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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (October-December) » Sentence Structure Pt 3 « Previous Next »

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Joe (62.252.209.49 - 62.252.209.49)
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 06:16 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi - it's me again .... don't groan :)

I have another question which I'm stuck on, and I'd be grateful for some guidance...

Tá tú ag foghlaim Gaeilge > You're learning Irish
An bhfuil tú ag foghlaim Gaeilge? > Are you learning Irish?

I'm confident that I have both of these structures correct but what I want to do is ask somebody why they're learning Irish. The part which is confusing me is this: "Cén fáth an bhfuil tú ag foghlaim Gaeilge?" is my first attempt at asking the question, but it just doesn't feel right. Can I use "cén fáth", or its other forms, such as "cad chuige", together with "an bhfuil" ??

I feel that I'm missing something here and my course book, Now You're Talking, isn't very helpful on this issue and I really would appreciate some help.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh as bhur gcúnamh, mo chairde (I think that's correct)

Joe (the persistant one).

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Aonghus (62.77.191.130 - 62.77.191.130)
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 06:48 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Cén fáth go bhfuil tú ag foghlaim Gaeilge

is what I would say. Can't give you a reason, and I have a strong suspicion that "an bhfuil" may be strictly grammatically correct!





Go raibh míle maith agaibh as bhur gcúnamh, a chairde

a chairde, because it is vocative, and it is clear from your addressing it to us that you consider us to be your friends, so the "mo" is redundant

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James (199.112.55.122 - 199.112.55.122)
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 08:03 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Joe,

I'm going to take a stab at this. I'll probably stand to learn as much from my attempt as you will from your question. At any rate, here goes.

"Tuige a bhfuil tú ag foghlaim an Gaeilge?"

"Tuige" is another way of asking "why" that is found in Lesson 34 of Ó Siadhail. But, like a lot of his work, it gets no comment. It's just there, it shows up in the dialogue and that's it. The structure I used above is directly from that dialogue example.

Now, here's where I'm going to step off into the deep, deep, deep water.

An bhfuil breaks down in this way: An is a positive interogative particle. In other words, its presence indicates the asking of a question in a positive way (ARE you....as opposed to ARE you NOT.....). Bhfuil is a form of the verb Tá that follows particles. Your question is less of a direct interrogation of the facts and more of a query. Hence, I think there is another construction option.

The normal word order in Irish is verb, subject, object and then the rest of the sentence. The verb is often preceded by the verbal particles; negatives, interogatives, etc.

So, if I understand this structure (v,subj,obj) and the accompanying grammar terms I think, and I stress I "THINK" we COULD, maybe, possibly go with:

"Cén fáth ag foghlaim tú an Gaeilge?"

Allowing that Cén fáth is actually three words: Cé (What) contracted with An (the) acting as an interogative particle plus fáth (reason) meaning "what is the reason", I think we are safe in our construction. Interrogative particle, followed by verb (or verb form) then subject (you) and object (an Gaeilge).

This was fun!!! Now, I'll just sit back and let one of these "real" academics come by and blow this whole thing to shreds!

Le meas,

James

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James (199.112.55.122 - 199.112.55.122)
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 08:06 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Looking at what Aonghus had to say makes sense (as well it should!).

What is the reason THAT (go bhfuil) you are studying Irish.

I took too long putting my "novel" together and missed his post altogether!!!

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Aonghus (62.77.191.130 - 62.77.191.130)
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 09:07 am:   Edit Post Print Post

James
Tuige is a contraction of "cad chuige", which means "for what reason" or "to what purpose"

Where you broke through the ice on your previous post was that the whole clause "ag foghlaim Gaeilge " is the object of go bhfuil, so VSO is preserved

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James (199.112.55.122 - 199.112.55.122)
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 10:42 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks. I'm paying the price for a poor foundation in english grammar. I never thought all of that stuff would be of any use. Wow, was I wrong.

Go raibh maith agat, a chara.

Le meas,

James

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Joe (62.252.209.36 - 62.252.209.36)
Posted on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 09:03 am:   Edit Post Print Post

James agus A Aonghuis, a chairde,

First of all let me thank both of you for your replies. I am most grateful for your contributions. But they've left me a little confused still.

James, a chara. Like yourself, I didn't pay much attention to English grammar in my early years at school and I'm regretting that now. I hope that you've learned as much from researching your answer as I did from reading it. That's the beauty of sharing a problem in a forum such as this. It makes learning a much more enjoyable experience. But the piece in your answer which confuses me is the example you quoted from Ó Siadhall's book. I don't have that book, so assuming you didn't typo the quote, Ó Siadhall is saying that you'd use "Cad chuige (or Tuige - thank you, a Aonghuis) a bhfuil tú..." I'm not clear why he's using "a bhfuil" instead of "an bhfuil".

Joe.

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Aonghus (159.134.63.99 - 159.134.63.99)
Posted on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 02:25 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ó Siadhail follows the way Irish is spoken in Cois Fhairrge, in the Galway gaeltacht.

The "n" sound in "an" will disappear in speech.

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James (199.112.55.122 - 199.112.55.122)
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 10:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Joe,

I took it directly from the book and actually had the same question. I have found that there are some typos in Ó Siadhail and Aonghus may well have given the reason.

You are correct regarding this forum. Frankly, if it weren't for this forum and the regular contributors such as Aonghus and many others (Fintan, Larry, etc) I would have been a goner long ago!

Le meas,

James

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Larry (217.42.55.128 - 217.42.55.128)
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 07:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Joe, a chara,

I'd be inclined to go with your first attempt as it appears to make sense to me, although Aonghus is a natural speaker so I would take his advice on this. James is also a very experienced student of Irish and put forward a good case with an excellent explanation.

Another expression for 'why?' is "cad ina thaobh", as in "cad ina thaobh go bhfoghlaimíonn tú é sin?" - why do you learn that?

Le meas,

Larry.

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Joe (62.252.208.89 - 62.252.208.89)
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 04:45 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,

Thanks again for your replies. I'm greatly encouraged by your willingness to help. I'll ponder on everything you've said and let it sink in ;-)

Joe (the most grateful one)

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