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  5. "Chan eil mi a' faicinn uan."

"Chan eil mi a' faicinn uan."

Translation:I am not seeing a lamb.

November 30, 2019



Isn't 'I am not seeing a lamb' a literal translation rather than a translation into idiomatic English?


Yeah it's a bit literal. It actually works in my Scottish English dialect, but in more standard English a better tx would probably be "I see/can see…".


This is a discussion we had. It is the literal translation. The more 'idiomatic' I see is technically a different tense, but it will accept both translations


It's the same tense (present) – it's that (apart from 'tha') there isn't a non-progressive form for the present tense in Gaelic.

I think accepting both is fine, but I reckon the main translation should be the more natural one. I've seen a few people remark on this now and it seems to be a bit confusing.

Just by way of feedback though, not a moan.


By different tense I meant grammatical tense - present simple and present continuous. And don't worry, the feedback is very much appreciated :)

But yeah, I realised recently I see is obviously the correct way of translating it in this case - it's a stative verb. My head's in a bit of a bùrach at the moment.


Am I reading you right, caran-neonach? There is no non-progressive present tense in Gaelic? That's a real surprise for me, as I am used to seeing feicim, feiceann tú in Irish, alongside tá mé ag feiceáil. Where did Gàidhlig lose it's tense?


Some verbs, such as faic 'see', express simple present tense using what is normally called the future tense:

'I don't see a lamb' = Chan fhaic mi uan

'I'm not seeing a lamb' = Chan eil mi a' faicinn uan


I don't speak Irish, but that is correct. The present tense is only expressed using the progressive, hence the translation challenge here. I've no idea where it lost it.


Can someone please explain how a'faicinn is pronounced? I'm having so much trouble to reproduce the actual sound


I would say it is pronounced "uh f-aye-ch--keen" where "aye" is pronounced like the letter I, and "ch" is like in "bach", also "f-aye-ch" is one syllable and "keen" is another but the transition between them is pretty smooth

If anyone has a better way of explaining it please do so


I don't know if it's less common in British English, but in the right context, American English speakers certainly would use the present progressive here.

Say a group of people is looking across a field. Someone exclaims "hey, there's a lamb out there!" You scan the area; you don't see it, so you say "I'm not seeing a lamb."

Note that present progressive makes sense here: you are still looking, and you continue not to see it.


Ok, I finally understand what people mean when they say it is a natural sentence, but I don't think it's very common. I personally think it's good they translate it as "I am not seeing" because it shows you how the sentence works (why there is a "tha/chan eil" in there, etc.)


We never say, 'I'm not seeing' in Standard English. 'I can't see' which sounds a lot more natural, is accepted in other Duolingo courses, e.g. Ukrainian, even though it's not a direct translation.

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