1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Níl ach deirfiúr amháin agam…

"Níl ach deirfiúr amháin agam."

Translation:I only have one sister.

August 31, 2014

38 Comments


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

That 'deirfiúr' is pronounced so strangely I put 'deartháir' as my answer. Anyone else notice this?


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

Yes, it sounded like 'deartháir' to me, too. I didn't pick up any hint of an "f" sound at all!


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

I came back to this sentence audio many times, and I'm now convinced she's not saying the right word.


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

I checked on teanglann.ie, no dialect pronounces it like that


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1441

The Connacht phrases deirfiúr chéile and deirfiúr chleamhnais use the same pronunciation as the speaker on this exercise.


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

Yes, it completely sounds like "deartháir" (brother) to me! "Deirfiúr" is usually pronounced quite differently.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/a.l.e.x.p

I'm pretty sure she's saying 'deartháir' in with a Connemara pronunciation. This is consistent with this sound on forvo and with the IPA on wiktionary: [ˈdʲɾʲɑːɾʲ]. Anyway, I'm reporting it as an error. (edit: formatting)


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

I would have thought so too, but apparently some Connacht speakers do actually pronounce deirfiúr this way sometimes. (And sometimes they pronounce it like this)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/a.l.e.x.p

You're right! The wiktionary page for deirfiúr actually gives /ˈdʲɾʲauɾˠ/ for Cois Fharraige. And that's definitely what she's saying here. Phew! Munster pronunciation is so much easier :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kc.evinarter

i don't understand why this sentence is constructed in the negative


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

If you speak Southern American English, it makes perfect sense:

"I don't have but one sister." That's the literal translation of it, but in standard English, it sounds better as "I only have one sister."


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

Considering the number of Irish people who ended up in the South, I wouldn't be surprised if that's where the Southern construction comes from.


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

I agree. I wonder if there's any verifiable information about that.


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

No idea how old this thread is, but there is, actually. Southern American English dialects are heavily influenced by Irish and Scottish constructions and accents and are actually closer to some traditional speech patterns than standard American English. It's one of the fun things for Southerners to learn when studying how we got from Old English to American English because it means there is an actual reason for the way many people speak rather than just laziness. What Americans refer to as the Southern drawl and "hick" usage is actually what the Irish, Scottish, and northern English accents and speech patterns evolved into when mixed with the others around them, and it just became the sound of the area as time went on. We spent quite some time in my History & Structure class just talking about the overlaps. My 7-yr-old English cousin thought my friend was "speaking Irish" when talking, but she just has a strong Southern accent at times and uses a lot of nonstandard dialectic constructions.


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

I think Irish language as much as culture had a large effect not just on the south, but the west as well. Personally, I think bluegrass has very large roots in Irish music..


[deactivated user]

    For idiomatic speech, the Gaelic languages (Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx) absolutely love negative constructions. It's just part of this branch of languages. My favorite is how some Scottish Gaelic speakers say ceud ach aon (100 but 1) for 99. It's just more fun than naochad 's a naoi (the decimal form) and easier than naoi deug air ceithir fichead (the vigesimal form-- lit. 19 on four 20).


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

    This sentence structure is similar to French where it translates to something like 'I have not but one sister' which makes some sense


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

    Is the F not pronounced in deirfiur? It sounds like the audio is pronouncing it "drower".


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

    For some reason the reply to someones comment function is not working for me. I don't think it's being pronounced either as deirfiúr nor dearthair. It sounds like "Níl ach dreamhair amháin agam" to me


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Verd-Lupo

    that's what it sounds like to me as well (me too)


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

    That audio for sure said brother


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
    Mod
    • 1441

    Did you listen to the Connacht examples of deirfiúr-chéile and deartháir-céile on teanglann.ie posted half a dozen times in the previous comments?


