If I was happy, I would sing
How would you say this in Irish. I don't think it's má bhí mé sásta, chanfainn but I dont know what it actually is. Does anyone know how to say something like this?
If you use the conditional is one part, you have to use it in both.
Dá mbeadh mé sásta (dá mbeinn sa gCaighdeán), chanfeadh mé (chanfainn sa gCaighdeán).
According to Ó Siadhail it's bheinn, bheifeá, etc. in Cois Fhairrge too, so you might want to give that place a miss :)
I learned in Carraroe and from a teacher from Lettermullen and that's what they used. I thought they were part of South Connemara, but I could be wrong.
In English, did you use “was” to refer to some past time, or did you use “was” in place of the subjunctive “were”?
I'm assuming subjunctive based on his translation. Also, it's perfectly acceptable to use was, and probably is used in more dialects than not.
The use of “was” allows for ambiguity, hence my question on which meaning of “was” was intended.
Then you have a choice of the conditional (Dá mbeinn sásta ) or the past subjunctive (also Dá mbeinn sásta, for bí ) for the initial clause. I don’t know enough about Irish dialectal use to comment on additional options.
It wouldn't matter in any case, scilling, as the past subjunctive has the same form as the past habitual. It's not accepted in the course, I hasten to add, as I'm not sure to what extent it still exists in the various dialects.
The conditional seems to have replaced it, as the past tense has in English, an interesting contrast/commonality.
I do know that the past subjunctive rarely appears in print, much like its present equivalent. The old grammars are not very comprehensive, but the newer ones are practically silent, unfortunately.
It matters for bí — its past subjunctive is beinn, but its past habitual is bhínn.
The conditional conjugation has supplanted the "original" past subjunctive, which was conjugated similarly to the past habitual. I appreciate that some newer books have the conditional listed as the past subjunctive, though. I see it has now been relagated to dialect status here:
It is also among the works of one of Donegal's best known writers [from Wiki]:
Is iad na leabhair is tábhachtaí dár scríobh Seosamh ná Pádraic Ó Conaire agus Aistí Eile, An Druma Mór, Eoghan Ruadh Ó Néill, Dá mBíodh Ruball ar an Éan agus Mo Bhealach Féin.