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  5. "James is well, thank you."

"James is well, thank you."

Translation:Tha Seumas gu math, tapadh leat.

December 7, 2019



I spelled it "Seumas" but was marked as a typo, to be corrected to "Seamus". I would have expected the Scottish spelling to be preferred over the Irish spelling.


Seamus is a valid Scottish spelling too. Historically a and u were pretty interchangeable after another vowel or in unstressed syllables.

According to the National Records of Scotland there were 5 Seumases and 7 Seamuses registered in 2018, so we cannot say Seumas is the dominant form.

The Irish is actually Séamus. The accent is important because ea is pronounced as a without it so it would be pronounced *Shammus.


It probably has both in the system thanks to the Irish course. Seumas is Scottish, Seamus is Irish.


It doesn't use the same database for different languages. There would be terrible chaos. This sentence would become

Tá Séamus gu maith, go raibh maith agat.


Hi! Same here, and before I submitted it I clicked on 'James' to make sure I'd spelled it correctly. All the options were spelled with an "as" rather than "us" but I was marked wrong too, and it said we should have used the "us" spelling. Would really like to here the right answer. Will be flagging an error in the interim.


Why are both tapadh leat and tapadh leibh allowed?


Probably because we don't know who is being thanked.

leat = singular //
leibh = plural

The plural "leibh" can also be used to express more formality or to show respect, e.g., to one's parent, an elder, or a teacher/professor.


So I tried 'tobar' cause I was curious if it worked. How and when do you use it?


You can safely translate well as tobar when you need to get water or oil out of it. It can be difficult if you used a dictionary that simply told you that well translates as tobar. If the dictionary gives more than one translation you always need to look each of them up to see what it means.

Can I suggest you go to faclair.com. If you look up well there you get a translation for each word.

In the left hand column is a modern dictionary, with

tobar 1 well 2 spring 3 source

on the list. In an ideal world the dictionary would tell you it was a noun, which is important when choosing the translation. This one doesn't but you can guess from the fact it tells you what the genitive and plural are.

In the right hand column is Dwelly (1911). This can be useful if you remember it is not a modern dictionary. For some reason to do with the way faclair.​com sorts things it is not coming up with tobar on the first page of well but if you look up tobar it tells you

sm Well, fountain, spring. 2 Source, origin. Tobraichean na beatha, the fountains [issues] of life; an tobar bho a bheil gach buaireadh a' sruthadh, the source whence all temptations flow; beul an tobair, the mouth of the well.

Note that sm is an old-fashioned abbreviation for 'substantive masculine' which means masculine noun.

Tobar is common in placenames, for example, Tobermory about which Wikipedia says

The name Tobermory is derived from the Gaelic Tobar Mhoire, meaning "Mary's well". The name refers to a well located nearby which was dedicated in ancient times to the Virgin Mary.

Wells and springs were regarded as sacred in pre-Christian times (since fresh water was one of the most important resources they had), and then often rededicated to Mary or a saint by missionaries. This cultural appropriation was effective in converting people to Christianity.


Why is it wrong if you keep the name as "James"?


This is a new question. There have been hundreds of comments, and some heated argument as to whether Gaelic names, such as Seumas should be translated as James or left as they are. When they started writing the course, they always went for translation. After much complaint they have moved towards non-translation. This question is probably left over from the old policy. A new question would give Seumas as the English. Logically, they should accept James under the new policy. However, the system is not symmetrical. Most people who have Gaelic names now choose to keep them, but people with names that are English, but are easily translatable tend to translate them. This is what the BBC does, if you listen to reports in English about people with Gaelic names and vice versa.

Personally I do not think they can justify not accepting James but giving you only a tile with Seumas on it would be fine as you do need to learn the Gaelic equivalent.

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