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SPELLING Gaelic, as a Celtic language, is said to be more regular at its spelling than English, even though the orthography

looks complicated at first sight. However, others say Gaelic possesses one of the most daunting spelling and pronunciation system. By the time you have learned the rule of spelling and pronunciation, you will find that it is much more regular than the English one. There are eighteen letters in the Gaelic alphabet: consonantal letters b, c, d, f, g, h, l, m, n, p, r, s and t; and vowel letters a, e, i, o and u. As you can see, there are no j, k, q, v, w, x, y or z. Despite having fewer letters, it has far more individual sounds than English.

VOWELS Accent: In Gaelic, short and long vowels are used. Long vowels are indicated by adding the grave (`) accent on them: , , , and . a o u i e like 'a' in 'hat' like 'a' in 'father' like 'o' in 'coat'; like 'o' in 'cot'; like 'u' in 'cut' like 'au' in 'caught'; like 'o' in 'owe' like 'oo' in 'boot' like 'oo' in 'cool' like 'ee' in 'feet' like 'ea' in 'mean' like 'a' in 'late'; like 'e' in 'get' like 'ay' in 'say'; like 'ai' in 'fair'

When the vowel i is added to any of these vowels above, the pronunciation is usually still intact: a o u i ai (ea) i oi (eo) i (e, ei) ui (iu, iui) io o

ei i (ea)

However, the following vowel sounds (diphthongs) should be pronounced with care: eu ao aoi ia(i) ua(i) ea io o like 'ia' in 'Maria' and 'ay' in 'say' together this sound does not exist in English. Try saying 'oo' in 'cool' without rounding the lips no equivalent in English. Try saying 'o' in 'go' without rounding the lips like 'ea' in 'ear' like 'oo' in 'poor' like 'e' in 'get' and 'a' in 'cat' together like 'ee' in 'feet' in 'oo' in 'boot' together like 'ea' in 'ear'

DIPHTHONGS We have met the diphthongs ia, ua, aoi, eu. There are more diphthongs to follow. They are not represented by a combination of vowels but accompanied by consonants. Short vowels that come with the following consonants ll, nn, m and bh, mh, dh, gh become diphthongs. Look at below: all, ann, am oll, onn, om aill, ainn, aim aibh, aimh, einn, eim oill, oinn, oim, aidh, aigh, oidh, oigh uill, uinn, uim like 'ow' in 'how' like 'o' in standard English 'no' like 'y' in 'my' like 'ay' in 'say' no equivalent in English. Try saying 'u' in 'cut' and 'i' in 'bit' altogether as a diphthong no equivalent in English. Try saying 'oo' in 'cool' without rounding the lips and 'i' in 'bit' altogether as a diphthong

HELPING (EPENTHETIC) VOWELS When a word contains a cluster of consonants (usually l, r, or n), a vowel is usually inserted to help the pronunciation: GAELIC Alba ENGLISH Scotland PRONUNCIATION al-a-ba

marbh arm

dead army

mar-a-v ar-a-m

'BROAD' OR 'SLENDER'? Vowels are classed into two groups, the 'broad' and the 'slender'. A, o and u are in the broad group, whilst e and i are classed as slender. More about the 'broad' and 'slender' will be explained below in the CONSONANTS section.

CONSONANTS Thank God we are over with the vowels now!!! That was quite a lot of things to learn! Now we are going to learn how to deal with the consonants. In Gaelic, consonants have two groups, the 'broad' ones and the 'slender' ones. Linguistically, this is one of the main characteristics of the Celtic languages and Gaelic is no exception. For every broad consonant, there is a corresponding slender consonant. That is, a single consonant can be broad or slender, depending on the vowels around it. But... how the heck do we know whether the consonant is broad or slender? That's easy, if the consonant is surrounded by, preceding or following a broad vowel then it must be broad. Similarly, a consonant that is with a slender vowel is therefore slender. Very logical isn't it? But why does the language bothers using the slender and vowel? Because it alters the sounds of the consonants... The rule is known as: Caol ri caol is leathann ri leathann. Slender with slender and broad with broad. Consider the following examples: caileag, balla, gille, daoine, baga, pipear, Seumas, Miri, brgan. BE CAREFUL!: Like many other languages, there are some words that break the rule... For example: dante, esan, etc.

