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  5. "Tá an fear beag dátheangach."

" an fear beag dátheangach."

Translation:The small man is bilingual.

September 15, 2014



Haha, I wrote "the man is a little bilingual". I see why that's wrong, but it did make me chuckle.


Haha I put that too. Would that actually be "Tá an fear beagan dátheangach"?


I think that would actually be: Is é an fear a dhátheangach beag. The adjective should follow the word that it's describing, so if he is a little bilingual, then the Irish translation should be: bilingual little. ...I think.


I think that most English speakers would interpret "He is a little bilingual" as "he is a little bit bilingual" - in other words, "bilingual" is an adjective, and you would not use the copula to say that, - Tá an fear beagán dátheangach is OK.

If you wanted to interpret "bilingual" as a noun, and use "little" as an adjective ("small") to describe the bilngual's stature, then you probably wouldn't use dátheangach in the first place, because dátheangach is an adjectival form, and dátheangeolaí might be a better choice, but if you did use dátheangach as a noun, then you would say Is dátheangach beag é an fear.


Why doesn't dátheangach respect the caol le caol, leathann le leathann rule? Compound nouns don't do that?


You're right, compound words and prefixes don't obey that rule.


Isn't bilingual a permanent state? If it is, shouldn't it be "is" rather than "tá"?


The distinction between is and isn't really about permanent versus temporary. Think of it as nouns/pronouns versus adjectives:

  • Tá sé dátheangach He is bilingual
  • Is fear dátheangach é He is a bilingual man (ie he is a man, who is bilingual)


Go raibh maith agat! I was grappling with this. It's always a case of getting caught on little things like this and getting discouraged, then learning it one way or another, and getting back into it with a vengeance. My future as a linguist doesn't seem that paper-thin, looking at how much I enjoy this. :D


Through Duo I learned it like you said, but what about the sentence "Is fíor é"? There the predicative is also just an adjective, but Duo uses "is" instead of "tá". I also remember learning from the book "Teach Yourself Irish" that nationalities are stated with "is", so is it impossible to say "Is dátheangach an fear beag é", and if, is there a reason why?

[deactivated user]

    You could say Is duine dátheangach é an fear beag. Here is what Gearrchúrsa Gramadaí says about the copula:

    Ceanglaíonn an chopail is dhá fhocal nó dhá abairtín dá chéile chun a thaispeáint gurb ionann iad. Tugann an chéad chuid den abairt (an fhaisnéis) eolas faoin dara cuid di (an t-ainmní).


    The fíor in Is fíor é isn't an adjective, it's a noun. (literally, "it is a truth").

    The fíor in Is scéal fíor é is an adjective.


    Not necessary. If you don't practice a language, you'll lose it. But, in this case, it's not being used in that sense. If you wanted to say "He's a bilingual man," you would use is.


    I agree with this, it sounds more irish to say Is fear beag dátheangach é. he is a small bilingual man. (if you ever would say this)


    What would multilinguals be?

    [deactivated user]

      The prefix for 'multi' is il- which lenites except before d, s, t. So that would give il-teangach.


      But of course; leprechauns speak their own language amongst themselves.


      Profoundly astonished and disappointed that "the wee man..." wasn't accepable


      Why isn't it "the small bilingual man"?


      Well... it could maybe be the philosophical observation: "The small bilingual man is."


      and if you said Tá an fear datheangach beag. does it mean "The bilingual man is small" ?


      yes, it can be understood that way - it can also be understood as "the man is bilingual and small".


      I tried "The small guy is bilingual." It didn't work. I didn't expect it to. It was a nice idea while it lasted though. But is there an actual Irish word for "guy" anyway?

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