"Paul is the president of Ireland."
Translation:Is é Pól uachtarán na hÉireann.
Hmm... I have a word order question:
Why isn't it "Is uachtarán na hÉireann é Pól," in the same way it would be "Is múinteoir é Pól" for "Paul is a teacher"? What am I missing that flips the order to put "é Pól" before "uachtarán na hÉireann"? Or have I completely misremembered my copular sentence structure?
There are a couple of different things happening here. First of all, with an indefinite noun, you have a classification, and the indefinite noun ("a teacher") is the predicate, and in a copular phrase, the predicate comes before the subject.
But with a definite noun, you have an identification rather than a classification, and in certain cases the subject comes before the predicate. One of these cases is when the subject is a personal name.
The page on GnaG that explains this isn't particularly clear, but it might get you started.
This is very helpful, and detailed. @SatharnPHL, can i ask for a further clarification from you? So, in this case, they're both definite noun phrases ('Pól' and 'Uachtarán na hÉireann')? So in my mind the difference is where the emphasis is: (a) "Is é Pól uachtarán na hÉireann" = "PAUL is president of Ireland", i.e. emphasis on Paul, rather than Tom or Harry, being the president of ireland. (b) "Is uachtarán na hÉireann é Pól" = "Paul is PRESIDENT OF IRELAND", i.e. emphasis on Paul being the"president of ireland", rather than being the king, for example. Does this sound about right?
Why are there two "the"'s in "the cover of the book" but only one in "the book's cover"? In Irish, they are both Clúdach an leabhair, as the definite article in a genitive phrase makes the whole phrase definite.
The an in Uachtarán na hÉireann makes the whole phrase definite. For legal and stylistic reasons, Uachtarán na hÉireann is generally not translated as "Ireland's President", but you can see that there is no "the" at all in that construction. Other na hÉireann phrases are translated that way, so Bunreacht na hÉireann can be translated as "The Irish Constitution" or "Ireland's Constitution" or "the Constitution of Ireland", depending on which is most appropriate in a particular context.
It is a feature of the copula that a definite noun cannot immediately follow the copula - you must insert the appropriate pronoun é, í or iad as a "subpredicate" between the copula and the definite noun.
Real Nouns, such as personal names and placenames, are definite nouns, and therefore you need a subpredicate pronoun between the copula and the name.
Thanks, this helps but I have a question please. I can understand in English you could also say 'Paul is President of Ireland' without needing 'the', but how would you differentiate between, say, 'she is a guardian of the Law' and ' she is The guardian of the Law' or 'he is a keeper of the sheep' & 'he is The keeper of the sheep'? Thanks.
Is there a difference between "a guardian of the Law" and "a Law guardian"? Is there a difference between "a keeper of the sheep" and "a sheep keeper"? Is there a difference between "a keeper of the sheep" and "a keeper of sheep"?
You can read some comments about the user of the partative dative for some of these constructions in the comments on other exercises - here are some links to a few of those discussions:
Cat mo mhic
"He gave them his business card"
Is é seo corp an ainmhí
When to use the definite article in the genitive case
The copula is pronounced "iss", not "ish", though it it sometimes devolves to just "sh" before é, í or iad, and in those cases that change in pronunciation will generally be marked in writing with an apostrophe - 's é, 's í, 's ea/sea.
I don't know if this is more common in some dialects than others.