PRONUNCIATION OF BROAD CONSONANTS Most broad consonants are very similar to the English counterparts but some differences will be taken with care: b p g c like 'b' in 'bad' at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'p' in 'cap' like 'p' in 'pad' like 'g' in 'good' at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'k' in 'cook' like 'c' in 'cat'

d t l, ll n nn r ng s

like 'd' in 'do' at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 't' in 'cat'. The tongue must touch the upper teeth like 't' in 'beat' like a hollow 'l' as in 'full' with the tongue touching the upper teeth hollow, in the same way as above, at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'n' in 'need' hollow, like above no equivalent in English. Like rolled 'r' in Spanish at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'r' in 'read' like 'ng' in 'sing' like 's' in 'sit'

SLENDER CONSONANTS All slender consonants are palatalised. This means that these consonants are softened by the 'y' sound being added to them. Gille (boy) is pronounced as 'gYil-luh'. This is often easier for the Russian speakers as many Russian consonants can be softened by the use of palatalisation. b p g d l n nn r ng f h m s like 'b' in 'beautiful' at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'p' in 'loop' like 'p' in 'pew' like 'g' in 'argue' at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'c' in 'cue' like 'j' in 'jump' at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'ch' in 'chew' like 'lli' in 'million' at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'll' in 'bill' more like the French 'gn' or Spanish ''; approximate sound in English is the 'n' in 'onion' at the beginning of a word; otherwise, like 'n' in 'nice' like like French 'gn' or Spanish '' no equivalent in English. In some dialects, it is pronounced like 'th' in 'thin' like 'ng' in 'sing' like 'f' in 'few' like 'h' in 'ham' like 'm' in 'mule' like 'sh' in 'shoe'

There are exceptional words, especially with the loan words: t, dola (the 't' and 'd' are pronounced like in English).

PREASPIRATION This is when a 'h' sound is heard before certain Gaelic voice-less consonants - t, c, p. Before c, however, the soft guttural sound is uttered, similar to the German 'ch' in 'Bach' or Scottish 'ch' in 'loch'. GAELIC cat cait mac mic map PRONUNCIATION [kaht] [kahtY] [maCHk] [miCHk] [mahp] ENGLISH cat cats son sons map

CLUSTERS RT AND RD When Gaelic words contain any of the two clusters (rt, rd), the 's' sound is inserted between the r and t or the r and d: GAELIC ceart rd HIATUS When words contain the following combinations: bh, mh, dh, gh between vowels, then the combinations become a hiatus. This means that they become a mute or silent pause: when you hear them spoken, you will hear that there is a pause between the syllables. In the square brackets below, the hyphen indicates the hiatus. The following examples will help you understand how a hiatus works: GAELIC laghach saoghal cladhach abhainn PRONUNCIATION [la-aCH] [s-al] [kla-aCH] [a-y] ENGLISH kind world digging river PRONUNCIATION [kYarst] [aarst] ENGLISH right high

Th, when appeared, it is usually replaced by a 'h' sound. Exceptions are as follows: GAELIC latha PRONUNCIATION [la-a] ENGLISH day

fhathast rathad

[ha-ast] [ra-at]

yet road

The following combinations of consonants need to be pronounced with care: BROAD ph bh ch gh th dh mh sh fh like 'f' in 'fish' like 'v' in 'very' no equivalent in English. Like German 'ch' in 'Bach' or Scottish 'ch' in 'loch' no equivalent in English. Like 'g' in Dutch 'gaat' or 'r' in French 'rire'; voiced version of guttural 'ch' like 'h' in 'hat' like Gaelic 'gh' like Gaelic 'bh' like 'h' in 'hat' silent (except in the following words fhuair, fhalbh where they are pronounced as 'h')

SLENDER ph bh ch gh th dh mh sh fh like 'f' in 'few' like 'v' in 'view' Like 'h' in 'hue' or 'ch' in the German word 'ich' Like 'y' in 'yes' or German 'j' in 'ja' like 'th' or 'ch' in German 'ich' soft Gaelic 'gh' like Gaelic 'bh' like 'ch' in German 'ich' silent (except fhin where it is pronounced as 'h')

NOTE: All the given pronunciations above are only approximate. You may need a native speaker to help you pronounce the words properly.

LESSON ONE - GAELIC (LEASAN A H-AON - GIDHLIG)

MAIN PAGE SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION GAELIC GREETINGS Pronouns The Verb 'Tha' ('to be') Vocabulary Exercise One Exercise Two Indefinite Nouns 'To have' Prepositional Pronouns Exercise Three The Negative Form of The Verb 'Tha' The Positive Interrogative Form The Negative Interrogative Form How To Answer Questions

PRONOUNS
mi thu e/i sinn sibh iad I you he / she / it we you they

In Gaelic, there are two words for 'you' - thu and sibh. Thu is used to refer to 'you' singular and 'you' familiar. Sibh is the polite/plural version.

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THE VERB 'THA' ('to be')


To say 'I am small', 'Anna is tired', 'Miri is young', we use the verb tha in the present tense. The Gaelic word order is different because the verb must come first. Here are the following examples: Tha mi beag. - I am small. Tha Anna sgth. - Anna is tired. Tha Miri g. - Miri is young.

