I have a few questions - I understand the meaning behind the phrase and why certain words would or wouldn't work (why we use cé instead of conas here) BUT my questions are along the lines of why that cé or ca change meaning when placed with mhead.
In a less confusing manner: 1) Why does the meaning of ca and cé change when they are paired with mhéad? I thought that cá and cé meant who and where, respectively, so how does mhéad change meaning - is it because of it being a question of the amount of items one has?
2) What causes méad to be lenited?
so is the phrase entirely idiomatic or is there a literal deconstruction of the meanings of each word?
Cé - which; mhéad - amount; atá - is; agat - at you
So literally "which amount is at you", meaning "which amount do you have", or in more conventional English "how many do you have" or "how much do you have".
It's only idiomatic in the sense that Irish doesn't have a verb for "to have" - that concept is expressed by (bí) X ag Y. If anything the use of cé in Irish is less idiomatic than "how" is in English - "which amount do you have?" is a fairly straightforward reading of the sentence.
Could someone explain to me why this can't also be 'how much do you have?' (As in, 'tá airgead agam.' 'Ce mhéad atá agat?') Why is this wrong?
I know I'm answering a really old question, but for the benefit of anyone else reading this discussion now, cé mhéad atá agat? does mean "how much do you have?", and Duolingo does accept this answer now.
Didn't it accept it before ? I'm asking because I'm practicing now and not seeing a reason why they might not have ..
I presume aisling-taibhse wouldn't have asked the question in the first place (11 months ago) if Duolingo hadn't rejected "how much do you have?" as an answer.
When Cé mhéad atá agat? was first added to the database, it was added as "How many do you have?". When people reported that "How much do you have?" should also be an acceptable response, it was added. This type of issue cropped up a lot more often when the course was new - at this point, most of these alternative translations have already been added to the database, so newer users don't run into this type of problem, though once Tree 2.0 is released, it will probably happen again.
Surely the answer "how many have you" should also be considered to be correct!
The verb bi in question form is "bhfuil", why does it here remain "ta"???
The question is in the cé, not in the bí part of the sentence.
If you read this sentence as "how much is it that you have?", you can see that "that you have" isn't a question.
Oh my God, that thing with a as a relative clause confuses me the most. Thank you
Why wouldn't it be "Conas mhéad atá agat?" Or something like that? I guess this is just another that doesn't work as a literal translation?
Méad means "amount", not "much/many". Conas mhéad would be like "how amount?"
When someone asks you Cé mhéad atá agat? they aren't asking "how many are at you?", they are asking "How many do you have?". If you enter the mechanical, literal translation, it's an indication that you don't understand this phrase.
Thanks for the explanation, just seeing what variations would be accepted. ""how many have you" definitely should.