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  5. "An itear iasc i gCorcaigh?"

"An itear iasc i gCorcaigh?"

Translation:Is fish eaten in Cork?

September 26, 2014



I know it technically doesn't properly translate this, but I feel that in English the impersonal "they" would be used in a lot of these passive sentences, like, "Do they eat fish in Cork?" I figure that would probably have a different translation in Irish, but I was wondering if this was acceptable.


That’s a closer translation than the passive voice is; “Does one eat fish in Cork?” would be the closest translation. The autonomous form of the Irish verb was historically passive, but is now impersonal active.


So how is the passive expressed nowadays? I thought the briathar saor could have either of the uses you mention. Is the construction 'buailtear an fear ag an mbus' not correct? Do I have to say 'tá an fear buailte ag an mbus'? It doesn't seem as elegant.


Only one of those sentences means something, the second one. The translation being:

The man has been beaten by the bus.


Go raibh maith agat. Ó Dónaill's first meaning for 'buail' is 'hit', and he even gives the example 'bhuail gluaisteán é' ('a car hit him'). http://breis.focloir.ie/en/fgb/buail So I don't think your English translation is very idiomatic: the obvious meaning is 'the man has been hit by the bus'.

So how do I say 'the man is hit' in the present tense, if not by 'buailtear an fear'?


Buailte is the verbal adjective. Although Buail means both hit and beat, the verbal adjective state only conveys "beaten" in native works.

Bhuail bus an fear = A bus hit the man

is fine, but:


is in native works I have read, only "beaten up" as a state. So it is not obvious to me that "hit by the bus" is the meaning.


I'm curious too. I note than in the NEID (s.v. 'car') the passive construction 'He was hit by a stolen car' is rendered 'bhuail carr goidte é' . Maybe there is no idiomatic way to use the passive here?

[deactivated user]

    @KittDunne The briathar saor is used when:

    • the agent carrying out the action is not known -- goideadh an t-airgead = the money was stolen
    • one does not wish to mention the agent -- mairíodh duine aréir = a person was killed last night

    To include the agent means the briathar is no longer saor.

    "A man was knocked down by a car". Here the agent (car) is mentioned so it is not appropriate to use the briathar saor. Hence

    • Leagadh fear ag gluaisteán is incorrect but
    • Leag gluaisteán fear is correct.

    Source: Cruinneas by Antain Mac Lochlainn


    Thank you for that elucidation!

    [deactivated user]

      Here "iasc" is singular but it stands for fish collectively so I wonder should the translation be "Are fish eaten in Cork"?

      Take "An gcrúitear bó i gCorcaigh". Would you not translate this as "Are cows milked in Cork" rather than "Is a cow milked in Cork" in order to better convey the meaning of the Irish sentence?


      No, I would translate your second example as 'a cow is milked in Cork', which I take it is the meaning of the sentence. If cows were meant, surely the plural, 'ba', would have been used?

      As for the 'iasc', there is no reason to translate it as a plural, since the singular 'fish' is used as a mass noun in English as well. I do not think your suggested translation should be accepted, because the corresponding Irish sentence would use the plural 'éisc'.

      [deactivated user]

        > I would translate your second example as 'a cow is milked in Cork'

        It is a question so it is 'Is a cow milked in Cork?'.

        'An itear iasc i gCorcaigh?' is asking if people eat the flesh of fish in Cork. The Irish is using the singular but it doesn't intend it to be taken literally as a single fish. Similarly 'An gcrúitear bó i gCorcaigh?' is asking if dairying is practised in Cork.

        So I was wondering if it is a feature of Irish that it sometimes uses the singular to imply the collective and if so then cognizance of this ought to be taken when doing a translation?


        Quite right. I didn't read it properly, but 'An gcrúitear bó i gCorcaigh?' is indeed a question: 'Is a cow milked in Cork?' However, I am not sure that it carries the wider meaning 'Is dairying practised in Cork?' as you suggest.

        The sentence 'Is fish eaten in Cork?' uses a singular mass noun to refer to an unspecified amount of flesh from an unspecified number of fish(es). I take it that the Irish usage is similar, i.e. that 'iasc', like 'fish', can function as both a mass noun and a count noun.

        'Cow' can function only as a count noun in English – one cannot say, for instance, 'Do you eat cow?' to mean 'Do you eat beef?' (except perhaps for deliberate comic effect). As far as I can tell, 'bó' functions similarly (http://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/b%C3%B3).

        [deactivated user]


          I put is the fish eaten in Cork? ( because of the an) and don't really know why it is wrong!


          If an comes before a verb form (as itear is), it is used to note that it is a question. In this case, it's not the definite article.


          thank you I understand now


          The "an" in this sentence is really a form of the verb "ta", so really it is the verb "is" in English. So "is a fish eaten in Cork?" is more correct.


          That's not correct. The an in this question is a particle indicating it's a question. It has nothing to do with (which is a form of!)


          Ok! Sorry for the above confusion and thanks for correcting me!


          Itear! Agus prataí ina gcraiceann!


          Out of curiosity, is this a cliche in Ireland used similarly to how "does a bear....poop....in the woods" is in the (not so) US or just a sentence DuoLingo threw together?


          It's not a cliché, it's just a sentence.


          Please use the mechanism to let them know “my answer should have been accepted” when they mark you wrong for translating this as “do they eat fish in cork.”


          Please ignore calls from people who can't tell the difference between an obvious question (An itear iasc i gCorcaigh?) and a statement ("they eat fish in cork").

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