1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Tá col ceathrar nua agam."

" col ceathrar nua agam."

Translation:I have a new first cousin.

August 31, 2014



Can someone remind me why it's "col ceathrar/ seisir/ ochtair = first/ second/ third cousin" please? It's a slightly odd system, but I recall there was a sensible reason.


Col ceathrair = Prohibition of four = cousin

Col means prohibition, referring to the prohibition of marrying people closely related to you.

The number (in the case above, four) refers to the amount of people between you and the individual, where you pass up and down along generation and sideways between siblings:

You => Parent => Parent's sibling => Your Cousin

Second cousins are "Col seisir" = "Prohibition of six":

You => Parent => Grandparent => Grandparent's sibling => Their child => Your second cousin.


Thank you very much for explaining that. I was wondering.


It seemed to me when I was hovering over the translation that it was implying I have four new cousins, the hover translation doesn't seem to explain the prohibition of four (as in not to marry in the third degree of kindred) it didn't seem to imply a first cousin at all, in fact when it marked me wrong, the translation just said "I have a new cousin" not "a new first cousin."


Agreed! The introductory hint ("cousin") is confusing rather than helpful. Can't imagine how Duo will explain second cousins once or twice removed (and I've got a whole passle of those on both side of the family tree).


Second cousin once removed - col seachtair


I thought the same


That makes sense in a sideways sort of way.


Okay. To confuse matters more, and my brain is officially melting, how would I say I have four cousins?


Tá (<sub>ceithre</sub>) ceathrar col ceathrar agam.

Not 100% on the spelling of 'ceathrar' for plural.


Would it not be 'Tá ceathrar col ceathracha agam'?


Sorry, you are right. 'ceathrar' for people, 'ceithre' for things.

As for 'col ceathracha' I'm not sure. The lesson on numbers doesn't specify if you the singular form of a noun following human conjunctive numbers like you do for general conjunctive numbers barring some special cases.

They do give 'cúigear fear' as an example so it appears you do use the singular form, but they also give 'beirt bhuachaillí' so I don't know does 'beirt' mean you use the plural form as well as causing lenition on the following noun.

Wouldn't mind some clarification on this.


If you look up 'triúr' in the dictionary, it gives: '1. (Of persons) Three. ~ fear, ban, múinteoirí, three men, women, teachers.' There are similar examples under 'ceathrar', 'cúigear' etc. So it looks as though the genitive plural is used. But I too would appreciate any clarification of the matter.


According to the 2012 Caighdeán, when using ceathrar as “four (people)”, “cousins” would need to be put into the genitive plural, so it would be either ceathrar col ceathrar (for col ceathrair as “cousin”) ceathrar col ceathracha (for col ceathar as “cousin”). When using ceithre as “four” (which is an option even with people), “cousins” would be in a lenited nominative singular, so it would be either ceithre chol ceathrair or ceithre chol ceathar.


Both "fear" and "buachaillí" are genetive plural.


Oh jeez, one of The most important concepts of being Irish (having a metric !@$&ton of cousins) and its incredibly complicated!


In Ó Dónaill the forms 'col ceathrair' and 'col ceathar' are given, but not 'col ceathrar', as in the example given here. Is this a spelling mistake? http://breis.focloir.ie/en/fgb/col


no ceathrar is correct


Can you give a dictionary reference?


Thanks, but I'm still none the wiser, because that page doesn't seem to recognise either of the forms listed in Ó Dónaill, although it provides a link to it! :-/


From what I can figure out both are correct it is just a variation in spelling. Apparently col ceathrar is the connacht spelling for col ceathar, however being brought up with Munster Irish I would have always used ceathrar and only finding this mentioned on wikipedia I'm not too sure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connacht_Irish#cite_ref-1
col ceathrair is the genitive singular


Col ceathrar is the plural of col ceathrair (ceathrar is both the nominative singular form and the genitive plural form), and col ceathracha is the plural of col ceathar. (The prohibition remains singular, no matter how many people are involved.)


'Col ceathrair' is the form that makes the most sense to me, with 'ceathrar' in the genitive, following the explanation given above by AnLondDubhBeag and the fact that the genitive is also used for the more distant degrees of kinship (cúigir, seisir, seachtair, ochtair).

However, the plural - col ceathracha - is a bit surprising. I would have expected something more like 'colanna ceathrair', similar to English plurals such as sons-in-law or courts martial, but evidently the phrase is treated as a single unit. Perhaps this was a later formation.


According to the 2017 Caighdéan (p. 154), "ceathrar" should be put into the genitive here, giving "ceathrair". So this is indeed an error in the lesson when compared to the current standard.


Is she saying [cah hurr]?


it's more like cah hurr er


Is there some other system for saying, for example, 1st cousin twice removed?


Okay, so there are first cousins, second cousins, etc., but how do I say "cousin" without specifying their exact degree of relation to me? Is there a general word for cousin?


No. The "default" version of "cousin", just as in English, is first cousin, or col ceathrair, but the Irish is more specific. You could stick with "relative"/"relation" (gaol) if you don't want that specificity.


I'm fairly close with my second cousins and simply refer to them as my cousins. It would feel strange to demote them to "relations", but as they aren't technically my first cousins I suppose I'm stuck with "col seisir". (I don't know the plural form, though.)


If col ceathrar is specifically "first cousin", any thoughts why DL is accepting just "cousin"? Or is it a mistake?


Irish doesn't have a generic word for "cousin". col ceathrar is a first cousin, col cúigir is a first cousin once removed, col seisir is a second cousin, etc.

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