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  5. "Hama agus aran."

"Hama agus aran."

Translation:Ham and bread.

December 12, 2019



Is there a natural order to things like this in Gaelic? In English there are sometimes food pairings that - I think - we’d naturally talk about in a certain order (assuming a sandwich or plate of, rather than a random shopping list):
Bread and ham, bread and jam (bread first)
Herring and potatoes (fish/meat first)


I have always assumed it is just that toppings (ham and jam in this case) and accompaniments (potato) go at the end. It may also be affected by what is easier to say. Certainly in English we tend to put the shorter word first.


Type what you hear or write the translation


Agus seems normally pronounced ayus, but here it is clearly aGus. Is either acceptable?


It depends on dialect so in a general sense, yes


Indeed, but you should be aware that agus is the standard - and the only version I had ever heard before starting Duolingo, including doing a course at university and listening to the BBC. ayus is valid but unusual.

It is an odd word, as even the g is a bit weird. It is an unvoiced c in Old Irish ocus and appears to be related to the words for 'and' that have a /k/ sound or similar in many European languages, and a /g/ only very rarely

Welsh: ac (+ an aspirate mutation that shows it ended in an s)
Greek: και
Swedish: och
Old Norse: ok
Latin: atque, -que
Danish: og

Dictionaries do not usually relate all these words but I feel they must be related.

Because some words with g in became pronounced as /k/ they started using g to write /k/ (as in sgòil = school = Irish scoil) except at the beginning of a word. That means there is no longer a correct way to write the /g/ in agus and so it is an irregular spelling for a word pronunciation that should not exist.

On the other hand, pronouncing a g as a /j/ (y sound) is not found anywhere else in Gaelic but it was quite normal in Old English which is why we have yard beside garden and day next to German Tag. D

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