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  5. "Na h-eileanan beaga."

"Na h-eileanan beaga."

Translation:The small islands.

January 27, 2020

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DougSnell1

Specifically Rhum, Eig, Muck and Canna? Or generically small islands including Inchmarnock for example?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

I think if I heard this (either the Gaelic or the English) I would probably understand these four islands, but in fact this is not the correct name for them in either language.

Na h-Eileanan Tarsainn = The Small Isles

so the terms in this question are simply referring to some random set of small islands. D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TroyLatta

Why beaga instead of beag?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

Short answer - you usually add an a to single-syllable adjectives after plural nouns.

Long answer - it's a bit more complicated than that, but the notes do not cover it adequately. I have had a very long discussion with silmeth, and the upshot is that no one seems to know all the details of the rule. So just stick with the version with 'usually' above. D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gaelynn8

Why is this elongated? Eilean is two syllables... What am I not understanding?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

You are not understanding that this word is plural here. There are several ways that nouns make plurals in Gaelic and this is one of the most common, adding -(e)an. It is, of course, a little confusing as it ends in -(e)an anyway, but the plural still needs to be marked, so why not add another -(e)an?

As far as we have got in the course so far, you can assume that na is plural, so you should be thinking 'What can I take off to make a noun I recognise?' Just like when you meet cats, masses and oxen in English, it's the same question.

Later on you may also have to change a vowel (just as if you met geese in English and you had to change the vowel to make a word you recognised).

There are no other regular ways to make plurals in Gaelic, apart from adding an ending, changing a vowel, or occasionally both, just like English, French, German and Italian. But Welsh is a different story. D

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