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  5. "bia na gcat"

"bia na gcat"

Translation:The cats' food

March 3, 2015



Maybe the best way to understand the use of cases, is not to think in English, but try to look further to the big tree of Indo-european languages, with originally eight cases. In the monstruous sentence Look Brian, Pol gives the cat the food from the fridge with the help of his sister's spoon in his house in Waterford. All these parts of the sentence are in Sanskrit or Russian in different cases. All these cases have a function in the sentence and they were discernible in word endings. And they still are explicit in many other languages, but hardley in English. Brian is the Vocative or the Direct adress of the sentence. Pol is the subject, in the nominative case. The food is the direct object, in the accusative case. The cat is the one whoM (mmm, English case ending) the food is given to, the indirect object, in the dative case. From the fridge states the source or ground, the ablative case, in some languages the prepositional case. With the help of indicates the instrumental case. His sister's spoon indicates belonging or possession, the genitive case. In his house in Watford gives the location, the locative case. Then imagine you actually hear this different case endings yourself in real life. I left the allative case out (the direction or towards case). To hell! , or the more neutral downhill is a good example for that case.


Thank you. The first time use of the most popular teaching tool, the concrete example. You have answered the question we all had. I’m writing out the example and circling its parts to label “dative” “accusative” “genitive” etc. Thank you.


The cat's food or the cats' food?


Try the food of the cats


"cat" is of the first declension


confirmed by the dictionary, which also shows its male...


rules for first declension are here


so far, "cat" nom. sing. has modified to "cat" gen. plural. Now final rule: all genitives plurals get eclipsed when you prefix with "na"

2.1   When do we eclipse nouns?

Collins Dictionaries (2011-07-28). Easy Learning Irish Grammar (Collins Easy Learning Irish) (Irish Edition) (Kindle Location 404). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.

  • 5 groups of eventualities


A noun’s gender is described as masculine rather than male.


Tried to read the comments. I now barely understand what this sentence means in english anymore. Questioning a lot right now.


Is "bia na chait" a valid phrase? (the cat's food) I was given the choice from cait/chait/gcat, with no english for context.


No, it is not The easiest way would be to look it up.


(If would want to deduct it from a set of rules, then you would have to start knowing the gender and then to go further from that. Event declension was not easy to figure out with the shown rules ...)


Thanks. I gather "na" is genitive singular only for feminine nouns; as "cat" is masculine what I suggested doesn't work.


Thanks for the link. I'm upvoting.


Food of the cats ?


The food of the cats.


Shouldn't it be "cat's" not "cats"?


No, na gcat is plural and genitive. If it were the food of one cat, it would be bia an chait.

If you're wondering about the position of the apostrophe, it goes after the pluralizing "s" in the case of a plural possessive. "The cat's food" means "the food of one cat", whereas "the cats' food" is "the food of at least two cats."


I have no idea where any of these apostrophes go. I am totally guessing. I think when I actually first went through this lesson, I had some understanding of it....apparently not any more, lol.


Basically, if the noun is plural the apostrophe goes after the s. That's all there is to it. Same as with singular nouns that end in s.


Yeah, I understand how it works in English but I just don't know which one of the Irish ones are plural, they all look plural and I don't know which is which.


One rule of thumb that usually helps me is that eclipse usually happens in the plural (like here), while singular nouns are more often lenited. That is not nearly a rule, but probably close to 2/3 of the time.

I definitely agree that it is confusing that cat can mean both "a cat" and "of cats."


I found out how it works here: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Irish_mutations. The presentation is quite clear, so you can scroll down to the thing you're currently trying to figure out and ignore the rest for now. Practical having the whole subject on one page, too, so you don't have to look in various places every time.


Fantastic! Thank you. You’re right. Best explanation yet.


Is the above translation also the way to say catfood?

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