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  5. "I am wanting four kittens."

"I am wanting four kittens."

Translation:Tha mi ag iarraidh ceithir piseagan.

January 27, 2020



Why isn't piseagan lenited as phiseagan? One kitten is aon phiseagan but four kittens is ceithir piseagan?


Aon phiseag, da phiseag, tri piseagan, ceithir piseagan etc.


So when counting or enumerating nouns, only aon and dà get lenited (if the counted noun starts with a letter than typically gets lenited, e.g. s, m, p, etc.) BUT trì and greater do not?


That's correct =)

aon/dà get the lenited singular, trì and above get the plural


Though as a little complication if the following noun begins in d t or s then it doesn't lenite after the aon. But that's a euphony thing. It also happens if you have a feminine noun ending in n, but the adjective after it beginning with d t or s. (why it's sgian dubh not sgian dhubh)


It is certain words, not numbers in general, that lenite. In other Celtic languages different numbers cause different mutations. No one can agree the rules so it is mega confusing if you try to learn more than one Celtic language.


Ok im sorry it looked but your the boss


cha toil leam welsh numbers! dw i'n hoffi scottish gaelic mumbers! Is there any connection between the two?


This is a good question. The answer is complicated, so let's have a go. First of all there are two separate issues - the basic words, used for 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,20,100,1000, and then the way these words are joined together to make all the other numbers. First you will see that there is a word for 20, unlike English, where we just join '2 x 10' = two-ten which eventually became twenty. This was then used to make other numbers. This was common in many European languages, including English (three score years and ten) and French (80 = '4 x 20' = quatre-vingt). Some languages (such as Spanish) retain the word for 20 (veinte) (that is related to Gaelic and Welsh, not formed from 2 x 10) but without using multiples of it.

Gaelic Welsh Latin English Notes
aon un un- one
d(h)à{L} dau{L} duo two Lenition {L} = final vowel in English, Latin
t tri{S} tres three Aspirate mutation {S} = s/x in Latin etc.
ceithir pedwar quatuor four Some languages have p/f/v, but others c/qu/g
còig pum(p) quinque five Double example of above
sia chwe(ch){S} sex six As for 3, but ch in Welsh also represents s/x (also in seasgad in Gaelic)
seachd saith septem seven p and v related. ch in Gaelic as we don't like p
ochd wyth octo eight d/t/th related, c/ch/gh related
naoi naw novem nine v/w related. n changed to m in Latin
deich deg decem ten c/ch/g lost in some languages, n/m in others
fichead ugain viginti (compound) f/v lost in some languages, n became the a in Gaelic
ceud cant cent- hundred c changed to h in Germanic, n became the u in Gaelic
mìle mil mile (unrelated)

But the second issue is how to join these. Historically, there was lots of choice. For example, '21 cows' could be '20 cows and 1' or 'one cow after 20', etc. And some of the choices were quite odd, for example 19 = '4 on 15' in Welsh, or 50 = '½ x 100' in Gaelic. Altogether the system was quite erratic and each language ended up with quite a random collection. Added to complicated rules for when to use a singular or plural noun.

But then, in the 20th century, both languages started to be simplified, and to go over to a 10s-based system which were, to different degrees, copied from the English. In Welsh, the old system is retained in certain situations, such as the time, but in Gaelic, the old system is not taught at all, although it is actually only very recently that the modern system has been used outwith education. D


Moran taing for the interesting reply. It looks like a latin influence on the gaelic and welsh with each language retaining its own expression.


There's complex sociolinguistics going on here, as everyone uses small numbers, but traditional crofters did not have any need for dates or large numbers, and if you actually listen to old people on the radio, they use a different system - they use Gaelic for small numbers and English for dates and large numbers. So it is inevitable that the system for large and precise numbers is influenced by Latin-speaking monks (who would have introduced the Christian calendar) and other invaders with large armies, big resources and other things than needed counted. For many Gaels, the largest numbers they ever encountered would be for the 150 psalms, and these are still announced in the 20s system. It is totally impractical do to arithmetic with numbers of the form '6x20+13'.

And no one really seems to know where the 20s system comes from. The fact that even the Romans and Greeks had a special word for 20 (not just 2 x 10) suggests they had it once, even if they switched to 10s a long time ago. It may be simply that the 10s system is better for running an army with, and it matches the written system, so is much easier for arithmetic. D


Piseag = random kitten Aon phiseag = one kitten Dà phiseag = two kittens Tri piseagan = three kittens

(And from three upwards it keeps being piseagan because plural in Gaelic starts at three)


I hope the 4 kittens will be friends!

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