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  5. "Céard atá ar siúl?"

"Céard atá ar siúl?"

Translation:What is going on?

October 18, 2014



this is how irish grammar makes me feel


and spelling, and pronunciation, and speaking...


There's a system to the pronunciation. It actually makes more sense than English spelling once you learn the rules. Search for Karen reshkin's video on YouTube. She has a prinout too.


You are correct. Here is the link to Karen's YouTube video:



This video completely changed my ability to read Irish for the better. I'd found it before this post, but it should be added as mandatory after the third lesson or so as you'll never understand why bhfúil is pronounced wil without it.


Yeah but it is in english !!!


Why do they use the word for walk in this sentence? I find this a bit confusing.


It's an idiomatic phrase. The literal one is "What is it that is on walking"


You're my hero! You answer all my questions :) Thanks.


Yes, idiomatic. Things ar not always completely literal. Think how many idiomatic expressions there ar in English. Meanwhile, in Welsh there is tŷ bach, literally 'small house' but taken to mean 'toilet'. And, perhaps mor nearly parallel to this Irish example; in Chinese, zǒu literally means 'to walk' but can be taken to mean 'to go' or 'to leav'. Chinese also has pá shān, literally meaning 'mountain climbing' but is taken to mean 'hiking'.


since it is saying "on walking" would it not work to say "on going" or the verb form of "théa?"


No. It's just the idiom that uses "walking", and it wouldn't mean the same with a different verb.


English has/had a similar idiom "afoot"? You will still occasionally come across the phrase "something was afoot", and according to IMDB, there was even a short film made in 1966 entitled "What's Afoot?" (about the British carpet industry!)


The answer being "twelve inches".


Ouch. Fan of dad jokes I see.


Afoot is a brilliant way to let it sink in.


Old Norse has the same dual meaning of walking and going (gengr). I imagine several modern Germanic tongues still do. Doppleganger comes to mind.


Yes. In modern German, "gehen" means both go and walk, with the past participle "gegangen" and noun "gang," which survives in English in "gangway." If something is "im gang," it's in progress, and of course "Wie geht's" translates as "How are you" but is literally "How goes it?"


In Portuguese, there is the expression "em andamento", which means "in progress". Its underlying meaning is walking.


In English you use "go". I don't find it that different


when do you use ta' and when do you use ata'


atá is used with the direct relative clause.


And in questions, I guess?


Generally you use a relative clause in questions. Whether it's a direct relative clause or an indirect one, which uses bhfuil, depends on the question itself.


This makes me feel a little confused. Could you please clarify what direct and indirect relative clause are? Sorry, I usually don't have problems with grammar, but I'm not a native English-speaker so I may be unfamiliar with the terminology, and the lack of examples doesn't help me much...


They're just different types of relative clauses. Indirect ones generally involve a pronoun, where as direct ones don't. Sorry; I'm not good at explaining these things.


I took it as meaning something like... What's afoot? Which is kind of an old fashioned way of asking... What's going on/happening?


Clearly "what is afoot?" Is the best translation


Agus deir mé.... Heeyyyy hey hey heyyyy hey hey heyyyy... Céard atá ar súil?!


Funny how native English speakers have hard time with the idiomatic meaning of 'to go' here - to me this is very similar to the "going on" in English? It could literally mean walking, but it has been grammar-ified into "sth is happening". Of all the weird idioms, this one is actually quite transparent to me (German)


The same thing in Norwegian: "Hva foregår?" = "What is going forth?"


Because "walk" in english means nothing but the action of walking. In French "walk" means go/walk/work etc. Modern english broke all other meanings so its a struggle for them to link it to "going".


ce'ard is a rough contraction of ce' +rud, what thing


The way she says it makes me think "Tá an madra i dtrioblóid".


Just as a side note - I find it interesting that the metaphor of going/walking plus a preposition is common for an unknown activity in several languages - English, Irish, German ("Was geht da vor" literally "what is going ahead there") French? ("Qu'est-ce qui se passe" my French is not a lot better than my Irish currently, but it looks to me there is "passer" = "pass, go by" in there somehow)... Maybe a generalization from "who goes there" ?


In Hindi too - "kya chal raha hai?" What is going on? Chal also means to walk.


Is this used as a greeting kind of like 'how's it going', or is it just literal, as in you see a police car down the street and you ask the person next to you 'what's going on'?


Tá níos mó béarla ar siúl ná Gaeilge de réir már a fheacaim ..


What does "atá" mean and when do you use it? Sorry I'm just really struggling with Irish. Go raibh maith agat!


atá is a combination of the relative particle and the verb .

"what is it that is going on?"


So a is what and tá is is?


No. cad or céard is "what".


So I should just accept that atá goes with Céard?


So then when do I use it? With like a bí copula type situation?


"Cad" pronounced cod, is another word for what


So my question would be is this how people today actually say "What is going on?" in Irish. I mean is is used a lot? Or is there another way of saying "What is going on?" that is used more because "What is afoot?" isn't exactly used in English anymore and I wondered if it was the same for Irish.


Yes, Cad/Céard atá ar siúl? is exactly how people say "what's happening?" or "what's going on?" today. It's not the only way to say that, but it is a common and current usage.

The only connection with "afoot" is that you use your feet to siúl, indicating that, even in English, the concept of using the word siúl for this idiom isn't all that strange.


Cad atá ag tharla, what is happening? Cad a tharla, what happened? Cad atá ar tharla, what is expected to happen?


tharla is the past tense of the verb tarlaigh. The Verbal Noun is tarlú, so it is cad ata ag tarlú? - "what is happening?".

