"Deise mhath."

Translation:A good suit.

February 8, 2020

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LachlanDuf3

lol why is suit a feminine word?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

Why wouldn’t it be? French suite (from which English suit comes), coincidentally, is feminine too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Coiseam

we call noun catagories masculine and feminine because that's what they were called in latin (and i think greek) grammar. it's nothing to do with the society's understanding of social gender, or to do with sex.

The Gaelic word "boireannach" means 'woman', and is a masculine noun.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

Well, I wouldn’t completely agree with the statement that it’s nothing to do with society’s (…) gender or (…) sex.

They are called so in Latin and Greek grammar (and any other Indo-European grammar with those categories), because they do have some things to do with social idea of gender or biological sex: feminine nouns are referred to with feminine pronouns (eg. i, oirre, aice…), masculine ones with masc. pronouns (e, air, aige), the same as persons perceived as women as referred to with i, oirre, aice while men with e, air, aige.

Sure, the grammatical gender isn’t the same as social one or biological sex ­– you are right that to a great extent masc. and fem. genders are just two arbitrary grammatical noun categories. But it does correlate with gender/sex and is to some degree perceived as related by native speakers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

Indeed. Languages all over the world separate nouns into classes using all sorts of different criteria, or for no obvious reason. The reason we have three classes in Indo-European languages (reduced in different ways in some modern languages to two or one) is not known. But for whatever reason it happened that the majority of obviously female words ended up in one class and obviously male words ended up in another class. This is why the first known grammarians (actually writing in Latin about Greek) adopted the terminology 'feminine, masculine, neuter'.

Words that have no obvious gender, such as 'house' were allocated gender by an unknown process. As it happens, house was originally neuter, as was Gaelic taigh if we assume it comes from Old Irish tech becoming masculine when the neuter was lost. The French maison was originally feminine.

As for what gender you might expect deise to be, there are two reasons for caution. One is that just because you might associate a particular thing with men, it does not make it masculine. The terms deise and suit are, in their modern usage, something that men have more often than women do. But the same goes for bean = wife. More men have wives than women do. They are inherently associated with men, especially in the past, but that does not make them masculine. Even parts of the body aren't masculine just because only men have them - see clach, or feminine because only women have them - see uterus.

The other reason is that meanings change over time. Clach meant 'stone' before it acquired its anatomical meaning, and deise would have referred to anything that was deiseil 'ready, finished, complete' whether it was clothing or not. (This also explains why it has a second meaning of 'readiness'. D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Coiseam

I thought that 'a good south' sounded odd


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

Easy mistake to make. In Gaelic, it is often the way the consonants are pronounced that is the best guide to what vowels are present. (This is even more important when you get to plurals, as the way the t is pronounced is really the only way to distinguish cat 'cat' and cait 'cats'.

The broad s in deas makes it 'des'. The slender s in deise makes it 'deysha'. D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ROBERTThom625060

This is one of those I couldn't decide on, so I turned to google translate, which doesn't always match. "Deise mhath" translates as "good opportunity" while "Dheise mhath" is actually "good suit". So I was summarily rejected by duolingo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

Please, don’t use Google Translate for Gaelic – English translations. The languages are too different and the program has too few good examples to actually learn how to properly translate between them and you get nonsense.

Dheise mhath on its own – what you cite from Google Translate – makes absolutely no sense in Gaelic on its own, you need some grammatical reason to lenite a word.

deise is a feminine noun that means suit, but it has a homonym, another feminine noun deise meaning readiness. None of them mean opportunity, as far as I know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ROBERTThom625060

Thanks, if I had guessed right I probably would have just passed over that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaibhidhR

I'm afraid there is no solution here apart from to not use Google Translate.

Inserting the h does not alter the meaning. The AI behind GT gives it the property that an insignificant change can alter the result completely.

I have no idea where 'opportunity' comes from.

The most convenient and reliable way to find out what a word means (other than Duolingo itself) is to look on faclair.com . It has a good search function, so if you type in a variant form (such as dheise) it will still take you to the correct place, and you can type in either Gaelic or English without specifying which (an unusual and helpful feature). The left-hand column of results is modern and up to date. The right-hand column is from 1911 so should be ignored. D

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