What is the purpose of the "ag" in the sentence before iarraidh? Is it like the -ing suffix in english or does it serve a different purpose. I have noticed Gaelic putting single syllable words before words to modify them. the "gu" before "math" (good) as in "gu math" (well or really ) I am starting to suspect this is remnants of the Pre indo european speech of the western hunter gathers as Early indoeurpean languages are often heavily inflected multi syllable words modified by bound afixes rather than stand alone single sylable words. And they are usually SOV languages rather than the Gaelic VSO. But perhaps this is from influaces from the phonecians or other ancient semetic mariners and traders as they had trading post in Ancient Iberia and British Isles
'Ag' translates to 'at' in English. It is not straight forward to explain in English, but in Norwegian we have kept the same construct for a few verbs (as an alternative variant) The most common of these are the verb for running in the west-coast dialect e.g. "Han la på sprang" (lit: He put on run) as alternative to the more common "Han begynte å springe" (lit: He started running) To get a litle closer, as an alternative to "Han springer" (lit: He is running) we may say (although probably a bit old fashioned) "Han er på sprang" which would literally translate to "He is at run" in English and to "Tha e a'ruith" in Gaelic (ag here being shortened to a') Edit: Actually, thinking a little bit more on this, you do say "he is on the run" in English as well...
Edit: Found it
- "Ag" is the form used before a vowel. Before consonants it contracts to a'. The sole exception is ag ràdh (“saying”).
I wasn't sure, and definitely an interesting, worthwhile theory! I did find this though: https://learngaelic.scot/beginners/beagairbheag/grammar/verbs/index.jsp#intro
"In the dictionary you should also find the verbal noun form. From it you are able to obtain the infinitive form. Infinitives are derived by aspirating the verbal noun:
- a’ cur – a chur
- a’ dùnadh – a dhùnadh
- a’ pòsadh – a phòsadh
- ag òl – a dh’òl
- a’ fuireach – a dh’fhuireach
Note that a dh’ is used with verbs beginning with a vowel or f+ vowel."
So it seems like it depends what the noun is?
I'll see what I can find from the tips and notes on this Duolingo course. In case you didn't know, you can find the tips and notes by click on "tips" before you click "start lesson", and after you click on the skill you're going to do. Hope that made sense. Anyway, let's see what they say :-)
I've had a read through the tips and notes on https://duome.eu/tips/en/gd and the only mention of "ag" (as of 21 December 2019) is:
Is it a verb? Is it a noun? It's sort of both, and it is super useful. This is the first time we come across a verbal noun in this course. These are similar to "-ing" words in English. This is a common way of forming the present tense in Gaelic. If you can use one verbal noun (you can, you've got this), then you can use any of them.
Verbal Noun 1 - ag iarraidh
- Tha mi ag iarraidh fèileadh. - I am wanting a kilt.
- Tha mi ag iarraidh IRN BRU. - I am wanting IRN BRU.
- Tha mi ag iarraidh taigeis. - I am wanting haggis.
Verbal Noun 2 - a’ ceannach
- Tha mi a’ ceannach fèileadh. - I am buying a kilt.
- Tha mi a’ ceannach IRN BRU. - I am buying IRN BRU.
- Tha mi a’ ceannach taigeis. - I am buying haggis.
This pattern repeats with almost all verbal nouns. Once you know one, it's just a case of learning new ones!"
So it doesn't really explain when you use one over the other though. Maybe it's just memorisation?
I was going to make a post about it on the forums (https://forum.duolingo.com/topic/969), but I have been making a lot of posts today and I don't want to spam the forum :'(
Maybe you can make a post? Would be good to get an answer, a EqNXIQph :-)