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  5. "sùilean brèagha."

"sùilean brèagha."

Translation:Pretty eyes.

January 29, 2020



I finally saw my neighbour yesterday; my apologies for my tardiness! (In mitigation, we've had storms here the last few weeks... He thinks that "pretty eyes" should be "sùilean brèaghan" (note the extra "n"). However, my friend is in his late eighties, and I believe that Gaelic has simplified in recent years (particularly with regard to plurals, if I read Wikipedia correctly). There are a few examples of plural adjectives later in the course, and they all seem to take the masculine form. Hope this is useful, despite being rather late!


This puzzles me. sùil is feminine, but the plural sùilean is masculine?


I read this thread with interest. There is so much confusion, some resulting from bad teaching. So let's get some things straight.

Everything you have ever learnt, or will ever learn, about feminine words in Gaelic is about feminine singular words.

It is not true that words become masculine in the plural, as is sometimes said on Gaelic courses, or that they lose their gender, as often said on Welsh courses. It's just that you can't tell the gender in the plural.

Adjectives do sometimes change in the plural but it's nothing to do with gender and it has not been covered yet. Examples so far have carefully avoided it.

No adjective adds an n in any Gaelic dialect I have ever heard or seen, for any reason whatsoever (although it is quite normal in German, for sake of comparison).

Thinking about it I realize that no modern languages I know this side of the Alps have gender differences in the plural with one big exception. That is that languages like French and Spanish use a 'stick an s on everything' rule (nouns adjectives and third person pronouns). Clearly if you do this any differences in the singular will be preserved (e.g. ils vs elles).

But no Celtic or Germanic language that I know has any differences. This means that any rule that 'just applies to the feminine' or 'just applies to the masculine' must be referring to the singular only. D


I was similarly confused - when I couldn't find anywhere that said not to lenite after feminine plurals, I even tested this in Google Translate (Yeah! I know! Don't judge me! I was young and desparate...). I discovered that GT followed this same pattern (tried eye/eyes, cow/cows and girl/girls). Then I backtracked over the notes for this course and found this:

"Singular feminine nouns usually cause this lenition (in writing) in adjectives starting with the consonants: B, C, D, F, G, M, P, S, and T"

So, by inference, we don't lenite after plurals. I think, in this case, stating an explicit rule for feminine plurals would be helpful, rather than leaving it as implicit.


Ah! Thank you very much for this; I was suspecting that plurals might be treated differently! I'd not picked up that the course notes had talked about "SINGULAR feminine nouns". I have a neighbour who has the Gaelic (the last one in our village, sadly); I'll ask him about this when I see him next.


Brilliant! Please do report back what he says! I live in the Doric heartland so I've even less access to native speakers.


Yes please do report. I was thinking it was something to do with plurals ending in an "n" that is pronounced (but that wouldn't explain «bean» and its plural «ban»).


You may have seen ban as the plural of bean but only in the genitive plural. This word is seriously odd: the plural is mnathan. Yes, really - I don't expect you to believe me as it is so weird, so look it up here.


audio missing but I remembered it from the first time in this lesson, so I got it right without listening


It's been replaced, but it can sometimes take a few days to appear on the user side :)


The soundclip on "sùilean brèagha" does not work at my laptop. I do not have any problems with any other sounds, but this one is just audible as a small burp. Does anyone else have this problem?


The audio had to be replaced, so it might take a few days to appear on the user side.


Sound not working for this one?


On my android Duolingo app. The audio for this doesn't play at all.


It's been replaced, but it might take a couple of days to feed through :)


Although there are a few bugs and missing features on the web version, I am afraid the consensus is that the app is too bug-ridden to use and you should stick to the web version (which works fine on my Android).

Even on the web version, I often have to press the speech button several times or wait 10s then press the button again - have you tried that?


I did try waiting and pressing again to no use. Honestly, I prefer the web version because I like using the keyboard, but I can get more points from the app, and I was trying to get first in Diamond this week. Lol. Not going to happen... no more point opportunities now. The guy ahead of me is doing a language with more ways to get points. It will be fun when Gaelic has a few more things like stories to read, etc.


Yes, it's so unfair. They keep telling my next achievement will be

Learn 1500 new words in a single course

but I have learnt all the words in this course and that is only 1381. What should I do? It will be some time before I reach 1500 in Welsh.

And having different points structures for the app is just crazy.


I have learnt all the words in this course and that is only 1381. What should I do?

I promise Tree 2 will get you your gold Scholar medal. Hopefully not too long!


Diolch fawr. I am trying with the Welsh. Let's see if Gaelic Duo can beat me to the 2000. And yes, fawr is just the Welsh spelling of mhòr, pronounced the same.


I am on my laptop and the audio is missing on the web version too. Didn't happen to me before.


Is there a way to hear a difference between th an gh?


Yes - in principle. There is no dispute that th is pronounced as an h and that gh is pronounced as a y in this word (but not in all words).

The problem is that both of these sounds can be quite difficult to hear in the middle of a word between two vowels. Take the English word vehicle. Some people pronounce the h but a lot of people say * veyicle or * ve-icle. That's just the way it is. The Gaelic is no more problematic than the English. D


Personal bugbear with these "select the correct answer" that don't tell you what sentence you're actually aiming for... I chose "sùil" which was wrong, as it should have been sùilean, though as I didn't know what I was aiming for, I always find these hard (I assume they are testing your grammar knowledge?). How would you say "a pretty eye"? Does the "brèagha" lenite?


I think these are harder than they are meant to be because they did not realise you would not get the English when they wrote them, and they did not get to choose the 'wrong' answers. They are chosen by computer. Sometimes you can tell which is correct with a knowledge of grammar - sometimes easy and sometimes well beyond the course level. But sometimes more that one answer is actually correct. I complain when this happens. But even then there was a problem as the mods still can't see what question you had, and give answers to the effect that only one word has the correct meaning (which, as you point out, we do not know). So when that happens I am careful to specify clearly what sort of question it was, and what the options were. Then they generally change it.

In this particular question, though, you can tell on the basis of grammar. It requires you to know that sùil is feminine but at least it does not rely on grammar not yet covered. That means that, as you suggest, the brèagha does lenite. 'A pretty eye' would be sùil bhrèagha. D


Thanks! I thought as soon as I got it wrong that I must have not spotted that for the singular, it should have been lenited. I also didn't realise that the mods couldn't see the version we got. I'll keep that in mind and give more details, so that you'll find it easier to work out why I'm getting muddled!

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