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  5. "Tá an leabhar ag an bhfoirea…

" an leabhar ag an bhfoireann."

Translation:The staff has the book.

August 31, 2014



that second "an" always gets me, because I cannot hear the speaker pronounce the "n", so I say "ag a bhfoireann" every time.


If the next word starts with a consonant sound, you usually say just "a," so that sounds right: ag a' bhfoireann.

I would lenite foireann in that environment (different dialect), so I'd say ag an fhoireann because fhoireann starts with a vowel sound.


I think that the "n" of the definite article is not pronounced if it is preceded by a word ending in a consonant and followed by a word beginning with a consonant.


For the same reason, I thought she said "aige." I had no clue she was saying bhfoireann. I was guessing something spelled "uireann"


I was wondering why "The team has a book" was marked wrong?


an leabhar means "the book", not "a book".


Can someone explain the Verb-Object-Subject situation here?


tá - the verb. an leabhar - the subject, ag an bhfoireann - object.

There is no "to have" in Irish so the roles are different than in the English sentence. The book is performing the action of being "at the staff".


Good explanation, but just to point out "ag an bhfoireann" isn't an object. It's a prepositional or adverbial phrase. There's no object in this sentence.


Thank you. These sorts of explanations would have made Irish in school at lot easier to understand.


so basically the same as "the book is with the staff"?


Yeah, but "at," not "with.".
When you say X is AT Y, you're saying that Y has X: "Tá fadhb ag Homer" = Homer has a problem.


Anyone able to help me with the pronunciation of "bhfoireann". ? I understand the f sound is dropped, and it starts with the same w sound as "bhfuil", but what I can't quite get my ears to understand is the slender "r" sound here.


My take:

Her pronunciation is a soft rolled "r" with a slight aspiration at the end which gives a sound similar to a very soft "d" plus a breathy "h" travelling into the "eann". Other speakers will vary the aspiration and the rolled "r" softer or harder for each.


An alternative option for the English translation was 'The staff has the book.'

I've only heard this use of a plural like 'staff' with 'has' in a very rare circumstance when 'staff' related to a Staff Sergeant (which is a rank the British use in some regiments of their army). Is this combination used more frequently elsewhere? I would only use 'have' with a plural like 'staff', but I know there are other accepted constructions for most things, I'm just curious.


Staff is actually a singular noun, a collective noun designating a group -- staff, choir, team, and so on.

American English tends to use a plural verb like 'have' while British (and Hiberno-) English tends to use a singular verb form like 'has.' That's all.


I never thought of collective nouns being singular before, just assumed they aquired the 'plurality' of what they described numerically I suppose.

Or, I've been away too long in the company of Americans then, no probs with that though. But I'll listen more carefully when I'm home in Ireland for just how much my own Hiberno has mutated. Probably quite a lot I'd think over the years; I'll end up talking like something out of Bladerunner if I don't stop roaming soon.


There is a useful distinction to be made, which some people employ. If the collective noun is being used in an encompassing sense, the singular works best; if we are talking about individual members of a collective group then the plural is often useful.

"The Cabinet stands firmly behind the Prime Minister on the Brexit issue". (Hollow laughter.)

"The Cabinet are fundamentally divided on this issue, and the government is likely to fall in consequence!" Better to hang together than to hang separately...?

I tend to use staff with a plural verb because I always see the people, not the body, in my mind. If I were talking about a body, not individuals, I might go with "workforce" and use a singular verb, but I recognise that you could go with a plural here too, in the right circumstances.


American English speaker here. I've used "staff" and "have" as well as "has". I think I tend to use "has" more often now though (although, it may be all the BBC America I watch :D ).


I don't know about American usage but I was born & live in England & my 'The staff have a book' was marked as being incorrect. Using 'has' here sounds strange & unnatural to me (unless it was being used in a particular context). So next time I wrote 'The team has a book' which was also marked as being incorrect. Thoughts, anyone please?


'The staff have' is completely correct and should be accepted. I don't know if DL will accept it, but it's correct.

I think the issue here is that the sentence has an leabhar, which means the bood, and you wrote a book>


Wondering why The team has the book is wrong. No context to suggest this is staff and not team.


That's correct and should have been accepted.


I know that ag an bhfoireann is a way to say that the staff has ….. But is it really wrong to say that …. is at the staff?


Yes, it really is wrong. "The book is at the staff" doesn't make any sense in English.


Oh, in that way Dutch and English differ. Thanks!

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