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  5. "Cò às a tha thu Anna?"

" às a tha thu Anna?"

Translation:Where are you from, Anna?

November 30, 2019



Terrible audio, very confusing


Why? It’s pronounced quite clearly. The speaker is an older person.

That said, if you actually can’t hear the audio, click the little “Report” flag so the mods can see it.


Be aware that "th" is silent or an h, if one's needed for spacing between vowels.
So this sentence is pronounced: "Cò às a ha oo Anna," and not "...a tha thu."


I had to guess as to what some of the words were, fill the blanks certainly added an interesting element to this question. This clip really should be replaced with something more clear.


How does "cò às a tha thu" become "where are you from"?

I understand:

  • cò = who
  • às = from
  • a = ?
  • tha = am/is/are
  • thu = you (informal, singular)

Is that correct? Not sure what "a" is though

Does "Cò às a" mean "Where from"?


Yes, "cò às" means where from.

In older Gaelic, I believe "cò?" was a more generic interrogative, but these days is normally understood as just "who?", except for in "cò às" where the meaning has been frozen as "where from?". Other people interpret it as "from whom do you come". In any case, it means "where from?" today.

a = the relative particle (that/which/whom)

That particle notionally follows most interrogatives, though is invisible after ones ending in a vowel (most of them).


Thank you very much for all your help answering my questions! It's truly helpful and useful! Thanks again! Do you know much Scottish Gaelic already, or fluent? Thanks again for your help!


Historically Gaelic speakers lived in tribes known as clans. Clans generally had anscestral land. If you were a MacDonald for example you were likely from certain regions of the country.

Over time the phrase Cò às a tha thu, which literally means "what people are you from" has come to mean "where are you from" as a result. There is an air of persistence to that even now in Gaelic as one of the first things a native speaker will do when they learn you speak Gaelic is ask for your life story.


Oh nice! Thanks for the explanation!


Just to add a bit about the relative particle. I don’t know much Sc. Gaelic, but I know some Irish, and I believe in Gaelic it works the same way.

All question words in Gaelic work as copula forms (the is verb in is mise… ‘I am…’), so actually means something like ‘who-is-it?’ and means ‘what-is-it?’.

This way in Gaelic to ask a more complex question you need a subordinate relative clause, instead of asking ‘where are you from?’ you ask ‘where-it-is from where you are?’, instead of asking ‘who made it?’ you ask ‘who-it-is that made it?’.

Because of this you need a relative particle in those questions. Also see how it effectively keeps the verb first in questions.

  • 1188

"Anna, where are you from" should be accepted, and isn't. Reported.

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