"How do you spell that word?"
Translation:Conas a litríonn tú an focal sin?
I don't get the grammatical structure here. I do not understand why the "a" is needed in the sentence. Can somebody please explain it?
The English question includes a subject, so it’s not unreasonable to have the Irish translation also include one. A question like “How is that word spelled?” might be a better candidate for translation with an Irish autonomous verb.
I tend to use the Connacht form 'Ce' chaoi' instead of 'conas' so I find this weird.
Would it make sense to leave out the tú and just have Conas a litríonn an focal sin? If the question isnt really how do YOU spell it but how does one spell it generally?
No. If you left out the tú, then an focal sin would become the subject of the verb - "how does that word spell", without any object.
Instead, you would use the saorbhriathar or autonomous form of the verb, in which the actor in the sentence is not expressed - Conas a litrítear an focal sin?, which is usually translated with the English passive sentence "How is that word spelled?"