1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. Scots Gaelic - To be an H or …


Scots Gaelic - To be an H or not to be an H

I (think) I know for example Dearg (red) is used with a masculine noun and Dhearg with feminine. Firstly, how do I know whether the noun is masculine or feminine and secondly why hasn’t the dictionary got a record for dearg. #FRUSTRATING

January 28, 2020



It seems to me that there are hints scattered all through the course as to what is masculine and what is feminine, I've not yet seen a bare list. If you listen carefully to the speakers you can usually tell if the h is there or not, and some of the multiple-choice questions give you both forms and if you choose the wrong one you soon know. Countries are nearly always feminine, they said. Trousers seem to be feminine (and quite right too).

I think the idea is to get the right adjectives associated with the right words by constant repetition rather than memorising them consciously or looking them up all the time. My guess anyway.


Anything ending in -id -aid or -achd or -eachd is usually feminine. Please note that dearg does not lenite after a feminine noun ending in the letter n. So we find Beinn Dearg and Abhainn Dearg. I think it's just because it's easier to say.


Most nouns are masculine. If you aren't sure, it's a fairly safe bet to assume it's masculine.

Nouns with a slendar ending are more likely to be feminine. (Nouns that have an i or e near the end).


Page from Beagan Gràmair on "How to Gender a Noun":



What dictionary are you using? I'd find it funny if 'dearg' wasn't in it.


The Duolingo dictionary function, I think: https://www.duolingo.com/dictionary/gd Which indeed, dearg does not seem to show up in.

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