The verb tha never changes, because of the pronoun. In other words, the verb is always accompanied with a personal pronoun so it tells you who is what, or who is doing the action. The basic word order in Gaelic with the verb tha and the predicate (i.e. that which is being said about the subject of the sentence) is like this: VERB (THA) + PRONOUN + PREDICATE. tha mi tha thu tha e / i tha sinn tha sibh tha iad I am you are he / she / it is we are you are they are

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VOCABULARY
g beag mr sgth toilichte an-seo an-sin fuar blth bragha snog math dona gu math young small big tired happy here there cold warm beautiful nice good bad well

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EXERCISE 1
TRANSLATE: 1) Tha Iain g. (Iain is a boy's name) 2) Tha Anna beag. 3) Tha e fuar. (Two answers) 4) Tha sinn blth. 5) Tha iad an-seo. 6) Tha mi an-sin. 7) Tha i toilichte. 8) Tha thu bragha. 9) Tha Seumas snog. (Also a boy's name) 10) Tha sibh sgth.

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EXERCISE 2
TRANSLATE INTO GAELIC: 1) I am well. 2) He is young. 3) We are happy. 4) You are cold. (Singular/Familiar) 5) Miri is tired. 6) Anna is good. 7) They are there. 8) Seumas is tired. 9) We are here. 10) You are warm. (Plural/Polite)

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INDEFINITE NOUNS
There is no indefinite article in Gaelic, so the word 'cat' may be translated as 'a cat' or just 'cat'. c (a) dog

cr deoch balach gille caileag rm leabhar taigh airgead

(a) car (a) drink (a) boy (a) boy (a) girl (a) room (a) book (a) house money

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'TO HAVE'
Gaelic has no verb that means 'to have'. Instead, it uses a special periphrastic construction that consists of a preposition 'aig' (=at) and the verb 'tha'. Iain has a house. is translated as: Tha taigh aig Iain. Here are some more examples: Tha c aig Anna. - Anna has a dog. Tha airgead aig Seumas. - Seumas has (some) money. Tha deoch aig Miri. - Miri has a drink. The pattern that expresses something or someone that HAS or POSSESSES something is like this: VERB (THA) + NOUN [OBJECT] + PREPOSITION (AIG) + NOUN [SUBJECT] VERB (THA) + NOUN [OBJECT] + PREPOSITIONAL PRONOUN

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PREPOSITIONAL PRONOUNS
It's normal to combine the preposition aig with the personal pronouns: aig + mi = agam at me / I have

aig + thu = aig + e = aig + i = aig + sinn = aig + sibh = aig + iad =

agad aige aice againne agaibh aca</B?< CENTER>

at you / you have at him / he has at her / she has at us / we have at you / you have at them / they have

Study the following phrases below: Tha balach aca. - They have a boy. Tha taigh agaibh. - You have a house. Tha cr agam. - I have a car.

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EXERCISE 3
TRANSLATE INTO GAELIC: 1) She has a girl. 2) They have a book. 3) I am tired. 4) We are here. 5) You have money. (Plural/Polite) 6) You are cold. (Singular/Familiar) 7) He has a cat. 8) Anna has a car. 9) We have a dog. 10) Seumas has a room.

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THE NEGATIVE FORM OF THE VERB 'THA'


To change the positive form of the verb tha of the present tense into the negative, you simply replace it with chan eil: Tha Iain beag. - Iain is small. = Chan eil Iain beag. - Iain is not small. Chan eil Anna sgth. - Anna is not tired. Chan eil mi toilichte. - I am not happy.

Chan eil taigh aca. - They don't have a house. Chan eil e fuar. - He isn't cold. OR It isn't cold. chan eil mi chan eil thu chan eil e / i chan eil sinn chan eil sibh chan eil iad I am not you are not he / she / it is not we are not you are not they are not

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THE POSITIVE INTERROGATIVE FORM


To say the interrogative (positive) form of the present tense tha, you replace it with am bheil?: Tha Iain beag. - Iain is small. = Am bheil Iain beag? - Is Iain small? Am bheil thu gu math? - Are you well? Am bheil airgead agad? - Do you have money? Am bheil deoch aig Anna? - Does Anna have a drink? Am bheil cr aice? - Does she have a car? am bheil mi? am bheil thu? am bheil e / i? am bheil sinn? am bheil sibh? am bheil iad? am I? are you? is he / she / it? are we? are you? are they?

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THE NEGATIVE INTERROGATIVE FORM


If you want to say "Are you not tired?" in Gaelic, you need to replace the positive form of the present tense verb tha with nach eil?: Tha thu sgth. - You are tired. = Nach eil thu sgth? - Are you not tired?

