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"Eilean Mhanainn" with or without the article?

"Ann an Eilean Mhanainn" was marked as wrong as it should be "Anns an Eilean Mhanainn". I understand "Mhanainn" as a genitive; then the article should be omitted as in "ann an Innis Tìle". Or am I wrong?

January 17, 2020



As a learner myself, I wonder if country names are more affected by a standard practice instead of strict grammar rules. Some country names always seem to include the use of an article and some never do. I think that for country names that (in Gaelic) use the article then the article needs to "show up" in different grammar constructions. The way I thought about this is that Duo uses "anns" with Isle of Man, that means the course developers use an article with the Gaelic name of Isle of Man, and so I should learn that.

In any case, since it's an interesting question, I looked in 4 dictionaries (Essential Gaelic, Robertson; Gaelic-English Dictionary, Colin Mark; www.faclair.com (Faclair Beag); and the LearnGaelic dictionary).

None of them used an article with the Gaelic for Iceland - same as Duo.

However, for Isle of Man, 2 dictionaries used an article but also included forms without an article (LearnGaelic & Faclair Beag); and the other 2 only showed the form without an article. So - interesting - maybe someone fluent knows why these differences occur. For me, I just take it that for Isle of Man I should learn the use of an article, but also be aware that not everyone will use an article, and that's a good reason to have Duo teach it with an article.



LearnGaelic & Faclair Beag don't have "*an t-Eilean Mhanainn" but "Manainn", "Eilean Mhanainn" and "an t-Eilean Manannach" for "Isle of Man".

In my opinion - which may be wrong - the "Mhanainn" in "Eilean Mhanainn" is the genitive form of the proper noun "Manainn", while "Manannach" is an adjective. In Gaelic you have the rule that no article may be used in front of a noun that is followed by a dependent noun in the genitive. If that rule applies to "Eilean Mhanainn" no article should be used.

Btw, Duo accepts "Tha Eilean Mhanainn brèagha" (I am not quite sure of the adjective used in the sentence) as translation of "The Isle of Man is pretty" - no article. Consequently, it should be "ann an Eilean Mhanainn" instead of "anns an Eilean Mhanainn", imho.

But it's an interesting question.


I thought it was because the English name has The in it, so anns is used instead of ann. But the Words list leaves out the s in these examples: https://www.duolingo.com/dictionary/Scottish%20Gaelic/eilean%20mhanainn-Proper%20noun/da05f271a8824e061ce0683d169059cb


That's interesting too! I hadn't thought to look in that list. Maybe one of the course writers will weigh in on this question.

I think that there are countries where an article is used in Gaelic but not in English. So at least sometimes, whether there is an article in English isn't connected to whether there is an article in Gaelic. For example:

A' Gheramailt = Germany

An Fhraing = France

An Eadailt = Italy

And these are feminine nouns (LearnGaelic) so the articles/lenition follow the rules for feminine nouns. And with these "anns" is used to say "in" Germany/France/Italy because of the article in Gaelic that exists with the name - at least that's what I've used in other courses.

But anyway - good question - if our word list is showing Ealain Mhanainn in Duo, what should we be learning for an article with this country name - with (to match the lesson question) or without (to match the word list)?



The lexeme itself is wrong - we can't change it in Tree 1, but it's been fixed in Tree 2. You guys won't see the fix until the next tree is released unfortunately :(

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