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  5. "An bhean bheag agus an fear …

"An bhean bheag agus an fear mór."

Translation:The small woman and the big man.

January 28, 2015



Does lenition on 'bheag' occur because 'bean' is feminine? Would the male equivalent be 'an fear beag'?


Yes, that's it!


And so that is the same reason that bean gets séimhiúed as well and fear doesn't, because of the word genders? Any tricks to knowing what other words are masculine and feminine so we can know when to séimhiú adjectives (e.g. tabla, leabhar, cathaoir)?


Yes. There are some general guidelines (put “Acme AND declension AND guesser” in the Irish Discussions search box next to the green New Discussion button to find them), but the best method is to also learn the noun’s gender when you learn a noun.


Excuse my ignorance, but do other languages have similar rules as this? And for native speakers of Irish, do these 'rules' just come naturally?


I’m not sure how specific a “this” you mean, but other languages modify adjectives by noun gender, e.g. masculine beau vs. feminine belle in French, and other languages sometimes have categories that are determined by suffixes, e.g. -chen signifying neuter diminutives such as Mädchen in German.

Since I’m not a native speaker of Irish, I can’t say how “natural” those rules are, but I’d imagine it would be similar to e.g. putting adjectives of size before adjectives of color in English — i.e. it’s “natural” for native speakers of English to refer to “a big blue ball” rather than “a blue big ball”, even though the latter phrase is also grammatically correct.


Good example, and yeah that makes sense. It was actually the genitive rules that got me thinking about this. It was actually trying to get my head around the lessons on the genitive that got me thinking about this. As in 'capall' is the nominative singular, but nominative genitive is 'capaill', but these essentially get reversed in the plural (but with a h in the singular genitive and a g in the plural genitive). Obviously, it seems random to somebody like me, but probably makes perfect sense to a Gaeilgoir. But I'm aware that I'm coming at the language from a point where I didn't understand any of this at school.


yes, in breton you would use the same pattern : ar vaouez vihan hag an den bras ( maouez and bihan changes because of the gender): You ear it when someone doesn't say it correctly.


If you grew up speaking irish and are fluent you dont have to think as much about the rules but if you learnt it in school like me you have to learn all tje rules


Yes. Because the word bean is feminie so it puts a sheimhiú (h) in the following adjective. Masculine words don't do that because there masculine


sounds like a bad sitcom


'An fear mór' reminds me of 'en farmor' which means 'a grandmother' in Swedish. :->


There's a lot of small women in this and most of them are not neamhsplaech


Being in the cuisneoir all the time doesn't help with the neamhspleachness.


Does "big man" equal "tall man" in this context, or what would be the Irish equivalent of that?


Big man is fear mór but tall man is fear ard. You can ise both like Is fear mór ard é He is a big tall man


an bhean bheag - the wee/small woman


Apparently, wee is wrong. I think there are plenty of people in Ireland who would disagree.


Jack Sprat comes to mind


Wasn’t it his wife who could eat no lean?


Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean, so between them both, you see, they licked the platter clean! Yup XD


Tá mé go maith


You're a big guy


If you were learning English, you'd learn that "a big blue ball" is the correct order because we put words with i or e, or "short sounds" before long sounds like o, u, and a. There are very few, if any, exceptions when it comes to adjectives in a row. You learn your first language instinctively.


So you would never say "a small red ball", because the long "a" comes before the short "e"?

People really do come up with the most bizarre explanations for things that they don't understand.

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