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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2002 (January-June) » "Yes" in a general sense... « Previous Next »

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Doug Slauson (ac9ab609.ipt.aol.com - 172.154.182.9)
Posted on Thursday, February 07, 2002 - 12:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,

Just an observation looking for some acknowledgement. After a month and a half of study and many hours of listening to Raidió na Gaeltacha, I've noticed something. During conversation, when one wishes to say simply "yes" as an acknowlegement of what is being said, it seems that people just say "is ea." I know that there is no exact word for "yes" or "no" in Irish, and that the affirmative (and negative) takes the form of the verb in question, but is my above observation correct? During conversation, can one simply use "is ea" as "yes," or perhaps an American-type "uh-huh"?

Go raibh maith agat.

Doug

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Aonghus (vpn.parthus.com - 62.221.5.1)
Posted on Thursday, February 07, 2002 - 04:24 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Sort of!
Usually written as Sea

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Seosaimhín Nic Rabhartaigh (adsl-64-109-202-192.dsl.milwwi.ameritech.net - 64.109.202.192)
Posted on Thursday, February 07, 2002 - 10:27 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Dhoug,

"Is Ea" or "Sea" as an answer is only correct when a speaker adds the question tag "an ea" to the end of his/her sentence. Then it is appropriate for the other conversant to say "Is ea" or "Sea"

e.g. "Pádraig a bhí ina cheannaire ag an am, an ea?"
( It was Patrick who was the boss at the time,wasn't it?)

"Is ea" / "Ní hea"

("Ní hea" is the negative form of "Is ea" )

However, it has become common practice for a lot of people especially those speakers in Connemara to intersperse their listening with "Sea" in order to affirm what the current speaker is saying, as a sort of moral support in a way.
Speech therapists and linguists would term these reinforcement phrases "fillers" as when people speaking English use, as you put it "ah huh" or "mmm" while nodding their heads!

To surmise then, "Sea" is not grammatically correct, as you will hear it in the absence of "an ea". However, it is in use, but not in all parts of the country. It is rare to find it in Donegal, where I hail from myself, unless the speaker's speech patterns have been corrupted by the habit while living elsewhere.

So, that is my input on "Sea" . I hope it helps you.

Le gach dea-ghuí,
Seosaimhín

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