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  5. "Na h-eileanan beaga."

"Na h-eileanan beaga."

Translation:The small islands.

January 27, 2020



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


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


Why beaga instead of beag?


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


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


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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