"He has the newspaper."
Translation:Tá an nuachtán aige.
I read this in English literally as 'a the newspaper he has'. In Irish however, as the verb-subject-object word order applies 'he has the newspaper' becomes 'aige (he has) an (the) nuachtán (newspaper)'. But this obviously doesn't account for the word Tá (which I more than likely misinterpret as the English word 'a' or 'a the newspaper' in this case). Can anyone help me with this please? Thanks!
Irish doesn't have a verb that means "have" (Irish is not alone in this). Instead, Irish uses a phrasal verb combining the verb bí ("be") and the preposition ag. Tá is the present tense form of the verb bí ("am", "are", "is"), and the preposition ag is used to translate various examples of "at", "by", "for", "from" and "with". English speakers often erroneously claim that "The newspaper is at him" is a "literal" translation of Tá an nuachtán aige, but it's just the Irish construction for expressing possession, even though Tá an fear ag an doras means "the man is at the door".
tá is the present tense form of the Irish verb bí, and "be" is the equivalent of bí in English.
So what is the present tense form of "be"? Is it "is"? Is it "am"? Is it "are"? As far as I know, English doesn't have this problem with other verbs, it uses the same verb form for 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person. So it's a bit misleading to suggest that there is something amiss with tá in this case - it's not that "tá does not have an equivalent word in English", it's that English can't make up it's mind what that equivalent is, because the correct equivalent depends on what the subject of "be" is.
Note that English speakers usually don't have to consciously think about whether to use "am", "is" or "are", so translating táim as "I am" and tá tú as "you are" is entirely transparent even for beginners to Irish, unless you've had the misfortune to be taught by someone who suggests that you should do a "literal" or "word for word" translation, and you try to translate the verb before you translate the subject. But a "literal" or "word for word" translation of Tá mé gives you "am I" (or "is I" or "are I" if you're particularly insistent on this approach), even though (in another example of how irregular "be" is in English), "am I" is a question in English, not a statement (other verbs in English don't use reversed word order to create a question), and the Irish for "am I?" is an bhfuil mé?.
As for "have", Irish doesn't have a specific verb that means "have", but it does have an equivalent of "have" - tá ... ag.