1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. "Bha mi ann am Muile."

"Bha mi ann am Muile."

Translation:I was in Mull.

December 13, 2019



Wouldn't the ann make it "I was there in Mull?"


ann an/ann am is just in. Historically it’s indeed something like there in, in-it in, or just double in-in – I think because single an (which comes from Old Irish i, a + eclipsis) got mixed with the article an (am bàta could mean both in a boat and the boat), so to disambiguate it people started saying ann am bàta.

On the other hand, before the definite article the preposition occurs only once: anns a’ bhàta (sa bhàta) for in the boat.

This doubling didn’t happen in Irish as the eclipsis is still a thing there, so there’s clear difference between i mbád /ə mɑːd/ and an bád /ə bɑːd/.

EDIT: and it seems Akerbeltz has generally the same explanation :)

EDIT2: I changed the example from pàirc park to bàta boat since the former is feminine and the example of definite article (am pàirc) was wrong (it should be a’ phàirc; am bàta is OK).


Though, since Muile in Gaelic doesn’t take definite article and there is no ambiguity, I would guess that bha mi am Muile should be a reasonable shorter alternative to bha mi ann am Muile, similarly to how Akerbeltz claims an Glaschu exists for ‘in Glasgow’ as an alternative to longer ann an Glaschu.


I was on Mull would be the usual way of expressing it in English, no?


Not in really in our part of Scotland. In also reflects what is happening in the Gaelic. We wouldn’t want people saying “Tha mi air Muile.”


I suppose it could be thought of like "I live in (the community on) Mull." I definitely lived IN Islay, not ON it. :)


Every islander I've ever met who says "on" either does it to be contrary (like Americans putting the "u" back in "colour") or they're not actually island natives. The folks in Stornoway, Tarbert, Lochmaddy, Lochboisdale, etc, will all happily correct folks from the mainland who call their family from the ferry terminals and use "on".

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