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  5. "How many buses?"

"How many buses?"

Translation:Cia mheud bus?

January 13, 2020



In this example I wanted a plural for buses because that is what is implied and I didn't know 'busaichean' until I read through this thread. Shouldn't the question here be "Cia mheud busaichean"? The original question appears to be nonsense like 'how many pig' or 'how many car'. Am I translating too literally? Is the original question how it would be posed in Gaelic because the answer could be singular 1, 2 or plural 3 to infinity? Thanks!


Yes, when you ask the question 'How many?' then you clearly don't know how many there are so you don't know whether to use singular or plural. The convention in English is that we use the plural. The convention in Gaelic is that we use the singular. It's not optional in either language, so the Gaelic is necessarily different from the English.


Thanks for the update! Very useful information brother!


I always learned 'Co mheud' Is 'cia mheud' more common? Does 'cia' have a meaning or is it another interrogative particle?


cia is actually the question particle in Gaelic. Most of the question forms actually have cia as a root word, including co, and have over time merged with the word which gives the question meaning.

For example ciamar comes from cia and mar.


I'm a little confused about which form of the word to use. For example this use of the word bus instead of bhus. How do I know which one to use?


If you're asking how many then it's "bus".

If you say "one bus"/"two buses" then it's either "aon bhus" or "dà bhus" because aon and dà cause lenition (the "h"). If you wanted to say three/four/etc buses then you use the plural "busaichean".


Thank you very much! It makes sense now! Thank you!!!


"Busaichean", i like that plural! Seems way more natural than the Irish plural that I'm used to - 'Busanna'


It's a really weird word to try to make a plural of anyway. Because it is a sort of plural. It comes from the Latin omnibus which means 'for all' so cannot logically be pluralized. And as it is only part of the ending it is even odder. That is why each language has had to create a plural, with sometimes odd results. Why does English say buses rather than busses?


Are Cia and Co mheud being interchanged in this app? I grew up with cia, as did my mother who is a native Gaelic speaker. I'd never seen co mheud be used before. Just curious if this is a newer way?


According to Joanne it is in the process of being changed to cia. It should accept both. At one time co was the more common spelling and this led to the oversight which is now being corrected.

Mark (2003) lists both saying they are alternatives, but then gives, throughout the dictionary, 12 examples of cia mheud and 34 of co mheud. This was presumably because he was copying from a variety of sources and he thought both were OK.


Conversely, cò (feumaidh e sràc) is what I am familiar with, 'cia mheud' looked odd to me.


Me too.

feumaidh e sràc

I agree with you 100%, but Mark doesn't, which is why I wrote it that way when quoting from Mark. I was surprised.

And note that although they teach feumaidh e sràc on this course, I have never heard this verb with a noun object anywhere else, and nor has any of my dictionaries. AFB translates as have/has to, need to, must, which looks like a deliberate attempt to preclude a noun object. I don't think it is good Gaelic. Tha feum air sràc.

On another question someone says that cia is historically correct. But I have just seen it claimed that comes from cia anyway, so if this is true and you use in one situation, then you should use it in all situations to be consistent.


I cannot hear the voice to see how it is pronouced


The speaker button not working


When I use the app on my phone with a slow connection the speaker button doesn't work for me. But if I connect to wifi then it will work with the better connection. I don't know if your problem is the same, but it might be. I think it's related to both the speed of connection and the amount of memory on the device being used.

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