' or -

Halò! Is there a rule for using ' or - ?

For example: a th'ann


I'm only guessing to be honest, but it seems that the Duolingo spelling check is not taking this into account.

Tapadh leibh, Gregor

January 18, 2020


Yes -- Some duolingo questions do not "check" for completely correct punctuation usage. For example, when choosing word blocks to make a sentence to match the audio given -- you might use --a-- --th-- --ann--

In this case a correct typed phrase would be "... a th' ann ..."

I think sometimes even when typing out the sentence we can get away with similar mistakes on Duolingo.

I'm new on Duolingo, but I think it is the Duolingo software that does this -- not the course creators. Maybe it keeps things easier across all the different languages. (Although, it bothered me a lot in the beginning too.)

So that said, Duolingo is great for learning basic words and basic spelling. But if you take a classroom course with tests and grades - you'll probably need to pay more attention to the punctuation required to be completely correct with the grammar/punctuation.

EDIT -- as to whether there is a rule. There are rules that would be in a book/class but not necessarily tested for on Duolingo.

One rule used in classes I've had is that if the apostrophe is used to represent the missing part of a separate word then there is a space before the next word.

... so use " ... a th' ann ..." (space before ann because th' replaces tha)

But there are situations where there is no space. I'm not sure if Duolingo covered these yet, but an example would be:

going to Scotland = a' dol a dh'Alba

there is a space after the a' and before "dol"; but no space between dh' and Alba.


Duolingo seems quite forgiving at times (for which I am very grateful!). It will allow 'th'ann' when you are typing, but it does tell you you missed out the space. Where I think it is too forgiving is in relation to lenition. For example if you type 'mhor' where it should be 'mor', it lets it pass and tells you you made a typo (following which I think to myself - 'No I didn't - I got it wrong!'). This is no doubt due to the underlying DL software and beyond the scope of the SG Moderators to fix.

Some courses seem to be much stricter around spelling mistakes than others. Since I have a visual disability I’m quite glad Scottish Gaelic seems to be more forgiving- especially in the earlier parts where the spellings are quite a steep learning curve for me as a native English speaker. But as I progress I find I’m wanting to push myself harder. Fortunately the higher levels have more typing the target language so I have to work harder and I’m learning from the note that my spelling or accents aren’t 100% correct even if I don’t lose experience points for it. For me punishment isn’t particularly motivating but the reward of getting rid of the little error messages is a reward I’m happy to work for.

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