"Cò ris a tha an t-sìde coltach an-dràsta?"
Translation:What is the weather like just now?
I don't think it's "unfortunate" that voices are done by volunteers. On the contrary, it's important to hear real speakers. Some of the recording quality can be, how shall we say...varied, but one of the best things about this course is hearing the variety of speech. Scotland is a small country: you go 20 miles down the road and you'll hear variation. Well done and thanks to the volunteers!
I totally agree that the human volunteers are 100 times better than the robot you get on some courses such as Welsh. Not only is it actually correct - unlike the Welsh, but it also gets you used to the variety of real accents, and is actually forming a resource that is unique anywhere in the world that I know of for actually listening to dialects.
But I don't think that is what Ariaflame actually meant. I think they meant that it is an unfortunate side effect of this system that Duolingo is unable (for no obvious reason) to produce the slow and word-by-word replay that robot-spoken languages have. It can't be that difficult, given modern technology, to add this facility.
- An t-side = the weather
- Coltach = similar
- Coltach ri(s) = similar to = like
So the literal translation is
What to that is the weather similar?
It is always difficult when you meet several words you don't know, in a language like Gaelic where the word order is different, to figure out what is going on. You have to look for clues. There is no obvious clue in either coltach or sìde, but there is one word you should know - an means 'the'. This can be used to guess that an t-sìde means 'the weather'. In fact, an, 'the' sometimes changes to an t-. Even if you don't know when, this still confirms the meaning when you see it. Even if you didn't know this at all, you could still guess an t-sìde from knowing an. So it is all a question of using the bits you do know to figure out the rest.
The answer is more complicated than you might expect. In all languages I know, apart from Gaelic and Irish, you can do exactly what you suggest in the colloquial language. But in these two languages it is convention to leave the space in.
a th'an t-side
- (2) a th' an t-side
I don't know if this is in the list of correct answers, but even if not, it would only count as a typo, as they generally ignore apostrophes, and then it is only one letter out.
But then we have the second problem. Duolingo works out if a sentence is correct by looking at it one word at a time. So (2) is either correct or a typo. But (1) contains the word *than (as it ignores the apostrophe). This would count as a typo for tha but then there would be whole word missing, so it would count this as wrong.
So the best advice is to leave the space in next time and see what happens. I do not know why these two languages have this spelling convention. My best guess is that there are lots of examples where a consonant is left out (e.g. a' bhean) and you might want to keep the space as the syllable count has not changed. This is different from eliding vowels which is much more common in other languages.
From my own playing around with different answers, it seems to me that the program changes all punctuation to spaces and then removes duplicate spaces. So "th'an" would get parsed into "th an". This is also why "a nis" is always accepted and "anis" never is.
Obviously I don't have access to the raw code so I can't be certain, but I am a programmer and this makes sense in light of how many other systems do it as well.
(I'm not sure how it works on the English side. I've never tried entering "isn t" to see what happens. That would be interesting)
Interesting. I shall see if this helps me understand what it wrong or right. However it contradicts what Alastair649040 says as that should mean that his version became correct or a typo. I suspect what you say may apply to other punctuation, but perhaps the apostrophe is just ignored?