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  5. "Is é an fear is cáiliúla é."

"Is é an fear is cáiliúla é."

Translation:He is the most famous man.

August 27, 2014

50 Comments


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

Is the second "é" necessary? Or does it actually change the meaning of the sentence?


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


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


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

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


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

Thank you very much!


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

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.


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


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laureland86

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


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

If that is the most complicated aspect of Irish grammar, I'm really not that worried.


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

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


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

Have you got a link to an overview of it? I love grammar. Especially in overviews.


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

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".


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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stina458417

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


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

My school Donegal Irish instincts also allowed me to drop the first é and not the 2nd é.

The grammar rule cited at https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/4383900 "a definite noun is not allowed directly following the copula" Comes from here I believe: http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/kopul5.htm Is there any more authoritative source for it?? Any native Donegal Irish speakers on here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aaron451910

‘He’ is not necessarily the subject in the English sentence. It can be the predicate. Eg: Who is the most famous man? HE is the most famous man.

Apologies for the spanner in the works.

For discussion see ‘He is the most famous man’. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/4383900


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

this is one of those answers I wish I could bookmark. Alas, not possible, at least with tbe mobile app.

Perhaps a database of most useful answers would ne a thing to do? Users ask many of the same questions over and over, after all.


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

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


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

Is é an fear is spéisiúla sa saol é...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hec10tor

agus olann sé dos equis.


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

I'm gradually grokking the two 'e's. But why is 'cailiuila' used here instead of 'cailiuil'?


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

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

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


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

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


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

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!


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

I tried looking up 'cáiliúla' in www.teanglann.ie and couldn't find it. I appreciate this explanation. GRMA


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1447

teanglann.ie is quite forgiving about different grammatical forms of a word, and usually provides a link to the FGB entry for the base word, from where you can check the Grammar database to get more detail.


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

Why two is? I can't wrap my head around this sentence


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stina458417

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1447

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


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

Why does "is" have to appear twice? Is it because of the construction needed to convey "most famous"? I would have translated it "Is é an fear cáiliúla é."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1447

Two different words.

mór - "big"
níos mó - "bigger"
is mó - "biggest"

cailiúil - "famous"
níos cailiúla - "more famous"
is cailiúla - "most famous"

trom - "heavy"
níos troime - "heavier"
is troime - "heaviest"

Etc


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

Ah, so it IS connected with the superlative and the second "is" is completely different from the first one in the sentence. Go raibh maith agat.


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

How do we derive "most" famous?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1447

Tá an fear sin cáiliúil - "that man is famous"
Tá an fear sin níos cáiliúla ná mise - "that man is more famous than me"
Is é an fear sin an fear is cáiliúla in Éirinn - "that man is the most famous man in Ireland"

mór - "big"
níos mó - "bigger"
is mó - "biggest"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/teresa599811

Can someone tell me where ' most' is in this sentence please ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1447

is cáiliúla is the superlative form of the adjective cáiliúil.

English is inconsistent on this point - sometimes you have to use the "-est" suffix" ("biggest"), sometimes you can choose either the -est suffix, or the qualifier "most" ("tastiest", "most tasty"), and sometimes you have to you the qualifier "most" - "most famous". Irish doesn't have this inconsistency.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martin964214

In the reverse question ("Translate into Irish: He is the most famous man") the second é is not accepted. Or am I wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John678726

Are some of you seeing tips and notes on these lessons? I'm not seeing anything like that and it's causing me to have to take random guesses at things I've never seen before.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/m.g.doyle

I'm seeing them on some, but not this particular one. The tips and notes are not available on the mobile app, just the web-based version.


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

When did we do superlatives? Did I miss that?


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

It seems to be part of this lesson (so it's more "adjectives and superlatives" really), but I'm quite astonished as to the lack of tips regarding a new grammar rule...


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

Why is it is the most famous man not correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/becky3086

Sigh, why they would put such a difficult sentence on the course is beyond my understanding.


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

To borrow a line from John F. Kennedy, "We choose to learn Irish not because it is easy, but because it is hard."


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

well, just imagine you're in a pub somewhere in Donegal and the conversation veers into something more complex than, 'an biachlár, le do thoil'. You'd want to be able to go there, wouldn't you? (wags his eyebrows)

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