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  5. "B' aill leibh? Tha thu ro lu…

"B' aill leibh? Tha thu ro luath."

Translation:Pardon? You are too quick.

December 9, 2019



Ironic that this is "Pardon? You are too quick" and the recorded audio is blazing fast.


Can anybody explain the contraction B' here? Is it Bidh?


In his c.1900 dictionary Edward Dwelly explains it as "bu" (WOULD in English) thus:-

"ciod a b' àill leibh? what would you have? “b' àill leibh?” (a slovenly pronunciation of the last) is often used as an equivalent of I beg your pardon? when one speaker has not understood a remark made by another and wishes it repeated".


Tha i ro luath!!!! We cannot hear the "thu"!


I can hear the "thu", but not the "l" at the start of "luath"


Why 'leibh', then "thu,"? - I thought I heard "thu", but thought it can't be that because of the "leibh"


If you go to DUOLINGO TIPS (https://duome.eu/tips/en/gd) this is explained as an idiomatic anomaly i.e. although it looks wrong it's just the way it is said as a 'fixed phrase'. Here is the explanation copied from DUOLINGO TIPS:-

"B’ àill leibh

This term means "pardon". Use this for when you haven't understood what has been said. Although leibh is normally used as a polite form, here it is part of a set usage. You would use b’ àill leibh even with a child.

N.B. We have spelled b’ aill leibh without an accent in the course. As mistakes go, it is not the worst. The word, although spelled with an accent, is pronounced with a short vowel sound in modern Gaelic. We will correct this in iteration 2 of the course."


Is there a closer Gaelic equivalent to the more traditional "I beg your pardon"?


The only one that springs to mind is "Can sin a-rithist" for "Say that again".


Pay attention to the accent. (B' àill leibh). I've always wanted to say that!


Why is "Pardon? You are too fast" unacceptable?

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