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  5. "This is a sheep."

"This is a sheep."

Translation:Seo caora.

December 23, 2019

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeorgeHorv4

That moment when you realise this is basically from Latin (capra).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

I hear it as "coorie" and imagine a sheep cuddling down against a wall or something. Don't confuse me by conflating sheep and goats!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sandra171839

I like the association of a sheep/caora coorie-ing. I am also more familar with teh word for goat (gobhar) as it appears in some place names e.g. Creag nan Gobhar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Athena_Drakerav

That's such a lovely mental image


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeorgeHorv4

And when you realise they accidentally/intentionally used the word for goat for sheep.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

It has been suggested that it comes from Latin capra but it is not totally convincing as that means 'goat', Gaelic gobhar. There are similar words referring to various animals you eat smaller than a cow, but exactly what is going on is not clear.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eideadh

What's the difference between caora and caoraich?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

For the moment, that is until we learn about the genitive, it is simple:

  • caora singular
  • caoraich plural

Of course the problem is not with the Gaelic but with the English, since we use the same word, sheep for both singular and plural. That means, for example, that if you looked these two words up on Google translate, you would get the same English translation.

This may look like a very odd way to form a plural, but that is because it was (apparently) originally more like caorach in the singular. (See Proto-Celtic kaɸrāxs where the /x/ represents a ch sound.) The plural is nothing more than the same sort of vowel change we get in mouse > mice which we will learn later are quite common in Gaelic. For some reason the ch was lost from the singular.

Edit: I should have checked before posting. If you actually do this it finds a really rare second meaning for caora. Bizarre. However if you put the article in it works OK.

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