"Wobbly teeth."

Translation:Fiaclan cugallach.

March 1, 2020



What prevents lenition here (compared with fiacaill chugalach)?


Someone on another thread said something about plurals not leniting, but I await an authoratative answer with interest.


Yes, plurals block lenition.


That’s not entirely true… Adjectives attributing feminine nouns in plural aren’t lenited, and adjectives after masculine nouns that add a suffix in plural don’t lenite, but the ones that slenderise (or change their root in other way, without any suffix) in plural and have nom.sg. = gen.pl. do:

each beag a small horse but eich bheaga small horses

but clachanan beaga small villages (without lenition because the plural is strong – formed with suffix -an).

So one could say that the additional plural suffix blocks lenition. ;-)

See the Masculine nouns and Feminine nouns on Akerbeltz wiki.

EDIT: the strong/weak nomenclature is confusing, so I stopped using it… in Irish strong plurals are those that have the same plural suffix in all plural forms, while weak those that change the root (eg. by slenderizing) and have no suffix (they typically have different nom.pl and gen.pl forms). I’ve found books that use the terms in reverse regarding Scottish Gaelic (so weak ones are the ones with suffix and strong ones with changes to the root) – those are 19th c. books, but they are more in-line with terminology used for Germanic and general Indo-European studies (strong forms are older and change their root; weak ones use newer suffixes). Now I am confused myself and decided to explain it differently. :P


I think I'm away to hae a wee greet noo.


Yes, and backing up my other response on this page, the idea of greetin really shows how Scotland is a melting pot for languages. Greet is from Norse gráta. I believe wee is Gaelic and I think the rest of the sentence is Anglo-Saxon. There is no French in the sentence because we generally only get long fancy words from French - at least two, preferably three syllables.


's iomadh duine laghach a mhill an gràmar ... ;-)


As I just added in my post – the grammar (or rather the terminology used) confused me too right now… it seems the terms weak and strong as I used them initially – as they are used in context of Irish plurals – are used (if ever) in reverse when regarding Scottish Gaelic nouns (which is closer to their usage in the context of Germanic verbs)… so yeah… :P


Wait, why am I leniting "mill→mhill"?! Argh! I am going ta hae a few wee dramms noo and think about it.


Yes. In the Germanic languages, strong nouns and verbs are the ones that inflect by slenderization or other vowel changes - sing, sang, sung ; man, men; fear, fir. In Old English men would have reverted to something like man, just as in Gaelic, fear. I think Gaelic linguistics was always much more tied up with English/Anglo-Saxon/Norse/Germanic on this side of the Irish Sea than Irish linguistics that started in the Old Irish period and was developed from the enlightenment as part of Irish national identity, so they defined the terms independently. The fact that Cambridge University has a department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic says it all.


Fascinating discussion, thanks all, but this example would have been better omitted from the course at this stage!


I see your side of the argument, but I would point out why I think this is appropriate here. Firstly, you don't have to read this. It is a fault the the Duolingo system that there is no way to separate the comments that refer to possible errors, the ones that discuss meanings of the sentence, meanings of the words, basic grammar, pronunciation, linguistic terminology, etymology, etc.

A lot of people use these courses for revision, so just because you are beginning, it does not mean everyone doing this question is. Many people also use these courses to learn new languages that are similar to ones they already know. For these people, highlighting differences between the languages can be helpful, as can highlighting differences in terminology, especially where it is contradictory, as here.

Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.