Plé:Baile Bhailcín

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Using the copula[athraigh foinse]

Moro Panu - I notice that you have commented on the use of the copula in this and in other articles. This one is my mistake, since I understood that it was correct to use the form "Is X é Y", in this case "Is baile é Baile Bhailcín". How should it be? I'm not a native speaker, so I appreciate your advice. --Antóin 11:28, 8 Mí na Nollag 2008 (UTC)

The usual error people commit is here not understanding that in Irish one definite noun makes the whole construction definite. Thus, the construction "bruachbhaile Bhaile Átha Cliath", for instance, does not mean "a Dublin suburb". It means "THE Dublin suburb". Thus, if you write "is bruachbhaile Bhaile Átha Cliath é X", it is wrong on two counts:
  • there surely are more suburbs in Dublin than this one
  • a definite noun or a definite noun-construction would take an identification (is é X Y), not a classification (is X é Y) construction. If there was just one suburb in Dublin - let's call this fictitious suburb Baile an Fháinne - then you would say "Is é Baile an Fháinne bruachbhaile Bhaile Átha Cliath" = Baile an Fháinne is the suburb of Dublin.

To say "a Dublin suburb", don't use the genitive form of Dublin. Say "bruachbhaile de chuid Bhaile Átha Cliath", "bruachbhaile timpeall Bhaile Átha Cliath", "bruachbhaile i mBaile Átha Cliath", "bruachbhaile in aice le Baile Átha Cliath".Panu Petteri Höglund 11:41, 9 Mí na Nollag 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Panu, I understand the difference now, thanks a lot for the explanation. I think that "de chuid Bhaile Átha Cliath" might be best in this case, to show that the suburb does still somehow "belong" to Dublin.

So to sum up:

  • A definite noun makes the whole statment definite
  • If a definite noun is really needed, then the format is "is é X Y", eg "Is é BÁC príomhchathair na tíre".
  • If it should be indefinite, do not use the tuis. ginideach, but use alternate working and the format "is X é Y", eg "Is bruachbhaile de chuid BhÁC é Baile Bhailcín".

Any comments? Thanks again. --Antóin 12:39, 9 Mí na Nollag 2008 (UTC)

Uh, not the whole *statement* but the whole *noun phrase*. But otherwise it is correct. And note also that in the second construction, there is a variant: is X Y, This is used when both words are uncountables: Is bia ull = Apple is food. Note also that when we classify "an" apple as a fruit, it is definite in Irish: Is toradh é an t-úll. This is because in Irish the definite article is often used in the "generic" sense, referring to the whole concept. Similarly: Is teanga í an Ghaeilge. Constructions such as "is teanga í Gaeilge" have crept even into Irish juridical language, but we can do better. Panu Petteri Höglund 20:38, 11 Mí na Nollag 2008 (UTC)

One more thing: uncountable abstract nouns don't take the article in this "is X é Y" construction, and the pronoun does not agree with them. Thus, you say "is teanga í an Ghaeilge", but "is cuidiú mór é comhairle mhaith" ("good advice is a great help" - not "*is cuidiú mór í an chomhairle mhaith", which sounds stilted).Panu Petteri Höglund 11:14, 12 Mí na Nollag 2008 (UTC)