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  5. "What is the weather like jus…

"What is the weather like just now?"

Translation:Cò ris a tha an t-sìde coltach an-dràsta?

November 27, 2019



I always like a a literal word by word translation whne I am struggling wiht the structure of a sentence like this. Can we please have one?


Think of the "Cò ris a tha" part as idiomatic for "What is" in this sentence; the weather = an t-side; like = coltach; just now = an-dràsta. ("Cò" can also be "who" but translates to "what" in this sentence.)


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?'

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.


So basically like an Esperanto k- correlative, but where a preposition serves to indicate its function in the sentence. Gotcha. Or sort of like English wh-: where, what, when, whence...


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 means 'who'. To say this is really 'which person' you have to claim that 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.

can be translated as 'which' but not when 'which' is working adjectivally, as in 'which person' or 'which thing'. In that situation you use .


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.)


Is there any difference between an-dràsta and a-nis?


I am far from the expert here but I take a-nis to be relative meaning a general state vs an-dràsta meaning at this very minute.


By the Gods, I hate this sentence.


... what a tongue twister :-) ...


Do people actually say this? Cò ris a tha ____ coltach? Seems weird for the weather.


It's pretty common in my sort of English (South, near London) to hear "What's the weather like outside today?" I know, we don't have weather inside - but it is what we say...


Yes, would you say it another way? That's the only way I've ever heard it, but then maybe it's a dialectal thing.


I have a vague memory of having learned "aimsir" for weather years ago. Are they interchangeable or is there a difference in usage?


If this isn't idiomatic, could someone please explain what's happening here grammatically?

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