1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Hello, what age are you?"

"Hello, what age are you?"

Translation:Dia daoibh, cén aois sibh?

September 1, 2014



One of Ireland's nosier greetings! :)


Worst pickup line ever.


Won't accept 'Dia duit, cén aois atá tú?' and answer is in plural; why? 22/III/2019


Leave out "atá" because the it's not needed with "cén." The right answer is "Dia duit, cén aois thú?" or the plural equivalent.


Why is daoibh used instead of duit? I would ask a group of people how old they were?


Both are accepted. If you were being introduced to someone's little children, I suppose you might use the plural. It's really just for practice.


Well I sure never saw it before now!


Why is it thu and not tá


But the answer above was marked wrong; it said that the right answer was "Dia duit, cén aois thú?"


Why not Dia duit, cén aois tú? instead of ... thú?, because I previously met both translations correct? I thought this thú is some emphasis of . On the other hand Ó Donaill's dictionary says: tú » thú used as object of vb.). What do they mean?


I could be wrong, but I think it is thú in this sentence because cén, as a contraction of cé and an, hides a copula in it. When a pronoun is the subject of a copula, it uses the disjunctive form (like thú, in this case). Of course, there are other criteria, like when the pronoun is not the subject of a sentence.

All in all, I'm not an expert with Irish grammar (yet!), but I think I have a basic idea of it. Maybe someone can confirm/deny what I said, or elaborate if I wasn't clear.


Why wouldn't you use any form of "bí" in the question "What age are you?"?

  • 1446

In this case, cén contains a hidden copula that serves instead of , but you can also say cén aois atá sibh?


Oh, so can all question "c words" contain a hidden copula?

  • 1446

No - for example, in cad is ainm duit? the copula is there in plain sight, and in cá bhfuil tú? there is no copula.


As an atheist, I feel uncomfortable greeting a person by wishing god to be with them. Is there a non-religious greeting in Irish?


Do you feel uncomfortable saying "Goodbye" to people, given that it is a corrupt form of "God be with you"?


Not very helpful, Sliotar. Slán, Anyone else able to give me an answer to a genuine appeal for assistance?


That was a genuine answer to your appeal for assistance.

Like "Goodbye", Dia duit is worn down remnant of a phrase that doesn't even make much grammatical sense in modern Irish, but it is what Irish speakers say to another. There is absolutely no more reason to feel uncomfortable saying Dia duit than there is to feel uncomfortable saying "Goodbye". If you don't have any qualms saying "Goodbye", then there is no reason to have any qualms saying Dia duit - it doesn't bother Irish speaking atheists, by all accounts.


Dia duit is an easily understood wish for God to be with the recipient of the greeting. Goodbye, whatever its etymology, has long lost its original spelling and meaning. Dia means God. Good doesn't. Your assertion that they are the same is at best moot. I would like to see evidence that Dia Duit doesn't bother Irish speaking atheists. I am disappointed that, in seeking another form of greeting in Irish, you are telling me that I have no choice even though many languages have several ways of saying Hello. What is most disappointing is a feeling I am getting that, even though I want to support and use an Teanga Gaelach, unless I fit a particular stereotype there is no welcome or accommodation for me.


You can certainly say "haigh" or "conas ata tu" if you're dead set against using "dia duit."

Perusing this thread: https://www.atheist.ie/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=5108

And this one: https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056278113

And this one: http://www.atheist.ie/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=5186&start=15

They all seem to back up Sliotar's point that nobody really takes it as a religious greeting anymore.

I understand you might be uncomfortable with it, and I'm truly sorry, but it's a feature of the language, just as goodbye once related to God in the English language and has lost that meaning, and Gruss Gott has lost its religious meaning in German.


You definitely fit a particular stereotype, but this isn't really the place to go into it.

It's all very well choosing not to use Dia duit yourself, but are you going to object to other people saying it to you, or ignore their greetings?

I see you did French too. Did you have the same crisis of conscience about "Adieu"?


Thank you Maurice Reeves for your constructive comments. The links you posted were enlightening.

Sliotar, I think we should end our conversation. We are clearly achieving nothing other than causing each other grief and life is to short for that.

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