"He smokes tobacco."
Translation:Bíonn sé ag caitheamh tobac.
So ... caitheann sé tobac sounds like it should be an accepted answer too for the translation exercise from English (of "He smokes tobacco"), but it isn't. Is that an oversight, or does one just not say that in Irish? (I reported it as "my answer should be accepted", but is it really the case?)
I'm confused by this. We're told in other lessons that "Tá sé ag obair" means "he is working", "bíonn sé ag obair" means "he does be working" and "Oibríonn sé" means "he works". So I don't get why "he smokes tobacco" is "Tá sé ag caitheamh tobac" or "bíonn sé ag caitheamh tobac", surely based on the previous examples to do with work that "he smokes tobacco" would be "caitheann sé tobac" ? Any thoughts?
For consistency with the “work” examples that you’d mentioned, Tá sé ag caitheamh tobac = “He is smoking tobacco”, Bíonn sé ag caitheamh tobac = “He does be smoking tobacco”, and Caitheann sé tobac = “He smokes tobacco”. The exercises here don’t always use the “does be” structure when a bíonn translation is expected.
Well, I am glad it made sense to someone because I just thought it must be wrong. Somebody tell me is this the verb always used for this or is there another word for "smokes" and "smoking"? I won't even get into why I never get any of the "Bionn" sentences right. I am not sure how anyone can tell if this means the person is smoking right now or always smokes...or apparently both, ugg....just when I get to where I am understanding a "little" (I get the ones with "ag" not so much the ones with "a") we get a new exception!
The entry for caith in the Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla gives "wear", "consume", "spend", "throw" and "denoting obligation, necessity" as some of the different meanings that caith commonly has, as well as a few other less common uses.
Duolingo has exercises demonstrating all of these different ways that the verb caith is used in everyday Irish:
Caithimid an sciorta "wear"
"Bhí siad ag caitheamh tobac roimh an rang "consume"
Caithim mo shaol thar lear "spend"
Caithim an chathaoir "throw"
Caithfidh mé dul anois - "obligation, necessity"
Duolingo doesn't do this to confuse you - these are all ordinary examples of how the verb is used, and they are all straightforward in context.
If you want to read or listen to Irish, you are going to hear caith used in all of these ways very early on - "throw", "wear", "spend" , "I have to" are all very common words. Which one do you not want to learn?
It's precisely because it's such a versatile verb, used in a number of different ways, that it pays to become familiar with it. It has other, more obscure meanings too, that aren't necessary for beginners, and Duolingo doesn't cover them, but ignoring any of the 5 common uses would be like deciding to only cover the numbers 1 to 4, because it's too confusing to teach beginners 10 completely different numbers.
The basic meaning is "throw". By extension, it can also mean "spend", which kind of makes sense to be connected with "throw". And I guess from there you get to things like "consume", "smoke" and "wear" somehow, though I would agree that this derivation is kind of odd.
I guess the reason why I could remember this word relatively easily anyway is because these extensions of its meaning were so absurd that it made the word special and somehow funny.