"What is the weather like just now?"
Translation:Cò ris a tha an t-sìde coltach an-dràsta?
Heya, is there literal translation that explains why "Who" is used as "what" in this sentence?
Gàidhlig/Gaelic is often poetic, and it helps my brain understand when I know the literal translation (e.g. "Tha sgiort orm" = "A skirt is on me" = "I have a skirt on"). Many thanks!
Unfortunately cò is a flexible word which can mean who(m) or what, or even where (cò às a tha sibh - where are you from?) So basically you tend to go from context or memorise the little stock phrases such as cò ris (a) tha. The entry for cò in the Colin Mark dictionary I have takes up 5 pages. And it still doesn't explain exactly how this construction came about.
I’ve always know it as “who”/“where”. It just popped into my head, perhaps the weather was seen as an entity in Gàidhlig in the past which might align with their paganism. As mentioned, multiple aspects are poetic throwbacks: your profession is considered “inside you”/a core part of you, so that’s how you say it.
'Moillaedoir' gives a good explanation of ri/ris and coltach in this similar discussion: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/35321267 And 'tj4234' in this discussion: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/35602093 Combining these with 'Varsa6's consideration above and considering that we speak of the weather goddess it makes sense to ask "what is it like, that which is with her today"
'What to that is the weather similar to-now?'
More loosely, 'What is the weather similar to now?'
Cò by itself means 'who', but when followed by a preposition as here, it becomes general purpose and 'what' is often the best translation.
When I say 'to-now' I mean it is like 'to-day' or 'to-morrow' - the an just makes an adverbial of time.
Cò is really "which" (which person = who, which thing = what, which place = where), ris is "to" used for comparison, a is "that" introducing a relative clause, tha is "to be (is, am, etc)", an t-sìde is "the weather", coltach is "like, similar", an-dràsta is "now, right now, just now". 'To which thing is it that the weather is like right now?' basically.
I am slightly confused. You give an example where cò means 'who'. To say this is really 'which person' you have to claim that cò is short for something like *cò duine. The same goes for the other examples.
Historically, it is generally accepted that it comes from a word meaning 'who' and has cognates in many languages. Apparently it is a complete coincidence that the Gaelic and the English have an o in, as the common ancestor was kʷís. I'm not convinced.
Cò can be translated as 'which' but not when 'which' is working adjectivally, as in 'which person' or 'which thing'. In that situation you use dè.
The hover hints break it down very nicely here! Click on the dotted words to see them.
(Note that the Duolingo hovers can sometimes be really wrong for the current context though; they're more like a general dictionary lookup, and you have to decide if the sense you're seeing works.)