"Good night, bye."
Translation:Oidhche mhath, tìoraidh.
The number, gender and grammatical case of the noun. In nominative-accusative masculine nouns take unchanged adjectives (so eg. fear math good man, cù beag little dog), but feminine nouns take lenited adjectives (bean mhath good woman, bò mhòr big cow).
Oidhche night is a feminine noun, so in nom-acc it takes lenited adjectives.
There are other similar rules for genitive (the possessive case, eg. taigh a’ choin bhig the little dog’s house, na bà mòire of the big cow), dative (ie. after most prepositions, eg. air a’ bhòrd mhòr on the big table), and for plurals.
It works with names too. If you want to say little Eilidh, you’d say Eilidh bheag.
Attributive adjectives after feminine nouns – names too – in nominative always get lenited if possible.
But all the sentence with Eilidh and beag or mòr in the course use the adjectives not as attributes (as in little Eilidh), but as predicates of the verb bi (to be, as in Eilidh is big). And predicative adjectives always stay in their main (masculine singular) form:
- Tha Eilidh mòr means Eilidh is big, but big Eilidh would be Eilidh mhòr.
- Tha Anna beag means Anna is small, but small / little Anna would be Anna bheag.
- Tha Eilidh snog means Eilidh is nice, and not nice Eilidh.
Identically, if you wanted to say the night is good, you’d say tha an oidhche math even though good night is oidhche mhath.
The spelling system is extremely regular when compared to English. It is brilliant at representing Gaelic's sounds consistently. Like anything it'll take time to get used to though. It is about as far from random as it gets though. It is very very regular once you become used to it. :)
Lenited, I believe, has to do with "lenition": Maidann mhath = Good morning (Maidann is femenine) Feasgar math = Good afternoon (Feasgar is masculine) Lenition is when the adjective "gains" an "h" (math =/= mhath) because it follows a femenine noun. Very basic, based on what I read here on duolingo, just beginning to learn the language, ha. On the other hand, a "vocative" word is that which refers directly to address someone, while "nominative" is the case used for a noun when it is the subject of a verb. Hope that makes sense!!! which (BASICALLY) happens when an adjective follows a feminine noun
2 questions: 1) What is the difference between "oidhche mhath" and "oidhche mhaith?" I've noticed sometimes there's an added i in the lenited form and other times not. (Someone below wrote oidhche mhaith." And 2) what is the literal translation of tìoraidh? On another site it defined it as "see you" while "mar sin leibh" was bye.
oidhche mhaith is the pre-1950s Irish form of good night (in modern Irish orthography it’s oíche mhaith) – the word for good originally had a slender consonant at the end and so was written maith – but then both broad and slender th merged into single /h/ and Gaelic decided to go with the spelling math while Irish keeps etymological maith. People who write the latter might be just mixing Irish and Sc. Gaelic forms (and I see that I did just that in this thread earlier ;-) that’s just my mistake).
As for tìoraidh, I believe it is a borrowing from English cheerio. Mar sin leibh/leat on the other hand means literally the same with/to you and originally was used as a reply to beannachd leibh/leat (blessing to you), but eventually became a farewell phrase on its own.
By knowing where lenition is needed in the language and when not. Most Duolingo learners, I guess, from the tips and notes to the lessons.
You can find the tips and notes in the web browser version of Duolingo at https://duolingo.com and also on the https://duome.eu/tips/en/gd website. They might not be present in the Duolingo mobile app, so if you use a mobile device, you might want to open your web browser (mobile Firefox, Chrome, or Safari will do) for reading.