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  5. "His dog enjoys it."

"His dog enjoys it."

Translation:Taitníonn sé lena mhadra.

May 13, 2015



All of a sudden, Duo has come up with a new verb and I'm expected to know it's not acceptable to use the verb I know which means exactly the same thing? What's wrong with the "is maith le" construction here"

[deactivated user]

    I'm expected to know it's not acceptable to use the verb I know which means exactly the same thing?

    It might mean the same thing to you in English but in Irish it doesn't.
    Is maith liom é = I like it. But this construction is not used for "I enjoy".
    Instead the verb taitníonn or the noun taitneamh needs to be used.

    • Taitníonn sé lena mhadra.
    • Baineann a mhadra taitneamh as.


    Just to add to that, you could also change 'taitneamh' to 'sult', if you like. :)

    • 1564

    isn't this the "to shine" verb from several lessons back?


    Taitníonn sé on it's own means "he shines". But taitníonn sé le X means "X enjoys it".

    • 1564

    So, "taitníonn sé liom" : "He shines with me" ? [which is what Duolingo gave as the translation, back in that lesson on "to shine"...although to a native American English speaker that makes no sense, as one generally shines at something, (at math, at football, whatever), not with a person ] . Or should it instead be translated as "I enjoy him" / "I enjoy it" ? (which makes a lot more sense!)


    So, "taitníonn sé liom" : "He shines with me" ? [which is what Duolingo gave as the translation, back in that lesson on "to shine"...

    Are you sure? The preferred Duolingo translation for Taitníonn sé is given as "It shines", but the preferred translation for Taitníonn sé liom is "I enjoy it".

    Remember that can mean "it" as well as "he". "He shines with me" is a literal translation, but it's not what the phrase actually means.


    If you see it again, click on the Discussion link, and see what it shows there as the preferred translation. For better or worse, when Duolingo has been configured to accept multiple translations, it will show the closest match to your entry for it's "correct answer", and while "he shines with me" is a "correct" literal translation, it's nearly as bad as tá sé fear from a practical translation point of view.

    • 1564

    yep, i'm sure...at least in one lesson: I just got it again yesterday when I was re-doing that segment of the first verb lesson. I don't know if it accepts either version --- I responded with the "literal" translation before I saw your comment, and it marked it correct and showed that as its own answer as well. If I encounter it again, I'll try the other version, and/or try a Problem Report if it doesn't accept that.


    The is maith le construction should be acceptable if it was constructed correctly.


    So is "Is maith lena mhadra" correct?

    [deactivated user]

      Is maith lena mhadra is incomplete. It needs to be Is maith lena mhadra é.
      This means 'His dog likes it', it doesn't mean 'His dog enjoys it'. See my comment below for how to say 'enjoy' in Irish.


      Yes, that should be acceptable.


      Thank you! It wasn't accepted, but now I know to report it.


      Is there a way to discern when lena mean "with her" and when it means "with his"?


      The object in possession should provide the clue: whether it is lenited or not. So, when the object is spelled beginning with a consonant:

      "a madra" (no change) - her dog

      "a mhadra" (lenition) - his dog

      And when the object is spelled beginning with a vowel:

      "a húll" (lenition) - her apple

      "a úll" (no change) - his apple

      Notice that if lenition occurs for words beginning in consonants, lenition will not occur for words beginning in vowels. So, replace "a" with "lena" in the above examples, that should help. The possessive "a" only indicates possession, not specifically whose.


      I'm unclear about using a versus Lena. You said that a is nonspecific, but Lena also seems nonspecific since both terms are clarified through lenition? Can you explain this further? Thanks!


      a madra (no change) - her dog
      a mhadra (lenition) - his dog

      lena madra (no change) - with her dog
      lena mhadra (lenition) - with his dog


      Thank you. I only got this right because it had "sé"which was the only "he" I could see. I had no idea it had anything to do with "lena" though that was the basis of my confusion because I thought "lena" had something to do with "hers" or "her". Something is totally missing in these lessons for me. Lenition is just a horror for me though I did stop and study it... so I could get better.....hasn't helped much :(


      I've suggested to other people that "studying lenition" may be the wrong approach - you may be better off learning to recognize situations that cause mutations (lenition or eclipsis) (possessive pronouns, prepositions, feminine nouns, etc) and then work on remembering the rules that apply to specific situations. This approach is particular helpful in situations that involve the possessive pronoun, as you can have lenition, eclipsis or no change after a possessive pronoun, and if you've only studied lenition, but haven't worked on eclipsis yet, you'll be stuck.


