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  5. "Conas atá do mhilseán?"

"Conas atá do mhilseán?"

Translation:How is your sweet?

January 12, 2015



Would this sentence actually make sense in Irish? how is your sweet?


Sweet as in another word for 'candy', not as an adjective.


Interesting, never heard it said to describe candy without the "s" at the end (sweets) before. I thought the sentence was referring to a sweetheart/girlfriend at first.


Sweet as in desert, pudding in England


Nope, the Irish for "dessert" is milseog.

milseán is "a sweet", or "a (piece of) candy".


Ah, what Joe means is that in the English language, Irish people (especially in Dublin and the Midlands) often say the word "sweet" as a synonym for "dessert" as is said in other forms of english.

It is a reasonable guess, because it would mean the sentence makes sense with that presumption, and in the similarity between milseog and milseán.

Albeit however usually Duo translates to US English, rather than Irish (hiberno) English. Even though most learners on this particular course are likely not US English speakers, US English most often still prevails as the most commonly accepted translation regarding english definitions (A similar problem exists in the welsh course, where a US English translation marks as accepted more often, and usually earlier in the course's development than a Br English translation - which are usually added as accepted later manually by mods - , even though Wales is in the UK).


According to the very few available statistics, more people have registered for the Irish course from US IP addresses than from any other location. But I really don't know where you get the idea that there's a US-English bias on the Irish course - there are lots of exercises where US-English speakers complain that their preferred translation isn't accepted. Indeed this very exercise is one where the given translation uses words that aren't part of normal US-English - an American would say "How is your candy?" (with the additional complication of the ambiguity between "candy" as a singular noun and as a group noun).


In our house, fado, fado, we used to call dessert 'an rud deas' when I was a kid. Obviously a makey uppy for na páistí!


I think it means 'How is your dessert?


would "how are your sweets?" be a valid translation? "How is your sweet?" sounds kinda weird in English.


I think it makes sense if, say, you were asking a child with a lollipop if they were enjoying it. Or like a large single lolly/candy. My English nan used to call icy poles sweets as well. Even if outside of England most English speaking children wouldn't know what you meant. :)


is mhilseán supposed to start with a V sound or am i hearing things? these phonemes will be the death of me


Yes, when m is lenited, it will sound like <w> or <v> depending on whether it's broad or slender.



So, it is sweet as in candy, not sweet as in sweety (girl friend, wife etc)?


That's correct. "Sweet" is how the British say "candy".


And also how the Irish say it!


I just love the discussions. In Australia we would use the word 'lolly' for a sweet/bon bon/caramella etc. But would this add to the flavour?


@trevmcg. Yep. High fructose pushers. Jk


Thank you to those helpful Irish students/? teachers who have given me internet references for help in pronunciation!


'Conas atá do mhilseán?'

'Tá blas milis air.'


my sweet is very tasty


Hello. In Connaught Irish would it be Cén chaoi bhfuil do mhilseán?


I think it would be 'Cén chaoi a bhfuil do mhilseán?' that is, with the 'a' between 'chaoi' and 'bhfuil.'


Yes, I had forgotten about that a. Thank you.


Is this asking "How is your sweet?" In the sense of "What is your candy like?"

Is there another example of "Conas atá do (lenition)?"


Yes, that’s what it’s asking. Another example is Conas atá do bhanana? (“How is your banana?”).


How can something that sounds exactly like " conas tha va vilsharm'' be interpreted as 'Conas ata do mhilsean' by a non Irish speaker.? What are the secrets of pronunciation? I know I was told at the beginning that the speaker is from western Ireland, but how do I interpret what she is saying? It is Most frustrating and discouraging. Also, the 'tortoise' button cannot be used which doesn't help.


I think the 'mh' as a 'v' sound is fairly well documented. But, for the life of me, I cannot hear her 'do'! It must be a tiny flick of the tongue more attached to end of 'atá'. Of course, the sentence wouldn't be meaningful without a possessive or a definite article in there. BTW I have no problem with "sweet", "candy", "lolly", "dessert", "pudding" etc. We do seem to have a lot of trouble with words and structures that don't directly comply with our own form of English. Perhaps the secret is to accept that we are learning something different. (MechamRachel - please don't think I lack sympathy. I share your pain. But - time and practice will cure all.)


Keep listening to native Irish speakers, and trying to copy what they just said. You will need lots of time for your brain to start to hear the real sounds instead of what it is that the words you read suggest you are hearing! What you wrote suggests that you are making a good start with noticing that difference though.


Is this sentence using "sweet" as how it is used in Irish English ie. As a name for dessert?


No - the "dessert" sweet is milseog. milseán is what Americans call "a piece of candy" - a single item, not a handful of skittles. This question is asking "How is that tootsie roll?" or "did you like my last rolo?"


Aye - it's strange sometimes on the Irish course on Duo.

One has to translate from Irish into how English is spoken in the USA, and then back into English as is spoken in Ireland.

Going the direct route as per my suggestion actually gets you with the incorrect answer.

Whereas you can understand German, French, Dutch etc. using US English as the default, and then the rest of us adding regional variants later, it's confusing on courses like Irish and Welsh, where the other official language of those places is in fact already a form of English that is different to US English. It blurs the lines as to what the "default English" is sometimes unless you switch one's head into gear.


