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Scottish Gaelic word bank bug - words with a' and hyphens in them can't be made!

Hi there! I've noticed there's a bug when using the word bank in the Scottish Gaelic course. Please let me know if I should post this in another forum.

In Scottish Gaelic, a' is an important part of the word, for example "a' faicinn", but at the moment you can only make "a faicinn" with no '.

Would you be able to try and fix this please Duolingo?

Also, if you could also make words with a hyphen in them as one word, rather than seperate, that would be very helpful. For example with "a-nis", you can only make "a nis" which isn't the same. I know it's not a big deal, but it would be good if this could be fixed :-)

December 4, 2019



Actually, this is a bigger problem, since it affects all the languages, now just Scottish Gaelic.

Tile exercises remove punctuation, and the apostrophe is seen as punctuation. For example, if the correct solution for an exercise is "This my sisters' dog" , then the tiles will contain just sisters.

People have been asking Duolingo staff to fix this for 5 years. Maybe one day it will happen :P


It must be possible to add exceptions. In Duolingo Italian you're marked wrong for answering un po' without the apostrophe.


Ah fair enough. Hopefully they fix the internal workings of Duolingo so these kind of bugs will be fixed. I've heard they're planning to update the incubator as well apparently so hopefully we'll see some fixes in the next year or 2 :-)


Get in line :P There's a ticket open with DL about this since March 2016.


Oh wow! Hopefully they fix it. I heard at Duocon that they're updating the incubator to make it run smoother, so hopefully that means they can fix this bug as well. Maybe in the next year or 2 :-)


OP is correct, apostrophes are important with verbal nouns, like so:

  • a' faicinn = seeing
  • a faicinn = seeing (fem.) it

edit: and regular nouns:

  • a' mhàthair = the mother
  • a mhàthair = mother! (vocative) / his mother [ambiguous w/out context]

And hyphens indicate vocal stress shifts (to after the hyphen) which can change meaning / nuance:

  • taigh-beag = toilet
  • taigh beag = small house
  • an(-)ath-sheachdain* = next week
  • an ath sheachdain = the following week

This stuff matters as you literally lose marks in examinations if you get it wrong.

*GOC wants two hyphens here, but in practice you don't see that much.


Gaelic Orthographic Convention https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/45356.html Published by the SQA - Scottish Qualifications Authority. Latest version available from SQA in both Gaelic and English. See the pdf links on the website.


Completely agree with this. As noted - a' faicinn - and - a faicinn - have different meanings. "faicinn" (as well as other verbs/verbal nouns) can also appear alone in a sentence in other grammatical structures. Because it affects nearly all SG verbs there is a vast scope to show incorrect answers as "correct." Duolingo is teaching/reinforcing incorrect understanding by not having accurate word tiles available. That said, I'm pretty sure I have seen the apostrophe in use on Duolingo (sorry can't remember the spot) -- so maybe there is some way to get this fixed. Duolingo - please note other posts on this topic -- the availability of "punctuation" is critical to proper learning and understanding of Scottish Gaelic and probably other languages as well.

Later edit -- here is a sentence I just did with word tiles and there was an apostrophe on the m' tile. I entered a sentence discussion item here https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/35394001

Another edit: There is also a spacing issue with apostrophes in Scottish Gaelic that Duolingo should account for when allowing apostrophes. It occurs in writing SG but not when speaking. Sometimes there is no space (example dh'Alba in the situations when lenition is required for this word). Sometimes a space is required following the apostrophe -- for example -- with those verbal nouns using a' ; -- when the definite article is used with certain nouns and is -- a' ; etc.


Why not just adding with your keyboard? Hyphen = minus /// and for writing also using to learn Gàidhlig i can type with my Galaxy S8 ' and `.


Yes -- typing is fine and I do enter correct grammar in sentences like those being discussed when I am typing. I think the problem is with the word tile questions - which don't include typing or tiles for correct punctuation. The learner can only use what's on the word tiles which mostly don't include any punctuation - even when this is important to the meaning. Of course if the word tile questions could incorporate typing to see if users know what the correct punctuation is -- that would be great - but I wonder if there would be a problem using different input formats on a single question.


Hi all, think it has been explained, but it is unfortunately not something Scottish Gaelic contributors can fix at our end and this is a common issue across all languages that use apostrophes and hyphens. When the sentences appear in full, they are correct. It is only in specific challenges that the punctuation is dropped, we will include grammar notes to explain the function of the apostrophe in Gaelic, particularly in verbal nouns.


Tapadh leibh CM! Are there any plans to edit Scottish Gaelic sentences missing a capital letter at the beginning, or is it done purposefully? And thank you as always for the work you and all the other contributors put in! :D


Hi Ollie! Thanks, that's really kind. Could you give me a specific example and I'll let you know if it's an oversight / bug or intentional. :)

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