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  5. "Madainn mhath, a charaid. Dè…

"Madainn mhath, a charaid. an t-ainm a th' ort?"

Translation:Good morning, friend. What is your name?

December 9, 2019



Is it common to greet people who's name you don't know as "friend"?


Not in my experience.


Yes. It works the same way as calling someone mate/pal/pet/hen/dearie/etc.


If you're a Furniture Salesman or a Southern Baptist Minister.


What does "Dè an t-ainm a th' ort" literally mean? Is it "What the name, on you/you have"?


"What is the name on you?" basically. Traditionally in gàidhlig you don't 'have' things, things are 'associated with' you. Including your name. There's still a lot of that in the language, though these days we have things like "mo" for "my".


I understand that when discussing things that could be transitory, like possessions, now it is common to use the "aig" forms. Things like body parts that are supposedly permanent, mo/do/air, etc. Husbands/wives are in the "aig" category, though now, I understand. But they aren't necessarily permanent, either! .....I have only heard this information recently, though, and Gaelic used to be a lot more flexible about this, at least in some locales. Also, spellings varied quite a lot and other grammar conventions varied, too, along with accents. It was originally an unwritten language, you know! So whatever got your point across was acceptable. I guess the more recent adopted "standardized" Gaelic is trying to put an end to that, which seems a pity, really. Doesn't trip me up to see "là" instead of "latha" for example. It's the same thing. It used to make a Gaelic friend of mine crazy when he had to learn the new numbers and alphabet system. I particularly am bothered by the new Anglicized word for "uncle", when traditionally, one would be more specific and say in Gaelic "father's brother" or "mother's brother". Seems weird to corset Gaelic with a lot of English-derived words when English itself is getting very flexible, accepting things like "OK" for "okay" and even "K". Languages do change and adapt, but it's a pity to see Gaelic leaning the way of other more dominant languages. and I fear one day it may become "Gaelish". Spanglish, Franglish, etc. is already a "thing".


Things like body parts that are supposedly permanent, mo/do/air, etc. Husbands/wives are in the "aig" category, though now, I understand

No. Husbands are, but wives not. My husband is indeed an duine agam, but my wife is mo bhean. Why? I can’t answer that – but that’s how the language works.

It was originally an unwritten language, you know!

Every human language was. Although Gaelic literary tradition starts fairly early – about 4th century AD with ogham inscriptions, and modern orthography evolved directly from Old Irish writings of 7th–10th centuries.


Could it be that women were considered less replaceable than men? Just a possibility!

  • what is…?
  • an t-ainmthe name
  • a – the relative particle, introduces relative clauses, no literal translation to English, but here roughly equivalent to that
  • th’tha shortened before a vowel, is
  • orton you (sg.)

literally: what-is the name that is on you?

In Gaelic people don’t really speak about their names but rather names that are on sb, hence the relative clause.

Also, in many other wh-questions there are relative clauses, as those questions in Gaelic typically work by themselves as a copula questions (asking: what is (it)…?, where is (it)…?, how is (it)…?) so you need to introduce a relative clause to specify what you ask about: dè (a) tha anns a’ phàirc? what is it that is in the park? (you cannot simply ask what is in the park?, there’s no grammatical way for that), ciamar a tha thu? how is it that you are?, etc.

See also my reply in the thread "Cò ris a tha an t-sìde coltach an-diugh?".


I find myself wondering when Gaelic will drop the "t" in "coltach". I have never heard it pronounced.


This answer was already pre completed, with nothing for me to do...


whats the gaelic for mate or pal?


Okay, who doesn't know their own friend's name?

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