There’s no ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Irish

Noah Ó Donnaile:

Irish is a Celtic language, spoken (spoiler alert) on the island of Ireland. It has 2 grammatical genders, 4-ish grammatical cases, VSO word order, and has no words for “yes” or “no”.

I found this interesting. In English, if you ask the question “is she OK?”, you’ll get ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in response.

Ask the same question in Irish—”an bhfuil sí ceart go leor?”—likely answers are ‘tá’ or ‘níl’. These literally mean “she is” and “she isn’t”.

The answers take the verb from the question and express it positively or negatively. This causes problems with machine translation; the question is needed to provide context, so you’ll often get a seemingly non-sensical answer like “isn’t” instead of ‘no’.

As noted above, Irish has a VSO (verb-subject-object) word order, whereas English uses SVO. Yoda uses OSV.