"Cad atá á rá agat?"

Translation:What are you saying?

October 23, 2014

This discussion is locked.


To proinsias123:

So the basic form of a verbal noun sentence is:

Táim ag déanamh na mbróg

If you choose to emphasise the shoes by fronting them you would get:

Is iad na bróga atáim a dhéanamh

Why "a dhéanamh"? In modern Irish there is no explanation, it is simply a rule of its own. If the object of a verbal noun preceeds the verbal noun in another clause you use "a + verbal noun", not "ag + verbal noun"

There was a reason in Classical Irish, but that would take us a bit away from the issue.

Now, what remaining questions do you have?

Also you are not struggling with a basic sentence, rather you are breaking into intermediate level where Irish grammar really ramps up. There are things about the verbal noun and copula that no modern books outside of academic texts deal with, so it will be hard.

EDIT: To be honest I have thought of making a study group where I select sentences and paragraphs from older texts and explain them. Sentences choosen for their difficulty and encapsulation of finer grammatical points. Would anybody be interested?


Would anybody be interested?

B'iontach é sin.


I would. This explanation is hugely helpful.


I just found your comment here; I’d be interested as well. If you haven’t already begun it, have you considered creating a new discussion in Duolingo’s Irish Discussions area based on a given paragraph’s particular grammatical points? (I have no interest in joining Facebook.)


Since I am on my mobile app at the moment I can not see either the names or the dates when your comments were posted. I would really appreciate a group which helps me to get a better understanding of the sentences and the grammar. If it already exists, where can I find it on the website? I am fairly new to all things related to a computer and sometimes I don't even know where to look for resources. (But I am getting there ;-))


I would absolutely be interested. Please do so.


I'd certainly be interested, but I seem to have arrived three years too late, mo bhrón!


Wow, I would be very, very interested.


I am! Although this is 4 years too late... let me know if it's still happening. :)


Is it still a thing? I am interested!


Thanks a lot, I think I understand. You said If the object of a verbal noun preceeds the verbal noun in another clause you use "a + verbal noun", but what in cad é atá tú a rá is the object? Is it cad é?

And yes, I would really like to see that. It would be great.


In essence it is the é in "Cad é" that functions as the object.

For anybody interested the "a rá" is related to the distiction between "do rá" and "ag rá" that existed in Classical Irish, e.g. do do bhualadh vs ag do bhualadh

Does anybody know a good venue for a study group online? I could start this weekend.


> Does anybody know a good venue for a study group online? I could start this weekend.

Facebook might be the easiest, or Reddit. Unless you're wanting to go full on MOOC, but I doubt that would work well with what you have in mind.


There are two Duolingo Irish groups on Facebook (that I know of - perhaps there are more.).

The links below should work, but then you will need to log into Facebook. For both, you need to request to join, but the responses are fast.

One is run by Niamh and the other, I think, by Alexinireland.

Here they are: https://www.facebook.com/groups/duolingo.gaeilge/?fref=ts



Thanks for posting this. I've been using Duolingo for Irish for 2y and never thought to look for a Facebook group!


beidh spéis agam ann freisin


This is another one of those passive being translated as active. "What are you saying" would be Céard atá tú a rá, as the given one is more "What is being said by you?"


is this another passive sentence which should be translated as 'What is being said by you?


Yes. Céard atá á rá agat? means "What is being said by you?"


omg i'm sorry i just realised you directly said that above * facepalm *


Nah. I edited it because it was unclear.


I get this question wrong every time. Should 'What is it you are saying' be a correct answer?


This sentence is passive. "What are you saying", according to Learning Irish page 68, is Céard atá tú a rá?


Is this type of construction more common in Irish than it is in English, or is this just a way of teaching it to us? I think it's really unlikely a person would say it that way in English because it's really awkward. It doesn't necessarily follow that it's awkward in Irish though so, just wonderin'!


