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  5. "Anna and Calum are small."

"Anna and Calum are small."

Translation:Tha Anna agus Calum beag.

November 28, 2019



What is the function of "Tha" at the beginning of sentences?


Tha means is, it just goes before the subject instead of after. So it literally says, Are Anna and Calum small. Except that it is a statement rather than a question.


It's the present tense of the verb "to be".


Is/are. The verb comes first in most (if not all) Celtic languages.


I'm still learning about this myself, but take a look on this page and scroll down to Gaelic and usage notes: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/tha

Looks like in Gaelic, the verb is placed first in the sentence. In this case "are"

So the word order looks like verb - subject - adjective.

Any input from native speakers greatly appreciated. The course on Duolingo is still very basic and doesn't elaborate a lot on it's concepts.


Yes, it does. If you access Duo in the web browser, then a button “Tips” takes you to grammar tips and notes for each lesson.


Its the verb "to be" I reckon. Scottish is a VSO language, meaning that the verb comes first


It's kind of hard to hear the pronunciation, is 'Tha' pronounced like 'ha'?


Yes. th— / — th — (initial position and medial position) are almost always pronounced /h/; mathair, athair, thoir, tha... (except for thu, where the th is silent). At the ends of words, —th is silent: sgìth, math, buth....


So just to be clear, there's no way in Gaelic to differentiate between "is" and "are?" "Tha" itself is always used?


That’s right. Tha mi a’seinn, tha thu a’seinn, tha i a’seinn, tha iad a’ seinn, ...


Interesting! Thank you!


Then why and when do we use 'seo'? There should be notes and tips to read with every chapter but I cant seem to find out where..


Seo following a noun as a modifier means “this”: an leabhar seo = ‘this book’.

Seo + noun = “This is (noun).”

  • Seo peann. = “This is a pen.”

  • Seo Alasdair. = “This is Alasdair.”

  • Seo mo bhrathair. = “This is my brother.”

If you are only using the Duo app, the Tips pages may not be accessible from the app. They are visible at the beginning of each lesson if you are using the website, www.Duolingo.com.


Hi 2GreyCats, thx again for helping. yes, I am using the app and no, there are no tips there. Hope this gets fixed. In the meantime Ill go back to the pc.

So Tha is just the verb to be and Seo is the verb + This? I will read the tips, that might explain more. Thx again


No, not quite. Seo isn’t a verb. Gaelic uses “Seo X” as kind of a shorthand for “This is X.” There’s actually no verb in the sentence at all, but it’s understood. Seo Calum = “This is Calum.”

From the Tips page: Seo is a useful word. It can mean either "this is" or "here is" - although for consistency, we have tended to translate it as "this is".


Later on, we see “seo” used to mean “this” when it follows a noun, for example, An taigh seo = “this house”


How would you pronounce "agus"? I've heard akus, agus, and ayus, so I'm just a little confused. Is this a dialect difference?


Yes. There are regional differences in pronunciation of some words.


What if Anna is big and Calum is small? How would you write that? Also, does Gaelic have a grammatical structure? I'm not seeing periods, and some words are not capitalized.

  1. You would say, Tha Anna mòr, agus tha Calum beag.

  2. Of course it has grammatical structure. Most Gaelic sentences follow the order verb—subject — object/other. There are periods after all sentences, but not after phrases that aren’t a complete sentence.

  3. Proper names are capitalized correctly. Common nouns are not capitalized.
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