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  5. "Uisce na madraí"

"Uisce na madraí"

Translation:The dogs' water

October 31, 2014



This lesson is also a great test of one's knowledge of where to put the apostrophe in English!


I thought this as well when we were working on it. Am I correct in assuming it doesn't penalise you for missing the apostrophe?


FYI, it gives me an error for misplacing the apostrophe ("the dog's water" instead of, I think, "the dogs' water"), but the correct solution it gives has no apostrophe ("the dogs water"), making it quite confusing.


For some reason, using an apostrophe on a plural, such as dogs', is marked as a typo on the main page. However, once you click on discussion, there is the correct answer at the top, complete with the apostrophe that was just marked as a typo. Unfortunately, now that we are using the upgraded program we can no longer submit a correction. It's a problem with the program, not with us.


Yes. This is not the only example of inconsistency of the "correct" answers when comparing the question page with the discussion heading. I can live with this for a free language course.


I don't know. I am an expert on apostrophes and so got them all right. Hence the risk of being penalised didn't arise. But if I were marking this, I would penalise given that a misplaced apostrophe could render a singular plural or vice versa, thus undermining this whole lesson.


Well, it's reassuring that you didn't spot any errors in our apostrophes! Please report them to us if you do.

We don't have any control, as far as I know, over what is accepted in terms of punctuation, accents etc. As it's supposed to be a game as well, the system tends to mark things like this correct and gives you an error message.

I'm not familiar with this end of things, though. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can shed more light on this.


Thank you for creating this course. Much needed.


You're very welcome. I didn't contribute very much compared to the others, though!

I've passed on your suggestion about capitals. We'll see what happens.


I hate to say it, but I've spotted a few cases of the apostrophe being in the wrong place but being marked as a typo and not as an error. I do know where my apostrophes go in English, but I'm never sure in the Irish, when it's genitive, whether it's singular or plural so I have sometimes translated things like "the dog's food" when it's supposed to be "the dogs' food." I don't know how many of these there are, but I do try to report them when I remember to.


This is by far the most difficult section I have encountered thus far in this course. Wow.


Aagh, doesn't give me the option of dogs' rather than dogs - not good for a punctuation pedant!


Im' wi'th you eleblob. Nothing wors'e than an errant apostrofe!


So why is this plural dogs and not singular


Because madra has a strong plural, and that case the genitive plural is the same as the nominative plural. Furthermore, it's a masculine noun so it only uses na in the plural.


2 questions what is a 'strong' plural and if both take plural how does one tell the singular from the plural? This is one of my weaknesses on this course and I am desperately trying to get my head around it


Strong plurals are generally any plural that doesn't involve slenderization.

In the case of strong plurals, the genitive and nominative singulars are (usually) the same, as are the plurals. In weak plurals, which involve slenderization, the nominative plural is the same as the genitive singular and vice versa.


Thank you for that. So does it mean,in the case of strong plurals and the genitive that it is possible to have an identical sentence that serves both the singular and plural? Is there not an eclipses rule that would differentiate the two?


No, it won't be the same. Strong plurals' genitive plural just looks like nominative plurals. They're distinct from genitive singular which looks like nominative singular.


I found it helpful to discover that weak plurals are found almost only in the 1st and 2nd declensions (cf. nualeargais.ie).


Thank you! That has completely cleared something up for me!


how come it is not eclipsed? I thought all genitive plurals get eclipsed after "na", like in "bia na gcat"


<m> can't be eclipsed.

The eclipse either voices voiceless stops (/p/ to /b/) or it nasalizes already voiced stops (/b/ to /m/). /m/ is already a nasalized stop, so nothing happens.


Oh right. I was remembering b gets eclipsed to mb...and confusing myself in the process thinking that it was m getting eclipsed


so what indicates that it is plural then, I'm having great difficulty with this. The plural is the single form of the genitive and the single is the plural form of the genitive?? I'm confused. Please feel free to speak to me like the dumb kid in the class.


In this case, it's na and the fact that madra is a masculine noun.

As to more generally, the plural isn't always the genitive singular. It depends on the noun class.


So one could say that eclipsing is a way to emphasize a change in syntax, implying a change in meaning? I mean it's L je highlighting, since voicing sounds stronger than not-voicing and, similarly, nasalizing adds a cavity, rather than only replacing the oral one.


You can say all sorts of things, but an Irish speaker doesn't really think of eclipsing as highlighting or emphasising a change in syntax. The change of syntax occurs whether or not the letter can be eclipsed, as in this case.


For me, the only options were:

dog dogs

Both of these are wrong. I choose dogs and it was marked correct. But then the final rendering of the sentence (in the green 'You are correct' box) included the missing apostrophe:




again, the apostrophe is omitted


Doing this lesson makes me think I will never speak Irish. I hate it so. I can't figure out if things are in the plural because they are actually plural or it is just some form of the genitive and I never know where to put the apostrophy.


A lot of people struggle with what actually are 2 distinct problems. One problem is the foreign language, the other is grammar that wasn't taught for their own language. If you break the struggle down to these separate issues, you can focus on learning how grammatical cases work in English, before rising to the Irish challenge. I think this website is quite straightforward for understanding cases in English: https://www.learngrammar.net/english-grammar/case . Just note that they call the genitive case "possessive case" (and don't worry about it).


I think I will give up using the suggested "labels" and just choose to use the keyboard as so often the options do not add up to the correct answer! (It was only an apostrophe missing this time, and instead of dogs' I tried putting dogs's - since that was what was on offer - but it was not accepted. I suppose that's good, since it would not actually be correct!) :D


Can anyone explain to me why with other nouns the plural is flipped for possessive, but not for madra?


It depends on the declension type: "strong" nouns have the same plural form for both genitive and nominative, whereas "weak" nouns have a distinct genitive ending (which may or may not look the same as nominative singular).

The way a noun decline isn't obvious from it's nominative singular, so when learning a new word it might be useful to take a look at it's genitive and plural forms to see how it declines.

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