Translation:What are the viewpoints of the students?
can someone explain how this goes to "the viewpoints of the students" as in definite article with BOTH nominative and genitive noun? is "the student's viewpoints" always translated then as "the viewpoints of the students"... English is not my native language but I wonder is this even an English thing actually?
Irish, unlike English, can only have one definite article. So in a genitive phrase, it goes between them, and both things can be interpreted as definite. And, yes, this can be either "the students' viewpoints", or "the viewpoints of the students". Personally, the first sounds much better in English.
Everything about the response makes sense, but may I ask what you mean by implying that English can have not just one definite article? Isn't it only ever "the" and only once per noun? What would be an example of what you're referring to in English? (and maybe just for comparison an Irish non-duplicate article of a similar sense, IF you should so feel like it)
It's the structure of the language Tricia, which doesn't match English word for word. Someone told me once that in learning Irish, he had to imagine a kind of pigeon-English before slipping into a natural feeling for the language. The word 'iad' of course means 'them' or 'they', so the literal meaning of the sentence is "What are they, the views of the students?" In Irish usage, which is the way it works rather than what should be logical, leaving out 'iad' would make the sentence gibberish to an Irish speaker.
From an English speaker's perspective: I would not consider "a person's viewpoint" to have the same meaning as "what a person thinks." The first is specific and relevant to a single topic, the second is general and does not clearly indicate a topic.
As to your other example, "what a person thinks /on the matter/" and "a person's thoughts /on the matter/" would be reasonably similar in meaning to "a person's viewpoint" because the phrases clearly indicate a topic being discussed. However, in this specific example, we get into the issue of literally translating the Irish sentence at hand and not providing a sentence with a similar meaning.
Ok... weird question here... I said "What is the viewpoint of the students", and was marked wrong. I understand why, because "dearcthaí" is plural... but is it possible in Irish to specifically say that the students have a single unified viewpoint, so that it would be the singular version of the word dearchtaí (which I don't know at the moment, cause I'm just starting this lesson and am still fuzzy on how to make plurals), or do iad, dearcthaí, and daltaí all have to match in number?