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  5. "Is maith leis na buachaillí …

"Is maith leis na buachaillí sin."

Translation:He likes those boys.

August 27, 2014



So depending on context, "...leis na buachaillí..." can be either "...with him the boys..." or "...with the boys...". Is that correct?

(With the addendum of course that "with him" is an Irish idiom and not always translated that way into English.)


Well picked up! Taken on its own, that phrase is ambiguous. You cannot write "le na buachaillí" as a translation of "with the boys", because le becomes leis when written before an or na. It would almost be possible to alternatively interpret the sentence as [Is maith] [leis na buachaillí] [sin] and tor translate it as "The boys like that" - but that can't be correct, because the word sin never appears on its own like that. The correct way to say "The boys like that" would be Is maith leis na buachaillí é sin.


Thanks. I put "the boys like that" and couldn't work out exactly how it was wrong.


But it could also be [Is maith] [leis na buachaillí sin], "those boys like", couldn't it? I know that's not really a full sentence, but Duolingo is full of sentence fragments, so in theory, this one could be as well.


You are correct. "Those boys like" is exactly what I got as the "correct" answer to my failed attempt of, "The boys like that".


De Bhaldraithe includes a couple of examples where le na does not become leis na, in particular where the le is part of a phrase like is maith le:

"To do sth. for filthy lucre" - rud a dhéanamh ar mhaithe le na pinginí http://www.teanglann.ie/ga/eid/lucre

"Don't wash your dirty linen in public" - ná lig do náire le na comharsana http://www.teanglann.ie/ga/eid/linen

"He threw in his lot with the rebels" - chuaigh sé i bpáirtíocht le na reibiliúnaigh http://www.teanglann.ie/ga/eid/reibili%C3%BAnaigh

"It is a long time since I saw him" - ní fhaca mé le na cianta é http://www.teanglann.ie/ga/eid/long

"Watering of the eyes" - uisce le na súile http://www.teanglann.ie/ga/eid/watering

I don't find any similar examples in the NEID, or in Ó Dónaill, so I don't know if this suggests that these are dialect variations that have fallen out of favour, but it seems to me that is maith le na buachaillí sin peil would be fairly unambiguously "those boys like football".


Thank you so much. I was pretty confused, because st the beginning of this lesson, I had "The boys like that" and I was like "Wait, it means both?" But I guess, I simply forgot the "é".


Super super helpful explanation, thank you!


If it's is maith leis na buachaillí é sin. Why does the "é" change the sentence


le + sé -> leis
le na X -> leis na X

Is maith le X Y
is maith le na buachaillí sin
Is maith le na buachaillí é sin
X like(s) Y
he likes those boys
the boys like that

Is maith leis na buachaillí sin - "he likes those boys"
Is maith leis na buachaillí é sin - "the boys like that"


It puts the lotion on it's skin


when you're saying "this/that" and so on, it seems you still have to use a definite article (an/na). Is that right? and the word order should be an/na [noun] sin?


That's right! An madra seo This dog, An madra sin That dog


What would "she likes those boys"???


I think you only need to change "leis" to "léi".


"Is maith léi na buachaillí sin" would be "She likes those boys".


What is the root of Liom, agus Leis?


I don't understand why "Is maith leis na buachaillí sin" is "He likes those boys" but "Is maith leis na buachaillí e sin" is "The boys like that". How does that one little e change the whole sentence? What does the e mean?


an buachaill sin is "that boy". an rud sin is "that thing". é sin is "that (it)", but we just leave the "(it)" out in English.

So when you parse is maith leis na buachaillí é sin, you know that é sin is the thing that is liked, and na buachaillí are the people doing the liking. Because le becomes leis before a definite article, so is maith (le na buachaillí) X becomes is maith (leis na buachaillí) X.

On the other hand, in is maith leis na buachaillí sin, the thing that is liked is na buachaillí sin - "those boys", and they are liked by "he" - is maith leis X, "he likes X".


Ahaaaaa, thank you!


Every time I'm totally flummoxed, I find you've written a brilliant comment that helps me sort it out. Thanks so much for these. ;)


You are extremely helpful!!! Go raibh maith agat! <3


You can say in Irish : Is maith liom sin = I like that

There are many Irish speakers who very seldom say "é sin" instead of "sin".

Therefore this sentence can accurately be translated (out of context) as: "The boys like that."

Ambiguity in Irish is very common and may be one reason why some poets write in Irish. For example if you hear someone say "an t-úll", they might actually be saying "an tsiúl". Same goes for "níor thuig mé" and "níor shuigh mé".

Lenition, eclipsis and extensive mutation gives great possibility for ambiguity. Put the verb at the start of the sentence -- so that the subject runs into the object -- and you've got a great recipe for poetry. Not so great for technical discussion though.

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