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  5. "Ithim roimh an gcailín."

"Ithim roimh an gcailín."

Translation:I eat before the girl.

August 28, 2014



Just a quick note on pronunciation, because spelling and pronunciation can be hard with Irish, "the important thing to remember about eclipsed consonants is that only the first consonant is pronounced."


oh, so that's why it's called "eclipsis"! The extra consonant "eclipses" the original!


This should be added to the tips and notes section.


Also in Scottish Gaelic they delete the original consonant but Irish wants to show the original word more clearly


An initial consonant in Scottish Gaelic may be eclipsed but it is not shown in the orthography. The original word remains as it is.


Thank you so much! I was just about to ask this question!


Good to know- in this case it honestly sounded to me like she was making a g and c sound at the same time lol! Now though I'm wondering why they don't just change the first consonant instead of adding one...


The word is still cailín, the sound change is just an grammatical marker.

It mightn't matter for a word that you are familiar with, like cailín, but if you need to look up an eclipsed word that you aren't familiar with, it is helpful to be able to see what the basic form of the word is. There doesn't seem to be any advantage to discarding the real initial letter when writing the word.


I wish there was something to explain the grammar of adding the g before cailin.


Here are some examples of when you would use an úrú (eclipse) for a noun beginning with c. You will learn these as you progress.

  • ar an gcailín (on the girl)
  • ag an gcailín (at the girl)
  • leis an gcailín (with the girl)
  • roimh an gcailín (before/in front of the girl)
  • ár gcailín (our girl)
  • bhur gcailín (your pl. girl)
  • a gcailín (their girl)

[deactivated user]

    Look at the "Tips & Notes" section of this lesson.


    Yup, the tips and notes for this section were very helpful. In fact, I copied them and rewrote them by hand just to try to help remember them.


    I do that too. It's really helpful!


    This is "I eat before the girl (eats)" not like "I eat in front of the girl", correct?

    • 5

    Roimh can mean before in terms of either time or location, depending on the context.


    Does that mean that this sentence is ambiguous, or is it completely unambiguous and I just can't see it?

    • 5

    It is ambiguous! Roimh has multiple meanings, similar to English before.


    It is slightly ambiguous although from context the translation "before" rather than "in front of" seems to make more sense


    You mean that you think "temporal before" is more likely than "positional before"?


    And again - it's like in Russian!


    yes. so many similarities. do u think it has to do with the greek or hebrew commonalities ?


    More likely the fact that they're both Indo-European languages. Greek shares similarities because it too is one. Hebrew is not, however.


    Doesn't modern Hebrew have some European influences though? Especially the grammar?


    May I ask what is similar here to Russian? The grammatical syntax or eclipse? Genuinely curious


    tips + notes are very helpful here! thanks! I c/p~ed it and printed it out, too much to remember all at once!

    what puzzles me here in this sentence is the (only implied) subject (in the "-im" ending). first off I did not pay attention to that and thought that "an gcailín" must be the subject (turning the whole sentence around, like it sometimes happens in italian) - but then there would be no need for eclipsis, right? only the "roimh an" demands the eclipsis, or am I mistaken?

    just "the girl" would have to be "an chailín", calling for lenition, right? puzzled

    I understand that the concept of eclipsis/lenition is a complex one and probably very hard to teach at any stage of the course, but still - somehow it makes me feel as if I had skipped five lessons somewhere and jumped from lesson 5 to lesson 10, judging from the difficulty of food/animals/plurals compared with these two chapters.

    thanks after all for the Irish course! I think it's great being able to learn such an "old" language here on DL! :)


    You are correct. The eclipse is because of roimh an. In Ulster Irish, it would be lenition. So both riomh an chailín and riomh an gcailín are accepted, thought you should stick with one.

    Also, it would not be an chailín, but an cailín. Cailín is a masculine noun, becuase of the ín diminutive ending (all diminutives are masculine) and it comes from Caile + ín (little maid)


    I, too, was/am completely baffled by this. When I first learned eclipses and lenition, I didn't understand any of it, but I got through it and kept moving ahead. Now I have come back to review and it makes more sense albeit, still very challenging. Some have suggested writing out the rules found in tips&notes to help retain the information. It sounds like a good idea to me.


    In tips & notes, the examples given when using eclipsis, some of the English translations were plural, but the Irish word wasn't. (seacht n-úll = seven apples.) Is this a mistake? Or does the plural not apply with eclipsis? Please help!


    That is another peculiarity of the Irish language, which you will stumble over in the "numbers" chapter:


    In almost all situations, you use the singular version of the noun and not the plural version when counting with numbers. .... (for example, to count dogs you use the singular madra instead of the plural madraí).


    go raibh maith agat!


    So much for Ladies first...


    Also, a girl, to me, is a child. Traditionally parents would serve food to children before they themselves will eat. It feels like an awkward sentence, but it is grammatically right. I know how to say that I eat before this girl - IRL I just wouldn't do that.


    i must tell you all that whilst the footnotes ARE very important, YOUR comments are definitely an absolute necessity ! so I printed them all. Thanks a lot for your contributions.


    what is the G Before 'cailin'? short answer pleasee ;)


    Words like ag and roimh are prepositions. Eclipsis happens when you have a preposition followed by "an cailín" or "an madra" or whatever. (Not when you don't have an.)


    I understand the grammar of eclipsis but I don't understand the "why" of it? I know "it is the rule" but I haven't yet read why this is.


