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  5. "Obair scoile"

"Obair scoile"

Translation:School work

April 23, 2015



Yeah, this definitely also means 'homework' too. Or, at least it did at the Gaelscoil I went to. Maybe it's a dialect issue though I guess, I learned Munster Irish.


I've never heard obair scoile as 'homework.' Only obair bhaile, which is corroborated by De Bhaldraithe and the NEID.


I have heard it as 'homework' too - as well as obair bhaile. Gosh, I wish I had access to the internet when I was in the Gaeltacht - not only would I have kept up my streak by working in the evenings, I could have asked my teachers questions.

But I will take your advice and stick to 'school work' here - though what school work would be other than homework I am not sure.

Thank you as always for your answers.


I learnt my Irish with the CBs in Dublin and at the Gaeltacht in Donegal and it always meant homework.

  • 1355

If you did your school work at home, what did you do at school? And when did you do your "obair bhaile?"


Yes thats a good question and a bit of a conundrum. I think both essentially mean the same. I look at is as follows: at school the teacher would give us "obair bhaile" which, when we were at home, would be our "obair scoile" even if it was mostly referred to as "obair bhaile" both meaning homework from different perspectives. At school we were engaged in a process of learning and even though one could be asked if one was working hard at school, I never heard the learning part referred to as school work or "obair scoile".


In German there is quite a similar issue: we have two different words: Schularbeiten (literally: school works) and Hausaufgaben (literally: house exercises) both mean homework. So there are also two different words from different perspectives that are used for the same concept.


Is the "school's work" different than "school work"? The genitive is difficult for me.


Yes — “the school’s work” = “the work of the school” = obair na scoile.


I'm not sure I agree with that. Cydhirra put "school's work", not "the school's work" for which your answer is completely correct. Grammatically not using the English definite article "the" should mean their translation is correct. I think that either "school's work" or "a school's work" should be accepted here. On a correct English translation it would be perfectly valid to use "school's work", in the phrase "A school's work is to educate its students" as an example. Not being a fluent native speaker I may be out to lunch in terms of the Gaeilge idiomatic structure here with the Tuiseal Ginideach(please excuse my spelling but nowadays I think more in terms of TG than the "genitive") but this is a neat question I will be asking my native speaker colleagues when I have a chance...and remember to do so.


You would still use obair na scoile to say that in Irish:
is obair na scoile í chun a dhaltaí a oiliúint.

(you can translate it as either "it's the work of a school to educate its pupils" or "it's a school's work to educate its pupils")


Useful, thanks. Please note that for this case "its" has no apostrophe.
See "It’s or its?"


no, it's means It is,ie, it is the school's work; if it meant "belonging to it" it actually makes no sense


cydhirra asked

Is the "school's work" different than "school work"?

It doesn’t make sense to put that “the” there as is, so one can either interpret the question as having a superfluous “the”,

Is “school’s work” different than “school work”?

or having a misplaced opening quotation mark,

Is “the school’s work” different than “school work”?

My reply was based on the latter, and your reply was based on the former.


I answered the same as @cyhirra and was marked wrong too ... believing everyone is correct here given the context they're using, I'm reporting it as a missing answer. (It accepts both "dog food" and "dog's food", "school work" and "school's work" seems grammatically equivalent.


"school work" is work that pupils do at school, "school's work" is work that a school does (in educating pupils). They are neither grammatically nor semantically equivalent.


If you follow the logic of tranlation that: work of school = school's work, you are right. But in this instance, that English expression does not relate to the Irish expression's true meaning - the work/learning done by students in school (or I guess at home, though I only learned the expression obair bhaile when learning Irish in school).

Therefore, it would be a mistake to consider 'obair scoile' = 'school's work', just as it would be a mistake to consider or confuse 'obair bhaile' as home's work/housework', when the expression means 'homework' in English. school work = obair scoile homework = obair bhaile housework = obair tí

  • 1355

Note that the genitive is used both for creating an adjective of a noun ("dog food", "school work") and for managing the possessive - the problem with taking the the possessive route is that "a school's work" is "the work of a school" - you can't drop that definite article - "work of a school" is meaningless without it, so you are left with only the adjectival "school work" construction.


What do you not understand in my explanation above?


Thanks everyone for your comments regarding "school's work" vs "school work". Scilling is quite right about a superfluous "the". My intent was to compare "school's work" with "school work". The explanations given were very helpful to me.


Still a bit confused. Is "obair scoile" something that is done "at school" or "for school"? In the latter case I would consider "homework" a correct alternative translation, although I tried and it was marked wrong.

  • 1355

You do your obair scoile/"schoolwork" at school, you do your obair bhaile/"homework" at home.


Thank you for the quick response!


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