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  5. "Troideann sé leis an bhfear …

"Troideann leis an bhfear ach cén fáth?"

Translation:He fights with the man but why?

August 27, 2014

42 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/4meerschweinchen

because the man is Pól


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flint72

Could someone tell me why it is somethings "le ..." and sometimes "leis ..." pelase?

Here "with the man = leis an bhfear", but a few sentences ago we had "with my father = le m'athair", and I'm not sure why.

"leis an bhfear" certainly sounds more correct than simple "le", but neither of "le m'athair" or "leis m'athair" sound any more correct than the other.


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

Yes! Very simply, it's because two vowels are meeting here. "Le an bhfear" is a little awkward to say. "Leis an bhfear" rolls off the tongue a lot easier, right?


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

So it doesn't actually change the grammar -- just pronunciation, right?


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

The leis in leis an bhfear is not a prepositional pronoun, it's just a preposition (meaning "with").

The leis in troideann sé leis. (with no following definite noun) is a prepositional pronoun (meaning "with him").

Compare "he fights with her" - troideann sé léi, "he fights with the girl" - troideann sé leis an gcailín.

Just to show that English isn't immune to this kind of confusion, compare
"he fights with him" - "he fights with his brother"
"he fights with her" - "he fights with her brother"

note how English uses "him" for the pronoun and "his" for the possessive adjective, but uses the same word "her" for both the pronoun and the possessive adjective.


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

But that does not explain why "le na" goes to "leis an", does it.


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

Could this mean they are fighting side by side as well as each other?


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

Like English, it could be either “alongside” or “against”.


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

After reading all the arguments back and forth about this, it brings to mind a funny moment talking with my long-ago organic chemistry professor. Students would fight with him over the name of some gigantic branched molecule. They would insist on being right. He said, it is your job to observe the universe as it is. Stop trying to change it.


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

Me watching any superhero movie ever


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

Why is it 'an bhfear' in this case instead of 'an fear'? Is it because of 'leis'? Also, I've seen 'an fhear' before, too.


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

Yes. It's because of leis. And, yes, you'll see leis an fhear. That's Ulster Irish.


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

Preposition + singular article causes eclipsis, except in Ulster Irish, as galaxyrocker points out.


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

Notwithstanding some of the previous comments I believe "He fights with the man but why?" should be acceptable. My understanding and reason for using Duolingo (Irish) app is to learn basic Irish rather than English grammar/meanings.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ger552085

I was marked wrong for "he is fighting with the man but why". How come?


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

In English, there is a difference between "he fights" and "he is fighting". The first one means that he often fights, he fights habitually--for instance, "he fights on Thursdays" or "he fights when he gets angry". The second means that he is fighting right now.

In Irish, these two different forms exist as well. Troideann sé translates to 'he fights'. If you wanted to say 'he is fighting', I believe you would say: 'tá sé ag troid'.


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

Ok, I got that this was "He fights with the man but why", but I figured that "Why does he fight with the man" would be acceptable (as it makes more sense as an English translation). This is apparently wrong though?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shrikrishna1

Both sentences do not mean same .


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

What is the difference between the two?


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

"He fights with the man, but why" is a statement that they're fighting, and then asking why. "Why does he fight with the man" is a simple question. Both make perfect sense in English.


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

Right, exactly. Both make sense, so why is only one considered an acceptable answer and the other not when both have the same meaning and intent?


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

How exactly can "why does he fight with the man" be split in two? It has no linking word along the lines of "but", so cannot be split into the stand-alone phrases along the lines of "he fights with the man." and "why." Neither sentence is particularly Victorian, or associated with any other period of Modern English.

Both sentences are correct English, and semantically mean the same thing, but use different grammar to express that concept.

If Irish were only able to express this concept as troideann sé leis an bhfear ach cén fáth?, then it would be appropriate to translate it both ways. Otherwise it makes sense to translate the sentence to whichever sentence in English is the closest equivalent of the Irish.

You say "Irish is apparently not as diverse or fluid as English in language construction".

But Irish is every bit as diverse and fluid as English in this situation: cén fáth and cad chuige can appear at the beginning of the sentence, like the "why" in your suggested English sentence.

Irish has Troideann sé leis an bhfear ach cén fáth?, which is equivalent to “he fights with the man, but why”. Both the Irish and the English are statements, followed by a question posted at the end in its own phrase.

Irish also has Cad chuige a dtroideann sé leis an bhfear? (or Cén fáth an dtroideann sé leis an bhfear?), which is equivalent to “why does he fight with the man”. Both the Irish and the English structure the whole sentence as a question, with the question words at the beginning.

Since both ways of expressing the concept can be found in both languages, it is best to translate the sentence to whatever sentence in the target language is the closest equivalent. This is particularly important on Duolingo, which is meant to teach vocabulary and grammar, leaving much less less room for free translation than in other places.