      This is true. I know I need to work on eclipsis as well but I really haven't got lenition good yet. One thing at a time works good for me....and that is what I mean by studying lenition--studying the instances where lenition occurs...cause there is no other way to study it. I hope to eventually go on to eclipsis but hope to fine a program that breaks both of them down more. I just can't take in all the different rules at once like this. No practice for all the different instances of change.....it just doesn't come to me that easily....I need practice and haven't found a book or online program that will give me that....yet.


      I'm suggesting trying to study lenition as a single "subject" isn't a productive approach for you, and that you should study where change occurs instead. Pick possession, and work on learning all the rules for the possessive pronouns (some of them cause lenition, some cause eclipsis, some don't cause any change). Get the basics of that situation right, then expand it a bit by looking at how the rules change when you throw words starting with vowels into the mix.

      Study nouns, and learn what rules apply to feminine nouns after an, what rules apply to nouns that start with vowels or the letter S, and how Capital Letters interact with lenition/eclipsis.

      Study prepositions and learn the changes that they cause - maybe split them into groups, one group that cause eclipsis after an and another than doesn't. Then study the numbers, and familiarize yourself with which ones cause eclipsis and which ones cause lenition.

      Studying lenition first, and leaving eclipsis until later may be making it harder for you to keep track of things, because there are so many situations where lenition or eclipsis can occur.


      Yeah, I understand what you are saying but I haven't found a way to study it like that yet. Irish Language books aren't the greatest. They tend to have a lot of explanation but not a lot of exercises and I really think that a good language course must have both. I know I learned French a lot easier in school because the books had a lot of exercises where you can practice. Haven't found that in Irish language books....yet. Really though, I just haven't made a lot of time for Irish lately (it got a bit depressing because I felt like there was just too much at once) so if I come here and still learn something, I am doing good.


      The worst part about the comments is that you can read through them and realize that it has been months and you still can't write or translate this sentence. Still can't remember whether "his" or "hers" gets the extra "h" and still have no idea why this sentence has "lena" in it and where the "it" is?

      [deactivated user]

        Still can't remember whether "his" or "hers" gets the extra "h"

        Here's a table with examples of using the possessive adjectives with various nouns.

        still have no idea why this sentence has "lena" in it and where the "it" is

        Taitin on its own means 'to shine' but taitin with le means 'to be pleased with' or 'to enjoy'.
        The format is: Taitníonn (something) le (somebody).
        This translates to English as (somebody) enjoys (something).

        Taitníonn sé lena mhadra.
        Here (something) is (= it) and (somebody) is a mhadra (= his dog).

        So you would expect the sentence to be: Taitníonn sé le a mhadra.
        But it is difficult to say le + a smoothly. To make it easier an auxiliary letter 'n' is inserted between them so le + a becomes le + n + a = lena and the sentence becomes: Taitníonn sé lena mhadra.


        You know, all this time and it has never been explained so easily for me. I had no idea that "taitin" and "le" used together meant "to enjoy something" I always thought that "taitin" meant "to shine" but could also mean "enjoy" and I never understood why. I had all sorts of people try to explain it but they all used examples that I couldn't understand. I do very much appreciate such an understandable, thorough answer.


        Thanks for asking the question becky3086 and thanks to moloughl for a comprehensive reply that will benefit many of us. Athbhliain shláintiúl daoibh.


        I very helpful addition, thank you. My query is about "taitníonn .. le" not being about "like," but rather being about "enjoy." Hmm... http://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/taitin gives this example: "Taitníonn sé leis na daoine, the people are fond of him." IMHO "fond" is closer to "like" than "enjoy," but maybe we're splitting hairs.


        On the his/her thing:

        • Mo mhadra = my dog
        • Do mhadra = your dog
        • A mhadra = his dog
        • A madra = her dog

        The "h" is the default option. When Irish grammar was being invented, women were evidently an afterthought ... Does that help?

        The sentence has "lena" in it purely because it's not allowed to write "le a" in Irish - you must write lena instead. It's just one of those things you have to learn. Similarly, you can't write "le ár" - it's lenár.


        It seems to me this answer translates to:" he enjoys his dog". I thought the correct translation should be: "Taitníonn a mhadra leis"


        taitníonn X le Y - "Y enjoys X" - note that the order of X and Y changes. (This change in order is the same as in Tá X ag Y - "Y has X").

        In this case X is - "it", and Y is a mhadra - "his dog", so "Y enjoys it" becomes "his dog enjoys it".

