1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. "Chan eil fios agam."

"Chan eil fios agam."

Translation:I do not know.

December 13, 2019



Is "Chan eil fhios agam" wrong? I see it a lot.


It is historically correct, and was more common, at least until recently. I fear that too many people learning grammar think 'what is the h doing there', and take it out.

The reason for the h is really quite weird. Firstly, eil, which does not look like tha actually comes from an old verb meaning 'observe'. So chan eil fhios agam actually calques as '[one] does not observe knowledge at me'. That makes the fhios the direct object of the verb and that would have been lenited many centuries ago.


If you can accept "I do not know" for "Knowledge is not at-me" then "Chan eil GĂ edhlig agam" (Gaelic is not at-me) can be "I do not speak Gaelic" instead of "I do not have Gaelic".


The difference is that "I do not have Gaelic" is idiomatic English, whereas "Knowledge is not at-me" isn't.

Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.