"the ugly face"

Translation:an t-aodann grànnda

January 31, 2020



What does the 't-' do in this sentence? Isn't 'an' the? How do you know when the 't-' is also needed?


it's because of the vowel at the start of aodann. If I remember right, I think it's masculine nouns starting with vowels where that happens (noun gender isn't something I think about to be honest). It's basically because "an aodann" would be hard to say.


Thank you! That makes sense, similar to "a" vs "an" in English.


Yes. Even more similar than you realize. The t- was originally part of the an: *ant aodann. The modern spelling must result from mishearing this. In some languages, including Gaelic, we tend to attach consonants to the following vowel when we speak, regardless of the meaning. Other languages are the reverse. So it would have sounded like *an taodann.


Actually in Irish you would write an t-éadan or An tÉadan.


Thank you. I made a mistake. I was quite sure but obviously I am wrong. Even in Middle Irish (I checked to see how I could have made the mistake). I have removed the offending part.


Masculine nouns starting with a vowel.

Nothing to do with ease of pronunciation; just a historical oddity.

Hundreds of years ago the masculine definite article was ind, but the d was gradually elided before other consonants and ended up only pronounced before vowels. It wasn’t obvious then that it belonged to the article (in/an) so people started attaching it to the noun instead.

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