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  5. "Gabh mo leisgeul, a charaid.…

"Gabh mo leisgeul, a charaid. an t-ainm a th' ort?"

Translation:Excuse me, friend. What is your name?

December 9, 2019



Just wondering how natural it would be to say this in Gaelic. If you met a stranger would you really say this? For me as an English speaker, it would be odd to say 'Excuse me, friend' to a stranger, so I was wondering if this is a normal kind of thing to say for Gaelic speakers, or is this just for the learning purposes here?


In some other languages, including Irish, "friend" is an informal way to address a stranger. Such as a waiter or someone who has just dropped his keys. So it wouldn't surprise me if your first suggestion were correct.


It's no different from calling someone mate or pal, or pet or hen. All of which are super common in the UK.


Well I've never heard hen outwith Scotland, and pal and pet are quite regional too, although pal (allegedly from the Romany word related to brother) may be becoming universal. D


So would this, in a more literal translation, mean "what is the name that is on you?" Im assuming "a th'" is that, like how "an t-" is the


Pretty much, but the th' (short for tha) is a verb. There is a verb missing at the beginning. D

an t- ainm a th' ort ?
What the name that is on‧you ?


Depending on the word, many question words have a built-in "is." So the Dè is "what is." Many questions in Gaelic formed using interrogatives do so with that kinda broken structure with "what is the name" being one part, in this case, and "that is on you" (the semantic subject of the sentence, though not the syntactic one) added to the end of that through a relative clause. So "what is the name that is on you" is a pretty literal breakdown of Gaelic's logic in this. Reminds me a lot of French, Gaelic does, actually.


If the person is unfamiliar enough that we're calling them "friend", why are we using "ort" rather than "oirbh"?


The person could be a peer - of your own age or younger. My impression is that the Scots aren't terrible sticklers about such things.


This shows how complicated these things can be. I don't have any experience of a traditional Gaelic-speaking community and my Gaelic is from Glasgow, university and the BBC so:

  1. I can give you one valid answer, but someone else can give you another valid answer.
  2. I have never heard anyone, friend or stranger, addressed as a charaid. I think this example is not very realistic - which means we are arguing about nothing. But if Gaelic is like Irish in the way you describe above, then sibh would be valid in Gaelic (but not in Irish, I understand).
  3. Historically, Scot and Gael refers to people from different places, cultures and languages. Scots, when speaking Scots (the language) would be very informal with people they perceived to be from their own social group, and would undoubtedly use the informal you - if there were a distinction in Scots or English, which there isn't.
  4. People who have more than one language have a remarkable ability to follow different social rules in each language. So if, for example, someone migrated from a Gaelic-speaking farming community to a job in Glasgow where they spoke Scots or English then they could keep they traditional rules in one language but use much more informal language in the other. I remember hearing my ex answer the phone informally in English with 'allo and then suddenly change tone and register when she discovered she was speaking to a French person and it became Bonjour, Madame. Comment allez vous? (the French equivalent of sibh). It sounded weird to me but she explained that her social behaviour was entirely dependent on language, even with the same person.
  5. Increasingly these days, the term Scot is used for anyone from Scotland, but I don't think any generalizations that lump all these people together would be of any value here. D


For anybody it may help: 'sorry friend what's your name' wasn't accepted but 'excuse me friend what's your name' was, hence 'sorry' seems to be a little too serious for 'gabh mo leisgeul'.


Are there enough "a"s on offer here to give the correct answer?


There have been reports on other questions of this occurring, specifically with a, but it does not appear to have happened before on this one.

It could well be that a gremlin had got in. The diagnostics on Duolingo are useless and it is now impossible for anyone, including the mods and the software engineers, to see the exact question you were given.

So if this happens to anyone else, please could they post exact details - the exact list of tiles they were given, and flag it as 'something else went wrong'.


"Sorry, friend" is a contraction for "I am sorry, friend". It does not have the same meaning as "excuse me, friend".


I can't speak for other dialects, but here in Central Scotland people do say "Sorry" when they want you to get out the way. I have always assumed it is short for "Sorry to disturb you but would you mind getting out of my road?" So it is used instead of "Excuse me."

I have just asked a friend from Fife and she has confirmed this happens in Fife.


Perhaps the term you're looking for is a 'clipped sentence' . Strictly speaking, a 'contraction' is omission of only a letter or syllable, as in 'doc,' 'bro' or 'Cap'n Crunch'.


Thank you. It is a clipped sentence, but I was not looking for that term as I was quite happy with the word I used. Having looked on the internet there is no agreed definition of contraction but I was using it to mean that it was a shortened form. Grammarly defines it as

a shortened form of a word (or group of words) that omits certain letters or sounds.

It certainly meets this definition although it may not be a prototypical example. I was in fact deliberately using a term that suggested only a little had been left out to emphasise the point that this has been (I am suggesting) contracted beyond recognition. I would generally only use the word abbreviation when I assumed that it was understood what it was a contraction of. This is different as I am suggesting that the language has actually evolved, and that sorry has acquired a new meaning. In my experience people tend to use the word contraction when talking about diachronic change.


Bottom line, Duo Lingo translates "gabh mo leisgeul" as excuse me. I suppose that "sorry, friend" would be something like, "duilich, a' charaid (?)

But I digress. 8~}

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