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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (July-September) » Should -v- Would « Previous Next »

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Joe (62.252.204.253 - 62.252.204.253)
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 06:12 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Tá ceist eile agam oraibh. I have another question...

I'm trying to translate the question "Shouldn't you be at work today?" into Irish but I'm confused about the Irish word for 'should'. I understand that 'shouldn't' forms a negative question but my text book "Now You're Talking" isn't very helpful re the difference between 'would' and 'should'

I'd be very grateful for any help on this.

Joe (An Ceistitheoir)

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James (199.112.55.62 - 199.112.55.62)
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 07:55 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Joe,

I'm away from my resources right now but off the top of my head I would think that you would need to use the word "Nach" so that you get a construction more like "Should not you be at work today?"


Nach bhfuil an fear anseo?

Is the man not here? or Is not the man here?

Both would be equivalent to the contraction "Isn't the man here?"

Think of putting the question "Should you be at work, today?" into a negative by preceding your construction with "Nach".

I'll get back in the books tonight and see if I can come up with something. Perhaps by that time the "gaeilgoiri" will have set us both straight!

Ard Mheas,

James

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Aonghus (62.77.191.130 - 62.77.191.130)
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 09:23 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Nár cheart duitse bheith ar obair? (The copula (is) strikes again...)
or
Nach ceart duitse bheith ar obair?

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Joe (62.252.208.80 - 62.252.208.80)
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 10:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

James, a chara

Thanks for your prompt reply. I appreciate it :)

A Aonghuis, a chara

So the word I'm looking for to express 'should' (as an obligation) is 'ceart' - have I got that right?? The piece that confuses me in the book is the phrase "Ba mhaith liom...?" (I would like...) or "Nior mhaith liom..." (I wouldn't like....) and I've been trying to be more positive than merely asking "wouldn't you be at work?"

Joe.

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Larry (217.42.55.102 - 217.42.55.102)
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 11:06 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Joe, a chara,

As so often happens here on this board, Aonghus has pointed you in the right direction. He has also introduced you to the dreaded copula. The only thing I can add to his excellent response is this:

Think of the expression 'Ba cheart dom imeacht' - I should go.

Change the 'Ba' to 'Níor' and you have "I should not go", change it to 'ar' and you have a positive question "Should I go?" and finally change it to 'nár' and you have a negative question "Should I not go?"

Ba becomes b', níor becomes níorbh, ar becomes arbh and nár becomes nárbh when it's in front of a word beginning with a vowel or fh. They all cause lenition.

If you haven't already done so, try and get hold of a table listing the various uses of the copula.

Le meas,

Larry.

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Tomás (198.22.236.230 - 198.22.236.230)
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 11:21 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Sheosamh, a chara, -- I'm sure Aonghus will jump back in here with a native speaker's clearer perspective, but while we are waiting, let me shed some darkness on the matter... There really is no word for "should" in Irish. There are specific forms of the verbs -- An Modh Coinníollach or Conditional Mood -- used to say "should" or "would". For the Copula it is some form of "ba". The construction "Ba mhaith liom" that you cite above is literally translated to mean "It would be good for/with me..." "I would like..." is the figurative English translation. Likewise, the construction Aonghus used "Na/r cheart duitse..." is simply the negative interrogative form (asking a negative question) of the statement "Ba cheart duit..." "Ba cheart duit" means "It would/should be right for you..." So, "Nár cheart duitse bheith ar obair?" would literally translate to "Wouldn't/Shouldn't it be right for you to be at work?" An-shimplí, nach bhfuil?!! ;-)

-- Tomás

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Larry (217.42.55.102 - 217.42.55.102)
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 12:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Tá an ceart ag Tomás (note a further use of the word 'ceart') - Tomás is correct. You use the conditional mood of the copula.

(btw, very simple = an-simplí)

Given a good table of the copula, it should all become clear to you.

Le meas,

Larry.

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Aonghus (62.77.191.130 - 62.77.191.130)
Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 09:32 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Scríobh Tomás
>>I'm sure Aonghus will jump back in here with a native speaker's clearer perspective

I don't think I have any perspective!
I just know "Nár cheart duitse bheith ag obair" is how I would say "Shouldn't you be working?"


Knocking around here has made me aware of the existence of the copula, and that it trips people (who didn't grow up speaking the language) up. So I put in the "Here be dragons" type comment....

I don't usually think about the Modh conníollach etc., but I try to point out, if I notice, that I've used it!

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Jonas (213.243.178.202 - 213.243.178.202)
Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 10:39 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Aonghus is absolutely right.

Joe, if you said "Níor mhaith liom bheith ar obair" you've said that you would not WANT to be at work. "Níor cheart dom bheith ar obair", on the other hand, means that there is a specific reason why it's wrong (more or less) that you are at work.

So if you were asking
"Nár mhaith leat bheith ar obair?" you would have enquired about someone's wishes. By asking "Nár cheart duit bheith ar obair?" you have focused on his obligations.

In short (and sorry for saying the same thing over and over again):
"Ba cheart do" means that one would HAVE TO do something
"Ba mhaith le" means that one would WANT TO do something

Hope this helps

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Joe (62.252.204.65 - 62.252.204.65)
Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde,

You have all been a big help and I want to thank everybody for their contributions. I understand the structure now :)

Thank you very much.

Joe (the satisfied one)

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