.Cén áit= .Cén= What .áit= Place .Cèn áit=What place ."What place?" is like "Where?" ♡(:
Looks like there is a mistake in the tips for this topic, imho, and i don't know where to report of it. An oibríonn tú sa chathair? Oibríonn (sí) . Something here is wrong; i think it's tu in place of si, but i'm not an expert.
"Áit" sounds like the German word "Ort," and they both mean "place." Are they related somehow?
Without checking, it seems unlikely. I wouldn't read too much into the simularity of single-syllable words.
The long answer:
McBain's etymological dictionary of the Gaelic language, which is for Scots Gaelic but also good for Irish, says
Scots Gaelic ŕite, a place; Irish and Early Irish áit. Possibly from Celtic [pō-d-ti], [*panti]? The root is [pō-d], [ped], as in Latin oppidum "village", Greek. pédon, ground, Sanskrit padám, "place".
(It's quite normal for the letter p to disappear in the development of Indo European to Irish. Hence Latin pater, German Vater, English "father"—all with p or a modified version of it—as compared to Irish athair)
Interestingly, he then adds: "Stokes has referred [áit] to the root that appears in German Ort, place, Norse oddr, Old English ord, point, Proto-Germanic uzd-, Indo-European uzdh-; but this in Gaelic would give ud or od.
So Stokes agrees with your idea, but McBain doesn't. But this text is 100 years old.
The 2003 Handbook of Germanic Etymology by Orel says (under fetan) that the old Indo-European word represented by IE. pedó and Hittite pedan, both meaning place (the same as mentioned above), is represented in Germanic languages by Old Norse fet "a step, pace" and also in Old Irish by ed "period". This word-family is also related to the one that gives the various "foot" words (though not the Irish word for foot, cos).
That just leaves the question of Ort: Witkionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ort) says it's from Proto-Germanic *uzdaz (“point”), from Proto-Indo-European *wes- (“to stick, prick, pierce, sting”) + Proto-Indo-European *dʰe- (“to set, place”).
So the short version of the long answer: Irish áit is related to "foot" (think "foot" with the f missing), while German Ort is from a different root, *uzdaz "point", which does not yield any familiar words in English.
Why can't I use just "cá" to indicate the irish translation of "where," as it shows up in the Tips & Notes?
I have the same question. I thought 'cá' means 'where'? and 'cá hait' means 'what place.' Granted, I wondered what the difference between them was, but I don't understand why 'cá' is not accepted as 'where'.
No idea. áit is "place" so I translated it as "where place?" which is nonsenical, so I put the English equivalent of "Where at?" and of course that's not right.
You are looking at the hint for each word, but if you look at the top together the two words mean "where?" but the first word by itself means "what" or "which" and the second word by itself means "place". "What place?" does mean "Where?"
Cá áit? is not nonsensical. It's an Irish phrase that translates to "where?". Expressions in Irish are not judged sensible or nonsensical by translating them literally into English and saying if that makes sense or not!
Yep, I'm not sure why they ignore so many of the phrases that they would be very properly translated into. "Proper" English or not. "Where at?" is absolutely common through most of the English-speaking world. We hold to our Germanic roots, no matter how much the "scholars" try to force Latin rules onto our language.
I thought "cá bhfuil" was where. Started getting really confused, found this thread here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6187816/C%C3%A1-bhfuil-s%C3%AD
Apparently "cá" is a contraction for "cén áit", and if you just wanna say "where" without specifying, you can ask "cén áit?"
(In case anyone has the same question.)
Regional dialects can result in widely different pronunciations. This sounds fine, albeit difficult to me.