1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. "Thank you, mother!"

"Thank you, mother!"

Translation:Tapadh leibh, a mhàthair!

November 28, 2019



How do i know when to use leat and when to use leibh?


tapadh leat is used in singular/informal situations and tapadh leibh is used in plural/polite/formal situations. So use tapadh leat when speaking to one person of your peers and children for example. Use tapadh leibh if speaking to older people (parents/grandparents) and to show respect (professors). Also use tapadh leibh when speaking to more than one person - because it is the plural form. So if talking to 2 or more children you would use tapadh leibh.


Fineally! Someone who actually explains this rule! Thank you!!


Why 'tapadh leibh a mhàthair' but no a with athair


Words beginning with a vowel don't get an "a" in their vocative


Because athair starts with a vowel so it cannot lenite.


Lenition has got nothing to do with it. Lots of words that can't lenite still take the a, such a a Leagsaidh. It is because it starts with a vowel so the a elides.


It sounds very formal to use "leibh" with your mother.


Typically, you would use leibh with parents :)


It also accepts leat.


It didnt for me :(


It ought to accept "tapadh leat" :)


Formal=Respect right?


Spelling is hard.


It was tapadh leibh athàir, and it is now tapadh leibh A mhàthàir? How can you explain that?


I can't. I have never seen an accent on the last syllable of either of these words in Gaelic, on this course or anywhere else. Indeed I have only seen an accent on any unstressed syllable once in in my life.

But if you mean, 'Why is it athair but màthair, then that is just the way it is, and I can't explain it.

But then if you mean, 'Why is there an a in front of mhàthair but not in front of athair then that is explained elsewhere on this page.


Shame on me for a bad accent, but I starter Gaeluc less than Rio dans algo... ans have never has any explanation about the stresses or unstressed syllables. Is there a difference in prononciation? I also hot mixed up with Iris, which I've been doing for two years.. if you should be so kind as to explain it to a poor beginner, you,'re welcome.


Unlike other languages, accents in both Gaelic and Irish only indicate a long vowel. They put them on all long vowels unless they are predictable. Don't worry about the rules as the audio is good for both Gaelic and Irish: just copy what they say and make sure the vowel is longer when there is an accent.

Irish accents have nothing to do with stress.

But, by chance, Gaelic ones are only on stressed syllables so you can use them as a stress mark on the rare occasions the stress is not on the first syllable, mostly foreign words such as buntàta 'potato(es)' (where the stress is the same as the English anyway) and names such as Catrìona.

Sometimes the only difference between two words is the vowel length, so listen carefully or note the accent difference in e.g.

  • bàta 'boat'
  • bata 'stick'

Accents point

  • ònè wày ìn Gàèlìc,
  • thé óthér wáy ín Írísh.



Thank you. Yo've been very helpful.


Sorry, but how is mhàthair to pronounce.. wahef? or waheth. I can't hear it clearly


Unfortunately it is not possible to find this sentence to replay it but I can guess what it sounds like from what you describe.

mh as /v/ or /w/
The short answer is not to worry about the difference between /v/ and /w/ in Gaelic. For a longer answer, see my answer here.

Slender r
r, when not at the beginning of a word, is always pronounced the same, whether broad or slender, in most dialects. It is not too far from an r in English, so it it is not worth worrying about the details. However, in a few dialects, much more common on Duolingo than in general, there is a distinct pronunciation of the slender r. This helps to distinguish the broad and slender r. It is usually described as th sound but people often have difficulty in describing it as it does not actually corresponding to any actual English sound. People often describe it as an f or various other letters.

My advice would be to get used to it but not to bother to try and emulate it unless you are in the Outer Hebrides. If or when you are, just listen to the exact way the locals say it. This may vary from place to place anyway.


leit, leat, leibh... I'm never going to get it. Also, math/mhath


Yes you are. A bit more practice and it will all become second nature.

Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.