Two things..

I'm having two issues, the first is when do you NOT put an "a" in front of athair, sheanair etc etc and when do you use leat/leibh?? There must be some rule for both as I seem to be picking the wrong times to use/not use the "a" and making the wrong choice for leat/leibh.

December 16, 2019


Leat is used with children, juniors, friends.

Leibh : with strangers, seniors, more than one people etc.

Regarding the usage of a .. it is called vocative form. I have read that with a noun starting with a vowel, you may not need it. But I am not sure

Yep, this exactly re: leat/leibh.

The vocative is used when directly addressing somebody e.g. 'Hello, sister!' You can't put an a in front of a noun beginning with a vowel in the vocative case purely because it's really hard to say. So you just drop it.

tidsear > a thidseir

màthair > a mhàthair

ollamh > ollaimh

athair > athair

What they said :) And you only use the “a” for athair etc when it is the vocative case (and no vowel). So if you talk about someone, leave out the “a”.

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