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  5. "Is é Baile Átha Cliath príom…

"Is é Baile Átha Cliath príomhchathair Phoblacht na hÉireann."

Translation:Dublin is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland.

December 7, 2014



Why is it "Phoblacht" here? If "príomhchathair Phoblacht na hÉireann" means "capital of the republic of ireland", is "phoblacht" in the genitive? But if so, I gather it would be "poblachta". So, why the lenited nominative form?


This is an example which contains a noun that is “nominative in form, genitive in function”. The reason for it in this case is that Irish doesn’t express successive nouns in genitive form when the second noun is definite; only the second noun in such a genitive “chain” takes the genitive form (e.g. Éireann rather than Éire in this case). Despite the nominative form of Poblacht, because of its genitive function, it becomes lenited as genitive nouns normally would, as you’d observed.


I see - thanks for the explanation!


I wrote "Dublin is capital of the Republic of Ireland," and I was told I need "the" before "capital." An bhfuil sin fíor? Cén fáth?


Mar tá an t-alt sa bhfrása príomhchathair Phoblacht na hÉireann


It's not correct English, that's why. Duo always needs translations to be correct.


I don't think the "the" is required in English, but I don't know what to Google about that.


"London is capital of England." "Paris is capital of France." Do those sound correct to you?


I must admit that they do. You can find Internet search results with such a wording.


Yes, in English we don’t use the definite article with names (He is Sean) and sometimes with unique job titles (He is Chairman of the Board) and sometimes when specifying other unique roles (Paris is capital of France). My impression is that the rules governing which nouns have artices in “príomhchathair Phoblacht na hÉireann” are different - more like: “a noun can be specified by a genitive or an article (an, na etc) but not both”. But I still have not worked out why we usually see Éire without the definite article but Éireann with the definite article na.


I wrote 'the capital' and was marked wrong for not saying capital city. I only left it out because previous questions translated príomhchathair as capital and not capital city


So, if na only gets used once in genitive constructions, no matter how many times "the" would be used in English, how would you say "he is the captain of a ship" vs. "he is the captain of the ship"?


Or "The Lord of the rings" vs "A lord of the rings" vs "The lord of rings"

Good question. Enquiring minds wish to know!

  • “The lord of the rings” = Tiarna na bhfáinní — genitive;
  • “A lord of the rings” = Tiarna de na fáinní — partitive dative;
  • “The lord of rings” = An tiarna fáinní — genitive.


In English the rule is that a noun may never be qualified by more than one “determiner”. A “determiner” includes

  • an article or possessive pronoun - “the cat”, “my cat”, “a cat” but NOT “a my cat” or “the your cat” or “any my cat”
  • a genitive ending in -s

In “the ship’s captain”, the word “ship” has the sole determiner “the” and the word “captain” has the sole determiner “ship’s”.

The difference in Irish is that the genitive usually or always comes after its noun, and so superficially looks more like the “of” genitive in English, which in English in NOT a determiner: “THE captain of the ship”.

  • “He is the captain of a ship” = Is é an captaen loinge é — genitive;
  • “He is the captain of the ship” = Is é captaen na loinge é — genitive.

  • 1394

Is captaen loinge é - "He is a ship's captain"/"He is the captain of a ship"


Why is the e fada where it is in the sentence? Usually the e fada or i fada would be later. Like in sentences, Is "something" e fada. I'm confused


When the subject of an identificational copular statement is a proper name (e.g. Baile Átha Cliath in this sentence), then the sentence order is Is + subcomplement + subject + complement. The é is this sentence’s subcomplement, and it provides separation between is and the proper name, since is isn’t allowed to come directly before a definite noun (such as a proper name).

Note that the é should be í, since príomhchathair is feminine.


Question re word order: Baile Átha Cliath comes before príomhchathair Phoblacht na hÉireann because proper names come before definite nouns, correct?

You said it should be í, but doesn’t the é refer to the subject, Baile Átha Cliath and is therefore correct?


No, this word order has a subcomplement rather than a subsubject, so it should have been í rather than é because it refers to the complement príomhchathair Phoblacht na hÉireann.


Why does é BAC come before what it is? I thought for copular statements what it is comes first followed by who is what. Like is dochtúir mé= i am a doctor, so shouldn't this sentence = the capital city of the republic of ireland is dublin, not the other way around?


Because BÁC is a definite phrase. In copular structures, you need a pronoun before definite phrases. Also, I feel it should be í instead, since príomhchathair is feminine.


No i'm not talking about the pronoun i understand why it is there and that it should be there. What i'm talking about is that it says: Is é BÁC príomhchathair PnÉ = Dublin is the capital city of the RoI, but when compare it with a simpler (is dochtúir é an fear - the man is a doctor) it is set up the same. By the simpler, the structure is: Is "y" é/í "x" = x is y, but by the complex, the structure is: Is é/í "x" "y" = x is y. And that's where I'm confused, because given the structure by this simpler i would then say this sentence translates to: the capital city of the RoI is Dublin, not the other way around.


Because Dublim is a definite noun. It's more analogous to sentences like Is é Enda Kenny Taoiseach na hÉireann than to Is dochtúir é an fear, which has an indefinite and a definite.


Oh. Ok, so sentences with definite phrases NOT containing a definite article should be written as such. grma


Yep. I suggest you look here for a more in depth explanation


Awesome! Thanks!


Can you explain me this sentence please. I know what does it mean but I don't understand the forms of the nouns etc


I think read the thread started by RichardMik2 in this post, should help.


Níl sé fíor. Is é Corcaigh an fíor príomhchathair! ;)


The Irish Republic is also fine as is just Ireland.


Now that certainly opens a political can of worms ;)


Technically, the Irish (Gaelic) for that would be different. Also there are political nuances. Many in the Republican movement would contend that the 26-county state called "The Republic of Ireland" is a different animal to an or the Irish Republic. Also in international law no entity bearing the name "The Irish Republic" exists or is recognised. It is just a shorthand in the vernacular.

And Ireland and both the terms previously discussed are most definitely not interchangeable. Ireland refers to the whole island and to all-Ireland entities such as rugby and cricket teams and churches. That is quite distinct from the "Republic of Ireland".

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