1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. "Tha sùbh-làir sgoinneil!"

"Tha sùbh-làir sgoinneil!"

Translation:Strawberry is brilliant!

December 14, 2019



We would not say this in English unless we were talking about a flavour.


I agree. I don’t know exactly what this can mean in Gaelic but I suspect strawberries should also be graded as a correct English translation.


Shouldn't this be "Strawberries are brilliant"? Or "The strawberry is brilliant"?


This is not a very natural sentence, which is what causes the confusion, but there is definitely no plural and definitely no 'the', so the only options are

Strawberry is brilliant
A strawberry is brilliant

Your suggestions would be

  • Tha sùbhan-làir sgoinneil strawberries are brilliant
  • Tha an sùbh-làir sgoinneil the strawberry is brilliant

I notice you have done a bit of the Welsh course, so note that Gaelic is not like Welsh. It is mostly like English in its use of singular and plural, whereas there are two common situations where the Welsh uses either a singular word in the plural (tair cath = trì cait = three cats) or uses a word that is plural by default without any plural marker added on (mefus = sùbhan-làir = strawberries). D


Is it not fair to say that a Gàidhlig speaker, in this example, would use the singular strawberry as representative of all strawberries?


Why are there two adjacent slender vowels in sgoinneil?


It's a diphthong. While vowels are sometimes added to get the broad/slender right, when you have two slender vowels together, or two broad ones, it is a genuine diphthong. So it's not pronounced like an e and it's not pronounced like an i. It's pronounced like the ei in chan eil, except that this is an unstressed syllable, so it is weaker and more neutral. Just as in English vowels in unstressed syllables can be difficult to distinguish in practice, but it is slightly different. D

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