"Níl iontu ach béir."

Translation:They are only bears.

September 3, 2014

29 Comments

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

Famous last words...

September 3, 2014

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

Came to see this, was not disappointed

May 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cait48

I think I've actually said that sentence, or something similar. (The bears in our woods are actually pretty timid, while the cougars . . . )

November 29, 2014

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

What is so 'only' about a bear??

September 22, 2015

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

They could be like Pooh Bear: only bears of very little brain. Oh bother.

March 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/donna382364

love it

September 16, 2016

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

I think that the “only” notes that they’re not e.g. a mixed pride/streak/sloth of lions, tigers, and bears, but rather that they’re exclusively bears.

March 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cait48

i interpreted it to mean that they are merely bears, not something worse.

February 11, 2018

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

Would a more literal translation be "They are not but bears"?

February 13, 2015

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

A literal translation would be “Aren’t in-them but bears”.

August 29, 2015

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

How about they are merely bears?

March 13, 2017

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

That would be a possible translation of its meaning, but it wouldn’t be a literal translation.

March 14, 2017

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

I can see that the usual translation "only" would work for Irish and UK English speakers, but I'm starting to suspect that there is more divergent evolution between US and UK/Irish English than is usually discussed.

Realizing also that my own language is divergent from American standard I would say "Merely" is a better fit for me, but I memorized the usual translation.

I think that rote memorization is actually one of the strengths of this course. If you think about it, babies learn their native language by brute force memorization.

March 15, 2017

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

could be wrong, but i think the point was that either merely or only would both be translating for general sense, not literal.

May 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/I2cGAc67

I translated the sentence as "they are not but bears" and was marked wrong, which is wrong, and reported it. "They are not but bears" or "they are nought but bears" are correct translations. Though I am fond of scilling's literal translation. "Is nought in them but bears!" 100% ursine essence : )

February 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1215

In the last 10 years, how often have you used the construction "they are not but ..." and how often have you used "they are only ..." in real life?

The purpose of an exercise like this isn't just to teach you how to read an Irish phrase, in which case a crude "literal" translation will do, but to teach you how to translate your daily idiomatic English into Irish, in which case that crude literal translation is less than useless, because it doesn't help when you want to translate "they are only ..." into Irish.

There are instances when a "literal" translation is appropriate, and there are times when a "literal" translation will impede your learning progress. This exercise is one of the latter.

February 11, 2018

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

In some English dialects they say "is/are nought but" and in others "not but".

February 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1215

I'm willing to bet £/€/$ 10 that not only is that not true of I2cGAc67's dialect, but that I2cGAc67 has never even been in the same room as someone who would habitually say "not but" instead of "only".

February 12, 2018

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

And these bears need a duck...

November 14, 2015

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

Now, if they were panthers, we'd need to run.

January 23, 2016

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

If they are "only bears," then the speaker must be "just a snack."

May 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David870992

Could this sentence also be "Níl ach béir iontu"?

December 12, 2015

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

No.

March 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeffFoster14

I took it to mean that they are ordinary bears, not Beornings.

June 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rpling731

How would "they are THE only bears" be translated?

May 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 1215

That is slightly complicated. The Irish for "He is the only bear (in the zoo)" is Is é an t-aon béar (sa zú) - or more literally, "that is the one bear in the zoo".

You can't use an t-aon with the plural béir, so you say níl aon bhéar eile sa zú - "there isn't any other bear in the zoo". You can add ach iad/"but them" for emphasis.

May 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rpling731

Gmra

May 12, 2018

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

Cén fáth nach bhfuil "there are only bears in them" ceart?

September 4, 2015

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

I think because while that may be literally what it says that is not what it means.

March 14, 2016
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