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  5. "Chan eil aon phiuthar agam."

"Chan eil aon phiuthar agam."

Translation:I do not have one sister.

January 3, 2020



Can this mean “I have two or more sisters”. Or is it just emphasising “I don’t have (even) one sister?”


This is not something you would say in real life, so it is no more clear than the English.


People do use "aon" to mean "single" in a negative context. It's pure bunkum to say that it is not something that would be said. I don't have a single sister is easily said in Gàidhlig: "Chan eil aon phiuthar agam."


Thinking about it, you are right. However I think I was put off by the English. It does not get across what the Gaelic means. You might say

I do not have even one sister


I do not have any sisters [at all]

but I think the sentence they give would be avoided as it would probably be interpreted as

I do not have precisely one sister.

Of course you could clarify it with intonation in spoken English, but that is simply not available on Duolingo. We have to accept we are translating from written English.


It’s like an English f sound.


Should the ph be pronounced as F or S....?


The word had an s in to start with, as it is basically the same word as sister, but it did not lenite in the normal way. The lenited word sounded like an f or ph. That led to Gaelic speakers thinking it actually began with a p. So the answer, rather surprisingly, is definitely an f, even though piuthar used to begin with an s.

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