Not in Gaelic (although you use an in Irish).
The simple rule is that whenever lenition occurs (actually occurs, with the h inserted, not just could occur if it started with something else!) you change an/am to a'. It does not apply to fh as that is silent, so you write an fhuil 'the blood'. D
Historically there was no such thing as a 'woman'. There was a caileag 'unmarried woman' and bean 'married woman'. The modern concept of a women without judgment of marital status resulted in a new word, boireannach being introduced, so this is always the word you should use for 'woman'. This did not apply in the past and does not apply in Irish. In both of these you should use bean, but be aware that the listener might make a judgment about the marital status of the bean.
For example you will often meet bean in an old song, translating as 'woman', but it will never describe someone's sweetheart. D
It comes from boireann meaning 'female/feminine' - hence boireannach is 'something female', contrasting with fireannach 'something male'.
Wikipedia derives this from Old Irish boinenn, thus relating it bean. This makes the -eann a suffix making the noun into an adjective, and then the -ach another suffix making it back into a noun again. There is no reason offered as to why the n changed to an r. Perhaps it was to mirror the r in fireannach.
You will notice that I said 'something female' and 'something male' and this is important. Both of these words were originally neuter, and then when we lost our neuter, these and almost all other neuter words became masculine. This is the usual explanation for this word being masculine with a feminine meaning.
I can't find any related word in modern Irish. This could be because there aren't any really good dictionaries, but it is certainly not common. There is an apparently unrelated homonym boireann 'boulder' and it is possible this influenced the spelling with the r.
As for when the word was introduced in the sense of a woman, it is difficult to tell. My sociological argument would suggest to me the 20th century. Am Faclair Beag (modern) gives the 'woman' meaning first, showing it is now a general purpose translation for 'woman', whereas Dwelly (1911 + earlier sources) gives 'female' first and says in one place 'Female. This is an indefinite term corresponding to fear, but restricted to adults', which is not very helpful. Beyond that we need to look in a historical corpus to find out exactly how common this word was at different dates. There is one at Glasgow University but it does not yet have the facility to produce statistics showing usage change over time. That means that in time it may well be possible to answer the question. D
If you don't wish to imply anything about the woman at all, then use boireannach in the same way you use woman.
Of course we often use the word woman when we do wish to imply something about her. For example, boireannach would be a slightly odd translation for the woman of my dreams. But I am not sure how you would translate this. It would probably depend on how old you both were. A young person thinking of the woman they would like to marry would certainly say caileag. An older person referring to an older woman might say bean.The point is that I am not prepared to say that there is ever a translation that would work in all possible circumstances.
Obviously not. It should be
A' bhean agus an haddock
Of course only recently borrowed words start with h anyway. But even with borrowed words we do not spell them with a dd (except proper nouns) or with a k (except proper nouns and names of things of foreign origin). So it should be (and this is correct Gaelic)
A' bhean agus an adag
It's probably not the best translation for girl anyway. If the girl were particularly haddock-like, then probably the best translation would be
A' bhean agus a' mhaighdean-mhara
The wife and the mermaid
Notice the similarity between maighdean and maid(en) and between mara and mer.
Well in that case, if any of the mods reads this there are actually two mistakes here. One is that there is an a' missing. The other is that they should accept it without one or other or both of the apostrophes anyway, assuming this was a listening exercise, as a would be valid Gaelic, and sound the same, albeit with a different meaning ('his').
Well there has been a lot of discussion on this page about what bean means but no one has actually answered the question of whether they should accept woman.
The facts seem to be
- The basic meaning of bean in modern Gaelic is 'wife'
- Many people will also be familiar with the sense that can only be translated as woman, even though it is not exactly the same as woman. This is found in older Gaelic, poetry and Irish.
But there is something else that has not been mentioned. The wife (fact 1) sounds a bit odd in English. We do not usually say that because if we were talking about a specific wife we would usually say whose. That means that it is arguably quite reasonable to put some other meaning on the word, and so say the woman (fact 2).
For this reason I think they should really accept both words in this rather unnatural sentence.