"I eat before the crab."
Translation:Ithim roimh an bportán.
I have no clue as to the meaning of an sentence like "I eat before the crab".
To me it feels like: - "I'm sitting in front of the crab and I eat" which to me makes no sense at all because I estimate that the crab is totally uninterrested in what I'm having for lunch. - It could also mean that I eat before the crab starts to eat which makes even less sense.
- A sentence like "I eat before the dog" would make a lot of sense, even though then I feel for the dog and I can see its begging eyes before me. "ithim roimh an bmadra"???
Is this a typical Gaelic expression? Is this a grammatical error? Can anybody explain this to me?
"portán" is used because it has been used in other exercises, so it is vocabulary that people recognize, and it starts with a letter that can be eclipsed (this exercise demonstrates that "roimh" causes eclipsis). "Madra" can't be eclipsed, so it would be a poor example to use in this case.
"before the boy" and "before the girl" are used in other versions of this exercise.
It makes perfect sense - grammatically.
Duolingo isn't a phrasebook that you memorize and trot out when you need a particular phrase that you have memorized. Duolingo is teaching you the building blocks that you need to build your own sentences. Sometimes "nonsense phrases" will play a part in the process.
Not really - while it is technically possible to interpret "I eat before the crab" as a statement of physical position" (I am before/in front of the crab as I eat), it would be an unusual interpretation - why wouldn't you just say "I eat in front of the crab"?
The more obvious interpretation is temporal (I eat before the crab eats) and requires roimh, BUT you would have to say ithim sula n-itheann an portán if you included verb describing the crab's acttion