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  5. "Tá tú ag snámh."

" ag snámh."

Translation:You are swimming.

August 28, 2014



Yup, Irish has a progressive aspect, just like in English. It's an areal feature.


Could you please explain what those words mean?


'Progressive aspect' refers to a modification of the meaning of a verb or compound verb to indicate something that's ongoing. Thus 'Snámhainn mé' is in the simple present ('I swim'), while 'Tá mé ag snámh' is in the present progressive ('I am swimming').

'Areal feature' refers to a language feature (such as the progressive aspect) that is common to the languages of a particular area. The progressive aspect is a language feature that's common in the languages of Great Britain and Ireland, but its uncommon elsewhere in Europe. For instance, French fails to distinguish it and instead "Je nage" used to express both sense depending on context.


Go raibh maith agat.


They have a present progressive tense in Spanish and Portuguese. Estoy nadando. Eu estou nadando


What's the difference among the verbs that require Ta at the beginning with a secondary part after the noun and those verbs (like "scriobh") which can stand on their own?


Snámhann sé means 'he swims.' Tá sé ag snámh means 'he is swimming.' One is something he does, the other is something he is doing right now. Present progressive - something that is continuing to happen as we speak.


Thanks. But I think we're talking past each other. I have seen "ta se snamh" (or, at least, its equivalent) without the "ag" which, my understanding is, turns it from "He is swimming" into "he swims." I have also seen "Snamheann se" (or, at least, it's equivalent). What's the difference between those two phrases (if any), and (if there's no difference in meaning) are they used in different circumstance? That was my question.


Tá sé snámh is not correct Irish. Snámhann sé means he swims, as in "He swims in the pool three times a week." Tá sé ag snámh means he is swimming, as in "He is swimming in the pool right now."


Yes, but the question is: why isn't it correct Irish? What is it about "Ta" that allows it to be at the beginning of a sentence with the infinitive (is it called an infinitive?) in the middle for some verbs and not for others?


I think I see what you are asking now!

Any verb can (at least in theory) exist in either form:

  • Itheann sé feoil He eats meat
  • Tá sé ag ithe feola He is eating meat
  • Ritheann sé sa pháirc He runs in the park
  • Tá sé ag rith sa pháirc He is running in the park

Irish does not have infinitives: the word "snámh" in Tá sé ag snámh is called a verbal noun. The direct translation of Tá sé ag snámh would be "He is at swimming" - in other words, he is currently engaged in the act of swimming. There is a whole skill on verbal nouns later on in the course.

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