Thanks, you guys are awesome- Satharn, Scilling, Knocksedan. I am learning so much through the comments. I think it is just me and my computer doing Irish here in Cape Town. I can't wait to progress to the past tense to give me bit more to say. I went to a gala function in Cape Town the other day and met the Irish Ambassador. Beyond the basic hello I couldn't think of anything else to say except to ask if he worked in a bog and if his wife wore pink on Wednesdays - as Gaeilge of course. He gave me a bit of a wry smile before moving on to say hello to the next person.
I am only guessing. Perhaps "Is he a duck?_ would be expressed using "sé", not "é". ???
Nope. sé can be interpreted as "he" or "it", and é can be interpreted as "him" or "it". The main difference between sé and é is that, in general, the subject of a verb is sé, whereas the object in a sentence is é.
Which is why you don't use sé.
The FGB entry for sé
sé 1, 3 sg. m. pron. He; it (usually referring to m. noun). (Subject of verb; not used with copula)
The FGB entry for é
é, 3 sg. m. pron. He, him; it (usually referring to m. noun). (Has various grammatical functions, but cannot be the subject of an active verb)
For the second half I put "no, it isn't." Since there is not a direct way of saying "no" shouldn't this also work?
So, I guess in this case "an" is the question form of the copula and has nothing to do with the article "the".
No, it's got it all - if it were a statement, it would be a copula sentence with "is". "An" is the question form of the copula.
The hover hint is misleading, so I thought the question was, "Is it the duck? (which was marked as wrong.)
The previous question "Is it a coat?" was incorrect as "An cóta é?" and required "An é cóta é?" Could someone please point out why " An lacha é?" is correctly constructed but "An cóta é? is incorrect. Is there some sort of difference in the type of noun that requires the second é
I have the same questions. I wonder if the difference has to do with coat being a thing while duck is an animal...
No, the other exercise is misleading - the translation should just be An cóta é?
The grammar doesn't make any inference about a fundamental difference between animals and things.
There was a comment in the "An cóta é" one saying that you cannot just stick a question mark onto a statement and pretend it is a question, it needed the second é. I also thought maybe it had something to do with it being an animate or inanimate object.
Scilling's comment on "Is it a coat?" is more pertinent - the first é in that exercise is superfluous - the translation should be just An cóta é?.
I did not say that you needed the second é, I said that you "need to use the interrogative form of the verb or copula" (so your question needs to start with an if the statement starts with is). is cóta é? is not a valid translation of "is it a coat?" (or of "it's a coat?").
I wrote 'it's a duck, isn't it?' You can't see a question mark in the spoken word. Why is the question that way around.
an is the interrogative particle. An lacha é? is by definition a question, whether you can hear the question mark or not.
My Answer was .. "Is that a duck. No" which was marked wrong. Top of this page uses .. "Is IT a duck? It is not." Answer on the original Page is .. "Is HE a duck? No" Which makes me think that my answer was not too far off the mark as it covers both. :) But what would be the correct translation for my answer " Is THAT a Duck" ??
And many thanks to all who try to educate us on this site.
an lacha é? is a copular question. It isn't using the verb bí, and therefore the answer doesn't use the verb bí either.
Is lacha é - "It is a mouse"
An lacha é? - "Is it a mouse?"
Ní lacha é - "It is not a mouse"
Or it's a fundamental difference in the word order "it is" and " is it". An cóta é ? It is a coat? with change of voice tone to make it a question or An é cóta é? Is it a coat? Nonetheless it still contradicts the above "Is it" word order order in "An lacha é? "
No, you can't form a question in Irish just by changing the tone of voice and sticking a question mark on at the end of a statement. The question in the other exercise should just be An cóta é?. If it was "the coat"/an cóta you would need the first é, An é an cóta é?, but the purpose of the first é is simply to separate the copula from the definite noun - it isn't explicitly translated.
is cóta é - "it is a coat"
is é an cóta é - "it is the coat"
an cóta é? - "is it a coat?"
an é an cóta é? - "is it the coat?"
If you need to translate a "tone of voice question" from English into Irish, you still have to use an to indicate that it is a question, at which point it ceases to rely on tone of voice to indicate that it's a question, and the translation is exactly the same as the non-"tone of voice" question: "It's a coat?" - An cóta é?