"Céard a itheann sé?"
Translation:What does he eat?
As explained in other discussion threads: It seems to be a dialectical issue, where though cad would probably be more generally recognized.
And yes: Standard response is to pick one preferred version and to stick with it, rather than using both versions mixed.
I saw another thread that explains ceard is a contraction of cad + rud. So it means 'what thing?'
check the tips and notes section, they have a chart with everything for this lesson on it.
because it was a rude response to a relevant question, it was downvoted enough to become hidden.
Because that would require a verbal noun in Irish to express the progressive aspect of “eating”.
You are wrong. There are differences between how standard English and standard Irish use their verb tenses, and a big difference is how they treat events which happen in the present.
Irish uses the present tense for that, but standard English uses the present progressive for that, except if the verb is stative.
‘What is he eating?’ inquires as to what he is actually eating. Maybe we can see him eat, but we don't recognise the food or he's got his back turned to us or something.
‘What does he eat?’ inquires as to what is normal diet is. Maybe he's a exotic pet and we don't know what to feed it.
(As a reminder, a summary of uses of the simple present in English: habitual actions and events, current state, quoting and commentary, historical present, future events which are arranged or planned or considered, dependent clauses like conditions which refer to the future, universal truths and sometimes in temporal adverbial clauses. Note that except for a few special cases it isn't used for present events.)
No, I’m not wrong on this point.
‘What is he eating?’ inquires as to what he is actually eating.
Indeed it does — that’s the progressive. “What is he eating?” = Cad atá sé a ithe? , as I’d stated above.
‘What does he eat?’ inquires as to what his normal diet is.
Indeed it does — that’s the habitual. “What does he eat?” = Céard a itheann sé? , as I’d stated above.
Forgive me for pushing this a little more, but this still doesn't seem to map to the English I hear and speak. There still seems to be a disconnect between the question and the answer, although in these examples it is subtil because the guy you're pointing to is, in fact, currently eating, even though that has nothing to do with the question that may or may not still be habitual.
A better example:
You, Joe, and I are at the pub at closing time. Joe has passed out and we're carrying him out to the car. Joe is overweight. You tell me that me that Joe has been out of work for the past year. My response:
"What is he eating?" But, we're carrying him out to the car while Joe is anxiously engaged in being a large sack of potatoes. He's definitely not eating at the moment, but, given his size, he has been getting his food from somewhere, habitually, for the past year. I'm clearly referring to this past year of habits and definitely not talking about a specific meal, even in the past. Again, I could say, "what does he eat?" but the former is more common and the later sounds a bit stilted.
Again: you are showing me your dog who has a beautifully glossy coat. I say, "He's beautiful! What are you feeding him?" He's on my lap, not eating, And one meal wouldn't do the job.
These particular examples seem to be firmly in the habitual category to me; we are definitely not talking about something currently being done. This seems to show the use of present progressive construction in English to communicate the habitual concept as well as its normal usage for present events.
Am I missing something?
I'm American from a western state, by the way. I know dialects change from one place to another.
For your first example, “What has he been eating?” (the present perfect progressive) would be a better grammatical match, since the present perfect progressive refers to the completed part of an ongoing task with current relevance — in this case, what Joe has previously eaten to date to achieve his current mass, with current relevance due to our post-pub workout.
Similarly, for your second example, the present perfect progressive would be a better match — “What have you been feeding him?” — although in that particular situation I’d probably have said “What do you feed him?”.
That's not a good enough reason. Nobody says "What do you eat?" to mean "What do you eat right now?" anymore. It means something different. It comes across as present habitual, not present
Since Irish requires a verbal noun to express a progressive aspect, I invite you to provide a better reason. (I’m not stating that “What do you eat?” expresses “What do you eat right now?”; I’m stating that “What is he eating?” expresses a progressive aspect, and Céard a itheann sé? expresses a habitual aspect. Progressive ≠ habitual.)
Sciling,could you give us an example of how 'What is he eating' is said? Taking an stab in the dark I would say cad ata ag itheann se? Anywhere near correct?
You’re close — an example would be Cad atá sé a ithe? . (Ithe is the verbal noun of ith, and a is used rather than ag for the progressive when the object precedes the verbal noun in a relative clause; the verbal noun’s object in this case is cad.)
Given that I can't reply to your latest comment, I'll ask here: You're saying there's no way to ask what someone is eating in the present moment? Or, does it require another verb, or what?
There is a way, as I’d noted above — the Irish progressive requires the verbal noun.
I'm arguing "What is he eating?" has replaced the use of "What does he eat?" in English (except in habitual).
I guess I could be misunderstanding the meaning behind the Irish. If you were at a restaurant, would "Céard a itheann sé?" while gesturing at another patron be a natural way to ask what dish that person is having?
No — that would require the progressive in Irish, which requires a verbal noun. Céard a itheann sé? means “What does he eat?”, not “What is he eating?” — it’s habitual, not progressive, as the English translation above shows.
“It” would be just as valid a translation of sé as “he”. If it wasn’t accepted, then it’s an error that needs to be brought to the course creators’ attention via the Report a Problem button.
Interrogatives like céard don’t require the interrogative verbal particle an. The a is present because the sentence has a direct relative clause.
I'm having a hard time figuring when 'bhfuil' is and isnt used. Can anyone explain?
Your question is a bit non-specific, but assuming you're talking about questions, when you want to turn a statement that uses tá into a question, or ask a question that can be answered with tá, you use an bhfuil.
The c question words in Irish (cá, cé, cad, etc) are the equivalent of the "w" question words in English (where, who, what). A question that starts with an bhfuil is an "is" or "are" question.
Ok so from what ur saying, because this question: 1. Uses 'does' 2. The answer would be something along the lines of "itheann se feoil" we say "ceard a" instead of "ceard bhfuil"?
The question word is "what".
It's not a choice between a and bhfuil, it's a choice between a bhfuil and atá. And you never say cad a bhfuil
Cad a itheann sé? - "what is it that he eats?"
Cad atá sé ag ithe? - "what is it that he is eating?"
This video has nothing to do with this lesson.