    The why is in the past: languages develop (and dialects grow apart to create new languages ;-)



    Thanks Ballygawley...just what I was looking for...


    this sentence can be confusing. It could be: I eat before the girl eats. As in: I ate my meal, before she began eating her meal. Or... It could mean, I ate my meal in front of her. As in: She sat and watched, as I ate my meal. As you can see, there is a big difference between these two interpretations. How do we know which meaning is correct? Whichever one is correct, how do we say the other one?


    Both -- roimh can be temporal or spatial. You tell them apart the same way you do in English -- through context (which is a major failing point of DL, in my opinion) or disambiguation.


    since you are learning French ( my language) we don't have this problem : it is either AVANT or DEVANT. " Devant " meaning IN FRONT OF... there is no possible confusion in French. it is either JE MANGE AVANT LA FILLE ou JE MANGE DEVANT LA FILLE.,


    Again they added g to cailin.I know its eclipse, but why do that.Can you pls tell me?


    The short answer? It flows better in speech. Irish people like to communicate quickly. We don't pause much between words.


    Pretty hard to do when using the Android ap, alas.


    You can go to the website in your browser and view as desktop site. Then you can see the tips with each lesson.


    Does this denote "before" in space (as in, I eat in front of the girl) or before in time, as in "I eat before the girl eats"?



    Your question has already been asked and answered already in the other comments.


    Just a quick question, does the Irish used in Gweedore (Donegal) have much different Eclipsis or is it really similar?

    Just want to know so I don't end up getting confused between the dialects. (I live in Donegal)


    It's different. Donegal Irish lenites after prepositions:

    roimh an chailín.


    Why is there a g in front of cailin?


    It's because in Irish (certain dialects), there is urú, or eclipsis. In essence, certain words have a new letter put in front. There's a good breakdown here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10981166

    Also here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_initial_mutations

    Good luck!


    How do you know what letter you should use for the eclipse? (Why is it gcailin and not bcailin or any other letter that eclipses another letter)


    In the first link I posted, there is a table that breaks down which letter goes in front of which letter. Luckily it's consistent, and once you remember the rules, you're good to go.

    Specifically the thread says: > As you can see, only the letters B, C, D, F, G, P and T can be eclipsed and they are eclipsed with m, g, n, bh, n, b and d, respectively.

    And there are four cases where eclipsis is used:

    1. After possessive adjectives
    2. After numbers seven - ten
    3. After prepositions + the definite article
    4. After certain other words

    Your best bet is to read the Duolingo thread because it goes into way more detail and gives concrete examples for you to study. Interestingly enough, other languages will do similar changes based on a preceding word. Japanese has a property called "rendaku" which means certain letters change based on the proceeding word/phoneme. For example, person is "hito" and to say people you double it (neat, right?) except rendaku changes the second h to a b: hitobito. Another example is in Japanese a "kitsune" is a fox, but if you mean a female fox, it becomes "megitsune" because female (me) before fox (kitsune) changes the k to a g. (And I'm writing all of this about Japanese as a rank amateur. I'm sure I'm glossing over some important details, just sharing as an example. Please don't beat up on me, anybody, if I'm wrong. :-) )

    Anyway, enough digression. Go read the duolingo thread. It's going to be your best help.

    Happy learning.


    You just taught me something I didn't know about Japanese --- I have a minor in the language.


    (we're out of reply levels) I majored in Spanish. I was wanting to add another language and was debating between understanding anime and reading Dostoevsky untranslated. Due to weather, many finals were rescheduled that year and my Spanish final shared a room with the Russian 201. The listening audio annoyed me so much I chose Japanese. I have to say I didn't learn as much as I should have because both teachers went easy on our section. I truly can't wait for the Japanese to launch on Duolingo. I have become rusty with katakana. (after attempting the Russian on Duolingo I think I made the right choice. It turns out I'm more dyslexic in Russian than English)


    I learned Donegal Irish at school many many years ago. Why are all the spellings, and pronouncations so confusing to me. ?


    The spelling, apart from the use of eclipse instead of lenition here, shouldn't be any different at all; they're all based on the standard (unless, of course, you were learning to right Donegal Irish as it's spoken; in which case, fair play to the teacher). As for pronunciation, it's likely that you just haven't been exposed to that much Irish outside of Donegal. Practice and exposure will help fix that.


    Just to clarify , does this refer to time as in you in the time before the girl ate or that you ate in front of the girl


    As lancet explained 4 years ago, when this question was first asked:

    Roimh can mean before in terms of either time or location, depending on the context.


    Would "roimh" in this sentence denote placement or time?


    Yes, it would denote placement or time, just as in English.

    [deactivated user]

      Can "roimh" also mean before as in preceding something (like "before you leave"), or does it just mean in front of?


      roimh isn't used before a verb (Sula n-imí tú - "before you leave").

      roimh can mean "before" both in term of position and time:
      nigh do lámha roimh an dinnéar - "wash your hands before dinner"
      nigh do lámha sula n-itheann tú do dhinnéar - "wash your hands before you eat your dinner"
      itheann tú do dhinnéar roimh an teilifís - "you eat your dinner in front of the televsion"


      "roimh" seems to mean before [as in "ahead of"] as well as before [as in "in view of] Evidently which usage applies depends on context?


      Does "roimh" mean before spatially or temporally?


      Yes. Just like "before".


      Does anyone else not hear an sometimes


      How do i find the notes and tips link? Im using app on my phone?


      Why is there a "g" in front of cailin


      Wait why is there a g? In all prior lessons Duo taught me the word Cailín why does it say Gcailín now?

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