Bad weather

I'm a bit confused by what seems to be an inconsistency in how translations are handled for "Tha sneachd ann" and "Tha an t-uisge ann".

I have a memory of anwering the first one with "It's snowing" and being marked wrong, with the correct answer being given as "There is snow". This led to some confusion in my mind about what the sentence meant, because "There is snow" isn't something I'd say in English. I'd either say "It's snowing" if snow is actually falling, or "There's snow lying" to indicate that there was snow on the ground. If "Tha sneachd ann" doesn't actually mean that it's snowing, what does it mean?

So then I got to the second sentence. I remembered about the snow situation and thought, by analogy, obviously "It's raining" isn't the right answer. I typed "There is rain" and was marked wrong, with the correct answer being given as "It is raining". More confusion.

Then I got the first sentence again. I thought, am I mistaken? So I typed "It's snowing" again, and was marked correct, but with the comment "another correct answer", and the preferred answer was again given as "There is snow".

So is there snow, is there rain, is it snowing, is it raining...? Unless there would be a different way to say it's snowing, why wouldn't "It's snowing" be the preferred answer for snow, as it is for rain? And if "There is snow" is the preferred answer for that one, why is "There is rain" marked as being flat wrong?

February 27, 2020


I think that "It is snowing" is said as "Tha i a' cur an t-sneachda" (It is putting the snow, literally). So "Tha sneachd ann" would be more like "There's snow on the ground." Tha an t-uisge ann definitely means it's raining.

That's interesting, thank you for your reply. It might be helpful if the distinction was made clear in the tips and hints somewhere, and maybe the best translation for "Tha sneachd ann" might be "There is snow lying", although that might not be ideal in terms of giving the most literal translation.

I'm new to Scottish Gaelic, but this looks like an interesting little irregularity: in Irish you'd say "Tá sé ag cur báiste" (or báistí) for "It's raining": exactly the same construction as for snow in SG. My interpretation of both of the "ann" phrases is that they literally mean "water is there" or "snow is there", which sounds much less active. ["ann" isn't in the Duolingo dictionary so I can't be certain it means "there" in SG though.]

There's a thread here on Irish ways of saying it's raining, which references the Scottish way of doing it too:

From what I have gathered from the Duolingo lessons, I think it would be correct that "ann" does translate as "there" in this context.

Interesting link, thank you so much!

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