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  5. "Is maith liom an chathair ac…

"Is maith liom an chathair ach is fearr liom na coillte."

Translation:I like the city but I prefer the woods.

October 18, 2014



I am quite amused by the above comments- I am irish and I tend to use woods and forest interchangeably. one word is latin based the other is germanic.

If I were to be pedantic I would say that a wood is smaller than a forest. Hope this helps!


Whew! Thanks, sigmacharding! I don't see a great deal of difference either. In fact, I deliberately used the word "forests" when translating this into English, just to see what would happen. Rejected!


I am from the Southern US and I also use woods and forest interchangeably, as does everyone I know, including people who own them and people who hunt in them, who might be expected to know what they're referring to. Maybe this is a regional thing?


Why do they constantly use "na coillte" (plural) to translate woods, which is uncountable and acts a singular in English? If I were to change the English slightly, and say "... but I prefer the forest." it would mean the same thing, but the Irish would certainly be "an choill" at that point. This is very confusing to me.


“Woods” is not necessarily uncountable; it could be the plural of “wood” in the sense of a forested area, e.g. Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood.


In American English it is always uncountable. In Modern British English that is a quaint archaism. I have not heard one person in casual speech ever use the word "woods" to mean "forests". Even if you can justify their translation, it is obviously not the most correct translation, and yet "coill" is not accepted right now.


That’s because “woods” doesn’t mean “forests” — a forest can include multiple woods, but a wood is never an entire forest. Why do you expect coill to be accepted in providing an English translation for an Irish sentence?


I didn't say that I expected "coill" to be accepted as an English translation at all. It's not English. I also didn't say that I think "coill" should be accepted as an Irish translation of an entire English sentence. Then again, this isn't the only "sentence" that suffers from this problem. One of the "sentences" is just "woods". Also, note that in this sentence "city" is singular and most likely abstract. One doesn't say, "I like the city, but I prefer the forests." One would more reasonably say, "I like the city, but I prefer the forest."


I didn’t say that one does say “I like the city, but I prefer the forests”. I did say that “woods” doesn’t mean “forests”.

I agree that one would more reasonably say “I like the city, but I prefer the forest” over “I like the city, but I prefer the forests” — not surprisingly, coillte (but not coill ) can be translated as either “woods” (in the countable sense) or “forest”. There isn’t always an exact grammatical translation for words — consider bríste (in the singular form) vs. “trousers” (in the plural form for a single pair).


Haha, funny story. So I was going around the house, absent-mindedly practicing the pronunciation of my new Irish vocabulary, as one does, when I noticed something. I kept repeating the word "coillte" as "kollte," "kollte," "kollte," not pronouncing the "i" as I think of it as coloring the "ll" with a slenderization. Then I started listening to what I was actually saying more carefully, and there was a weird hissing sound coming out of my mouth. I was like, wait, what is that, in my Irish? What I'm saying?

It was then that I realized that I was pronouncing the "ll" as in Welsh, hahaha. I was saying [ˈkɔɬtʲə], instead of [ˈkʌʎtʲə]

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