"He is a good man."
Translation:Fear maith is ea é.
I thought "Is ea" meant "it is," so why is there also an "é" here? I suck at Irish, so I'm sure this is incorrect, but it seems like "Fear maith is ea é" says "He it is a good man."
I could be completely wrong, but I think "Fear maith is ea é" translates more literally to "A good man, he is it". Which would translate more naturally to "He is a good man".
It translates to the meaning (i.e. not literally as there is little benefit doing a literal translation here):
He is a GOOD MAN (imagine yourself stressing the 'good man' as you say it).
Again going for implied rather than literal meaning:
Is fear maith é - he is a good man
Is maith an fear é - he is a GOOD man
Fear maith is ea é - he is a GOOD MAN
As for how to translate "he is a good MAN" (possibly in reply to someone incorrectly guessing the person's gender and asking "is she a good woman?"), I'd have a stab at:
Is fear an duine maith (sin)
Fear is ea an duine maith (sin)
with the second being stronger. I'm certain that someone will offer a better alternative if the last two are are non-ideal.
very helpful, thanks
ea / eadh is the neuter pronoun. It is seldom used in Irish outside these type of sentences.
The purpose for it, in this sentence, is because the subject of a sentence must never directly follow a form of the copula. The grammar of the sentence is as follows:
Fear (noun, predicate in sentence)
maith (adjective, modifying the predicate fear)
is (copula, linking the subject to the predicate - fear maith)
ea (neuter pronoun, refers back to the predicate)
é (masculine pronoun, the subject of the sentence)
Predicate - Copula - Predicate (pronoun) - Subject
The sentence therefore means, literally: "a good man is it he"
So is ea does mean "it is" in a way, but only in a way like "him is" or "her is" - NOT "he is" or "she is". The subject of sentences like this start after the ea.
P.S. I doubt you "suck at Irish" - the grammar is very different to most other (i.e. unrelated) European languages, especially this copula stuff. Everyone will find it tough to start with - I recently started trying a related language on here (Welsh) and I find it challenging - the words seem so unfamiliar to me. Irish is like riding a bike or driving a car. It is difficult to start with, resulting in feelings of failure and pessimism about every making progress. But - guess what..? Like riding a bike or driving a car, it becomes second nature with time. DL is not the best Irish course in the world by any means but don't give up! It can give you a foundation to build on and access to the Irish mindset as well as some of the oldest literature in Europe.
The verbs tá and is have different uses in Irish, and there is a lot more about them coming your way. Worth getting a good grammar book, but broadly tá goes with adjectives to describe things and is with nouns and pronouns to identify, categorise and classify people and things.
"I am cold" is describing a transient feature or experience. "It is cold" is describing a transient feature of the weather. Both use tá. Tá mé fuar, ta sé fuar.
"I am a man" = a permanent feature, an identifying characteristic. "I am a cold man" = a permanent characteristic, I am taciturn, unemotional, unresponsive - in a word, cold. Both use is. Is fear mé Is fear fuar mé Duine fuarchúiseach is ea é (He is a cold, unresponsive person).
1) You should use the copula to translate that sentence
2) If you were to use tá sé (which would be wrong), you should not split the words to form a predicate sandwich in the way you suggest
3) If you were to use those words, there should be fadaí on their vowels
No - when using a noun (fear) to describe a noun or pronoun (é), you use the copula is, not the verb bí (tá in the present tense).
I thought "Is fear mhaith é" was a correct although less powerful way of saying this? Went with it on a multiple choice one.
It wouldn't be lenited. Is fear maith é is a way to say this, yes. It's like say "He is a good man" versus "He is a good man in English"
I also had that marked wrong -- not because that version is incorrect, but because there are TWO correct versions, and I only chose one of them. Perhaps this was your case, also?
Generally the verb always stands first in its clause. The Irish copula isn't really a verb and, even if you want to think of it as a verb, it can have strange syntax.
I've read somewhere in this skill's discussion section that is is used to "categorize" things instead of describing them.
If so, then why is is used here, instead of tá?
"He is a man" - "he" is in the category or classification "man".
The adjective maith/"good" is just decoration, and doesn't change the fact that this is a copula.
Depending on what you mean by "describe", the copula can do both things.
is fear é - it is "a man" (or "he is a man" but the subject of this sentence is 'é')
is fear maith é - it is "a good man"
is maith an fear é - it is a "good" man
N.B. DL doesn't accept the last form as an answer for some reason. Also, with the change in word order, the subject of this sentence is now 'an fear (a is) é' - the subject is never allowed to follow the copula directly.
It can also identify things:
is é an fear féna rabhas ag caint - He is the man about whom I was talking
and many other things.
Regarding tá and "describing" people: this, generally, describes people in a transient state:
tá sé fuar - he is cold (but he could warm up sitting by the fire) - this also means "'it' is cold" but, again, 'it' can warm up when the sun comes out.
tá an t-ocras air - he is hungry (but he won't be after eating something)
tá sé ina luí ar an leabaidh - he is lying on the bed (but could always get up)
You can have situations where, depending on the dialect, either is or tá can be used:
is múinteoir é / tá sé ina mhúinteoir - he is a teacher.
Use of is for professions is becoming an anachronism as society changes and people no longer tend to have "jobs for life". That said, people's temperament can change so a good man is fear maith é could turn into an evil man is fear olc é over time.
When to use the correct structure will come with time. I'm not a native speaker but I read widely and my understanding of these things is always improving. That will be true for you too. Keep it up and don't let SatharnPHL's arrogant and condescending posts get you down!
N.B. I used some dialectal forms in my post. I will put what I believe to be the standard form for them here - féna = faoina, rabhas = raibh mé, leabaidh = leaba
Just to be clear: I didn't mean to imply that 'a good/evil man' could be translated as is fear maith/olc é, I was merely showing fear maith/olc being used with the copula.
Both are correct. The latter emphasises that it is "a good man", the former merely states it.
This question appears to refuse acceptable answers, given that there are a variety of ways this could be translated.
e.g. is maith an fear é (emphasis on him being good)