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"The wall is bad."

Translation:Tha am balla dona.

February 24, 2020

7 Comments


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

Why "am" instead of "an"? How can you tell which version you're meant you use?


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

Before labial sounds (P, B, M, F) you use am, otherwise an. It’s just like in- changing to im- in English eg. in imperfect instead of inperfect, imbalanced instead of inbalanced, immortal and not inmortal – the consonant becomes similar to the next sound, dental n changes to bilabial m.

Just notice that in Scottish Gaelic f is also treated as a labial sound (eg. am fìon the wine, and not an fìon, vs. English infrequent) because the Gaelic /f/ used to be pronounced with two lips instead of the lower lip and upper teeth (as English /f/).


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

Ahhhh that makes sense. Thanks! Just a follow on; from what I've figured out "an t-" just goes on words starting with a vowel. Is that correct?


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

There are two instances where t- appears, both after the definite article:

  1. as you mentioned – before vowels (where otherwise no lenition happens), eg. an t-athair the father, an t-ubhal the apple,
  2. instead of s when it is lenited, eg. an t-sùil the eye, an t-slige the shell, an t-sagairt of the priest, leis an t-sagart with the priest (the t-s- is pronounced as just t).

In both of those instances historically this t- is actually part of the article (which originally was *sindos, *sinda, *sindon, etc. in Proto-Celtic, then lost the endings and initial s- and evolved into ind, int, in in Old Irish, and then in most cases lost the final d/t and became modern an, am, a’.

Coincidentally just today I’ve written another post about history of t replacing s after the article instead of a regular lenition.


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

Awesome! Thanks so much!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/susan961004

Can you explain why the compuitar picture and the internet picture are the same?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kate499279

Love the allusion to belladona. Or la bella donna :)

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