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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 2005- » 2006 (July-August) » Does the Use of the Imperative Automatically Imply Impoliteness? « Previous Next »

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 205.188.116.70
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 11:34 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

We started discussing the use of the imperative on a previous thread so I thought I would move the subject to a new thread to avoid interfering with the purpose of the original thread.

My question is: In Irish, does the use of the imperative form of a verb automatically imply impoliteness? The example we were discussing was the verb "mair." I've been advised that using the imperative form "mair" is impolite and that "Go maire tú" would be the polite way of saying "live." Since I don't know any better, I thought that "mair" and "go maire tú" have different meanings. That is, "mair" simply means "live" where as "go maire tú" means "[I] wish you to live." Of course, in English, the use of the imperative can be either polite or impolite, depending on the tone of voice. For example, if I were to say, "come in" to someone visiting my home, and I used a pleasant voice while saying it, I don't think anyone would consider it impolite.

I've often heard the Irish form of "come in" said by Irish speakers as "Tar isteach." Since they are using the imperative, are they being impolite when they say it that way? In order to be polite, would they have to say "go dtaga isteach?"

Here's another dilemna that I'm in if I follow the logic that "imperative = impolite." In the Lord's prayer, we say "give us this day our daily bread." To be polite, at least in Irish, must we say "go dtuga Tú" etc.?

I'm sure there are many other examples of where the imperative form of the verb is used and so I'm tempted to think that in all those cases the Irish speakers are not always being impolite.

But then again, I'm just a student and would like clarification from those more knowledgeable.

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Taidhgín
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Username: Taidhgín

Post Number: 32
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 02:08 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I may be out of my depth here in trying to explain this but to tell someone to "do" something one would have a number of options:
"Déan é" (Do it!) -- clear but abrupt.
"An ndéanfá é" (Would you do it) -- polite using the Modh Coinníollach
"Ar mhiste leat é a dhéanamh" -- (Would you mind doing it / Would you be the worse for doing it) -- polite using the phrase "ar mhiste leat".
I don't know how to get "go ndéana tú é" (that you may do it) into this explanation because it doesn't seem to fit unless one were to say "Táim ag guí go ndéana tú é" which is very far-fetched.

Regarding "Tar isteach" or "Tagaigí isteach" (come in) there is no impoliteness there except native Irish speakers may not actually use those words. You may rather hear "Goitse" or "Ga'i le' = Gabh i leith" or "Bí istigh" or some other such.

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Larry
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Username: Larry

Post Number: 200
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 06:41 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

The use of the imperative does not automatically imply impoliteness.

By way of another example, "Ná habair é" (don't mention it) is sometimes used in response to "go raibh maith agat."

You can always add "please" when the imperative is used ;)

Larry Ackerman

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Odwyer
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Username: Odwyer

Post Number: 194
Registered: 05-2006


Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 06:44 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I read that the use of the imperative never implied politness.

Ceartaígí mo chuid Ghaeilge, le bhur dtoil!

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Niallmac
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Username: Niallmac

Post Number: 62
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 04:18 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I dont think it implies impoliteness but could easily do so. You cannot really say live in an impolite manner really.. i think mair would be the equivalent to carpe diem.. Sieze the day.. do it now!..

something like bog ar aghaidh!.. (move on) or something would be a more impolite usage of it..

(Message edited by niallmac on August 28, 2006)

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Paul (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 216.86.52.122
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 10:11 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

A chairde,

Well, there's "tar isteach" and phrases like that
that aren't impolite. There's a discussion of this
in Now You're Talking/Irish on Your Own, which I don't have on hand at the moment.

Le meas, Paul

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Niallmac
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Username: Niallmac

Post Number: 64
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 10:25 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

now theres a good example tar isteach, dean deafar, bí curamach... sin é, it doesnt automatically imply impoliteness!

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Abigail
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Username: Abigail

Post Number: 43
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 10:43 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I wouldn't say the imperative is impolite necessarily... just that there are several more elaborate/polite ways of asking people to do something. It's really no different than English in that respect.

Dún an doras. -- Close the door.
An ndúnfaidh tú an doras? -- Will you close the door?
An ndúnfá an doras? -- Would you close the door?
Ar mhiste leat an doras a dhúnadh? -- Would you mind closing the door?

The subjunctive comes into play when you're expressing a wish -- you wouldn't use it for making a request:
Téigh slán abhaile. -- Go home safely.
Go dté tú slán abhaile. -- May you go home safely.

Sin de réir mar a thuigimse, ar a laghad...

Abigail

Tá fáilte roimh chuile cheartú!

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Caitrionasbcglobalnet
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Username: Caitrionasbcglobalnet

Post Number: 199
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 11:35 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I always enjoy your posts Abigail.
Sin mar a thuigimse é freisin,

Caitríona

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Abigail
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Username: Abigail

Post Number: 44
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 12:02 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith a'd, a Chaitríona!

Such nice friendly people around here... I wish I'd gotten the courage to de-lurk a lot sooner. :-)

Abigail

Tá fáilte roimh chuile cheartú!



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