I don't quite know what to make of "Cad atá ar tharla?", but it isn't "what is expected to happen?".


Céard atá ar siúl, indeed.


I had "what's happening" marked as incorrect. I think this is a valid translation.


I thought I learned somewhere that a film in the cinema is also ag síul - so is "what is playing?" also correct?


I wouldn't translate cad atá ar siúl? as "what's playing?", I'd be more inclined to translate it as "What's on?" in that context, but going in the other direction, from English to Irish, you could translate "What's playing?" into Cad atá ar siúl?.


So essentially you are saying that, from an Irish perspective, English using the word "playing" for this is weird?

Off-topic anecdotal note; in my native language (Dutch) we also use that word for films. In fact, the word for a full length film is "speelfilm" which literally translates to "playing-film".


why ar siúl and not ag siúl?


ag siúl means "walking".


I don't believe I have come across ar siúl before this question, but it wasn't marked as new content. Was quite confusing for awhile whilst trying to remember it.


Same here. I just read the discussion when this happens, and more often than not, someone explained it's an idiom, and thus, we just need to know (we did learn ar and siúl separately, just not together as an expression). I like this way of learning on duolingo to be honest :)


Is "what goes on" just "not so good" english or really wrong? (It's in the lyrics of a Beatles song, for instance - though does not make it necessarily good english... and it's actually "what goes on in your mind" there)


"What goes on" uses the habitual present, "what is going on" uses the progressive present. In both English and Irish these are two different things, and they are not generally interchangeable.

"I wonder what goes on in there?" suggests that there are things happening "in there" on a regular basis, "I wonder what is going on in there" refers to the current activity happening "in there".


Could someone chime in on when to use cad and when céard?


+ rud -> céard
céard is used in Connacht Irish instead of cad, so use céard when you are studying Connacht Irish, but it's sufficiently well known that speakers of all dialects understand it. Both forms can be used.


Is there a difference between céard and cad? And why is it sometimes cad atá and sometime cad a?


The difference between cad and céard is primarily dialect.

The a in atá is the relative particle. With verbs other than , it is separate from the verb. The difference between cad atá ...? and cad a deir ...? or cad a roghnaíonn ....? is the verb in the sentence.


Thank you for the link to Karens video.


In Scottish Gaelic we'd say "Dè tha dol?" - "what's going?" - for this. So "Ceard atá ar siúl?" seems a bit formal. The usual answer is "Chan eil càil" - nothing at all!


I had noticed that this expression appears to have a literal meaning very close to the now admittedly fairly uncommon though perfectly correct English expression "What is afoot?", which means "What is going on"? Both the Irish and English use a similar metaphor. Unsurprisingly, the program didn't know it.


siúl is not the Irish for "foot", so it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that ar siúl is "very close" to "afoot", but, as has been pointed out already a number of times, you do use your feet for walking.

But the reason that Duolingo doesn't (and shouldn't) accept "what's afoot?" as a translation is that just isn't a common idiom in English any more, and the purpose of Duolingo isn't simply to test your comprehension of Irish, it's also to teach you how to translate things that you do say in English into Irish, and people do say "What's going on?". ar siúl is also used to say things like An obair atá ar ar siúl - "the work in progress"/"the work that is going on", and Tá tú ar siúl arís! - "You're at it again!*, which don't really tie in well with "afoot".


"it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that ar siúl is "very close" to "afoot""

That's not true though, "to be afoot" literally does mean "to walk". In Dutch also, a pedestrian is "te voet" (which translates to both "afoot" and "walking").

But I do agree with the rest and that this isn't something people actually say.


The Irish for "foot" is cos, not siúl. There is absolutely no etymological connection between the two - they are not "close" in any way, and Winchelsea specifically referred to "a literal meaning very close to"

Winchelsea then went on to repeat something that had already been pointed out and discussed in some detail in the earlier comments that they apparently hadn't taken the time to read. Obviously, you use your feet to walk but that doesn't make ar siúl very close to cos.


are there other examples of where "ar" is used together with a verb to indicate an".....ing" action?


IN this case, ar indicates a state - ar siúl meaning in a state of motion, or "going on".

For specificaly "-ing" actions, you have examples like
"he was trembling fearfully" - bhí sé ar crith le heagla
"it was hanging from a nail" - bhí sé ar crochadh ar thairne

ar diol is another example ("in a state of sale") but it is usually translated as "for sale", rather than "selling", to differentiate between something that a seller does, and the state of the thing that's being sold.


Thank you, very helpful.. I was wondering whether "ar" siúl was a one off usage.


It is also correct to say Cad atá ar suil.


This is an Irish-to-English exercise, so you will only be entering an answer in Irish if you get this exercise as a Type What You Hear exercise, and Cad atá ar siúl? is not a correct answer in that case, as the speaker isn't saying cad.


There seem to be three words (that I know of) in Irish that can mean ‘what’: 1) cad é do cheist, 2) cén uair and 3) céard atá ar siúl. I am struggling to understand when to use which and clarification would be appreciated.


cad and céard are basically dialect variations - goidé also crops up in Ulster Irish in place of cad é or céard é.

cén can often be better thought of as "which", and you can't swap cad for cén - you can often ask a question using either cad or cén, but you have to make significant changes to the sentence for that to work.


Does this mean what's up? Like a greeting? Or is it like what is happening. Like a search for information? Or both?


Siul is the irish for walking no?

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