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  5. "Where is Iain? I do not know…

"Where is Iain? I do not know."

Translation:Càit a bheil Iain? Chan eil fios agam.

December 28, 2019



Why has caite spelt with an E sometimes


Càit is the newer version. See https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/39375596 for further discussion.


Is it correct to say "chan eil fhios agam" with fios lenited? I feel like i've always heard it oile that though i might be wrong


Kind of.

What you have heard with the lenited fìos is chan eil fhìos a'm.

The agam gets shortened to a'm and for ease of pronunciation fìos is then lenited.


How agam is pronounced is unrelated. Fios can optionally be lenited, indicating a 3rd person singular possessor, i.e. 'its knowledge, knowledge of it'.

Note also that it's fios with a short vowel, not fìos.


Not according to the latest research by Prof. Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh. He found statistically that the lenition was more common in the negative (with eil) than in the positive (with tha). eil is a very strange word and it is known from Old Irish that the apparent subject is actually in the accusative, and thus is the grammatical object. He knew from Old Irish, and you know from Welsh, that the object of a short-form verb (as they call it in Welsh grammar) is lenited. Weird, but each step in the argument is supported by evidence.


Aah! This keeps tripping me up because it’s always “Tá a fhios agam” in Irish.


Whats wrong with chan eil fhiosam ?


I had a look in DASG and Mark (2003).

Mark says

fhios and agam are frequently run together to make fhiosamchan eil fhiosam fhathast dè bha fa-near dha I still don't know what he had in mind □ dh'fhosgail e dorsan dhomh nach robh fiù 's fhiosam gun robh iad ann he opened doors for me which I didn't even know existedand I found

and I found the following occurrences

Form DASG Mark
fhios agam 1787 81% 26 68%
fhios 'am 137 6% 0 0%
fhios am 116 5% 1 3%
fhiosam 157 7% 11 29%

(Note the DASG software cannot tell if there are spaces either side of the apostrophe.)

Of these, the last three are just different spelling conventions for one spoken phrase. The standard convention in modern Gaelic and Irish would be fhios 'am, although most other languages would leave the space out in something like this. The last one, that you suggest, is an irregular spelling, but actually more common than the other two contractions (which surprised me). Perhaps it is a hangover from earlier spelling conventions. DASG covers several centuries of data but Mark is a pretty good guide to late 20th century practice. So, with this evidence you or someone else can try 'my answer should be accepted' next time they get a chance. 29% in Mark, with a 'frequently' comment, cannot be counted as a rare variant.


When listening to the speech part of a lesson I am unable to slow it down. There is an image which I assume is to slow the sound down but dosn't seem to work. Please can you help.


Sadly I can't. Duolingo does not have the technology to slow down real speech such as is used in Gaelic. All the high-demand languages such as English, French, German Spanish etc. use commercially available speech software which is capable of slowing it down. This is not available in Gaelic so they use real people. This has both major pros and major cons. I'm sure they could find software to slow it down, but they appear to have neither found any nor hidden the slow-speech button.


What a shame. I shall just have to try harder to understand the sentences. I shall use the practice programme more often as it does seem to help. Thank you so much for replying to my query, I am really enjoying learning Gaelic and all the challanges it presents.

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