Nach eil i toilichte? - Is she not happy? Nach eil sinn blth? - Are we not warm? Nach eil cr aig Anna? - Doesn't Anna have a car? Nach eil c agad? - Don't you have a dog? nach eil mi? nach eil thu? nach eil e / i? nach eil sinn? nach eil sibh? nach eil iad? am I not? are you not? is he / she / it not? are we not? are you not? are they not?

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HOW TO ANSWER QUESTIONS


Unfortunately, there is no single word to mean 'yes' or 'no' in Gaelic. Instead, you repeat the main verb (positive form to mean 'yes' and negative to mean 'no'): Am bheil deoch aige? - Does he have a drink? Tha. - Yes. Chan eil. - No. Nach eil thu toilichte? - Aren't you happy? Tha. - Yes. Chan eil. - No.

Back to Top MAIN PAGE SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION GAELIC GREETINGS NEXT LESSON

LESSON TWO - GAELIC (LEASAN A DH - GIDHLIG)


MAIN PAGE SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION

LESSON ONE GAELIC GREETINGS Emphatic Pronouns The Verb 'Is' ('to be') The Difference Between 'THA' and 'IS' Vocabulary Exercise One The Negative Form of The Verb 'Is' Lenition The Positive Interrogative Form The Negative Interrogative Form How To Answer 'Is' Form Questions The Numbers 1-10

EMPHATIC PRONOUNS
mise t(h)usa esan / ise sinne sibhse iadsan I you he / she / it we you they

In Gaelic, emphatic pronouns are only use when you want to emphasise something. For example: Tha Iain beag ach tha mise mr. - Iain is small but I'm big. Here, in English, tone and stress are used to emphasise on the word 'I'm' whereas in Gaelic, only the suffix is needed for the same reason.

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THE VERB 'IS' ('TO BE')


is mise is tusa is esan / ise I am you are he / she / it is

is sinne is sibhse is iadsan

we are you are they are

(Note: here, use 'tusa' rather than thusa)

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 'THA' AND 'IS'


The Gaelic verb 'tha' is used to refer the predicate as an adjective (word that describes what someone or something is), whereas 'is' is used when the predicate is a noun and the subject is either a pronoun or a name of a person. The following examples below will illustrate the difference: Is tusa tidsear. - You are a teacher. - The 'is' is used because the underlined word is a NOUN. Is mise Seumas. - I am Seumas. - The subject is a noun because it has a name 'Seumas' therefore is must be used. Tha iad toilichte. - They are happy. - The verb 'tha' is used in this sentence, because it is an adjective word describing the subject.

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VOCABULARY
tidsear fear-teagaisg bean-teagaisg actair ban-actair tuathanach iasgair banaltrum innleadair teacher (male) teacher (female) teacher actor actress farmer fisher nurse engineer

dotair posta ailtire fear-lagha gille-btha nighean-btha ccair

doctor postman architect lawyer (male) shop assistant (female) shop assistant cook

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EXERCISE 1
TRANSLATE: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Is mise posta. Is tusa iasgair. Is ise banaltrum. Is esan fear-lagha. Is sinne Seumas agus Miri. Is sibhse Iain agus Mrag. (Mrag is a girls name) Tha iad toilichte. Tha mi sgth. Is tusa dotair. Is esan actair.

6.
7. 8. 9. 10.

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THE NEGATIVE FORM OF THE PRESENT TENSE OF IS


To say that you are not Seumas or a doctor, you need to change the positive present tense of the verb is into the negative form: Is mise Seumas. = Cha mhise Seumas. NOTE: Look carefully at the spelling of the words and learn them! cha mhise cha tusa I am not you are not

chan esan / ise cha sinne cha sibhse chan iadsan

he / she / it is not we are not you are not they are not

Cha mhise dotair. Im not a doctor. Cha tusa Anna. You are not Anna. Chan esan Seumas. He isnt Seumas. Chan ise Miri. She isnt Miri. Cha sinne Miri agus Anna. We arent Miri and Anna. Chan iadsan Uilleam agus Murdo. They are not Uilleam and Murdo. (both names are male)

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LENITION
This is the most important part of the Gaelic language. It is a process where certain consonants that appear at the beginning of words go through in order to become softer. Lenition happens when an h is added after the initial consonant. For example, the p becomes an f sound when an h is added, thus: p = ph. Similarly: b g c d t m s f bh gh ch dh th mh sh fh

So how do we know when to use lenition? There are several ways of making the words initial consonants sound softer by the use of lenition. Words that come after certain possessive pronouns are lenited. Many feminine definite nouns are lenited. There is a case in Gaelic called the vocative where an h is inserted in certain names. This is similar to the Latin vocative case where the o precedes a name: LATIN: O, Brutus! GAELIC: A Mhrag! Vocative case is used when you want to call someone out by their name, especially when greeting someone:

Seumas: Hall, a Chatrona! (from Catrona, a girls name) Catrona: Hall, a Sheumas! Further examples are: bta (boat) = a bta (her boat) = a bhta (his boat) Dont worry, we will learn the possessive pronouns as well as more about lenition later!

