". Would this be the same way for other types of adjectives: "tuirseach, nios tuirseach, is tuirseach" ?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

tuirseach becomes tuirsí

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ballygawley
Ballygawley
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I suspected as much ;-) I am moving slowly forward, only now arrived at comparisons https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ga/Comparison

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SteffanieS
SteffanieS
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Thank you!! I'm trying to just let the grammar aspect of this wash over me, eventually sinking in. But sometimes, I need a chart!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nina462140
Nina462140
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Why two is? I can't wrap my head around this sentence

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paddyobrien
paddyobrien
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The first "is" is the copula, used when making a definitive statement about what someone/something essentially is/was, long term, present tense in this case. "Is innealtóir é" - he is an engineer. The second "is" is the first half of the present tense superlative form, to be followed by the adjective, in this case cailiúil - famous: "Is cailiúla" - the most famous. "Is fearr" - the best. "Is mó" - the biggest/most

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stina458417

wait, so it's one word doing double duty??? that makes so much more sense! grma!

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SatharnPHL

Nope, they are two different words that are both spelled the same way.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nate_J
Nate_J
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Is é an fear is spéisiúla sa saol é...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DevSodagar
DevSodagar
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Why is it is the most famous man not correct?

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hec10tor
hec10tor
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agus olann sé dos equis.

6 days ago