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  5. "Cò ris a tha an t-sìde colta…

" ris a tha an t-sìde coltach?"

Translation:What is the weather like?

December 4, 2019



I feel like this lesson (weather) has gone off the deep end with new words and phrases. I was doing great with comprehension and retention until now. :(


Halò a Nansaidh, the patterns will settle in soon enough. It's establishing some common patterns that will come in handy later.


Speaking of new words, I have been stuck at 241 new words for leagues now. I am taking 4 languages and I am pretty sure I have been learning a lot more than 241 new words. Just a minor complaint that will lose no sleep over.


Turns out that new words are only for one language at a time. My bad.


SAME WITH ME : "Stuck in the middle ... with words" !


How would this break down into English? I've so far got

  • cò = where/who
  • ris = ?
  • a = relative particle (that/which/whom)
  • tha = is
  • an t- = the
  • sìde = weather
  • coltach = like

Can someone explain the grammar behind this? :-)


Very literally, "To who/what is [whatever] like/similar?".

  • Cò = can be translated as "what?" here.
  • ris = masc. prepositional pronoun [to + e], as commonly follows interrogatives.
  • the rest as you have it


cò ris? means what with?, with what?

It’s needed here, because A is like B in Gaelic involves the phrase coltach ri, lit. similar with – so that’s where the ris with part comes from.

The whole sentence means: with what is it that the weather is similar?, or in a wee bit more reasonable English: to what is (it that) the weather is similar?

I did go through nearly identical sentence word-by-word in another discussion, you might want to look there: "Cò ris a tha an t-sìde coltach an-diugh?"


Or what does "cò ris" mean?


Some people used to say caite. I’m not sure if that’s still the case, but cò ris a tha an sìde coltach is the “formula” to learn.


According to Wiktionary, ris is ‘with him/it’; more here.

In other words, something like:

With what is the weather like?


It never serves you well to literally translate the wee words in any language. Just remember the formula.


I would disagree somewhat. While there's no point obsessing over literal translations that will never be a perfect 1:1, for some people (myself included), hearing a literal translation in your head can give you a better feel for the language, in a way letting the new language's idioms/formulas infect your own and give you more insight into the "logic" of that language. And in many cases it allows you to associate concepts with things you already know, making you less reliant on rote memorization if there's any way you can get it to "make sense", like, "Oh, so that's a bit like when we use the word X in a similar structure in English". I think this should only be avoided if you're getting hung up on it and insisting that the literal translation should sound normal in your language.


I totally agree with you, SarahBayley. Some kind of literal explanation helps me to understand how the language works, and in turn that helps me to memorise the 'formula'.


Yes. I can understand your point. I guess we all learn in different ways. One of the things I like about Duolingo is that we learn languages in a rather painless way that is similar in some ways to how young children learn. However when I got to a relatively advanced or at least intermediate level (I'm not there with Gaelic yet), I found myself delving into the grammar in more detail. Everybody is different.


I'm so lost with the pronunciation*, despite checking the wiki page about Scottish Gaelic orthography all the time... Is the t in coltach supposed to be pronounced?

*The Scottish team did a very great job for this course, but imho, starting learning Gaelic languages with lessons about the orthography and pronunciation (IPA is love) would be veeeery useful for the beginners from 0.


The thing with Duolingo is that it's not really designed to teach a language that way. It's meant to be accessible to all, including those that have no experience of language learning or linguistics.

That being said, both pronunciations are valid, although I'd say /kɔɫ̪əx/ is the most common.


You're doing a great job. For a free resource, this is outstanding. Thank you.


Yes, I heard coltach with the t pronounced on BBC Alba.


It's a regional variant of the pronunciation. Some places use the t in coltach, others don't.


This is quoting from the hints at the beginning of the lesson:

"Conversation Starters 101: Cò Ris a Tha an t-Sìde Coltach? This is how you ask what the weather is like in Gaelic. Moaning about the weather is like catnip for Scottish people. This is your in.

This is probably the longest phrase you have come across so far. Don't worry about its constituent parts at this stage, just think of it as a set phrase to remember. Cut yourself some slack if you muddle it up. It is very useful, so it is worth tackling. It is also very fun to say."


I feel like im picking everything up really well but the weather section is just so much harder! Has anyone found a way to help keep up with this section?


This HEAP of new words in only a few lessons is KILLING me - almost ready to GIVE it all UP now ... "THA MI DUILICH GLÈ MHATH !"


You get to stages like that. Keep going. You'll get through it. There is an old Scots saying "pit a stoot hert tae a stey brae"

(Literally - Put a strong heart to a steep hill)

Cùm a 'dol a fhloraidh


Don't give up! This unit was tough for me too. There's a lot crammed in this unit and it I didn’t get it all the first time through. It took me several reviews to finally feel good about it. Just slog through and and keep going!


I'm not quite ckear about the pronunciations of coltach. Clarification please


This one I'm afraid is a regional variation. Some places pronounce it with the t silent, others with the t audible.


My way natural to express this is "what like is the weather?" and I think most Scots would say it that way, even if not thinking of it as a Scots language idiom. I feel it should be accepted.


In coltach ris, why does the ris move to beside cò?

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