"The dog pays for the cat."
Translation:Íocann an madra don chat.
This sentence is causing problems at home. My cat was helping me with the grammar, and when he read this sentence he assumed that this was to be understood as normative canine behaviour. Now he is miauwing for the dog to take him down to the takeaway for some cod and chicken slices.
Can someone clarify and post some examples to compare and contrast. Does Íocann an madra don chat, mean the dog is paying to buy a cat or does it mean the dog is paying the cat's fare, like on a date? Whichever it is, could you also give examples of the other so we can see both side by side? Thank you kindly!
If the dog is buying the cat, "The dog pays for the cat" is Íocann an madra as an gcat. If the dog is paying for the cat's ticket or meal, "The dog pays for the cat" is Íocann an madra don cat. English is ambiguous in this regard.
If the dog is paying the cat (giving the money to the cat), you say Íocann an madra leis an gcat.
The lesson notes are a great quick reference - at least if you check them on the unofficial page DuoMe. Here they are for lenition and eclipse:
As you can see, m ⇒ mh conversion always means lenition. In fact, the letter m cannot be eclipsed.
So the trick is to find out when the m needs to be lenited. As you say, madra is always masculine, so the rules about gender are irrelevant. But the possessive mo, do, and a (in the meaning of "his") do all cause lenition. Hence,
- an madra, but
- mo mhadra
I recommend writing the conversion tables and rules down a few times at some interval - that'll help them stick eventually. :)
- cat = radical (base) form
- chat = lenited form
- gcat = eclipsed form
For the specific sentence, don triggers lenition, as according to the lesson notes.
Lenition and eclipsis are core concepts in Irish grammar. If you are not familiar with these, I strongly suggest reading the lesson notes on each and doing relevant exercises until you get the general gist of it.