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  5. "Itheann Pól arán."

"Itheann Pól arán."

Translation:Paul eats bread.

December 23, 2014



Is "itheann" the second- and third-person version whereas "ithim" is the first-person? I'm having trouble figuring out when I'm supposed to use "ithim" versus when I'm supposed to use "itheann."


If it helps, in some dialects you can use itheann any time, with the proper pronoun. Otherwise, you use ithim for first person singular, and ithimid for first-person plural, then itheann and the pronoun fro the rest.

Unless you want to learn Munster Irish, that is.


So, "Róisín eats" would just be "itheann Róisín," right?


Not exactly. 'Ithim' is a 'synthetic form,' combining ('synthesizing') the verb and pronoun into a single word; in the case of 'ithim,' that 'm' at the end is the first-person singular pronoun, 'mé,' which becomes simply 'm' when synthesized with the verb. The 'analytic' form (the form that keeps the verb and pronoun separate) is 'itheann mé.' That analytic form is more common in some dialects, but I have read that the synthetic form is the 'official' standard.

Same goes for the first-person plural: the synthetic form is 'ithimid;' the analytic form is 'itheann muid.'


Does this sentence translate to mean Paul eats bread in the present tense (is observed to be eating bread now) or that Paul (can) eat bread, i.e. Paul is not on a no-carbohydrate diet?


more as Paul habitually eats bread

  • 1775

Is there much difference in "Paul eats bread" and "Paul is eating bread"? I only ask because in so many of the other languages--these two are usually framed in the same context.


Yes. Irish, like English, has a distinction between 'Paul eats bread (habitually, generally, etc)' and 'Paul is eating bread'. Some linguists even theorize that the English progressive developed from contact with the Celtic languages (I disagree with that analysis, though, as similar developments are found in non-standard dialects of other Germanic languages, so it seems to be a natural development). To say the latter you would say Tá Pól ag ithe aráin, using the genitive (literally translates to 'Paul is at eating of bread')


Please explain why in your example aran changes to aráin. Thanks!


Sorry for the misspelling.


I put “Paul is eating bread”, which was not accepted. Is there a specific gerund?


Irish doesn't have a gerund, but it uses a verbal noun to express the present progressive. So, 'Paul is eating bread' would be Tá Pól ag ithe aráin


How would you say "I am eating bread".


More a problem with my English and it being influenced by my native language, but anyway: is it really wrong to say "Paul eats a bread"? Admittedly I was thinking of "a slice of bread" as in colloquial German you can leave out the "slice of". But still, it could be a small bread and/or Paul being very hungry. So, is it really wrong to add the indefinite article? I mean in Irish we do not have one, so it could be in the English translation!?

  • 1450

There are very limited technical situations where an indefinite article can be applied to "bread" in English, and this isn't one of them. A native English speaker would not use "a bread" in this translation, and it would be very misleading to non-native speakers to allow such a translation.


Yes, when I thought a bit further about it after posting, I realized that I still had fallen for the same trap my German language roots had set up. You either have slices or loaves of bread in English, hardly just a bread. I would have edited my original post, but did not have a good opportunity until now. And editing it now might be confusing, so this will have to do.

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