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POSITIVE INTERROGATIVE FORM


Here is the positive interrogative form. Learn! am mise? an tusa? an esan / ise? an sinne? an sibhse? an iadsan? am I? are you? is he / she / it? are we? are you? are they?

NOTE: Did you notice that am is used before mise and not an? This is because the m in mise is the first consonant and it is a labial sound so am must be used before all labial sounds (i.e. b, p, f, m). Otherwise an is used before other sounds or before vowels. Am mise Seumas? Am I Seumas? An tusa tidsear? Are you a teacher?

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NEGATIVE INTERROGATIVE FORM


To form the negative interrogative form, nach is used: nach mise? nach tusa? nach esan / ise? nach sinne? am I not? are you not? is he / she / it not? are we not?

nach sibhse? nach iadsan?

are you not? are they not?

Nach mise Seumas? Am I not Seumas? Nach tusa tidsear? Are you not a teacher?

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HOW TO ANSWER THE IS QUESTIONS


Youve learned in Lesson 1 that there is no single word for yes or no. So here are the new is positive and negative answers: POSITIVE is mi is tu se (=is + e) si (=is + i) is sinn is sibh siad (=is + iad) NEGATIVE cha mhi cha tu chan e chan i cha sinn cha sibh chan iad

An tusa Anna? Is mi. Are you Anna? Yes. Nach mise Seumas? Cha tu. Am I Seumas? No. An iadsan Iain agus Miri? Chan iadsan. Are they Iain and Miri? No. An ise tidsear? Si. Is she a teacher? Yes.

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THE NUMBERS 1-10


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. aon d tr ceithir cig sia seachd ochd naoi deich

Back to Top MAIN PAGE SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION LESSON ONE GAELIC GREETINGS NEXT LESSON

LESSON THREE - GAELIC (LEASAN A TR - GIDHLIG)


MAIN PAGE SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION LESSON ONE LESSON TWO GAELIC GREETINGS

Gender The Definite Article Exercise One The Possessive Adjectives With Nouns Adjectives That Precede Nouns 'Ro' And 'Gl' Exercise Two

GENDER
Gaelic has two genders - masculine and feminine. Nouns are either masculine or feminine. Unfortunately, there is no easy way of telling the gender of a word. It must be learnt by heart. For example, boireannach (woman) is, in fact, a MASCULINE noun! However, the main difference between masculine and feminine nouns is that feminine nouns are generally lenited after the definite article (nominative) and adjectives that follow feminine nouns are lenited as well. MASCULINE an gille beag / the little boy FEMININE a' chaileag bheag / the little girl

If you look in the GREETINGS section you will see the following useful greetings that have the feminine and masculine nouns with adjectives, they are demonstrated again here: madainn mhath feasgar math oidhche mhath good morning good afternoon/evening good night

The word for 'morning' is madainn and it is feminine because the following adjective is lenited.

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THE DEFINITE ARTICLE


In English, the definite article is 'the' but in Gaelic, there are FOUR definite articles depending on the following noun. These are an (either feminine or masculine), am, an t-, and a'. MASCULINE ARTICLE The masculine article is an but it has other forms depending on the first letter of the following noun: am an tan this word is used before all labial sounds: b f m p before all vowels before non-labial sounds

EXAMPLES: (it would be useful if you could memorise these words!!) am fear - the man an t-uisge - the water an tidsear - the teacher am balach - the boy an t-airgead - the money an sagart - the priest am ministear - the minister an t-m - the butter an taigh - the house am peann - the pen an t-eilean - the island an loch - the lake (loch)

FEMININE ARTICLE The feminine article is also an BUT it causes lenition so you can tell if it's feminine when it's with the DEFINITE article: a' + lenition an tan + lenition before all lenitable consonants (but not d t s f) before s sl sr sn (but not before sg sp st) before f

an EXAMPLES: a' chlach - the stone an fhuil - the blood an deoch - the drink

before vowels and d n t l r sg sp st

a' bh - the cow an fhel - the meat an teanga - the tongue

a' Bheurla - the English language an t-sil - the eye an obair - the work

a' Ghidhlig - the Gaelic language an t-srid - the street an sgoil - the school

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EXERCISE ONE
Put the correct article before each noun (the letter m for masculine and f for feminine in the brackets beside the noun will help you): The first one has been done for you. 1) fear ( m ) - man = am fear 2) sagart ( m ) - priest = 3) madainn ( f ) - morning = 4) balach ( m ) - boy = 5) bradan ( m ) - salmon = 6) bean ( f ) - wife = 7) srid ( f ) - street = 8) pipear ( m ) - paper = 9) duine ( m ) - man = 10) boireannach ( m ) - woman = 11) leabhar ( m ) - book = 12) craobh ( f ) - tree =

