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  5. "You are Alasdair."

"You are Alasdair."

Translation:Is tusa Alasdair.

January 20, 2020



This may help a little more in a different way to understand, although the explanation before is very defined and precise (!):

When it is a definition (equal / =) use the verb is: Is mise Alasdair (by definition, not changeable without biggest administrative efforts ;-))

Use the verb bi, specifically tha, bha, bidh etc. when you characterize somebody/something: Tha Iain brònach (this moment, may change within few minutes or days, etc.) Bha am peann air bòrd (obviously the pen was on a table this situation, but now...?)

I think with this hint, the usage of is and bi may work for most of the time...


Ah! So in saying "You are Alasdair (IS tusa Alasdair)", that fact isn't going to change. It's a constant. But in saying "Iain is sad (THA Iain brònach), that fact will probably change sometime, he's (hopefully) not going to be sad forever! The situation can change.


Yes, that's right, well done. With this 'classification' you should be on the right side most of the time! (We know all, that there might be an exception of the special case in some extraordinary circumstances ;-))


What is the difference between 'is tusa' and 'tha thu'?


I'm not sure you are on mobile, but on computer you can see course notes and they go into detail over the difference.

The abridged version is that tha describes something and is identifies something.

Is e bòrd a th' ann - it is a table Tha e orains - it is orange


I had no idea the computer version had so much! I was doing everything off my phone. Thank you! You've opened a whole new world :D


If you want access on your phone you have two choices: use the internet version - there is nothing stopping you, or go to Duome.


Can someone explain the difference between this sentence and tha thu alaisdair please?


The short, but not very helpful answer is that there are two verbs 'to be' in Gaelic, and you just have to learn to use th right one.

The longer answer actually covers quite a few different points of grammar.

The sa in tusa
This is an emphatic particle. It is conventional, but not strictly necessary, to use it when saying who someone is.

The missing h in tu
Thu loses its h after is, bu and other verb forms that end in -s or -dh. This is discussed further on this question.

Is instead of tha
Several languages have two verbs 'to be'. One (called the copula) is used where you could use an equals sign (as here)

You = Alasdair, or
Alasdair = you

They usually make sense if you reverse them. On the other hand, the substantive verb is used to say something about you

You are singing (verbal noun)
You are clever (adjective)
You are in Scotland (prepositional phrase)

These are characterized by not being reversible and not making sense with an equals sign. I think (someone please correct me if I am wrong) that you can only use tha if followed by one of these three things.

There are, however, some other uses of is that you have met or will meet, but they are taught separately.

Several languages have this pair of words 'to be'. Compare mae and yw/ydy in Welsh or this article on Spanish in Wikipedia (where they seem to call both verbs 'copulas'). The rules for which verb to use vary from language to language and cause endless confusion for learners. D


Hi, well I totally agree with the endless confusion bit and I'm sure it would become easier if there was someone to actually speak to. Thanks for your answer, explicit as usual.


These answers are good for someone who has had a couple years of school and study to understand the language of language but I dont have the education to understand these explainations. No disrespct intended at all. I am no scholar.

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