"Gaelic is good."
Translation:Tha Gàidhlig math.
Cha (or chan before a vowel) means not. Tha means 'is' but changes to eil or similar after chan, an or nach i.e. what they call the dependent form. It is called a suppletive form when a word changes to a completely different one like this (like English go → went).
The origin of eil is really weird. Its original meaning (with an f at the beginning) was 'observe'. The f lenited then disappeared (but still exists, in a fashion, in a bheil). So chan eil Gàidhlig dona should be understood as '[one does] not observe Gaelic [to be] bad'. Weird?
In everything covered so far, cha(n) means 'not'. It makes a negative statement. It is not used in negative questions.
The only points of confusion (in what had been covered so far) are
- Because people don't know what eil means, they are baffled by chan eil. But eil is just a weird form of tha that you have to use with chan. Chan still means 'not'.
- Some English sentences are difficult to make negative. We do not say she sang not. This is a problem with English, not with Gaelic. Chan still makes the statement negative even if the English is weird.
We are lucky in Scotland that no one forces you to learn Gaelic. So anyone who disagrees should have left by now, and we are left with only those who agree, and the masochists.
But it is different in Ireland. I once did an Irish course in Ireland and half the people there were there because they had to be, so they were hating it. For lots of public-sector jobs you have to have a qualification in Irish so these people were studying for that. This causes a lot of resentment about the language.
I think you didn't quite understand the joke. ;-) math(ematics) = good (Many students don't like mathematics.) At the moment I am testing many languages to decide which one I will start learning next. It doesn't only depend on the language itself, but as well on the quality of the course. I think Scottish-Gaelic as well as Irish are very interesting. I would really like to understand them, but they are difficult, too. The written Irish is driving me nuts. It doesn't look like the corresponding sound. At least for me. Probably none of them will be my next language. But I will come back some day.
No I didn't understand at all - but there is a reason. Here in the UK we do not abbreviate mathematics to math. We call it maths. For that reason, I have managed to fail to notice this false friend in the 15 years I have been speaking Gaelic. Sorry but this joke only works in some places!
As a maths teacher I fully appreciate how much hatred there is of the subject but I believe it 100% down to bad teaching, not least for the younger pupils who are not taught by people with any specialist knowledge.
I myself didn't hate maths in school, but there are a lot of pupils who do. Of course you're right. Bad teaching is the most frequent reason of disliking a subject. Not only maths. In my 12th form we had a teacher who was able to teach history in an interesting and exciting way. And for the first time I understood and could remember the historical contexts of World War I.