The face I made when I first glanced at that... (I thought the same thing at first.)
I think that "he eats a dog" would be "Itheann sé an madra", but I agree that the unusual (for me) word order makes things confusing.
I first thought the translation was "I eat the dog", because, to me "Itheann" and "Ithim" sound the same. Is there any difference in pronunciation between these two words?
“He eats a dog” would be Itheann sé madra.
Yes, there’s a difference in pronunciation; itheann ends with a broad N sound, and ithim ends with a slender M sound.
I guess I'm still used to the English sentence structure, because I definitely though that said "eat the dog"... So Irish structure is verb, subject? I always get confused with the sentence structure...
Yes. This is a really important point. Irish is even called a VSO language, "VSO" meaning Verb-Subject-Object: Buy we the car Saves the boy the money Eats the dog the steak Just channel your inner Yoda.
"The dog eats" is marked correct but "The dog is eating" is marked incorrect. Is it supposed to be like that, or is it an error?
Just like English, Irish makes a distinction between "eats" and "is eating." The present tense in German or French doesn't make that distinction, but here you have on the one hand "Itheann an madra" for "The dog eats", and on the other "Tá an madra ag ithe" to emphasize that the action is taking place at the same time as the speaking of the sentence: "The dog is eating." I see you're also doing Dutch: does that language make the distinction?
As a Dutch person, no. There is no direct distinction between the two. But there are many ways to make it clear, of course.
But this is Irish from English, and in both of those languages, there is a distinction.
I did, too. As a check, I asked my son, who would not know what I found confusing, what he thought the last sound of the first word in the audio was and he was sure it was 'm,' not 'n.'
To be honest it's the accent that it is spoken in. I am Irish and I have to strain to hear the M/N sound especially when it comes to Itheann agus itheim and a few other to be fair. They sound the same at first but as you get used to the sound difference you will recognise it very easy as you become acute to the way it is said. It happens a lot but you'll get there mo chara..