Yes, I intentionally put "He looked upon the book" to see if it gets accepted, it wasn't. How does one say "He looked on (upon) something"?(Is it dependent on the context? In that case, my answer should be accepted)
No, it shouldn't. For a start, "he looked on the book" isn't valid, and it doesn't mean the same as "he looked upon the book" - "looked upon" usually means "considered" or "regarded" ("he looked upon manual labour as beneath him") and when it is used in the vision sense, it applies a sense of distance - "the cottage looked out upon the valley"
More importantly, though, even if your English was OK, by using such a literal but unlikely translation, you indicate that you're not familiar with the ordinary idiomatic use of the preposition ar in this particular phrase. If you think that d'fhéach sé ar means "he looked upon", how would you say "he looked at" - d'fhéach sé ag?
If I may argue (after being told that my English is not okay :-) ), AHD 4th notes under "on":
In their uses to indicate spatial relations, on and upon are often interchangeable: It was resting on (or upon) two supports. We saw a finch light on (or upon) a bough. To indicate a relation between two things, however, instead of between an action and an end point, upon cannot always be used: Hand me the book on (not upon) the table. It was the only town on (not upon) the main line. Similarly, upon cannot always be used in place of on when the relation is not spatial: He wrote a book on (not upon) alchemy. She will be here on (not upon) Tuesday.
(It seems the 5th edition has defined "upon" as "on", without noting that there is a difference. However, this is irrelevant to our discussion)
My attempt to use upon in this context was to get a question answered without asking, I believe I know "ar an", although most certainly not as a native knows. I think you're a little put on guard by such short an explanation I provided, I apologize!
I wonder, if a soldier was to see the enemy forces from a watch tower, a higher point, would there be any expressible difference in Irish, as there is in English? If I say He looked at the army, it might occur that he was standing on open ground, yet if I say He looked upon [on] the army it can indicate that he did so from a vantage point.
The NEID uses the preposition ó for the intransitive "observe passively" of "look on" ("he looked on as the birds chased the cat away"), but you can't use "upon" in that situation.
The examples of "looked upon" in potafocal, are all in the the "regarded/considered" meaning and use ar, but that's not relevant to this exercise.
Ní scrúdú ródhian a bhí ann ach féachadh air mar chéim thábhachtach i saol an dalta
Go mbreathnófaí ar an nGaeilge mar theanga bheo
Déantar trácht i Meiriceá ar “The Holidays” agus uaireanta breathnaítear ar na focail sin mar chinn a úsáidtear chun "Christmas" a sheachaint, ach is éard atá i gceist ag daoine ná "Lá Altaithe agus Lá Nollag"
Agus é ag fás aníos i Sasana, amharctaí ar Éireannaigh mar chine a bhí ‘inherently inferior’
The point about a phrase like "He looked upon [on] the army it", is that you wouldn't translate it as D'fhéach sé ar an arm, because it would be back-translated as "He looked at the army". If you wanted to imply that he was looking from afar, you'd use a verb like fair, which would probably be back-translated as "observed" or "watched" (which is what you actually meant in the first place).
I just read, in the OED under "look",
The usual prep. introducing the object of vision is now at; the older to look on, to look upon, are in the literal sense either arch., or include a mixture of the notion of mental watching or contemplation.
You're very right! I was discussing "on" and "upon" alone rather than in combination with "look".
Also thank you for the instructions, and the text. I'll go through the text ASAP, as an additional practice!
(Note to self - I feel honored I too part in a meaningful discussion in Irish)
Different languages don't always use the same prepositions. Irish doesn't use "ag" in this situation, English doesn't use "on" in this situation. (Why do you "look at" something, but "listen to" something?)
No. Féach ar is translated as "watch" or as "look at" depending on which seems most appropriate. So you can translate bhí mé ag féachaint ar chlár teilifíse aréir as "I was watching a television program last night" or "I was looking at a television program last night", but it would be a bit weird to say "I watched a book".