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  5. "This is Morag and Anna."

"This is Morag and Anna."

Translation:Seo Mòrag agus Anna.

November 28, 2019

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

Have you any idea how surreal some of this is when you're actually called Morag? (And have a friend called Anna.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DorothyRoholt

The computer prompts me to watch use of accents for Morag, yet it does not use the accent in the original statement. I don't mind encouragement, but If the accent is not in the original statement for translation, I wouldn't think to add an accent in my answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

It's my name. Imagine how it is to have to remember to put an accent on your own flippin' name! But I do actually hear a slight difference in pronunciation when Gaelic speakers address me, even in English and not using the Gaelic vocative. They sort of lean on the o vowel more.

Fun fact. There is a lady in the same (small village) orchestra as I am who is called Anna and she is also doing the Duolingo course. We've had a bit of fun with this one and "Tha Mòrag agus Anna snog" and similar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

If you want extra fun facts about your name, a very small number of words in Gaelic used to have the accent pointing the other way, representing a slightly different sound (though I have never been clear of the difference). The most common is mór and hence Mórag.

You will see this in Am Faclair Beag if you look up either of these words. This dictionary has two columns. The right hand one is from Dwelly (1911) so these spellings are correct, but the left one is modern and so this spelling is completely wrong, and it really annoys me.

This is why you may see a house called Tigh Mór instead of the modern Taigh Mòr.

You, of course, are allowed to spell your name exactly the way you want to. My name is Daibhidh. Some people spell their name as Dàibhidh. They are quite entitled to. But sometimes they insist on spelling my name like that, and that they are not entitled to do.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

Thanks, I didn't know that. I have seen some words with the accent going the other way though, most notably in the 1979 Can Seo series. I thought it was more than a very small number of words, because I noticed it quite a lot.

My name has never been spelled with an accent, but if I was writing in Gaelic I'd put it in. I have noticed others putting it in when receiving little notes in Gaelic.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

When I thought about it I realized that I didn't know how common it was so I looked it up (Am Faclair Beag, part of word, pay attention to accents):

  • á occurred only in á(s) and its compounds.
  • é was quite common.
  • í occurs once in Dwelly, in a word usually spelt with an ì. AFB also lists lots of Irish names (as it points that way in Irish).
  • ó is quite common.
  • ú occurs only in Irish names.

Thank you for making me look it up!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

There are quite a few "acute" accents seen on-screen in the Can Seo series, and I downloaded a pdf of the book that went with it from here https://www.scribd.com/document/225854344/Leabhar-na-Can-Seo-anns-a-Ghaidhlig, and there seemed to be quite a few in that as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

That's because the accent is not standard in the English version of the name. They want you to learn to add the accent when translating to Gaelic.

You also need to learn to listen to the word as the accent is related to the sound. It tells you how to pronounce words. English speakers are very bad at this as we have other ways to recognise long vowels (i.e. they sound completely different to short vowels in English). If there were no accent in the Gaelic, it would be *Morrag in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarryLord1

What a fascinating discussion on this page! To get someone's name right seems to me only ordinary respect, with or without accents. I'd feel uncomfortable writing my Croatian teacher's surname as Ilic rather than Ilić: it's just wrong!

I imagine that computer and international systems (e.g. for passports) may support only non-accented characters, but it does seem strange that the English translations here use Morag and not Mòrag.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

It's not strange. My birth certificate (and all my other documents) say Morag, not Mòrag. The name doesn't have an accent when one is speaking in English. Morag is to Mòrag as Elizabeth is to Ealasaid.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

Yes. There is a very important difference you are highlighting here. Using the standard rules of English orthography it is easy to see the word Morag and pronounce it correctly. The accent does not help. But the same does not apply to all non-English names and words. It is not possible (based on standard orthography) to read Ilić or café correctly as cafe would have one syllable, and Ilic would have a broad c. So these words are in a different situation to Morag and should, im my view, always retain the accent in English, as should Beyoncé.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

I have noticed that Gaelic speakers tend to pronounce my name with a subtle difference, just a bit more of a lean on the first syllable. I now realise why.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

I think the main reasons for that are (1) there is a slightly stronger stress in Gaelic than in English, and (2) there is no doubt in Gaelic where the stress is (as it is 99% of the time on the first syllable, and 99.9% of the time on the syllable with the accent (which is not a stress mark but is easy to mistake for one)); but in English, people may not be quite so sure where the stress is in a name they may not be familiar with.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

I'm not sure it's quite like that. Morag is a common name in Scotland and nobody is in any doubt which syllable is stressed even if they don't have a word of Gaelic. It's not really about stress, more that the Gaelic speakers tend to lengthen the vowel a bit, as if they're mentally "seeing" the accent.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

I see what you mean. I misunderstood what you meant by 'lean'. I was about to delete my post, but your point about 'seeing' the accent is really interesting, so I will leave it although I have no comment to add. So do you think the Gaelic pronunciation has changed because the spelling has changed from Mórag to Mòrag? - From ó as in mór to ò as in còrr?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

I don't know anything about the changes in spellings or accents, only that I see "acute" accents in older texts where there are now "grave" accents. I've only observed that Gaelic speakers tend to pronounce my name with a slightly longer first vowel.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

Well nor do I, except that I know ó was slightly different from ò. I think you can still hear a bit of a difference with mór, hence my question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

I don't know, I'm just a beginner here remember.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DFavorsky

How do I add accents to the letters? Do i need to download a Gaelic keyboard?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

This depends on what system you are using.

On Windows with a UK keyboard layout, there is a Gaelic keyboard but the UK Extended is best. This has the advantage that is works for all UK languages such as Irish and Welsh, and covers many other commonly used symbols as well. You can go into the settings on your computer to install it and go to Wikipedia - UK Extended for instructions. Since it does everything the standard keyboard and the Gaelic and Welsh keyboards do, + a lot more, I have no idea why it isn't the standard UK keyboard. I use it for everything.

If your keyboard has the keys in the American pattern, I think the US-international keyboard does much the same with the instructions in the same place, and even more symbols.

On a smartphone it often works if you just press and hold a key - a list of variants pops up. If you find the letter you want missing (a more common problem in Welsh than in Gaelic: ŵ, ŷ) then go into the settings and install the spell checker for Gaelic. The spell checker is useful anyway. You can easily switch languages when needed. I think different phones differ in how the language choice is related to the keyboard choice but you should be able to figure it out and find some solution. My phone does not offer the option to spell check in Gaelic and English for some reason, by it does allow Welsh and English.

And of course, if you are really lazy, and once you have installed the spell checker, then if you just type without the accents, it may well suggest the correct word with the accents.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DFavorsky

I forgot to say thank you for your help. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarryLord1

Many thanks for this advice. I have four different keyboard layouts installed on my laptop (for English and for some Slavic languages), but had no experience with the "UK Extended" layouts. I try to resist installing new layouts, because it becomes tedious to switch among them using Alt-Shift (or some other combination which one has selected), but perhaps you are right that "UK extended" could be the standard UK layout.

Unfortunately, the field is conservative: think how long it took to be able to use the £ symbol on any system designed in the USA! I know of at least one "international" system still in use which discards messages if they contain "£" (and can't handle Cyrillic characters at all).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

A couple of historical notes. The first systems on (American) computers worked with the three main languages used by white North Americans - American English, French and Spanish. Everything else was impossible.

Secondly, there was a specific problem with the £ caused by some idiotic clever-clogs, who thought it would be easy if we used the same ASCII code for the American pound sign (#) in America and the British pound sign (£) in the UK. This mess took decades to sort out.

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