See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_syntax#Wh-questions,

and here: http://www.bitesize.irish/blog/asking-why/


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

Because they don't have the same meaning. One observes they are fighting, then asks why; the other just asks why. I explained in your other thread that the two questions would be phrased differently in Irish, just as in English. Both languages differentiate them, so they are not interchangeable - you have to translate precisely, not with something vaguely similar. It's like how "rithim" is "I run", not "I am running", even though changing between the two would be fine in, say, French.


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

“Semantics is important in language. Semantics is the whole point of what the sentence means.”

Not true. While important, semantics is concerned with the meaning. It does not cover all aspects of language. Famously Noam Chomsky pointed out that “colourless green ideas sleep furiously” is grammatically correct, but semantically meaningless.

“"Let's eat, Grandma" and "Let's eat Grandma" both use the same words and the same grammar, but semantically have two very different fundamental messages.”

They don’t use the same grammar. The first has an intransitive verb, and is addressed to Grandma. The second has a transitive verb and has Grandma as the subject

“Perhaps there is an Irish equivalent that's better suited for "why does he fight with the man", but I don't know what it is.”

That would be cad chuige a dtroideaan sé leis an bhfear, or cén fáth a dtroideann sé leis an bhfear. The second one is almost a word-for-word equivalent. A big part of my last comment was devoted to demonstrating this. The links I posted illustrate how you can construct sentences with “why”/cén fáth at the beginning of a sentence, as opposed to being at the end.

“Duolingo isn't doing an excellent job at teaching grammar at all. I know, literally, hundreds of Irish words, but I don't understand how to put them together very well. Rosetta Stone isn't very good at explaining the grammar, neither is Duolingo.”

Yes, apps are a very bad way of learning grammar. That’s why it’s a good idea to get use other resources like textbooks and internet articles as well.

“But, you asked how exactly can both sentences be split the same way? You're getting hung up on word order and not the purpose of the words.”

On the contrary, you seem to be deliberately downplaying the very real significance of the way in which words are arranged and inflected (aka grammar) has implications for how to translate a sentence. The arrangement of words and prepositions makes all the difference from a grammatical perspective. See earlier for why simply expressing the same concept is not all there is to translation. The structure of a sentence is a different topic from the “purpose of the words”, so this is irrelevant to the issue I raised.

“In both sentences "Fight" is verb. But in a conjoining term, but it also serves as an adverb, the exact same as Does in the other sentence.”

Neither are adverbs. An adverb is a word like “quickly” or “slowly”. “fight” is a simple verb in both sentences. I have no idea what you’re trying to say.

“If the two sentences carry the same meaning, which they do, and if Duolingo isn't going to explain the rules of the grammar, then explain to me how anyone is supposed to know that they're looking for a subtle difference in the translation instead of the meaning of the sentence?”

By using other language-learning tools as well.

“maybe you can explain how these two sentences do not mean the same thing in your mind? ... Explain how this is fundamentally different in meaning or intent.”

They aren’t “fundamentally” different. I didn't say they were. But as I said before, they express a concept with a different word order and way of organising questions. Irish has direct equivalents to both, so it would be confusing to translate them the same way, as it could give the impression that Irish has only one way of expressing this concept.

As I said before, Irish rithim (I run) cannot be translated “I am running”, because there is already a direct equivalent in táim ag rith. On the other hand je cours in French can be translated both as “I run” and “I am running”, because French doesn’t distinguish the two.

How to translate between languages depends a lot on what grammatical distinctions the two languages have, and how much they align with each other, no matter how arbitrary the distinction may seem. If this were in a newspaper article or a book, translating freely is expected and your sentence would be a reasonable translation. However, Duolingo expects precision. I have nothing new to say, so I will not reply further to this thread to save clutter.


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

troideann sé leis an bhfear ach cén fáth?

"fights he with the man but what reason"

"he fights with the man but why"

There are two statements:

//1: X does Y,\ // 2: but why?\\

On the other hand:

cad chuige a dtroideann sé leis an bhfear

"what towards fights he with the man"

"why does he fight with the man?"

There is one statement:

//Why does X do Y\\

They are not the same, in either Irish or English - so cannot be substituted for each other as translations.

You might argue that you'd be more likely to say "why does he fight with the man" in English. The same is true of cad chuige... in Irish.

One context where you might prefer to say troideann sé... is after a long conversations when you want to say "Yes, I know he's fighting the man, but what I want to know is why he's doing that."


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

I see what you're saying.. in English, "He fights with the man, but why?" would be most similar to, "But why does he fight with the man?" It seems to me that by adding 'but' at the beginning, it completely changes how the question is asked; it lets you emphasize the 'why', just like in the first question.


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

Ill just chalk it up to Irish being more precise and having less room for synonyms than English then, because in English both of those sentences do mean precisely the same thing. You place too much emphasis on the order of the the words in the English translations. Logically, I cannot ask why the men are fighting unless I have first observed them doing so. Thus, the observation of their fighting would still be implied with your simple question.


