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  5. Lenition! Lenition!


Lenition! Lenition!

Lenition! Lenition!

Worse than nuclear fission!

An old H-bomb you can’t hide from

It baffles my cognition!

To lenite or not lenite?

That really is my plight!

Mòr or math or mhòr or mhath?

I never get it right!

And so dear Lord on high

The Great Pie in the Skye

Hear my call (or is it chall?)

And end my misery.

(Did Lenin really get it right

With his ‘Workers of the world, lenite!’?)

February 13, 2020



I have still to get my head around it but I am being optimistic. It surely can't be as difficult as Czech. I can only describe Czech lenition as being like quantum physics!


What is so difficult about quantum physics?


Sgoinneil! Mòran taing agus tapadh leat, a Jhungmink1. That's the kind of humour I like. Didn't know that Skye is famous for pies though.


Me neither.

However Portree ice-cream in the 1960s was 'the best in the world ever'. Sadly it is long gone, but the memory of it will always linger on for those of us who were lucky enough to be in that place, at that time.

(The attempted imitations of it today are definitely not the same.)


I'm afraid after straying into an ice-cream parlour in St. George's, Granada, I will never enjoy ice-cream this side of the Atlantic again.


Equi's of Hamilton in the 60's. Best ice-cream by far ;-)


Too true Fergus - great fish an chips as well.


You must not have tasted ice-cream in Italy. Gelateria Il Meloncello in Bologna makes the best ice cream in the universe :)



My gripe is that if I get the lenition wrong (which I do all the time), the software accepts the wrong answer, just calling it a typo. I'll never get it right unless it's marked wrong and I have to go back and do the question again.

Yesterday one of my answers was marked right, but "you have a typo" and when I looked carefully I realised I had made FOUR separate errors, each of which had been forgiven as a typo. I can't learn like this. I gather there is no fix for this bug though.


Kinda irritates me too that, but my big drawback is accents. Using a PC and keyboard, I rattle down the answer, spelling usually correct, then get the "pay attention to accents" Well I would if the keboard had separate letters for them. I know, stupid but frustrating


That for me is one stage less of a problem than the one-letter errors. I try to get the accents right by typing the sentence without the accents then going back and tipping them in with the mouse and the tiles, but I sometimes forget to do it and I'm sometimes wrong.


Halo a FhergusMart14! You can choose the Gàidhlig keyboard for input on a PC running Windows (Add Ghàilig in Settings: Time & Language: Add a prefered language). It's just like an English keyboard but lets you type accents too. The usual Ghàidhlig sràc is the grave accent on the top left key of your keyboard. Just type it before typing the accented vowel. Then you can easily type the accents and "pay attention" to them.


I think some lenition causes strife with some native speakers too. I've noticed that the occasional audio clip has lenition where the text doesn't. Also it's sometimes very subtle in everyday speech and I think it varies a bit by locality too. (especially in places like Thurso from memory) I think remembering the gender might be a bit tricky as our vocabulary increases.

With French and Italian, most but not all words have the same gender in both languages, with some exceptions which I can usually remember. If I can't remember the gender in one, I can usually remember in the other.

Gaelic is not nearly so gender inflective apart from fear and tè so far and of course lenition of adjectives, and that makes it more difficult to remember the gender.

You can install a Gaelic keyboard, which comes up on screen, but I just use the ascii codes.

As far as typos go, I have a feeling that old spellings are accepted too. The orthography was last revised as recently as 2005.


I think a lot of native speakers don't take language perfection too seriously.

For example take 'a-mach à seo!' which means 'get out of here'. In Stornoway where I worked they never bothered about the first 'a' when they used it in the sense of 'Oh really!!'

(Its one of my favourite Gaelic expressions.)


Is that like thalla?


Not really - thalla is more dismissive, an annoyed 'Go away!' (or a surprised 'Get out of here'). Mach à seo is less harsh, you would even use it to round people up to leave - 'Come on kids, Mach à seo'


Maybe, not sure?



I remember the first Gaelic learning book I read more than 50 years ago had "Cha 'n eil" rather than "Chan eil". I always think of Cha as a word on its own.

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