1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Bia an chait"

"Bia an chait"

Translation:The cat's food

December 30, 2014



Is "the cat food" acceptable, since "cat food", the indefinite, is "bia cait"?

Hebrew places the article the same way as Irish (though with construct state instead of genitive) for making collocations: "cat food" is okhel ḥatul (food-of cat) while "the cat food" is okhel ha-ḥatul (food-of the cat).


No. “The cat food” has a slightly different meaning than “the cat’s food”; the former refers to a specific portion of food for a non-specific set of cats, while the latter refers to a non-specific portion of food for a specific cat.


Is "the cat food" an bia cait in Irish?


That would be my translation of it.


Is it not "The cats' food"?


The genitive singular of cat is cait, so it'd be "the cat's food"


Thanks. I was confused because "cait" also seems to be the nominative plural.


Yep. If the nominative plural is considered a "weak plural", the genitive singular will generally be the same as it (and the genitive plural the same as the nominative plural). If not, it's generally the same as the nominative singular.


How does one determine the weakness or strength of a plural


Hierony, strong plurals have the same form in Nominative and Genitive. Weak plurals don't; for example, Nominative plural ends in a slender consonant and Genitive plural in a broad.


By how it pluralizes.


So, would "cat food" be "bia cat"?


It would be bia cait, since cait is the genitive of cat.


I have never once been able to write "cat" or "cats" when I hear them say it. Seems like it would be so simple but I constantly mix them up. I need to go find an example of the pronunciation of both words I guess.


So what is "cats food"?


Okay, so 'cat' is masculine (after wiktionary), then why is it lenited in genitive? I thought that only feminine nouns are lenited after 'an'. Also, in another example, 'Leabhar a mic', 'mic' wasn't lenited and it meant 'Her son's book'. I'm a bit confused with all these singular-plural, feminine-mascline, lenition-not-lenition things.

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