What in God's name are you on about, Luke? The fact that Hiberno-English uses one word for something that Irish, British-English and American-English use two different words for, where "sweet" can mean milseán, "sweet" or "a candy" on the one hand, or milseog, "pudding" or "dessert" on the other, doesn't mean that you have to use US English to understand this exercise, it just means that Hiberno-English has an ambiguity that makes this particular exercise challenging for people who aren't familiar with Hiberno-English. Even Ó Donaill uses "bon-bon" in his explanation of milseán.

Asking someone if they are enjoying the last rolo by saying "How is your sweet?" would make perfect sense to a speaker of either British-English or Hiberno-English. It might confuse a speaker of American-English, so it's bizarre to suggest that this exercise is an example of a bias towards American English.


I wasn't suggesting that - I thought you were suggesting that instead (and that I reluctantly was agreeing with you), think i must have got my wires crossed somewhere.


I referred to the American form "candy" for clarity because it's reasonably unambiguous, even for speakers of Hiberno-English or British English - it wouldn't have been helpful to use the Hiberno-English or British-English version and say "milseán is "sweet" as in "sweet"".

"How is your sweet?" is only ambiguous in Hiberno-English, but referencing a non-ambiguous alternative term only serves to illustrate the difference between milseán and milseog - it doesn't demonstrate a preference for American-English terminology.


Is there anyway that sweet in this context could also refer to a "sweetheart"? I've heard the sentence used this way in the US


No, milseán isn't typically used as a term of endearment in Irish.



I don't think so, no.


Sweet in American English = candy. Took me a while


I get the mh is a "v" sound, but do sounds like "va" to me, what I hear is "conas ata va vilsean", again, I understand the mh as v but not do. Am I hearing things?


Yes, you're hearing things.

You can access the audio directly here and slow it down, it you want.


Ha Ha, and I actually got this one! It didn't make sense but I got it!


American English might say "How is your candy?" As in, how do you like it/are you enjoying it?


My biggest problem with this is knowing when to put "sweet" or "sweets".


Ah, yeah. Google translate does say that "milseáin" is "sweets" and "milis" is "sweet". Maybe this is a case where it's a mass noun in English but not in Irish? galaxyrocker would probably know.


“Candy” can be a mass noun, but “sweet” can’t. Milis is the adjective “sweet”, milseán is the noun “sweet”, and milseáin is the noun “sweets”.


I'm really interested in knowing the answer to this.


How do I tell the singular from the plural here just from listening ? Mhilseán / mhilseáin ?


The only aural difference is that mhilseán ends with a broad N, and mhilseáin ends with a slender N.


Can someone refresh my memory on the literal meaning of this? What is atá and do?


do is "your" (tu)
bhur is "your" (sibh)
atá functions as "is" in this context

So word-for-word it mirrors the English "How is your candy?", which doesn't happen too often in Irish.


This course is brilliant but if it had an ulster Irish pronunciation option for each question it would be perfect. Is there any way that could be a possibility in the future?


Not without the Duolingo infrastructure people making system-wide changes to support more than one recording per exercise — in other words, it might be possible, but it would be extremely improbable.


In theory, multiple recordings wouldn't be necessary. It could be done such that when you click the sound icon, you hear the same word/phrase/sentence repeated differently. Kind of like when you click on a consonant in an interactive IPA chart. It's one sound file that says (for example) "ba; aba; ab" instead of separate files for each. Granted, it wouldn't exactly be optional that way, but it's something.


Yes, having a single recording for an exercise with e.g. three dialects being present on that recording would not require infrastructure changes, but I’d still draw the same conclusion — the chances of that happening are extremely low.


If I could offer a workaround, http://www.abair.tcd.ie/?page=synthesis&lang=eng is a way (pretty beta at the moment) of getting pronunciations in the dialects for written text.


My sweet was feeling sick last week, but it's feeling much better now. Thanks for asking!


"How is your sweet?" Well it's in good shape, but it's feeling a bit worried at the moment as it knows I'm about to eat it." Yes, I hear that conversation almost every day...


Hard to write something in Irish when the dialect seems to be totally different from what is written. Maybe it is just my ears


They are doing well thanks


wait a minute, is sweet like a sweet person or sweet as in candy


Can please someone explain the sense of this sentence? We definatly don't say it in German and I never heard it from a English Speaker


In British English, "sweet" can mean "(piece of) candy".


This has both sweet and candy as translations, but not lolly, which is what I thought was most common (I guess only around here perhaps)


I agree.In Australia lolly is the most common word used


This sentence makes no sense. I think it should be fixed


Do you mean that your English isn't good enough to understand this sentence, or that your Irish isn't good enough? Because there's nothing wrong with either the English or the Irish in this exercise.

If I said Conas atá do cheapaire? would you understand what I meant?


Is that how asking about food is phrased in Irish though? It sounds a bit like it could be a béarlachas..

Does conas not mean something more similar to 'the state' of the sweet, rather than how it tastes, which is what seems to be implied here? What would be the answer to this question?


If you want to ask about the taste of the sweet, ask about the taste - cén blas atá ar do mhilseán?

Conas atá do mhilseán? is asking about the "state" - if the person picked a sweet with nuts, the question could mean "are there enough nuts in it for you?", if they're sucking a cough lozenge, the question could mean "Is your throat feeling any better?", if they picked a cinnamon fireball, it could mean "you can't possibly be enjoying that!".


Right that makes sense and is clear, thank you. I think that context is missing from the question and answer though..


my sweet ? tooth ? heart ?


In this context, "sweet" is another word for "candy".

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