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  5. "Tha seo liath."

"Tha seo liath."

Translation:This is light blue.

December 21, 2019



Is it because 'liath' is an adjective that we have to use 'tha' at the beginning of the sentence? For example "Seo cat" is fine because 'cat' is a noun, but we have to say "Tha seo liath" because otherwise we miss the subject. Is that correct?


Aye, but perhaps not for the reason you think. In any case, let me break it down:

There's a difference between "tha" and "is / 's", and it's one English doesn't really make. It's basically the same idea as Spanish's "soy / estoy" but essentially, "is / 's" is the concept of literally existing, "tha" is a (perhaps temporary) state of being.

This is relevant to your question because the "is / 's" form is considered to be implied in the usage of "Seo [noun]", so that "Seo cat" is "this (literally is) (a) cat". Whereas "Tha seo liath" is "This (something evident to speaker and listener) is (has the current state of being) blue-grey".


i am confused by 'the use of liath meaning light blue, surely it should mean grey. I understood that glas might be used for landscape features - such as Beinn glas, while liath would be used to describe a grey haired individual such as Cailean liath, laird of Glen Orchy 1550 to 1583. I note that Watson defines liath as 'grey'with a secondary definition of 'light blue'


Hi, we talk about the colour spectrum in the course notes but I see nothing wrong with teaching liath as light blue and glas as grey in the course. Multiple best translations would only confuse the reader. We teach that liath is the only acceptable variant for grey hair. I don't see anything wrong with what we have, personally.

Glas = grey / grey green Liath = light blue / grey


Hi Thanks for the reply. I think Cailean liath must have had a blue rinse! I accept what you say, it's just that I have spent so long looking into 'Grey Colin' of Glenorchy that I found your use of liath for light blue a surprise! Excellent course by the way. I've tried several times in the past to learn Gaelic at evening classes but I couldn't get into it properly. Now I think I am progressing and emjpying it too! I just wish my grandfather had passed the language on to his children. My son has married a chinese girl and their 4-month old is hearing both Mandarin and English all the time - he should be fluent in both as he grows up. I went to Inverness Royal Academy in the 1960s and asked to join the Gaelic class but it was for native speakers only (The academy used to get pupils from Harris for 4th to 6th year)


I'm really delighted to hear you are enjoying it and I'm glad that you are now getting the chance to learn, especially given you have had that denied to you in the past!


Thank you very much for the effort of creating this course. I've wanted to learn Gaelic and this is great!


ME TOO ... tapadh leat !


I'm happy with "liath" for grey hair; but "liath" for light-blue trousers? And then I totally get that colours are subjective. In Shakespeare's day, people never said "blue sky" (or so I seem to remember from a lecture on the subject, mòran bliadhna air ais!


'Liath' is exactly the word you'd use to describe light blue trousers. As you said, colours are subjective, but I can't really think of an alternative for light blue.


So am I! I knew it meant grey ( falt liath= grey hair, & aran liath= mouldy bread) but I have heard it used for pale blue too.


Gaelic place-names including liath are quite common. There is also Liathach in Wester Ross.


"Pale blue" not accepted!!!


Has the audio here been replaced with something new? The last word here sounds like "buidhe", not "liath"


It should be grey as in Bheinn Liath Mhòr (the big grey mountain) or Liathach (the grey one)


Pale blue, or grey. Both perfectly

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