"Cò ris a tha an t-sìde coltach?"
Translation:What is the weather like?
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?"
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.
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.
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."