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  5. "Tha Calum beag."

"Tha Calum beag."

Translation:Calum is small.

November 28, 2019



Small sounds like big? Tricky.


I'm using that as a mnemonic, or memory aid, such as beag = small, mor (like English 'more') = big, cu = dog (like the English word cur), bo = cow (as in the English bovine), math = good (although again an opposite for me at least because math is not my strong suit), and dona = bad (because I have a mean sister-in-law named Donna). Memory aids really help.


Big is small in Scottish Gaelic. That's my memory aid.


Makes it easier to remember, like how caldo is hot in Italian.


Is "tha" the verb here (ie, "is")? Or does "tha" refer to Calum (like in Greek there is always a definitive before proper names, ie η Ελένη, which looks like "the Helen," but it's really just "Helen."

Oh, and if "Tha" means "is," will the verb generally (or even always) come before noun in Scottish Gaelic?


Yes, the verb usually comes before the subject of the sentence.


English language be like: am I a joke to you?


So Calum is a Gaelic name? Good to know!


It comes from the Latin name Columba, an Irish missionary to Scotland and saint (famous for the monastery on Iona), and it means dove. Derivatives include Malcolm ("servant of Columba"), Colm, Callum, etc.


Ah yes, like the French word for dove: colombe.


Why the "T" in Tha if it ain't pronounced? Well, it is what it is, I guess.


In some dialects of Gaelic the T is pronounced, eg "ta". Perhaps this was more prevalent long ago when the writing was first recorded but has since changed, like the English word "night" which hundreds of years ago would have sounded like the Scots word "nicht". Both English and Gaelic contain odd spellings which usually have a historical context.


I thought Gaelic has lenition on names and then the additional slenderisation of male names? So Calum would be come Chaluim and Catrìona would be Chatrìona? Or is that only in certain cases? :0


The way I understand it, some nouns have lenition, but it would be as part of the case paradigm. In this case, Calum is nominative, so it would be the base form.

Presuming it follows the pattern for other maculine nouns (I don't know enough to know if they are treated differently yet, so please correct me if I am wrong):

1) Nominative: Calum

2) Dative: Chalum

3) Genitive: Chaluim

4) Vocative: a Chaluim

I did see a song title called "To Calum" in the original Gaelic as "Do Chalum" (dative), so it does so far look to me like names follow the same pattern as common nouns.


Calum beag... Thats a character in Walter Scott's Waverly!

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