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

Semantics is important in language. Semantics is the whole point of what the sentence means. "Let's eat, Grandma" and "Let's eat Grandma" both use the same words and the same grammar, but semantically have two very different fundamental messages. Perhaps there is an Irish equivalent that's better suited for "why does he fight with the man", but I don't know what it is. Duolingo isn't doing an excellent job at teaching grammar at all. I know, literally, hundreds of Irish words, but I don't understand how to put them together very well. Rosetta Stone isn't very good at explaining the grammar, neither is Duolingo. So, because there's no explanations provided with the sentences to help me understand the grammar, I'm going to translate the sentences as I understand the meaning in English. If the Duolingo program is trying to teach specific grammatical concepts, then the program itself falls far short of that mark.

But, you asked how exactly can both sentences be split the same way? You're getting hung up on word order and not the purpose of the words. In both sentences "Fight" is verb. But in a conjoining term, but it also serves as an adverb, the exact same as Does in the other sentence. If the two sentences carry the same meaning, which they do, and if Duolingo isn't going to explain the rules of the grammar, then explain to me how anyone is supposed to know that they're looking for a subtle difference in the translation instead of the meaning of the sentence? Explain that. Also, while you're at it, maybe you can explain how these two sentences do not mean the same thing in your mind? "why does he fight with the man?" Is an interrogative that seeks to understand the reason for the conflict. "he fights with the man but why?" is also an interrogative that seeks to understand the reason for the conflict. Explain how this is fundamentally different in meaning or intent.


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

Sorry, Balbhan, but you are not correct. "He fights with the man, but why" does mean the same thing in English as "why does he fight with the man?" They are both interrogatives. They both ask questions. You can break both of them apart into two sections. They do, in fact, mean the same thing in English. One of them is the modern way of saying it, the other is closer to Victorian English, but it is still correct and acceptable. Irish is, apparently, not as diverse or fluid as English in language construction, but yes, these two sentences do mean the same thing in English.


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

I had put the same thing, "why does he fight with the man?". In English there is no difference in meaning between this and their specific answer. It's clearly an Irish grammatical idiom to have it constructed that way, but I would make a strong argument that this would also be an accepted translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisOvert1

This has been a while back and my comment might never be read, but the difference of the two is a large one in English even if both have the same meaning.

"He fights with the man, but why?" is a sentence composed of two independent clauses connected with a comma and conjunction. This can be written in a number of ways:

"He fights with the man, but why?" "He fights with the man; why?" "He fights with the man. But why?"

All of these are acceptable variations of the original statement given proper context.

"Why does the he fight with the man?" is an interrogative statement made up of a single independent clause. There is no way to make this into more phrases and still be grammatically correct.

Also, this is not an idiom as say, "Dia duit" is. Literally it is "God you" but has the meaning of "Hello". That is an idiom or a group of words given a particular meaning when it is not deducible from the true definition of the parts.

It simply is how the Irish language is written grammatically. Verb- Subject- Object: "Fights(V) He(S) with the Man(O)"

So, at the end of the day "He fights with the man, but why" does not equate to "Why does he fight with the man?" on a grammatical level even if it does on a semantic level.

You state that Duolingo does not teach grammar, but from this sentence alone you can begin to understand the difference between conjoined clauses and a single clause phrase, simply because the "Why does he fight with the man" is not accepted.

For a free program without live teachers to explain the concept is does a decent job, given the fact that we can discuss it as a community.


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

This is a fantastic response.


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

This is the best explanation I've seen yet. Thanks for taking the time to explain this. Have a lingot for your efforts. :)


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

Not really: you're stating that they're fighting, and then asking why.


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

Not necessarily. This could be construed as a perfect present tense sentence in English. For example; if you and I are observing two other people who are presently fighting, it would still be grammatically correct for me to ask for me to say "He fights with the man, but why?". I'm stating that I can see that they are, present tense, fighting, but I lack the insight as to why. In that same light; "Why does he fight with the man?" has the exact same context.


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

"why does he fight with the man" is a simple question, rather than a statement followed by a question, so it's not an accurate translation - that would be something cad chuige a dtroideann sé leis an bhfear. The two sentences describe nearly the same thing, but they don't mean the same thing. It's like how "I run" / rithim and "I am running" / táim ag rith convey nearly the same thing, but cannot be substitute translations for each other.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/v0U4bvUG

It is a sentence or a question and which? You understand how to form ENglish sentences or why not? You hear people speak in this very strange syntax but when?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GaryOBrien13

Let's say i was asking "why are you fighting with him/her?" Would it be "Cen fáth an bhfuil tú ag troideann leis/léi?"


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

Cen fáth a bhfuil tú ag troid leis/léi?

In Munster Irish it would probably be go bhfuil rather than a bhfuil - cén fáth is already a question, you don't need an interrogative particle before the verb:
Cen fáth go bhfuil tú ag troid leis/léi?

You use the verbal noun after ag for the progressive verb ("-ing"). The verbal noun doesn't have any tense, as the tense is indicated by the verb "be"/ - "why were you ...?", "why are you ...?" and "why will you be ...?" in English, and a raibh, a bhfuil and a mbeidh


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GaryOBrien13

That's above and beyond. Thank you very much.


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

Am i the only one that finds it hilarious that this conversation took place in a sentence about fighting? XD

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