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  5. "A wobbly tooth."

"A wobbly tooth."

Translation:Fiacail chugallach.

February 16, 2020



I'm not sure why cugallach is lenited with fiacaill but not with fiaclan (as I've seen elsewhere in this app). Why is that?


It's because adjectives will only lenite in the plural if the plural is formed by slenderisation e.g.

eun beag > eòin bheaga


I kind of understand that explanation, but slenderisation is another confusing thing, so I guess I'll work it out as I go. Thanks!


Some nouns form their plural by changing the last vowel or diphtong to something that ends in an i.

You may not have realized it but we do this in English - all words that form their plural by changing the last vowel or diphtong change it to something that ends in an e or an i.

man → men
foot → feet
mouse → mice (ignore silent e at the end!)

There are a few words that have a choice of plural, so we can use one (that is only similar to fiacaill by chance) to demonstrate how the adjective lenites depending on how the word pluralizes

Facal math – a good word
Faclan matha – good words
Facail mhatha – good words


Hi, it is confusing me too. Does cugallach lenite because the word fiacaill, although singular for tooth, has an 'i' as the last vowel so it is naturally slenderised (if there is such a thing, I'm really not sure and just guessing).


Hey, cugallach lenites because fiacaill is a feminine noun. Simple as that. There was a bit of confusion in the thread above. :)


Yes, but the confusion arises because people forget to say 'feminine singular noun' (here and on the Welsh course). So please, can all references to feminines causing lenition specify singular?

Rules for plural nouns are different, but people often get confused because of this omission. The confusion above, with this particular example, may also result from similarity with words that are masculine, or plural, or both, and some of which cause lenition, on top of the fact that fiacaill is sometimes spelt fiacal, so some might have thought that fiacaill was the plural, especially as there is no clue in this sentence that it is singular - if fiacaill were the plural, it would cause lenition. I was in fact only familiar with fiacal so I was confused.

fiacaill chugallach 'a wobbly tooth'
fiacal chugallach 'a wobbly tooth'
fiaclan cugallach 'wobbly teeth'
facal cugallach 'a wobbly word'
faclan cugallach 'wobbly words'
facail chugallach 'wobbly words'

and that's before you think about other cases.


Many thanks also for your explanation and for all the examples you included. It's a wonderful language but confusing at times


Thank you for the added explanation, I should have remembered about the feminine nouns and lenition. I still haven't worked out a pattern for recognising them.


There is no sure-fire way to recognise feminine nouns. The way children learn, even before they know what a feminine noun is, is to build a list in their heads of the words that fit the pattern. You can do the same. Every time you meet a word with a clue it's feminine, such as lenition of the adjective, lenition after the article, pronoun used, it gets added to your memory banks, and eventually the correct form comes out, without even thinking about the gender.


Thank you Daibhidh, that's very helpful. I actually have written down every lesson I've taken so far and will go through the pages and seek out the feminine nouns, I do remember some of them but definitely not all. Need to revise the rules too. Thanks again for your help


At last some clarity on this issue! I'm very grateful. Debra


I thought that the spelling was "fiacaill" (double l) - the app is telling me I have a typo and it should be "fiacail". If both spellings are acceptable, it shouldn't be telling me that it is a typo. Are both spellings acceptable?


Well, there is a bit of confusion:

  • I am only familiar with fiacal
  • AFB only has fiacal and fiacaill
  • Dwelly only has fiacaill
  • Watson has facail(l) (not a well-respected dictionary)
  • Duolingo has about a dozen questions with this word, always fiacaill
  • Duolingo vocab list gives only fiacaill
  • This appears to be a fairly new question
  • Someone has the same query on another question, possibly even newer

Altogether this looks like a typo, so the next person who gets this as part of an exercise needs to flag it, so that a mod can either justify the spelling change or correct the typo on both questions.

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