"Thank you, boy!"
Translation:Tapadh leat a bhalaich!
Gaelic has something called the ‘vocative’ case that is basically used when talking to or addressing someone. See a bit more here https://gaelicgrammar.org/~gaelic/mediawiki/index.php/Vocative_Case_(definition)
So basically words change in this case!
Boy (nominative) = balach
Eg. A boy is big = Tha balach mòr
Boy (vocative) = a bhalaich
Eg. Thank you boy = Tapadh leat a bhalaich
The word boy/balach in the vocative is prefixed by ‘a’ which is a common way of forming the vocative (but there are others). Because it is prefixed by ‘a’ the word is also changed - in a process known as ‘lenition’ - so that the ‘b’ is ‘softened’ - known formally as becoming ‘slender’ - to a ‘bh’ and hence ‘a bhalaich’.
This change in the vocative also happens with people’s names which gives rise to the Mairi/Mhairi and Seamus/a Sheumais confusion; where in English they are now two names (with the vocative of the second giving rise to Hamish which is kinda how it’s pronounced) but one name in Gaelic - just in different cases!
PS also tapadh leat vs tapadh leibh?
Singular/informal vs plural/formal
We’re talking to a boy so both singular and informal!
Sorry, you're quite right, I skimmed over that!
So as well as changing to add the h (b... -> bh...) due to lenition, in certain cases (it's complex - see link below) there is ALSO a 'softening' of the vowel in the vocative, ie the last a becomes ai.
Fuller explanation here:
To some extent I would suggest:
- learn the simple rule to introduce prefix 'a' in front of consonant
- learn the softening by practice and feel! Don't worry about it...
They (balach and gille) are just synonyms AFAIK. In the same way English has boy and lad.
See this question on Reddit and the answer by user Glaic: