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  5. "Do you like it, friend?"

"Do you like it, friend?"

Translation:An toil leat e, a charaid?

February 29, 2020



How do you know if its 'e' or 'i'? Tapadh leibh


I think it's generally e for a basic "it" meaning. The thing with the weather seems to be because sìde is feminine but even there I think e is acceptable (latha is masculine).

I suspect if the thing you were pointing to was feminine, maybe i would be OK?

Might be worth trying i in this answer to see if it's accepted.


Madainn mhath, a Mhòrag. Either “e” or “i” is accepted.


Thank you! Would people actually choose e or i depending on the gender of whatever "it" was that were referring to?


Yes, you use i when referring to things described by feminine nouns (so a nightoidhche – is i, so would be a batialtag, etc.).

I’m not sure how it works in Sc. Gaelic (help, a Mhic Aonghais agus a joanne :)) but in Irish there are exceptions – some limited words are often referred by the other pronoun. Eg. bád a boat and capall a horse are masculine, but often referred to with feminine , í (this is sometimes called feminine of reference in Irish), while on the other hand áit a place is feminine but very often referred to with , é, the masculine pronoun… But those are exceptions (and still in most cases it’s ok to use the ‘proper’ pronoun corresponding to the noun’s gender).


Hey, vast majority of cases you would use the pronoun for the corresponding gender but there are exceptions as you have said! Bàta being one of them, which is grammatically masculine but is referred to with the “i” pronoun. Hope that helps!


Thanks to both of you! Strange usage, but great to have the explanation.


Intriguing. Never heard that in Gaelic or Irish but you learn every day. I have heard discussion about this in various languages including Welsh as boats are generally thought of as feminine, regardless of noun gender. Even in English they are often 'she'. There is a general perception that because they support you like a mother, enclose you like a womb or are physically under you like a woman they are perceived as feminine across cultures. Sorry if this is not PC but it is, I believe, historically correct.

So the mystery is why bàta was masculine in the first place. Intriguingly, Dwelly (1911) gives the gender as 'm on land, f at sea'. Apparently the Old English was also 'm or f' but it is listed as m in most languages.


Not so. I just put "i" and it was flagged as a typo


Can you use "an toil leam" as well?


That would mean "do I like..." I'm pretty sure, if that's what you wanted to say.


Hi! Is the "an" in "an toil leat" determined by the person, or is it something else?


An (am before BFMP and just a before bheil) is the interrogative (ie. questioning) particle. It’s just what you put before any yes-no question in Gaelic. It requires the dependent form of the verb, and the dependent verb of the copula is is empty (ie., the copula disappears entirely):

  • tha mi toilichte I am happya bheil mi toilichte? am I hapy?
  • bha thu anns an taigh you were in the housean robh thu anns an taigh? were you in the house?
  • seinnidh i òran she will sing a songan seinn i òran? will she sing a song?
  • chunnaic thu seo you saw thisam faca tu seo? did you see this?

and with copula:

  • is toil leat e, a charaid you like it, friendan toil leat e, a charaid? do you like it, friend?
  • ’s e dotair a th’ innte she is a doctoran e dotair a th’ innte? is she a doctor?

It’s definitely not determined by the person, it’s just what you stick at the beginning of the sentence to turn it into question.

What does determine the person (you) in this sentence is leat with you. An toil leat e, a charaid? very literally means something like is it a delight with-you, friend?. To change it eg. to do I like it? you would change leat with you into leam with me: an toil leam e? do I like it?, and then does he like it? would be an toil leis e?, does she like it? would be an toil leatha e?, etc.


Tapadh leibh gu mòr! That's really helpful. I could see the change of person in 'leat' but didn't click that 'an' was the change to a questioning sentence.

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