1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. "Oidhche mhath, a Sheumais."

"Oidhche mhath, a Sheumais."

Translation:Good night, James.

January 26, 2020



Oh, that's fabulous! My dad's given name was James, but all his life he was addressed as Hamish, to the point where people gave him handkerchiefs embroidered with "H" and pedantic little me thought, no that's not right, we only call him Hamish, his name's James. He did explain it to me, but nevertheless my mother and other relations still called him Hamish even when they weren't addressing him directly. (They were lowlanders though. And anyway by that time Hamish was his pet name.)

But this is the first time I've actually heard Seumas turn into Hamish.

(He actually told me they called him "The Hamish" in his youth in the Gaeltachd, but I don't entirely get that. He was the first generation of the family brought up without the Gaelic, so I'm giving it a shot.)


It's relatively common for native Gaelic speakers (and I mean ones whose first language is Gaelic, as opposed to native bilinguals) to add "the" to words in English which wouldn't normally have them. For example they would call Gaelic "the Gaelic" as opposed to just Gaelic, because that's what the name means in Gaelic.


That's what I've heard all my life. "He has the Gaelic." "Do you have the Gaelic?" That's what sounds normal to me. It's really spooking me that the definite article isn't in the translations in the course.


Admittedly the definite article is complex enough I can understand them wanting to leave it till a bit later.

Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.