1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Cheapamar go raibh bia sa ch…

"Cheapamar go raibh bia sa chistin nua."

Translation:We thought that there was food in the new kitchen.

December 30, 2014



I actually thought the audio was wrong until I listened to it several times. Cheapamar go raibh souned like one word. Does the "a" never have a sound in "nua"...just wondering because I never hear it with this person.


The a in nua isn't pronounced in Munster Irish or in Connacht Irish, but it is pronounced in Ulster Irish.

As this is a fairly basic word that almost everyone in Ireland will encounter in school, and it is sometimes used in the names of things, it's worth pointing out that most people in Ireland learn to pronounce this word as it is written, with the a pronounced.

On the other hand, most people learn to pronounce raibh as "rev", which is the Munster pronunciation, with Connacht and Ulster speakers pronouncing it more like "ruh" and "row" (rhymes with "now", not "snow").


(Cheapamar: We thought) (go raibh: was) (bia: food) (sa: in the) (chistin: kitchen) (nua: new)

We thought food was in the new kitchen? We thought there was food in the new kitchen?


Once again, Duolingo’s literal non-literal literalist literalism literally strikes again! Someone please tell me where the “that there” comes from!


go raibh does not mean "was".

bhí bia sa chistin - "there was food in the kitchen". A literalist who doesn't normally speak English might prefer "food was in the kitchen".

go is "that" in this sentence. English speakers sometimes don't bother saying "that", but it's there anyway.


GRMA. I think (that) I get frustrated when I see two—sometimes three—extra words in a translation when I can’t identify their origin. go/gur is something I still struggle with in Irish, especially having learned some Irish from native speakers who, by their own admission, are not educators, so the quick-and-dirty equivalence of “go raibh” to “was” is cemented quite improperly in my mind.


The real problem here is English, not Irish.

In English, you would normally say "we thought that there was food in the kitchen". But you would say "We thought that the food was in the kitchen". When switching between an indefinite noun and a definite noun, English prefers to use "there" with indefinite nouns. "The apple is in the bag"/"There is an apple in the bag". "There was a noise downstairs!"/"The noise was downstairs!". You don't have to use the "there" construction with an indefinite noun, but it often sounds odd without it - "a noise was downstairs!".

Irish doesn't have that complication. Cheapamar go raibh bia sa chistin/Cheapamar go raibh an bia sa chistin, Tá úll sa mhála/Tá an t-úll sa mhála, Bhí trup thíos staighre!/Bhí an trup thíos staighre!.

Because English is sometimes ambiguous, someone is always going to be unhappy about some aspect of a translation.


Irish is not the worst Duolingo offender. I abandoned Japanese when the American English idiomatic “up” kept randomly finding its way into English translations, resulting in being marked incorrect. “He said that there was no reason to eat up all the food / I called up my friend in Japan last night / I cooked up a meal yesterday”


As an American, I'll say that we don't actually use the "up" that much. In the north, at least.


Just translated 2 very similar sentences....cheap mé go raibh mo mháthair sa charr.....cheapamar go raibh bia sa chistin nua....both translated differently but there is no difference in the structure???? If cheapamar go raibh translates as "we thought that there was..." then cheap mé go raibh should translate as i thought that was....but no....its just wrong....ni clues as to why....no reason as to why not!!! The other languages have lessons at the start of them... but not Irish.... the other languages have stories to help you piece the language together.... but not Irish.... the other languages speak slowly when you can't hear what they are saying....but not Irish.... the other languages speak each sentence as it comes up....but not Irish. Are we just being set up to fail ????


bhí mo mháthair sa charr - "my mother was in the car"
bhí bia sa chistin - "there was food in the kitchen"

You're complaining about Irish when the problem is with the English. Take the sentence "When we arrived, the food was in the kitchen". Now change the definite noun "the food" to the indefinite noun "food". Would you be more likely to say "When we arrived, food was in the kitchen" or would you instinctively say "When we arrived, there was food in the kitchen"?

bhí bia sa chistin doesn't translate into "there was food in the kitchen" because Irish is irregular, it translates to "there was food in the kitchen" because English is irregular, and most English speakers would find it unnatural to say "food was in the kitchen".

Don't blame Irish for the fact that English is a difficult language (even for native English speakers).

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.