1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Cé mhéad?"

" mhéad?"

Translation:How many?

August 30, 2014

37 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fe2h2o

Is it the case that both "cá mhéad" and "cé mhéad" mean 'how much'?


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

Yes, they mean the same thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fe2h2o

Are thy completely interchangeable? Or are there further distinctions we have yet to learn?:-)


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

No, purely dialectal. Pick whichever one you like.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alexmiller1201

So this prompted a thought for me. I've been trying to get my head around the choice of three dialects. As if I need to pick one to focus on to learn. Your answer makes me wonder if that isn't necessary. If I were to mix dialects in my usage, would I be understood? (This makes an assumption that I will ever be able to pronounce anything!!) Of course dialects in English aren't so dramatic. But they are very distinct. Yet if I mix regional dialects in word choice and accent (which I do), I will be understood. Sometimes I do it on purpose, because I enjoy the juxtaposition and have some favorites from both the deep South and from New England.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1449

Who are you worried won't understand you? Anyone who is willing to talk to you in Irish has already indicated that speaking in Irish is a higher priority than absolute clarity - unlike French or Spanish or German or most other languages, you can't speak to a monoglot Irish speaker - all the Irish speakers in Ireland are fluent English speakers too.

Even if you restrict yourself to a minority dialect (and all of the dialects are minority dialects) it's unlikely that you would speak it with the speed and fluency of a native speaker, so you might actually be easier to understand for the majority of Irish speakers who don't speak that specific dialect, but by and large, people who are willing to talk to you in Irish won't usually expect you to have 100% perfect dialect Irish, and if you do have one dialect down pat, it would be expected that you'd be sufficiently experienced to deal with a mix of dialects from other people.

In short, of all the "mistakes" that learners make that would be a barrier to communication, mixing dialect forms is less likely to be a problem than fractured syntax, poor pronunciation and unnatural cadence. By the time you get those issues sorted out, you'll probably have enough exposure to common dialect forms to have developed a degree of consistency.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fe2h2o

Excellent:-) Thanks:-)


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

i clicked 'cé mhéad' and 'how much' came up. Would that be right because i put that in and i got it wrong...


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

Does this work to say both "how much does this cost" and "how much milk do we have" sorta stuff?


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

Is MH pronounced like V?


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

Sometimes. It is in this case.

teangalann.ie usully only provides pronunciations for stem words, so it has few examples of how the lenited versions are pronounced, but there are samples for Mheiriceá


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

Thank you very much :-) I like the website.


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

When you click on the word, It tells you the meaning. You don't learn any thing from it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

@Tayto Why is it pronounced "ke vev"?


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

It's not pronounced "ke vev". The terminal sound is completely different from the initial sound in the second word.

Depending on your browser, you may be able to slow the audio down to half speed by opening this link and right-clicking on the player control:
https://d7mj4aqfscim2.cloudfront.net/tts/ga/sentence/0cc64df1a291dbdbd61d9d7319316fbc

(It works well in Microsoft Edge, not so well in Firefox).


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

Thanks for the link. I can get it to play normal speed, but can't slow it down (Safari). Even in this file though what I hear clear as day is 'kay vev". How do you hear it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1449

If you can't use a modern browser, you should still be able to download the link as an MP3 file, and use some utility live VLC to slow it down during playback.

The initial "v" sound in mhéad is made without the tongue, with your lower lip touching your upper teeth.The terminal "d" sound is made with the tongue touching between the alveolar ridge and your teeth, and the lower lip doesn't come into play. The sounds are quite distinct.

It is typically a "softer" sound that the "d" in an English word like "made" - perhaps somewhere between "made" and "lathe".


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

I hear it as rev / vev and no way can I relate this to the actual word.


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

Yep, that's exactly what I'm hearing too, perhaps 'kay' but definitely 'vev'. So, it's an audio file issue then? What should it sound like?


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

The thing that I don't understand is that Cé means "who" but in this context it means "how". Can someone explain to me why this happens? just so I understand what I'm actually saying.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1449

is an interrogative pronoun - it doesn't just mean "who".

doesn't mean "who" in Cén fáth? (Cén is a compound of and an). It can mean "what" or "which" or "how" (cé chomh fada? - "how far?").


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zack13795

So hiw do i distinguish between "how much" and "how many", just context clues ?


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

is cá mhéad also correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1449

As far as I know, it's just a dialect difference. The FGB entry for méad suggests that they are interchangeable, but gives examples using only . It's sister dictionary at focloir.ie also prefers cá mhéad, with only a couple of examples of cé mhéad. potafocal.com, on the other hand, prefers cé mhéad over cá mhéad.

Duolingo has an exercise for cá mhéad? which it translates as "how much?", but both cé mhéad? and cá mhéad? can be used for either "how much?" or "how many?".


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

The audio here pronounces "cé" like the English "kay". I guess this is an anglicized pronunciation. On forvo.com it's pronounced more like the Spanish "qué".


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

I'm not a Spanish speaker so what is the difference in sound between "Kay" and "Qué"


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

English “Kay” is pronounced /keɪ/, and Spanish qué is pronounced /ke/ — there’s an extra vowel glide at the end of the English name. (Irish is pronounced /keː/.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flavor32

The pronunciation variance is maddening.


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

This seems an odd sentence to make a comment like this on - this is about as standard a pronunciation of this phrase as you will hear. (Which you can reasonably interpret as "This is exactly how I pronounce Cé mhéad?, and I can't think of any other way to pronounce it").

If you want variance, listen to the different regional pronunciations of scanraithe on Focloir.ie and on Duolingo. (And I don't use any of those pronunciations!))


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

Why is "mhéad" pronounced "vev"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1449

It's not pronounced "vev".

The broad "d" at the end is a voiced dental stop or [d̪ˠ] in IPA.

You can can hear some other examples of the pronunciation of mhéad here:
http://www.teanglann.ie/en/fuaim/ar_a_mh%C3%A9ad


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

I am very familiar with dental "d" as the same sound exists in Sinhala. There's no way that's the sound here. It's very clearly /v/, which I hear every time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1449

It very clearly isn't /v/, but if you're convinced that everyone else is out of step with you, you might want to listen to some other examples.

Apart from the examples on teanglann.ie (I fixed the link), you can hear it in these exercises on Duolingo:

Cé mhéad a thuill sí?
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9806082
Cé mhéad soicind?
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5106379
Cá mhéad?
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4305740


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

Interesting. Thanks for reminding me how useful Teanglann is.

I understand what you mean about the pronunciation of the final 'd', and in the three dialect variation examples on Teanglann I hear a sort of 't' or 'dt', ...but, like others, I also very definitely hear a 'vev' in this Duo example. Odd, because I don't doubt others are hearing it very differently. Ear illusions.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1449

It may well be that those who learned to pronounce cé mhéad? long before we saw any written phonological guidelines are hearing what we expect to hear, but I'm quite certain that there is no way that you can articulate "vev" to make it sound anything like mhéad, as both the vowel and the terminal consonant are wrong.

Related Discussions

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.