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  5. "Fear maith is ea é."

"Fear maith is ea é."

Translation:He is a good man.

October 1, 2014



How is this in the section on question words? The tips page should have had way more information in it. I'm having to get all my understanding off of the discussion pages, so thanks to all of you who know what you're talking about for sharing with the rest of us.


As I understand it, ea is an old neuter pronoun (it). We see it in * Is ea / 'S ea and ní hea Roughly: "That's it" and "That's not it". It is used with copular constructions as a fronting tool, to add stress. So Is fear maith é is the baseline, but to stress the subject you could have Fear maith is ea é* (He is a GOOD MAN).

Compare Is duine deas é He is a nice PERSON

Is deas an duine é He is a NICE person

Duine deas is ea é He is a NICE PERSON (It's a NICE PERSON that he is)

Is maith an duine é It's a GOOD man (that) he is

If I've got this wrong, I'm sure someone will help us all by jumping on it.


What is "ea"? And why is "é" not "sé"?


ea is a gender neutral pronoun.

Why would it be ? It's not the subject of an active verb.


So ea is 'it'. And / é is 'he' / 'him'. Making the é stand for both male and gender neutral pronouns has felt inadequate all along.


The use of ea is quite restricted - it is only used with the copula, and it can be used along with é, or é can be used on it's own.

é still means "it", for example is bosca mór é or bosca mór is ea é - "it' a big box".


Is this equivalent to "Is fear maith é"? I don't really understand the structure of this sentence (regarding the word order and the presence of 'ea' together with 'é'), so I'd appreciate if someone could explain it.


Use of the copula can be complex; this page provides thorough explanations. The structure of the sentence above puts the emphasis on fear maith, in the same way that the tone of voice in “He is a good man.” would in English — that is, he is a good man, rather than whatever other description of him is being considered.


Go raibh maith agat! This is very useful information.


Is it correct to picture the sentence as "good man that he is"?


A more literal meaning might be “It’s a good man, he”.


I can't follow the link in the app, but if you respond to this, I'll get an email, which will link me to the webpage for this discussion, and from that I'll be able to follow the link.

So, apologies for the convoluted process, but I hope you'll respond because right now this exercise makes no sense to me.


Here’s a response. Are you able to use it to follow that link above?


Same can't hit the link


Does this directly translate as "Good man is it he"? If so, could you leave out the ea (fear maith is é), which would translate directly as "Good man is he"?


Its literal translation is "Man good is it he". If you want to get your mind around this literal translation you will have to get your head around the Coupla. The coupla lets you shift words around for emphasis. Your example is wrong because with "ea" dropped you need to remove emphasis and right shift "Is fear maith é", as you left shift and move the "is" over you must add the ea in, Fear maith is é, is just wrong. In one of the dialects (Munster) people often default to this way of saying it, and its so common you could argue that the emphasis might be lost, however for the other two dialects this movement is purely for emphasis "A Good man, he is" vs "He is a good man", to practice just try both forms, when you learn a new word "Doctor", do "Is dochtúir é", "Dochtúir is ea é", but never ever (dochtúir is é), and just reinforce it over and over with new words and new examples till its second nature.


Why is "It is a good man" not allowed?


Because men are he's and not it's in most scenarios, I would imagine.


A good man he is


i replied with this, but it was not accepted


How is this different from "maith an fear" in terms of how it's used? As in, when would you say one versus when you'd say the other? Thx.


I can say Maith an fear! to a person's face as a mark of approval or congratulations - "Good man!".

Fear maith is ea é is purely a description of a 3rd party - "He's a good man".


Go raibh maith agat. That was the explanation I was looking for.


I was wondering, does it have to be in the vocative case?


No, Maith an fear! doesn't have to be, and can't be, in the vocative case. If I said "Good man, Paul!", then the vocative case would come into play for "Paul" - Maith an fear, a Phóil!


So, when does fear take the vocative case?


According to wikipedia:

The vocative case is a grammatical case which is used for a noun that identifies a person (animal, object, etc.) being addressed,

in English, the "man" in "My good man" is in the vocative, but the "man" in "Good man!" isn't, because "Good man!" isn't a form of address.

Fear is in the vocative when it is used as a form of address, like "Sir" or "Mister" might be in English ("Hey Mister, is this yours?" - A fhear, an leatsa é seo?).


I wish we could click on links in the app


How about" Good man he is"


How about "Man good is he"?

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