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

    Ulster is JERRafur, Munster is driffOOer, but I've never come across Connaught. Is it DRAUer, as she pronounces it? Or something else entirely? Put me out of my misery...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
    Mod
    • 1441

    The Connacht pronunciations of deartháir and deirfiúr are confusingly similar - easy enough to tell them apart when you hear them together, but potentially confusing when encountered on their own.

    deartháir céile
    deirfiúr chéile

    You can hear more examples on Track 25 of CD1 from the Routledge Colloquial Irish, which asks questions about brothers and sisters:
    http://www.routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/colloquial/language/irish.php


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/becky3086

    I really am hating this. We never had this construction in any of the lessons. Why is it thrown at us in the review when there is no way we can get this without having seen it before?


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

    I can't for the life of me make out how deirfiúr is pronounced based on this audio and the one I just heard before (the plural in lesson Family 1), my ears cannot split this word apart (I hear "tsi-rawn"??). What is going on :( teanglann offers something completely different as well. Should I trust duolingo's audio bit?

    http://www.teanglann.ie/en/fuaim/deirfi%C3%BAr

    edit: this one sounds way more clear https://www.duolingo.com/comment/13520185

    I still would like to know what happened in the above sentence in terms of pronunciation.


    [deactivated user]

      Huh. She clearly is pronouncing this one word is two different ways and for no reason I can see. The pronunciation is in the second example makes sense to me, but not this one.

      I have suspected the person who recorded the new audio is Brid Eillis, also known as "Brid Mhór" on the Irish Learner's Forum. I have listened to a number of her recordings on both Forvo and IRF, and subjectively speaking (and no offense to her), she is not someone I want teaching me Irish pronunciation. Her pronunciation is often unclear and difficult to understand, and even for a Connacht speaker, her idiolectial variations seem pretty inconsistent and much more outside of the kind of Irish I want to learn. I want to learn a standard, more neutral Irish I can be comfortable speaking, not a sad mimicry of one speaker's curious idiolect. But that's just me, and some folks may think I'm being harsh.

      Anyhow, she has a recording of her saying deifiúr alone on Forvo: http://forvo.com/word/deirfi%C3%BAr/#ga

      Compared to the other speakers, you notice she pronounces the initial slender d much harder and more t-like than other speakers and she does not stress the first syllable. However, this is unlike the either example in these two Duolingo sentences, so I don't know what to tell you regarding why this speaker does this. From my experience with Gaelic and Irish pronunciation, I would be inclined to pronounce this word like the Munster speaker on Teanglann or the other Forvo speakers (the Ulster speaker on Teanglann adds an "intrusive vowel" between the r and f which is something that sometimes happens with consonants following a r, so that is not really that unusual).


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

      I have listened to many of Brid Eillis forvo pronunciation, and I don't believe it's the same person. Duolingo's voice sounds younger.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Verd-Lupo

      Well at least I can clearly hear the F sound in her saying deifiúr alone on Forvo: http://forvo.com/word/deirfi%C3%BAr/#ga But have a look at this: https://goo.gl/XPxD7O (it's the abair.ie site)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shelagh198227

      a year or more on and its still saying deartháir


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
      Mod
      • 1441

      She's not saying "deartháir", she's using a Connacht pronunciation for deirfiúr, which is similar to, but not quite the same as, the Connacht pronunciation for deartháir (too similar for me to tell them apart unless I can hear them side by side, but quite distinct when heard together).

      deirfiúr - https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fuaim/deirfi%c3%bar_ch%c3%a9ile
      deartháir - https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fuaim/dearth%c3%a1ir_c%c3%a9ile


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaryEllyn3

      I am having trouble with the pronunciation of this "Deirfiur" and both sibling plurals.. all I hear from the speaker is a bunch of tongue bounces I can't follow at all...


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

      does "amháin" mean "one" only in context of "only one" ? Can't we use the numeral "aon" here?


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

      I've read that you have to use a different counting system when talking about people. Not sure if, or in which cases, there may be any exceptions. I think you would also have to change the sentence to a "positive" statement, I think. My guess would be, "tá duine deirfiúr agam," but don't take my word for it until one of the more qualified members confirms it.


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

      I've heard them both used at the same time: "níl ach aon deirfiúr amháin agam."


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sorcha609201

      The pronication of deirfiur is v dofficult and sounds more like brothet is ot a mistake

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