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The many Irish words for ‘For’
Posted: 09 February 2018 03:10 PM   Ignore ]  
Comhalta
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Joined  2013-09-05

This one has been playing on my mind for a while whenever I come across the Irish conveyance on the word ‘for’.
Looking through my Collins Dictionary I find that Irish seems to subdivide the uses relating to ‘for’. Here are the examples I’ve seen from my Collins:
1. Do
2. Ar
3. Faoi choinne
4. i gcomhair
5. Le haghaidh
Can someone explain how and when each of these examples are used in Irish? Personally I’ve been winging it with ‘do’, BUT I want to be more confident in using the other articles properly.

Also, is there a handy resource where such grammatical phenomenon like the one above can be explained for the nervous novice like myself?

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Posted: 13 February 2018 01:30 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Comhalta
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The use of prepositions in Irish is extremely different from English.  Many of them have multiple uses, and take multiple forms when compared to English.

In the case of “for” look the word up on teanglann.ie in the English-Irish dictionary.  It shows multiple forms and gives many examples, including those you cited.  It is quite extensive and could be an item for study on its own.  The same might be said of many other Irish prepositions.

Good luck!

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Posted: 13 February 2018 03:49 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Comhalta
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One more note to make, based on your original post.

Irish can use prepositions in a quasi-verbal way.  The language is based much more on prepositions, where English and other languages are constructed around verbs.

Many Irish prepositions are used to convey ideas for which the English language has a verb, but Irish does not.  For example, “to have” and “to want”.  These are both English verbs that do not exist in Irish.  The concepts are expressed using prepositions conjugated into prepositional pronouns.

Tá leabhar agam.  “I have a book.”  (Literally, A book is at me.)  Tá leabhar uaim.  “I want a book.”  (Literally, A book is from me.)  Tá ocras orm.  “I am hungry.”  (Literally, Hunger is on me.)  De has a whole series of uses and constructs that are detailed in the teangleann.ie Irish dictionary.  Below it are some uses of “de” combined with specific verbs that have specific additional meanings or uses.

This topic can evolve into quite an arena of study for the Irish language, but it begins with the understanding that prepositions function in a far more extensive capacity as Gaeilge than they do in English.

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Posted: 20 February 2018 04:35 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Comhalta
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I agree, it’s not so much a question of grammar as usage. So a good starting point is to have a look at the entry for “for” in the online English-Irish dictionary which lists all the words mentioned by you, plus a few more. Having said that, “do” is probably the most universal word for translating “for”, though not suitable in all contexts. “Le haghaidh” and “chun” are other common words, “i gcomhair” perhaps less so. In addition, there might be some dialectal variation. For instance, I have the impression that for saying “we went out for a meal” Connemara Irish would prefer “chuaigh muid amach le haghaidh/i gcomhair béile”, whereas Ulster Irish would have “chuaigh muid amach fá choinne béile”.

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Posted: 21 February 2018 02:13 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Comhalta
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The old Christian Brothers grammar has a whole section on translating “for”. There’s a digitized version at en.wikisource.org/wiki/Graiméar_na_Gaedhilge/Part_III_Chapter_VI#§613.

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