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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!


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.



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?


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!


@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


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.


I used to think French pronunciation and orthography were difficult.


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?”).


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


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”.


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.


"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...


can do mhilséan mean something like your partner/SO?


What you call your partner/SO in the privacy of your own home is entirely up to you, but milseán is not generally used as a term of endearment in Irish.


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