"The red crab."

Translation:A' chrùbag dhearg.

February 23, 2020



Why is this "a chrubag" and not "an crubag"?


It can be difficult to know if a word is feminine.

Virtually all words ending in -ag are feminine. It is a feminine diminutive suffix very common in the names of plants and animals.

Aiseag 'ferry' is probably the only exception you will meet.


A’ chrùbag (with an apostrophe in a’). Because crùbag is a feminine noun and the feminine definite article lenites. Read the tips and notes for the Colours skill (you can also find them there: https://www.duome.eu/tips/en/gd). The tips and notes are available on the web browser version of Duolingo (unfortunately not on the mobile app). The notes explain it.


I answered as above but it was marked incorrect. Duo says the correct answer should be 'An crùban dearg'? Is this right? I'm confused!


That is weird because

  1. The discussion here suggests they have been accepting crùbag for at least 10 months, and there is no mention of crùban anywhere.
  2. A search for the words in other discussions shows at least 4 other sentences with crùbag meaning 'crab'.
  3. A search finds no mention of crùban in any other discussion.
  4. An crùban dearg is grammatically correct, so it does not look like a simple typo.
  5. I have never heard the word crùban, and nor has Mark (2003) in this sense.
  6. AFB does give 'crab' as a secondary meaning. Grammatically it is just the masculine equivalent of the same word.

One possibility is that you made some small error and it chose an unusual correct answer to confuse you. But it definitely needs explained. All together, this needs flagging as soon as someone gets a chance.

Edit: it has now been addressed by s mod so it no longer needs flagged.


I think crùban is generally accepted as alternative word but never is the default. So yes, I guess the op made some typo or other small mistake and Duolingo accepted they wanted to write an crùban dearg (it would be dearg in this case because crùban is a masculine word; the default is a’ chrùbag dhearg because crùbag is feminine).

I don’t think it needs any flagging. The contributors can’t change the way Duolingo chooses the closest correct answer to show in case of a small mistake… and the answer shown is correct.


Hiya, no, I didn't make a mistake but I did take a screenshot as a wee reminder to myself to search for a translation once I was done with the lesson, especially as the word seemed oddly familiar!


Yes that's great now you have confirmed that it is an answer, but not the answer. I have edited my previous answer to say it no longer needs flagged. To be really pedantic, the gender of crùban doesn't make any difference to the the dearg because of the sgian dubh rule.


The homorganic rule AFAIK isn’t really productive any more in modern Gaelic in attributive adjectives, so sgian-dubh for a specific kind of knife but sgian dhubh for a generic a black knife.


I know in my case, I made the mistake of writing "an crùbag dhearg" and it marked me incorrect (which it was), but I guess because the algorithm figured my written phrase was closer to one of the accepted ways of writing this more than the other, it told me a correct way of writing it would be "an crùban dearg" rather than the version we've been taught, "a' chrùbag dhearg".

I reckon it's understandable to have the algorithm try to match what you were trying to write when correcting you, it just messes up sometimes when what you've written is somewhere in between the various accepted options.


It is understandable, but there have been loads of confusion and complaint, precisely because it has not done it in the past. It has been generally assumed that it did not have any such algorithm - or at least not one that worked. Now suddenly there have been reports of it suggesting this form, after at least 10 months with no one even knowing that Duo knew the word crùban. It looks suspiciously as if they have a new algorithm. If so, it will be generally welcome, but it will sometimes lead to it digging up rare variants when people make a mistake (exactly as you did) that happens to resemble a rare variant.


there was no apostophe with an "a" in the exercise options ... this is confusing when trying to learn the correct 'the' words


What about partan? I understood that the Scots word came from Gaelic. Is it no longer common?


I answered the above and was marked wrong. When I looked up the word crùban, in my dictionary crùban was a crouch


This is causing so many problems that I want to try this for myself. Which unit is this?


second section animals


Well I found the exercise and tried various possible answers to see what happens, aborting the exercise after each time I got a typo, so I could retry the exercise with a different answer.

The lenition here affects three different words, so there are eight possible answers with different degrees of wrongness:

An/A' – crùbag/chrùbag – dearg/dhearg

Having tried various different combinations it appears the h in chrùbag is the crucial letter. If you leave this out and write crùbag it thinks you meant crùban. This is a rare variant, which is why they have (very diligently) put it in the list of accepted answers. Unfortunately the computer seems to think that crùbag is closer to crùban than to chrùbag so assumes you meant that. There is no system for the course writers to tell the computer which words should be counted as nearest to which correct answers, so we will just have to live with this, unless...

Unless the mods can be persuaded that the problems caused by allowing this rare variant outweigh the benefits of allowing it, and that they should simply get rid of it.

I searched in the DASG corpus and I found 28 hits for crubag (ignoring accents and lenition) and 124 for cruban. Quite a few of these were using crùban in the 'crouch' sense, but there were still a decent number in the 'crab' sense. This applied even when I restricted results to 'late 20th century'. When I tried 'early 21st century' there were only four hits, none in the crab sense, whereas I got six hits for crùbag. So crùban was a common word for a crab, but it is rare or extinct in this century, scoring 0 hits out of 6. The sample size is not begin enough to say it is completely dead, but we can definitely say it is very rare indeed. I would be inclined to remove crùban from the answer bank and see what happens. I would be most surprised if we get any complaints at all as I don't think any learner would actually use this word.


Could you say A' chrùbag ruadh ?


As you probably know, colours do no match up in different languages, and it is virtually impossible to translate correctly without actually knowing what colour this crab is. As I say here ruadh is far more common for living things, unless they are actually scarlet.

As for what colour a crab encountered in Gaelic-speaking Scotland might be, there are usually considered to be two main types, with different names, as you will see if [you read the entries in Faclair.com carefully. The crùbag (the word used here) is what we might call brown, but is well within the range of ruadh, so it could be - but isn't - called something with ruadh in the name. In this context crùbag means brown crab so there is no need to add another colour term as well. If you were describing a Christmas Island Red Crab (the first red crab that comes up when I search) ,this is borderline, except that you would probably need to use dearg to make it clear you were not talking about the ordinary brown one. Perhaps you have a plastic toy one.

Ultimately there is no point in arguing about the correct word when we simply do not know what colour this particular crab is, so, in my view, both should be accepted, and I hope they are.


I answered the above and was marked wrong. Isn't " crùban" a crouch? I looked it up in my Gaelic dictionary


is this incorrect because i do not have a cspital letter?


No. They don't get upset about capitals. As no one can see what you wrote we cannot tell you why it is wrong.

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