Cad 'tá á rá agat is a good example of where the passive is more common. Cad é an rud atánn tú a rá, the active form, is much rarer.

If you think about it, in a passive sentence, the emphasis is on the logical object, and in "What are you saying", the emphasis is on "the thing you are saying", which is the logical object. So it is natural that they go together.


Thank you, that's very helpful. But I'm still confused about the construction for the original sentence. I've looked on some of the forums, and there are a lot of conflicting opinions about the construction that should be used. Could you please help me understand how this sentence works, preferably in the Ulster dialect? I honestly feel like giving up if I can't understand how to put together such a seemingly basic sentence after over a year of study.


Im going to start a new top level post just to alert you.


Is the active form not cad é atá tú ag rá?


No, "ag X" becomes "a X" when the object is antecedent, that is when the object is in the first part of a relative clause.

It's not that common a construction.


I don't understand. I think I have seen it used like that before. Why are you using an rud? What's atánn?


"Cad é" is a shortening of "Cad é an rud", some speakers don't shorten it.

The Connacht "Céard" is a contraction of "Cad é an rud".

In Munster "tá tú" is "tánn tú" or rarely "taoi" as in:

Conas taoi? = Conas atánn tú? = Conas atá tú?


The Céard atá tú a rá? Or the Céard atá á rá agat? Either way, yes. This passive form is often used. "What is being said by you", is an awkward translation I admit, but still probably the best without context.


GRMA. Yes, it was the "Céard atá á rá agat" form I was wondering about, so thanks for clarifying.


I' m not convinced this makes any sense


It makes perfect sense in Irish - the English translation given is more colloquial than literal, though.


Would cad and ceard both work?


And wouldn't the active version be ceard ata tu ag ra, rather than ceard ata tu a ra?


You can use céard or cad, yes. But, no, you can't use ag rá. You use a rá because the direct object of (céard) comes before it.

Learning Irish page 68 should clarify it.


Then how do you say "what have you got to say"


Cad é an méid atá le rá agat é?


Could this be translate to the english, "what have you been saying?"


If it was past tense, yes. Céard/Cad a bhí á rá agat


Could someone please explain the meaning of á in this sentence please? I am greatly confused by the use of passive in the verbal noun clause.


The á in this sentence is a combined form of do + a, so á rá = do a rá = “to its saying”. Thus, a somewhat literal translation of Cad atá á rá agat? would be “What is that is to its saying by you?”


The thing that is bending my brain is that "tá ... agat" expresses the possessive "you have ...". It led me to render it "what is it that you have said" which begs someone to make the same clarification as the idiomatic "What are you saying?". Moreover, either question would clearly come about AFTER the not-understood thing had been said rather than concurrent with the speakers actually saying it. Unless of course the questioner is intentionally rude while the other is still speaking. Could it be that we have an English idiomatic trying to be bent into fitting perfectly understandable Irish when they are merely equivalent meanings?


How would you say in Irish "What have you to say"?


"have you anything to say?" - an bhfuil aon rud le rá agat?
"what have you got to say for yourself?" - cad atá le rá agat duit féin?
"Do you have anything else to say?'" - An bhfuil aon ní eile le rá agat?
"what did he have to say about that?" - céard a bhí le rá aige faoi sin?


Could this be 'what is it that you have to say?'


That would usually be translated as cad (é) atá le rá agat?

á rá agat is "is being said by you", leading to "you are saying".


What do you have to say? Why not?


Don't you just hate it when the previous explanations are too long and boring to read, and you just have to ask the same question that has already been asked and answered multiple times?

Cad atá le rá agat? - "What do you have to say?"
Cad atá á rá agat? - "What are you saying?" ("what is being said by you?")

Remember that tá fear ag an doras doesn't mean "the door has a man" - not all sentences that contain and ag are a translation of "have". The á in this exercise makes this the equivalent of an English passive ("being said") with the agent identified (agat - "by you"), so that the preposition is not part of a phrasal verb with .

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