" 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.

September 8, 2016


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.

October 15, 2016


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.

October 15, 2016


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

January 2, 2017


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

August 31, 2014


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".

August 31, 2014


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

August 31, 2014


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.

September 9, 2014


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

October 1, 2014


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.

November 28, 2014


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.

September 29, 2017


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.

September 1, 2018


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.

October 12, 2018


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.

October 12, 2018


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.

October 12, 2018


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 ).

October 13, 2018


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.

February 14, 2019
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