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  5. "Tha mi ag iarraidh sùbh-làir…

"Tha mi ag iarraidh sùbh-làir, tha sin blasta!"

Translation:I want strawberry, that is tasty!

December 8, 2019



I am thinking that the 'strawberry' could be in reference to a strawberry-flavoured something, in which case the english would be alright?


The 'correct' English language translation doesn't make much sense grammatically -- nobody says "wanting strawberry", it would be a strawberry or wanting strawberries.


Yes I would like to know if you would say sùbh-làir where we would say strawberries in English - that is if it can be used as an uncountable noun.

Another Celtic language from Britain takes this to the extreme and their word mefus is assumed to be 'strawberries' and you have to add an ending - mefusen (called the singulative) in the extremely unlikely event that you want one strawberry.


The context in which this would be correct in English is if you were being offered a selection of flavors. For example, if you were asked if you wanted chocolate or strawberry ice cream, you might reply, "I want strawberry."


Yes, I tried to buy some popcorn in Portugal once but my Portuguese was a bit shaky and I didn't know what varieties they had so I asked. When the guy said chocolate ou morango ('chocolate or strawberry') my brain did a double take. I did know the word but my brain could not accept I had understood correctly.


That's funny! I'm portuguese and I've never heard of chocolate or strawberry flavoured popcorns! Ahahahah


Well it was in a piscina municipal exterior in Coimbra. I can't find the right one on Google, so I guess it has closed, probably replaced by a piscina interior, at some stage since I was there about 25 years ago. Very sad as all the kids were having much more fun running about outside and playing football on the grass and eating pipoca chocolate ou morango and ice cream.


Oh wow! Coimbra! Bha mi ag ionnsachadh ann an Coimbra! Tha sin baile cho àlainn agus spòrsail! But it was 15 years ago! I have to look for it!


@Stiubhartie I'm familiar with the "I am wanting" construction (native Lewis Gàidhlig & Scottish English speaker [Highlands/Islands/Moray dialects]) but I've not really heard it followed with "that is tasty" in this way. And most ScotsEng speakers would use strawberries or a strawberry -- I don't think I've ever heard this particular combo.


Referring to many of the comments below, I actually appreciate the construction "I am wanting___". Maybe the goal is not so much to offer a purely idiomatic translation into English, but rather a translation that reminds the learner that the sentence is constructed with the infinitive Bi (to be). It's also a similar experience for me studying German, which tends to arrange words in an almost Tudor-era expression when you think of word order in English. I know that English used to use "to be" in this way. " I am desirous of a..." "I am in want of a..." etc.


That is a good point, with a lot to be said for it. You will never get everyone to agree. It helps to actually be aware of both. There is the possibility with Duolingo, that is rarely exploited, of making sure you are aware of both. When translating into Gaelic, they could use both, on different occasions, and when translating into English, they can force you to use both, on different occasions, with the tiles you have to click.


"Strawberry" is not a mass noun in English. The Duo answer should be either I am wanting [I want] a strawberry or I am wanting [I want} strawberry juice. "To want" is a stative verb and should not normally be used in the present continuous in English, although I know that Duo is demonstrating the verbal noun in Gaelic here. Nevertheless, it is as irritating as "I'm loving it".

But what does "ag iarraidh" really mean? To request, to seek, to invite, to look for, to ask for , to want, to attempt. Quite a choice. Perhaps "I am looking for" or "I am seeking" would be better as a translation. Or maybe I am wanting expresses a lack of something, or tells us that something is missing? I am lacking a strawberry?. There is an old passive verb in English "to be wanting", usually expressed in the third person. "I found a first edition in the junk shop, but the last chapter was wanting".

I really don't know. But "I am wanting X" is not idiomatic English.


Hi Sean. It's not idiomatic in England, as far as I'm aware, but it is a Scottish English construction in the sense of desiring or needing something: 'Are you wanting a sandwich?' Or of a tired individual: 'He's wanting his bed.'


This construction also persists in some United States regional speech, particularly that of people who migrated through Appalachia, many of whom had Scottish ancestors. This construction was common enough that it spread to people of other descent who lived in the same area and then migrated further west. It's not too common now, but still wouldn't give anyone pause if they heard it in Appalachia or even in the Midwest U.S.


I live in Appalachia and will confirm it is still very common outside of the cities, across all age ranges.


Very interesting. As well as confirming its use in Scotland, I can confirm its use in Irish English, and I am fairly sure (from comments on Welsh Duolingo) that it is found in Welsh English as well. It is definitely found in all the Celtic languages themselves, so it would not only be Americans of Scottish ancestry that might have brought this over.

As for the actual meaning of the verb, I can say, from my own experience only, that ag iarraidh is generally only used for 'wanting' as in 'desiring', just as want in standard British English but wanting in Scots can be used for both 'wanting' as in 'desiring' and 'wanting' as in 'needing'. It is often used when being derogatory and you say what someone else is wanting, such as their heid biled (head boiled). Clearly there is no suggestion that they desire this - rather you are saying they need it as it is supposed to reduce daftness.

Wanting can even be used for 'lacking', as in SeanMeaneyPL's example. There is a good list of examples in the Scottish National Dictionary.

Ag iarraidh does not have this sense, but there is another construction, very common but not yet covered, tha X a dhìth orm 'X is to deficit on me', thus 'I want/lack/need X' and I never have figured out how to tell when it means each.


I regularly translate it as “I want” which is idiomatic English and it’s marked as correct. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to even offer the literal translation in this case as it’s not natural English.


'sùbh-làir' was not offered as a (single) word


No there is a bug in Duolingo at the moment that means that hyphenated words are marked wrong. So don't use them even if offered. That's probably why they're not offering it here.


So is a scottosh gaelic r pronounced as more of an english d sound?


No. It is more of an English r (NOT a Scottish r). However, in certain dialects in the Outer Hebrides, mainly in Lewis, and only when slender (next to an e or i), it is pronounced in a way that does not match anything in English, but is often described as like a d, th or f. We are very lucky to have a range of real speakers on this course but it can be confusing getting used the different accents. But there is one big advantage with this dialect - when you hear this sound you know for certain that the r is slender, something which can be almost impossible to determine in other dialects.

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