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  5. "Tha iad a' togail taigh-òsta…

"Tha iad a' togail taigh-òsta."

Translation:They are building a hotel.

December 4, 2019



Guess all my teachers got it wrong! I was always taught that whether the "h" was silent or not, it should be "an hotel"


It's 'an' hotel


Only places that don't pronounce the 'h' at the beginning. British English pronounces the h for hotel so a hotel.


Do you say "an horse", "an house" ?


There are two separate things that are getting confused here. The first is whether hotel begins with an h sound. It does for some people.

The second, is whether words that begin with an h sound should take an an, or indeed whether you should go by the sound or the pronunciation. The rule in English is (for most people) that we go with whether there is a vowel sound at the beginning, but it does not have to be like that. In Welsh you use yr for 'the' before words that begin with a vowel or an h as in these two words that both mean 'the hotel):

  • yr hotél
  • y gwesty

So these rules are just conventions. There is no rule of nature that says how it has to be in a given language.


I think you'll find you are the ones with a spelling mistake in the answer! (An hotel)


It's not a mistake. I pronounce hotel with the h, so it doesn't begin with a vowel sound for me, so it doesn't have 'an' before it. That there are places that pronounce it 'otel' does not make the people who pronounce it 'hotel' wrong.


I am a bit confused as to why this sentence uses 'tha' rather than 'bidh'. As building a hotel is not something that you can do 'right now this very minute' but is a continuous action over quite a long time (usually), should it not be 'Bidh iad a' togail taigh-osta'?


I am not sure why you are confused. We wouldn't say "They will be building a hotel" if they have already begun it in English, so why does it not make sense in Gaelic? They are building it, whether it is finished or not.


I am confused because it was my understanding that in Gaelic, 'tha' is only used for those activities that are occurring right now this very minute while 'bidh' is used for the present continuous, in other words, activities that are regular or ongoing. I would therefore have expected that an activity like building a hotel, which is clearly ongoing, would require the use of 'bidh'. I have the same confusion with the sentence 'tha na h-oileanaich ag ionnsachadh Gaidhlig' as learning a language is surely an ongoing event and not a one off occurrence. I am sure that there is something that I am missing but I would be grateful if somebody could explain to me why 'tha' is used in these situations.

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