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THE POSSESSIVE
There are two ways of forming the possessive construction in Gaelic, however we will first have a look at one of them in this lesson. This one way involves the use of the prepositional pronoun that comes after the definite noun. Look at the examples below: an taigh agam - my house a' bh agad - your cow am balach aca - their boy an t-airgead aige - his money

However, this construction is only used with what we call inalienables, which are not parts of the body or blood relations. So it's NOT correct to say an t-sil aice (her eye) or a' mhthair againn (our mother) in Gaelic, you must instead say a sil (her eye) and ar mthair (our mother). This construction will be discussed later, so don't worry.

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ADJECTIVES WITH NOUNS


Look and study closely the following phrases below: MASCULINE duine mr - a big man taigh bragha - a pretty house c dona - a bad dog airgead salach - dirty money flr cbhraidh - a fragrant flower baile bragha - a beautiful town FEMININE caileag mhr - a big girl oidhche fhuar - a cold night cat dubh - a black cat slinte mhath - a good health cile shnog - a nice wife caileag ghrach - a stupid girl

Notice that the adjectives must come after the noun. Sometimes a noun can have more than one adjective following it. But there is a rule on which adjective must come first or last. Generally, adjectives that denote size usually come first before other adjectives: faol mhr mhath - a big good wolf leabhar beag dearg - a small red book When using the verb tha with a noun and an adjective, it can be quite confusing to read the sentence at first because the verb has to come first and so it doesn't "separate" the noun already with an adjective FROM another adjective. For example, if you want to say 'The big wolf is good.', you must say Tha an fhaol mhr math. Notice the word math, it is not lenited even though faol is a feminine noun. Why is this? Because math is the predicate (something which describes what the noun is). Mhr is lenited because it is the attribute - we already know that the wolf is big because of the attribute but what if we want to know MORE about the big wolf? You could ask the question Am bheil an fhaol mhr math? (Is the big wolf good?) and the answer would be either Tha, tha an fhaol mhr math. or Chan eil, chan eil an fhaol mhr math. We want to know whether the wolf is good or not. This works in the same way Am bheil e math? (translated idiomatically into English as 'Is it good?' since the wolf in Gaelic is considered as feminine but because math is the predicate it doesn't lenite). If it DOES lenite however, then the translation would be 'The big good wolf.' Consider the following phrases very carefully and you will understand how it works: GAELIC Faol MHR. An fhaol MHR. ENGLISH A BIG wolf. The BIG wolf.

Tha faol MR. Tha an fhaol MR. Am bheil an fhaol MR? GAELIC Faol MHR mhath. An fhaol MHR mhath. Tha faol MHR math. Tha an fhaol MHR math.

A wolf is BIG. The wolf is BIG. Is the wolf BIG? ENGLISH A BIG good wolf. The BIG good wolf. A BIG wolf is good. The BIG wolf is good. Is the BIG wolf good?

Am bheil an fhaol MHR math?

The underlined word is the attribute and the italicised word is the predicate. Tha a' chaileag ghrach sgth. - The stupid girl is tired. Tha an cta geal agam. - I have the white coat. Tha am baile bragha beag. - The beautiful town is small. Tha an duine mr an-seo. - The big man is here. Tha ran math aca. - They have a good song.

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ADJECTIVES THAT PRECEDE NOUNS


Some adjectives can precede nouns. There are three very useful adjectives that precede nouns which are: seann (old), deagh (good), droch (bad). These words lenite the following noun (either feminine OR MASCULINE). Please remember that a noun that starts with d, t or s in the case of seann stay the same. Look at the examples below: seann chroitear (the noun is masculine but it is lenited because of seann) - an old crofter seann duine (the noun doesn't lenite because it starts with a d) - an old man deagh ch - a good dog deagh chaileag - a good girl droch bhalach - a bad boy droch bhiadh - bad food An is the only definite article used with the preceding adjectives, but an t- is used before feminine noun: an deagh chroitear (masculine) - the old crofter an t-seann bh (feminine) - the old cow

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'RO' AND 'GL'


These two very useful words ro (too) and gl (very) lenite a following adjective: ro mhath - too good ro mhr - too big ro bhragha - too beautiful gl mhath - very good gl mhr - very big gl bhragha - very beautiful

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EXERCISE TWO
Before you do the exercise, learn these useful words below: lidir - strong trom - heavy r - new comhfhurtail - comfortable glan - nice, fine am brd - table gorm - blue cruaidh - hard a' bhrg - shoe teann - tight TRANSLATE: 1) Tha a' chaileag bheag fuar. 2) Chan eil an duine lidir. 3) Tha a' bh trom. 4) Nach eil an t fuar? 5) Am bheil a' bhrg ro theann? 6) Chan eil an seinneadair r grach. 7) Tha an cta dearg gl chomhfhurtail. 8) Tha an t bhlth glan. 9) Tha am brd gorm cruaidh. 10) Am bheil a' chraobh mr?

CHECK ANSWER Back to Top MAIN PAGE SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION LESSON ONE

LESSON TWO GAELIC GREETINGS NEXT LESSON

LESSON FOUR - GAELIC (LEASAN A CEITHIR - GIDHLIG)


MAIN PAGE SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION LESSON ONE LESSON TWO LESSON THREE GAELIC GREETINGS

Verbal-Nouns The Present Tense 'D?' Exercise One Exercise Two Likes And Dislikes Linking Sentences / Clauses Exercise Three Exercise Four

VERBAL-NOUNS
All verbs in Gaelic are known as verbal-nouns, which are a bit like '-ing' in English, except tha. This is very typical in Celtic languages. Usually, the verbal-noun has a suffix added to the verb, but there are a few exceptions: VERB + adh leugh sgrobh fn VERB + (a)inn, sinn, tinn faic faicinn seeing leughadh sgrobhadh fnadh reading writing phoning

faigh feuch tuig cluinn VERB + ail, tail gabh fg cum lean VERB + achadh smaoinich VERB + e ith suidh nigh VERB + nothing seinn l falbh ruith obair snmh bruidhinn VERB + other endings iarr fuirich ceannaich fairich eugh dan

faighinn feuchainn tuigsinn cluinntinn

getting trying understanding hearing

gabhail fgail cumail leantail

taking leaving keeping following

smaoineachadh

thinking

ithe suidhe nighe

eating sitting washing

seinn l falbh ruith obair snmh bruidhinn

singing drinking going away running working swimming speaking

iarraidh fuireach ceannach faireachdainn eughachd danamh

wanting living, staying buying feeling shouting doing

seas tuit freagair IRREGULAR VERBS rach / theirig thig abair / their

seasamh tuiteam freagairt

standing falling answering

dol tighinn rdh

going coming saying

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THE PRESENT TENSE


The present tense of tha and the verbal-noun 'wraps' the subject (personal pronoun, person's name or noun). Also the preposition ag (at) is always used with verbal-nouns and it is placed before the verbal-noun: Tha mi ag l. - I am drinking. / I drink. In Gaelic, the continuous tense and the simple present tense are expressed as the same thing. Ag is reduced to a' when it precedes a verbal-noun starting with a consonant, except 'r': Tha mi a' sgrobhadh. - I am writing. / I write. (LITERAL TRANSLATION: I am at writing.) BUT: Tha mi ag rdh. - I am saying. / I say. Study the following sentences: Tha Seumas a' sgrobhadh litir. - Seumas is writing a letter. / Seumas writes a letter. Tha mi a' leughadh leabhar. - I am reading a book. Am bheil thu a' faicinn son? - Do you see anything? Nach eil Anna a' dol a-mach? - Isn't Anna going out? Chan eil mi a' fuireach ann an Inbhir Nis. - I don't live in Inverness. Chan eil an c a' faireachdainn ro mhath. - The dog isn't feeling too well. Tha mi a' tuigsinn Fraingeis. - I understand French.

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D?

To say 'What...?' (present tense) in Gaelic, use the question word 'D a tha...?' then the personal pronoun and then the verbal-noun. Look at below: D a tha thu ag iarraidh? - What do you want? Tha mi ag iarraidh m. - I want butter. D a tha e a' danamh? - What does he do? / What is he doing? Tha e a' sgrobhadh litir. - He writes a letter. / He is writing a letter. D a tha a' chaileag ag l? - What does the girl drink? / What is the girl drinking? Tha a' chaileag ghrach ag l leann. - The stupid girl drinks a beer. / The stupid girl is drinking a beer. D a tha thu a' cluinntinn? - What do you hear? / What are you hearing? Tha mi a' cluinntinn cel bragha. - I hear beautiful music. / I'm hearing beautiful music.

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EXERCISE ONE
TRANSLATE: 1) What are you thinking? (singular) 2) Is Anna writing a book? 3) She isn't reading a letter. 4) We are drinking beer. 5) We are coming. 6) Do you feel fine? (plural) 7) I don't understand Gaelic. 8) Do you want tea? (plural) 9) What are you doing? (singular) 10) Is she shouting?

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EXERCISE TWO
TRANSLATE: 1) Tha mi ag iarraidh m agus cise (=and cheese). 2) Am bheil iad a' dol a-mach? 3) D a tha i a' sgrobhadh? 4) Nach eil thu a' faireachdainn math? 5) Tha Iain a' leughadh leabhar. 6) Tha a' chaileag bhragha a' seinn. 7) D a tha am balach beag ag l? 8) Am bheil an duine mr ag ithe? 9) Nach eil an fhaol mhr a' fgail? 10) Tha mi a' faicinn faol.

