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  5. "I am from America."

"I am from America."

Translation:Tha mi à Aimearaga.

January 20, 2020



Bit confused on this one. I wrote "Is mise" (I am) "a" (from) "Aimearaga" (America) but it's correctly "Tha mi a Aimearaga" How do you know when to use "Tha mi" and when to use "Is mise"?


The only kind of sentence using "Is mise" taught at this point has been "Is mise + [name]", and "tha mi" has been used for most other things translated as "I am" (though we have seen other uses of "is"/"'s"). So while I don't know all the differences between the two yet, I have a feeling that your answer sounds like "I'm FromAmerica."


I have a feeling that your answer sounds like "I'm FromAmerica."

That's exactly what it sounds like.


As I understand it, is (and its past tense bu and a few other forms) are used in sentences linking two nouns or pronouns, i.e. sentences about identity or definition Examples taken from https://gaelicgrammar.org/~gaelic/mediawiki/index.php/Copula_(definition) are:

  • Cò thusa (Who are you?)
  • Is mise Mòrag (I am Morag)
  • An tusa Ealasaid (Are you Elizabeth?)
  • Cha mhise Ealasaid (I am not Elizabeth)
  • Chan ise Peigi (She is not Peggy)

These forms of the verb are also used in cleft constructions (I had to Google "What is a cleft construction in language" to find out what that meant), which are typically used to emphasise a particular part of a sentence. Possible examples include,

  • Is mise a tha à Aimearaga (It is I who is from America)
  • Is ann à Aimearaga a tha mi (It is from America that I am)

but sentences such as this have not been covered in this course as yet, and this form of the verb is not appropriate for straightforward sentences such as "I am from America", for which tha is the correct form.


I'm a beginner too and no doubt someone will get to this with the proper answer, but "tha mi" is definitely "I am". Many moons ago I learned this one like it was a Latin verb. Tha mi / tha thu / tha e / tha i / tha sinn / tha sibh / tha iad. Or thereabouts, we're talking over 50 years ago. I had a book! (q.v. amo / amas / amat...) This remembered snippet has been very useful for starting Duolingo and to be honest a grammar book wouldn't go amiss right now if I could find it.

I'm not sure about "Is mise" but it seems from the context to be something more like "my name is" or "I am called".


Michel Byrne's 'Gràmar na Gàidhlig' tells us that Gaelic has two verbs 'to be'. There is the verb BI with forms tha, bheil,bha, robh etc and another verb which has only 2 forms 'Is' for the present and 'Bu' for the past or conditional. It's used a lot by native speakers in various idiomatic ways. Is is very often pronounced and written 's. I'd recommend Michel's book. It's published by Stòrlann-Acair.

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