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  5. "Is toil leam rìs gu mòr."

"Is toil leam rìs gu mòr."

Translation:I like rice a lot.

November 30, 2019



Can I get a literal translation? Thanks in advance.


It's complicated because toil is actually an eggcorn as described below (copied from another question).

Is toigh leam rìs gu mòr means 'Is pleasant with me rice bigly.

But this has been replace with

Is toil leam rìs gu mòr which means 'Is will/inclination with me rice bigly'.

This sounds the same. It is rather odd grammar and does not actually mean the same thing, although it is used as if it does.

Historically it was toigh leam. Because it sounds like toil leam, which almost makes sense, they just got confused. It is only in the last few years that toil leam became the preferred version.

This is called an eggcorn. I am not aware of any other examples in any language where one has been formally adopted into the spelling system although I am sure there are some. I think there may be some in Middle English that we now just accept. Can anyone think of any in any language? The Wiki article I reference above does not mention any. D


There are several cases in English where initial N has been gained or lost e.g. an ewt, heard as a newt, so that the noun is now almost universally accepted to be newt and is spelled thus. I understand that umpire and adder (the snake) arise from the opposite mutation.

Perhaps small children also perceive an apple as a napple, but this perception will be lost by experience of apples and the apple(s). Similarly, adults (humorously or not) may refer to a whole nuther thing. But these examples have not been adopted into accepted spelling.


Thank you. Those are interesting examples, some of which have been discussed on this site, most notably an adder since the Gaelic is nathair - see here. I think I found a new one in the Manx for Ireland (same link). But I don't think these are quite eggcorns as they are not based on confusion with an existing phrase. For example, when a nadder was misheard as an adder it was not mistaken for any other phrase as adder did not previously mean anything. The distinctive thing about the toigh leam example is that it is misheard as another meaningful phrase, which is what makes it an eggcorn. D


Thank you for that link. Looking through the 29 words listed I found some that I might just about be considered eggcorns - i.e. ones where the resulting word or phrase is pre-existing

  • humble pie although listed as rebracketing, the link states that both words had an optional h, so this is really just confusion with a homonym - or at best a near homonym and there does not seem to be any actual rebracketing going on. I think you would call this a malapropism.
  • Price This seems to be a good example, albeit in a name, since Price is an English word that would be quite plausible as a surname. Note that ap is the Welsh cognate of mac, with the m missing, just as in 'ic.
  • aitchbone although I am not sure if the relation to H was original or subsequent.
  • toothcomb This is arguably a good example, but there is the question of whether it is simply an erroneous omission of fine rather than an actual rebracketing. However that does not alter the fact that it still seems to be a valid eggcorn, since it is based on the misapprehension that anyone ever made a comb for combing your teeth. But this word has not yet been fully accepted a word in its own right, with some still maintaining it is just an erroneous form

I think it is a bit debatable how many of these should count as genuine eggcorns, but these are the only candidates I can find. D


Gu mòr means a lot, that's true, but it also translates as "very much".


... what would be "Tapadh leat gu mòr" : "thank you very much / thank you a lot" - can you say that - or WHAT ELSO - can any MOD help me out with that ?!


Why is the 's' at the end of 'Is' like an English 's' and the one at the end of 'ris' like an English 'sh'?


That is a really good question as it goes against everything in any pronunciation guide to Gaelic or Irish - ever.

The basic rule is of course that s is pronounced

  • one way ('broad') when next to a, o and u, like the ss in lass /s/
  • another way ('slender') when next to e or i, like the ss in mission /ʃ/

But here we have two examples of apparently slender is where ris is following the rules whereas is isn't.

As far as I know (which isn't very far) is has always been spelt and pronounced this way. What has happened is that although the spelling rule existed in Old Irish it was not as regular. Over time some spellings were changed to fit the pronunciation and the new regular rule. For example, fear ('man') had the a added at some stage quite a long time ago, but taigh had it added so recently that the old spelling, tigh is still very common in house names throughout Scotland. Is and tisdear are the only two I am aware of that have not yet been corrected. They are also unusual as i is pronounced as a short /i/, with fios being the only other example I can think of. This was spelt fius(s), fis, fius, fiss, fius(s), fis(s), fessa, feasa, ḟiss, fess, fess, fess before spelling was standardized, so there was no agreement as to what letter to add to show the s is broad. We are so used to the current system that it would look really odd if someone decided we should write ias, ios or ius, taidsear, toidsear or tuidsear. (And those tidsear examples would be really confusing as we expect to pronounce the first vowel, not the second, this side of the Irish Sea.)

So the simple answer is that is is irregular because the spelling has not been updated in the last 1200 years. Note however that it is

  • slender when abbreviated and followed directly by a slender vowel, as in 's i 'it is she' /ʃi/ but
  • broad when followed by a slender vowel but not immediately, as in 's mise 'it is me' /smiʃə/

If all this sounds too complicate, it is because these words are so common that people just learn them without actually following any rules and I suggest you just learn from the audio as well.

If anyone is interested in the history of this word, is goes back to Old Irish but was only used in the third person singular - so it exactly matched is in English. But over time they gave up using different endings for different people (99% of the time in Gaelic, 90% in Irish) and just used all the third-person-singular endings for everybody, thus making Gaelic and Irish easier than Welsh, French, German, Spanish, Norwegian, etc.


GLÈ MHATH, tapadh leibh a thidseir ...


Tapadh leibh, DaibidhR!


Basically, it is worth noting that 'toil' is actually 'will' or 'inclination'and that is how I have used that word in Gaelic for a lifetime.


I have answered this question in detail above, so I assume you are commenting on my translation of toil as 'desire'. I was aware it was not ideal, as desire, like any word, carries a range of meaning, and some of desire's meanings are quite like 'like'. I think your suggestions make it clearer that toil and toigh are not normally interchangeable. If you look in AFB you will find there is some level of overlap, and that there was even when Dwelly was written.

After all that, I have now edited my previous post, to use your translation, as I think it makes it clearer that toil is not really the right word in this sentence.


Can I ask, why is this not i like more rice? Rather than I like rice a lot


Yes. Gu mòr = a lot are both adverbial phrases here. They are adding meaning to the verb. They are saying how much you like the rice – in this case a lot.

But more is different – and no it is not closely related to mòr even though they sound similar. It is, at least here, an adjective describing the rice. In this case the rice is 'additional to what you already have'. To complicate matters a bit you usually use a noun, tuilleadh 'an extra amount' in Gaelic. It happens to work fine in this sentence, tuilleadh rìs, but I just need to warn you it is not safe to use it until later in the course as some nouns would need changed.

(For anyone who has completed the course, you just need to put the second noun in the genitive, but rìs does not change. You usually change the last vowel to an i but of course there is already an i here so there is nothing to change. There are a lot of nouns that do not follow the 'usual' rule, but as a foreign word, rìs would be unlikely to do anything less usual as no one would know what.)

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