I do be? (Bim)
The English translations of forms of bim, bionn, etc., just don't make sense -- no one talks like that. Is there a better way to translate those?
They do make sense--I speak like that quite often, actually. Just because they don't exist in your dialect doesn't mean they don't exist at all. :P
AlexinIreland has said that those translations are the closest to what it truly is in Irish -- having an auxiliary verb in that sentence.
It could be the best way to express habitualness if unambiguity is the primary goal; but if reducing ambiguity be the most important criterion, then perhaps tú and thú should be translated as “thou” and “thee” respectively, for precisely the same reason.
brainypirate is mistaken on his “no one talks like that” claim, but just as we’re able to tolerate the ambiguity of “you” regarding number and case, my guess is that we’d be able to cope with “be” being similarly ambiguous for aspect.
Or, would it be better to translate sibh/sibh as the respective second person plural? Generally, that's more common, with "you" being (not in all places, of course) the second person singular.
However, I feel the difference between tá and bí is much harder to grasp than between tú and sibh (especially given quite a few dialects have this distinction, and it's common in other languages), and so there should be a marked difference in the translation.
Mainsteam varieties of English use the ambiguous “I am” for both habitual and non-habitual uses; in Irish, bím vs. táim is unambiguous. Similarly, the ambiguous mainstream English “you” is divided between tú, thú, and sibh in Irish, unambiguously expressing grammatical number and grammatical case for the singular number but leaving ambiguity in grammatical case for the plural number in Irish. Whether maximizing English unambiguity by using non-mainstream forms like “do be”, “thou”, “thee”, and “ye” would be best, or whether living with mainstream English ambiguity would be best, is something that people can and do disagree about; I’m in the latter camp, but the course creators seem to have chosen a mixed path, removing ambiguity from “I am” by using a non-mainstream usage but keeping the ambiguity of “you”.
The advantages of accepting the Early Modern English second person pronouns — “thou”/“thee”/“ye”/“you” for tú/thú/sibh/sibh respectively — as unambiguous alternatives, rather than the modern substitutions of “y’all”/“all y’all”/“youse“/“yinz”/etc. for plural “you”, would be continuity with the standard language of Shakespeare’s era, as well as the acceptance of the still surviving Hiberno-English “ye”. (It would be nice to have some user-selectable controls for choices like this, but that won’t happen any time soon.)
Judging from the discussions here, there seems to be more confusion about the progressive aspect of verbs than about their habitual aspect, despite the decidedly different appearance of Irish progressive verbal noun structures.
Do you remember which skill bím appeared in? I was going to look at what’s currently mentioned in that skill’s Tips and Notes, but I didn’t see a skill title that corresponded well with the habitual.
I think that might actually be part of the problem; it doesn't appear in a single skill, as far as I recall, but is spread out. Often combined with the progressive (the bím ag rith le mo dheartháir sentence, for example). I feel a "habitual bí" skill could be nothing but beneficial.
I agree with galaxyrocker -- it's not introduced separately, but just shows up in sentences somewhere around the time of present tense #2. On my phone, it's come up in several refresher sentences, but I can't get Duo to give me one on my laptop right now. And the bim ag rith example GRocker gave looks familiar.
I would express the same idea (assuming I understand the Irish correctly) with "I go running with my brother." I mean, technically that has ambiguity, but it would only mean anything other than "I habitually run with my brother" in a story written in the present tense, which is a rare enough occurrence, IMO.
Does progressive mean "right now, at this moment", or does it just mean an action that continues in the present time even if not at the moment I'm speaking? I can't think of a good example of an English sentence in which progressive and habitual are combined. If I say "I'm always trying to find good examples", that to me expresses habituality, but it doesn't mean I'm doing that action right now, unless the progressive aspect is broader than simply "at this very moment' and can mean "it's something I do on a regular basis in the present but not necessarily right now."
- “I work in an office” could be either habitual or non-habitual in mainstream English, but it wouldn’t have a progressive aspect.
- “I am working in an office” could be either progressive habitual or progressive non-habitual in mainstream English.
- “I work in an office every day” would only be habitual in mainstream English.
- “I am working in an office every day” would only be progressive habitual in mainstream English.
- “I work in an office today” would unambiguously be the simple present in mainstream English.
- “I am working in an office today” would only be progressive in mainstream English.
Only the habitual meanings, whether progressive or not, would use a “do be” form in Hiberno-English.
Thanks for the breakdown, but I'm not sure some of those translations reflect common mainstream English usage, especially "I am working in an office every day", which would probably just be "I work in an office every day". But I guess people might say "I'm taking vitamins every day" or something like that, so maybe it's just the work example.
I'm also not sure that "I am working in an office" would be the way people would express habituality, but it may just be a problem with that example. I could see that sentence as a response to "where are you right now?", but not as a habitual statement. However, I could see the same construction used to express habituality in the sentence "I'm teaching at the college" as a response to "What's your job?"
Thanks for taking the time to explain all this; I teach college English literature, so I'm constantly paying attention [Hmmm, is THAT phrase an example?] to verb tenses, aspects, etc., and this is the first time I've encountered this type of verb.
Yes, perhaps the six combinations of something like “I eat breakfast” / “I am eating breakfast” with nothing else, “… every morning”, or “… this morning” might better express the differences in colloquial mainstream English. One could receive “I’m teaching at the college” as an answer to “What’s your job?”, since it could (but doesn’t necessarily) be meant in a habitual sense, and since there is some overlap between progressive and continuous aspects in English; similarly, “I am working in an office” could (but isn’t necessarily) be used as a non-habitual answer to “Where are you right now?”, since such a statement (without adverbial context) could be used either way.
I don’t know how frequently the “do be” structure is encountered in Hiberno-English literature; my understanding is that it’s more common in the spoken word, so perhaps it would be most likely to appear in printed form as quoted conversation.
Don't believe anyone who claims this construction is standard in Ireland. I live and work here and the only time I heard it was in learning Irish, where the teacher was trying to explain what this verb tense meant. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but its use is certainly very far from universal.
What could be better fit for Duolingo Irish than Hiberno-English?
The greener the better!☘☘☘
- He does be working every day. Bíonn sé ag obair gach lá.
- They do be talking on their mobiles a lot. Bíonn siad ag caint go leor ar a fóin póca.
- He does be doing a lot of work at school. Bíonn sé ag déanamh go leor oibre ar scoil.
- It's him I do be thinking of. Is air a bhíonn mé ag smaoineamh.
The "do be" tense, i.e., Habitual present
The only verb with habitual present forms is "bí" (root).
habitual present form of bí + subject + ag + verbal noun
Is that how they're translated in the tree? I think it's a mistake to pretend that tenses in one language necessarily have an equivalent in another. Often that's just not the case. We have similar issues in the en/cs tree, because Czech only has two and a half tenses while English has so many that no one is even sure how to count them, but inventing new tenses is hardly the solution to that problem.