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  5. "Tá an cat os comhair an fhir…

" an cat os comhair an fhir."

Translation:The cat is in front of the man.

October 3, 2014


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How does this compare with "Tá an cat roimh an fear" meaning-wise?


One of the meanings of roimh is “in front of”, so they could have (but wouldn’t necessarily have) the same meaning.


Seeing those two words in juxtaposition sent me to my dictionary for kitty-corner, (Other versions: catty-corner or cater-corner, which I've never heard), my idiolect's word for diagonally opposite (schräg gegenüber i nGearmáinis). I found nothing. Is there a way in Irish to express that spatial relationship?


Yes: “cater-corner to/from X” is fiarthrasna ó X. Interestingly enough, the “cater” in “cater-corner” is cognate to Old Irish cittach (“left-handed”, “awkward”).


Go raibh maith agat. "Cittach" and "ciotach"/"ciotóg" sound much more like "kitty-corner" than "cater-corner," don't they?


Certainly citt- and ciot- sound more like “kit-” than “cat-” does, but “cater” was a verb (meaning “to cut diagonally” — unrelated to modern “catering”) that goes back at least to Elizabethan times.


No, no, I understand that the Irish and the English words have distinct origins. I just think it's odd/cool that the words are somewhat similar.


We say cattycorner here, that's really interesting


What is a cattycorner


Diagonally across, like from SE to NW.


Hearing her say "an fhir" in this lesson reminded me...

Are there many words, where when they are lenited (or I guess, eclipsed), they sound the same? It's ok when you can see the word written, but if you're just basing it on what you can hear... I can just see scope for potential misunderstandings!


The eclipsis sounds are distinct from each other, so if there’s any aural confusion to be found, it’d come from lenition. After browsing for nouns for a few minutes in my pocket dictionary, I found sean (“ancestor”) and teann (“strength”), for which their respective lenited forms shean and theann could be homophones.


So, possible, but probably not too commonly—and context should be sufficient... Go raibh maith agat:-)


Would this be true for all dialects? Curious because I've been hearing words that end double-n, like peann, with an "ow" sound (like "ouch").


No, that particular example would not hold everywhere — as you’d noted, the “ow” sound of peann can be heard in Munster dialects.


In 'Ulster English' you'd hear the word 'fornenst' to mean opposite/in front of. 'The cat is fornenst the man'. Is this word used anywhere else?


I never knew how to spell it before now and I have not heard it in years.


The OED has its headword as “fornent”, but includes “fornenst” as an alternate spelling; it came from “fore” + “anent”. It notes the word as being used in Scotland and northern England.


I'm a bit confused, why is man "fhir". I thought genitive was only applicable in possessive cases.


The genitive case really means "of X". Like French, Spanish, and nearly every other non-Germanic language, Irish expresses possession as "cat of my son", rather than "my son's cat" - cat mo mhic, le chat de mon fils, el gato de mi hijo etc. It's the same here, with "in front of the man". Possession only works like in English with pronouns.


I can't understand the rules for the genitive in Irish. Why, when the sentence was - the library's money - was the plural "na" used but not in this case for " the man"? Is there a rule that someone could explain, please?


Getting a real grammar book is key to surviving Duolingo! Here's the short version of how to say 'the':

Nom/Acc Case: an for singular, na for plural

Genitive Case: an for masculine singular, na for feminine singular, na for plural

Here's a link that may be helpful: http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/artikel.htm Look at only the first two yellow boxes. It'll take you a bit to figure out their system, but the site is quite reliable.

Have fun learning Irish!


Thank you Cait48


Why is it still "an fhir" in this case and not "na"?


'Os comhair' is a compound (multi-word) preposition, and you have to use the genitive case after compound prepositions. 'Na fir' is nominative plural; 'an fhir' is genitive singular. You can look nouns up in the grammar section of teanglann.ie to see their declension: https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/gram/fear I hope that helps.


Roimh and is comhair difference????


Roimh can mean “before” in either its spatial meaning (e.g. “in front of”) or its temporal meaning (e.g. “earlier than”), and its noun phrase is dative; os comhair can mean “in front of” or “opposite”, and its noun phrase is genitive.


"Tá an cat roimh an bhfear" would mean pretty much the same thing, right?


It could. (Roimh has more than one meaning.)


Is the r in Irish pronounced the same as the d in English?


No. The slender "r" is a sound that many English speakers are unfamiliar with, so they sometimes (incorrectly) assign it a value of "d".


So "THERE IS a cat opposite the man" doesn't work?


No, because it is "an cat" which is "THE cat".


Why is "The cat is opposite of the man" incorrect?


It's not a grammatically correct sentence in English.


The cat is across from the man is correct in english??? What the hell is that? The exercise told me it is rhe right answer...


Where is the speaker from?


It sounded to me like the speaker said "leat" not "an fhir", i replayed it many times, knowing that couldn't be it but i couldn't figure it out, is this one of those ones where the audio is off or am i just really far off on how "an fhir" should sound?


It's an fhir. While the slender r can be difficult to characterize, because it's not a sound that is used in English, the n in an is pretty clear, an the i in fhir does not sound like the ea in leat at all.


why "ta sicin sa cheapaire" demands "THERE IS chicken in the sandwich" but "ta an cat os comhair an fhir" marks "THERE IS the cat in front of the man" as incorrect.

Is there any irish nuances?


That's an issue of English usage, not Irish. It is more natural in English to say "There is chicken is the sandwich" than to say "Chicken is in the sandwich". When the subject has a definite article, English changes, so you have to say "The chicken is in the sandwich".


Duolingo is using "os comhair" to mean "in front of" and "opposite". How can you tell the difference?


Two people or buildings or things that are facing each other are "in front of" each other, and are also on opposite sides of the space separating them, so they are opposite each other and across from each other and in front of each other all at the same time.

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