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 Post subject: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Sun 30 Jun 2019 6:39 pm 
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I wonder how one says "Shall I ...?" in Irish.

I do not mean in the sense of simple future tense but in the sense of obligation or offer.

Shall I open the window?
Shall I help you?

Acc. to https://www.focloir.ie/en/dictionary/ei/shall one would use future tense.

An osclóidh mé an fhuinneog?
An gcabhróidh mé leat?

I’m still puzzled.
It sounds like asking for prediction: "Please take a look in your crystal ball, Ma’am: Could it happen that I’ll open the window?"


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Sun 30 Jun 2019 7:57 pm 
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Interesting. To be honest, when translating such sentences to my own native language (Polish), I think I’d rely on context a lot, since there is no direct equivalent of ‘shall I…?’ questions here. For me they’re pretty weird idiomatic English constructions.

I think most common Polish translation is just mogę/mógłbym otworzyć okno? ‘could I/can I open the window?’, mogę ci pomóc? ‘can I help you?’, and for ‘shall I do this?’ I’d say mam to zrobić? which is something like ‘am I supposed to do this? should I do this?’. So I, with my still quite basic learner’s Irish would do the same in this language, eg. an bhféadfainn an fhuinneog a oscailt?, an bhféadfainn cabhair a thabhairt duit?, an ceart dom é ’ dhéanamh? or ar cheart dom é ’ dhéanamh?. As I’m a non-native English speaker, it wouldn’t cross my mind to use the future tense to offer help in a language that isn’t English – but in English the ‘shall I…’ way also probably isn’t the default for me.

So it wouldn’t surprise me if Irish, or any other language, lacked an exact equivalent of this English phrase. But yeah, it is interesting if Irish has anything specific here, especially if dictionaries give future examples.


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Sun 30 Jun 2019 9:33 pm 
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Yes, I think future tense in Irish would be the best translation.

But I think "shall I" is falling out of favour in modern English, and not used at all in American English. Maybe some people thing it sounds pretentious. I think "Will I" is used mostly today, even though it's grammatically wrong. Personally I prefer to use "Shall I". 8-)

The same applies to "May I", most people today say "Can I" even though it should have two different meanings like it does in other languages. "May I" - is asking permission, "Can I" - is physically being able to do something.


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Mon 01 Jul 2019 3:40 am 
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Going into the varieties of American English... I definitely would say "Should I" instead of "Shall I", speaking Southern American English. "Should I open the window?" But, I'm also the weird one with reflexive datives and double modals: He might should get him something for that cough.


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Mon 01 Jul 2019 4:11 am 
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I agree about using the future.

But just to complicate things :D how about

An mbeadh sé go maith . . .? as a possible alternate?

viz. An mbeadh sé go maith an fhuinneog a oscailt? (?)An mbeadh sé go maith a osclaím an fhuinneog?

They grammar may be shaky, especially the second sentence. Would the subjunctive be used for the main verb "oscail"? > "go n-osclaí mé"


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Mon 01 Jul 2019 12:29 pm 
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tiomluasocein wrote:
I agree about using the future.


Okay, really in the sense of "Do you want me to do something (for you)" ?

Searching for examples I found e.g.
T. Ó Maille: An dtabharfaidh mé bainne ar a aghaidh don pháiste? = Shall/should I give the child pure milk?
P. Ó Siadhail: An dtabharfaidh mé cuireadh d'Oscar an suíochán deireanach a líonadh? = Shall I invite Oscar to fill the last place?
L. Prút: An mbainfidh mé triail as an gcnaipe seo? = Shall I try this button?

Is this original Irish, a loan translation of English or just a coincidence?
(I read somewhere that "Will I?" was used in Hiberno-English though it should have been "Shall I" in Standard English, prob. due to Irish influence.)

At least it is something unexplained, probably because it is too similar to English.
(English or Irish based) grammar books and dictionaries tend to explain only things different in both languages. But unfortunately, a lot is similar. :)

In German "Soll ich ..." isn't future tense at all.

tiomluasocein wrote:
But just to complicate things :D how about

An mbeadh sé go maith . . .? as a possible alternate?

viz. An mbeadh sé go maith an fhuinneog a oscailt? (?)An mbeadh sé go maith a osclaím an fhuinneog?

They grammar may be shaky, especially the second sentence. Would the subjunctive be used for the main verb "oscail"? > "go n-osclaí mé"


Hmm, :??: . If so, only "an fhuinneog a oscailt" (or: "má osclaíonn mé an fhuinneog", b'fhéidir)
"an mbeadh sé go maith go ..." doesn't work, I'd think.


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Mon 01 Jul 2019 1:13 pm 
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I'm not a native English speaker so I my usage is probably more standard English.

Is "should I" and "shall I" the same meaning?

I would translate "should I" as "ar cheart dom".
As it's a genuine question.
Whereas "Shall I" is more a rhetorical question (if that's the right word in that context), as you are going to do the action anyhow. "Shall I pour the tea?"


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Mon 01 Jul 2019 2:57 pm 
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Bríd Mhór wrote:
I'm not a native English speaker so I my usage is probably more standard English.

Is "should I" and "shall I" the same meaning?


That's exactly my problem. I thought so until yestersday. ;)
And because Irish ceart do can be used in present tense (is ceart dom) and conditional (ba cheart dom) I would have translated the former as "I shall", the latter as "I should".

Bríd Mhór wrote:
I would translate "should I" as "ar cheart dom".
As it's a genuine question.
Whereas "Shall I" is more a rhetorical question (if that's the right word in that context), as you are going to do the action anyhow. "Shall I pour the tea?"


Yes, perhaps so: "Shall I?" for things which obviously should be done (but not without consent), "Should I?" for things I myself need advice for.


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Mon 01 Jul 2019 5:56 pm 
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If it's a polite request, in English I would say - would you mind.....? and in Irish, I suppose it would be - an miste leat......?

www.teanglann.ie/ga/fgb/miste


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 Post subject: Re: Shall I ...?
PostPosted: Mon 01 Jul 2019 11:01 pm 
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"The same applies to "May I", most people today say "Can I" even though it should have two different meanings like it does in other languages. "May I" - is asking permission, "Can I" - is physically being able to do something."

Bríd mhór, from what you have said, would I be right to definitively state that there is no equivalent way of saying "May I ..." in Irish?

For example, if I were to say "An bhfuil cead agam deoch a fháil". I take that to translate to "Can I get a drink"

Could the above also be translated as "May I get a drink" or is there a direct translation to say "May I get a drink" that isn't "An bhfuil cead agam deoch a fháil"?


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