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LIKES AND DISLIKES


Gaelic has constructions that express likes and dislikes. If you want to say that someone likes something, use the construction is toil le followed by the person's name and the thing he or she likes: Is toil le Seumas Inbhir Nis. - Seumas likes Inverness. - (LITERAL TRANSLATION: Is pleasing with Seumas Inverness.) Is toil le Anna biadh Innseanach. - Anna likes Indian food. - (Is pleasing with Anna Indian food.) If you want to say that someone dislikes something, replaces is with cha: Cha toil le Iain Dn ideann. - Iain doesn't like Edinburgh. - (Is not pleasing with Iain Edinburgh.) Cha toil le Mrag cel. - Mrag doesn't like music. - (Is not pleasing with Mrag music.) But if you want to use the personal pronoun to express his/her likes or dislikes, then the personal pronoun has to amalgamate (to join together with) the appropriate preposition le. Look at the table below: leam leat leis / leatha leinn leibh leotha with me with you with him / her with us with you with them

Is toil leis Inbhir Nis. - He likes Inverness. Is toil leatha biadh Innseanach. - She likes Indian food. Cha toil leis Dn ideann. - He doesn't like Edinburgh. Cha toil leatha cel. - She doesn't like music. In spoken Gaelic, is is reduced to 's: 'S toil leam an cel bragha. - I like the beautiful music. These forms are used for emphasis: leamsa leatsa

leis-san leathase leinne leibhse leothasan Is toil leis-san Inbhir Nis ach is toil leamsa Dn ideann. - He likes Inverness but I like Edinburgh. In the Western Isles (islands off the west coast of Scotland), the form is caomh le is used instead of is toil le: Is caomh leam biadh Innseanach. - I like Indian food. To ask if someone likes something, use an toil le?: An toil leat an cel? - Do you like the music? Conversely: Nach toil leat a' chaileag? - Don't you like the girl? When the thing that one likes is a verbal-noun, use a bhith after the form is toil le and before the verbal-noun: Is toil leam a bhith a' sgrobhadh. - I like writing. Cha toil leatha a bhith a' seinn. - She doesn't like singing. Nach toil le Seumas a bhith a' dannsadh? - Doesn't Seumas like dancing? An toil le an teaghlach a bhith a' leughadh? - Does the family like reading? Is toil leat a bhith a' bruidhinn Gidhlig. - You like speaking Gaelic.

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LINKING SENTENCES
To link two sentences together in the present tense such as Tha thu a' smaoineachadh (You think / You are thinking) and Tha Seumas a' seinn (Seumas sings / Seumas is singing), the tha in the second sentence changes to gu bheil. Look at below: Tha thu a' smaoineachadh gu bheil Seumas a' seinn. - You think that Seumas is singing. Similarly: Tha iad ag rdh gu bheil i a' sgrobhadh litir. - They say that she is writing a letter. The negative form is nach eil: Tha iad ag rdh nach eil iad a' tighinn. - They say that they are not coming.

In English, 'that' may be omitted but in Gaelic, either gu bheil or nach eil MUST never be omitted.

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EXERCISE THREE
Link sentences together as one (the first one has been done for you): 1) Tha iad a' smaoineachadh. + Tha mi a' seinn. = Tha iad a' smaoineachadh gu bheil mi a' seinn. 2) Chan eil am balach a' smaoineachadh. + Tha i a' snmh. 3) Am bheil thu a' smaoineachadh? + Chan eil iad a' tighinn. 4) Tha Catrona ag rdh. + Chan eil i a' fgail an-diugh (=today). 5) Nach eil Anna ag rdh? + Tha mi ag l. 6) Tha a' chaileag ghrach a' smaoineachadh. + Tha an cel rd (=loud) gl mhath. 7) Chan eil sinn ag rdh. + Chan eil a' chat gu math. 8) Tha an tidsear ag rdh. + Tha sinn gl mhath. 9) Tha mi a' smaoineachadh. + Tha iad a' dannsadh a-nochd (=tonight). 10) Am bheil e a' smaoineachadh? + Tha sibh bragha.

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Repeat Exercise 3 this time translating them into English.

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EXERCISE FOUR
TRANSLATE: 1) I think that they are very good. 2) I don't think they are coming. 3) They think that I sing. 4) He says that the nice girl is here. 5) We are saying that your cat isn't well. 6) He thinks that his car isn't good. 7) Do you think she is dancing today? (singular) 8) Are they saying they are drinking beer tonight? 9) She thinks we are here tonight. 10) They say you don't write. (plural)

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