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What do these mean in Scottish Gaelic?

Hi there! I'm nearing the end of the Scottish Gaelic course (2 skills left to complete :D ), and I wanted to practice my Scottish Gaelic here https://learngaelic.scot/

I can do the first one (beginner):

  • Do you know the word for ‘book’? = Leabhar

Other options were "Iasg" which I think is "Fish", and "Eun" which I think is "Bird"?

But I'm not sure what the intermediate and proficient questions mean. For example, intermediate:

  • "An deach thu a-null thairis am-bliadhna?" = "Tha" / "Chaidh" / "’S e"

Apparently it's "Chaidh", but I'm not sure what that means or what the question is. Would someone be able to translate it for me please?

Also, proficient speakers:

  • "Am facas sin gu tric?" = "Chunnacas sin gu tric" / "Facas gu tric" / "Chì"

Not sure what this is asking either. Apparently "Chunnacas sin gu tric" is correct, but no idea what it means. Thanks for any help! Looking forward to learning and understanding more Scottish Gaelic! Thank you so much for making this course! :-)

January 4, 2020



An deach thu a-null thairis am-bliadhna? > Did you go abroad this year?

'Chaidh' is the answer because it mirrors 'an deach'. It's an irregular verb, which might be why it looks funny.

Am facas sin gu tric? > Was that seen often?

That second sentence is a very unusual one, in that you wouldn't ever really come across it in day-to-day Gaelic (in all honesty, I had to have a wee think to make sure I'd translated that right). Not because of the meaning of the sentence itself, but rather because of the verb construction. 'Faic' is an irregular verb, and the impersonal is a bit weird in Gaelic anyway, so this is doubly weird I guess? Colloquially, you'd avoid saying this by rewording the sentence a bit.

'Am facas mi' means 'was I seen', which is a bit weird in English too, when you think about it.


Sgoinneil! Mòran taing a Joanne! And what do "Chunnacas sin gu tric" and "Chì" mean? I don't think I've seen those before. I'm guessing "Facas gu tric" just means "Seen often"? :-)


Think of the verbs you've learnt in the course - tha, chan eil, a bheil, nach eil. The relationship between 'chunnacas' and 'am facas' is the same as the one between 'tha' and 'a bheil' - or 'chaidh' and 'an deach' as used in the other example. One is the question (am facas, a bheil, an deach), while the other is the affirmative answer (chunnacas, tha, chaidh).

So if the question is:

  • A bheil cù agad?

Then the affirmative reply would be:

  • Tha cù agam.

Likewise, if you are asked:

  • Am facas sin gu tric?

Then the reply in the affirmative would be:

  • Chunnacas sin gu tric.

If you wanted to say that the 'thing' wasn't seen often, you would instead reply with:

  • Chan fhacas sin gu tric.

'Facas gu tric' is wrong, it's there to deliberately mislead you. If faic were a regular verb, then 'facas' would be correct, but it's irregular, so the formation is chunnacas, chan fhacas, am facas, nach fhacas.

Chì is another form of the verb 'faic'. You'll probably come across it in the next update of the course. The reason we translate Tha mi a' faicinn as 'I am seeing' in this course instead of 'I see' is because the proper Gaelic translation for 'I see' is Chì mi.

Mòran taing airson na ceistean, Ollie!


chi (from faic, irregular verb) - future tense as in will/shall see but is also used as present tense. Chi mi a-rithist thu - I will/shall see you again (and also I see ... ). The grammar books will tell you that chunnacas is the impersonal voice of the verb, e.g., chunnacas mi (I saw) something. The discussion on irregular verbs can get pretty dense.


For a full treatment of the passive [formal] voice see TAIC lesson 51.


Those are the irregular verbs, which I don't think a lesson has been made on yet.

There are only a few of them in Gaelic so don't panic. From memory I think there are 11 or 12 in common usage.

They are called that because their tenses look nothing like each other, or a bit different to each other.

For example Chaidh (went), an deach (did... go?), theid (will go), etc

as opposed to, for example, leugh (which is the verb to read). Leugh (read), an do leugh (did... read?), leughaidh (will read), etc

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