        For those who prefer so called literal translations, taitníonn sé lena mhadra can be "it shines with his dog", which you can teach yourself to convolute into "it pleases his dog", or "his dog enjoys it". The problem with this "literal" approach comes when you translate taitníonn sé lena mhadra as "he shines with his dog", which naturally leads people to jump to the seemingly "sensible" statement "he enjoys his dog"

        [deactivated user]

          taitníonn sé lena mhadra can be "it shines with his dog", which you can teach yourself to convolute into "it pleases his dog", or "his dog enjoys it".

          When taitin occurs with le it is not translated as 'to shine with'. Instead it means 'to please', 'to give satisfaction to', 'to give enjoyment to' so there is no need for us to convolute it into this meaning. Both Ó Dónaill and Dineen give this separate meaning for taitin le.

          Other words for 'to shine' are lonraigh and dealraigh
          Lonraíonn an ghrian = the sun shines.
          Dealraíonn an ghrian = the sun shines.

          Dealraigh too has a separate meaning when used with le.
          Dealraigh le means 'to liken to'.


          Obviously - but some people still insist on relying on "literal" translations in this type of situation, even though it's unreliable and misleading.


          Just wanted to say this is why I'm loving learning Irish. The idea that something is shining when it's being enjoyed by someone is such a beautiful way of thinking about it.

          • 1449

          Irish speakers really don't think about it that way - they just happen to use that verb in two different contexts. English speakers don't think of food when someone says that they are "fed up", you don't look for a key when someone talks about a "lock of hair".


          I haven't come across lena before. Why isn't 'his dog' translated as a mhadra?


          "his dog" is a mhadra.

          But to say "Y enjoys X", you use the structure "taitníonn X le Y", and you can't say le a mhadra, you have to change it to lena mhadra.

          This happens simply because it's easier to say lena mhadra than le a mhadra, where you have to stop between le and a.


          It seems Taitníonn requires a with e.g. "ls".. In this case "lena" means with his so "lena mhadra"


          which are the other pronouns to talk about my, your, our and so on in those cases?

          • 1449

          Lancet gave the translations for my, your, his and hers above.

          Mo mhadra = my dog - Taitníonn sé le mo mhadra.
          Do mhadra = your dog - Taitníonn sé le do mhadra.
          A mhadra = his dog - Taitníonn sé lena mhadra.
          A madra = her dog - Taitníonn sé lena madra.
          ár madra = our dog - Taitníonn sé lenár madra.
          bhur madra = your dog - Taitníonn sé le bhur madra.
          a madra = their dog - Taitníonn sé lena madra.

          The plural forms normally take eclipsis rather than lenition, but you can't eclipse "m". If it was cat instead of madra, you'd have ár gcat, bhur gcat and a gcat.


          Why is "Taitnionn a mhadra e'' incorrect?

          • 1449

          The verb taitin doesn't mean "to enjoy". Taitníonn a mhadra é means "His dog shines it".

          The phrasal verb taitin le means "to please", so Taitníonn sé lena mhadra means "it pleases his dog", or "his dog enjoys it".


          every now and again I struggle with sé/é - can someone explain in idiot's terms when one or the other is used?

          • 1449

          (and and siad) are only ever used as the subject of an active verb, and immediately after that verb. In all other cases, including the copula, you use é (or í or *iad).


          Is there any difference from riding this as "He enjoys his dog"?

          • 1449

          Taitníonn a mhadra leis - "He enjoys his dog"
          Taitníonn sé lena mhadra - "His dog enjoys it"


          why does duolingo want me to say "taitníonn sé lena mhadra" but when the same sentence comes up with a cat i must say "is maith lena chat é"? the opposite form is not accepted on either one and it's very frustrating, I believe they should both have been accepted

          • 1449

          Are you referring to the exercise "His cat likes milk", and it's pair Is maith lena chat bainne?


          What does word "lena" mean? Is it something like "le" + "na" or smth different?

          BTW, i noticed that the word in question seems not to follow the rule "broad with broad, slender with slender" since letter n is surrounded by both e and a. Why is this so?

          • 1449

          lena is le + a (the possessive adjective meaning "his", "her" or "their").

          The n was introduced in normal speech because it is easier to say lena than le a, and leathan le leathan, caol le caol is not voilated because lena is effectively a compound word.


          The only way I can make sense of this word order is as follows:

          IRISH - VSO
          Taitníonn sé lena mhadra Verb Subj Object Sees-enjoyment he in-his dog

          ENGLISH - SVO He sees-enjoyment in-his dog Sub Verb Object

          I hope this makes sense.

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