"Where are you from, Anna?"
Translation:Cò às a tha thu, Anna?
It doesn’t move, those are different As entirely.
In tha i à Alba the à is the preposition from, out of. This preposition on its own is à but in a few places it changes to às, eg.:
- before definite article (eg. às an taigh out of the house),
- sometimes before vowels (eg. às àite out of place),
- in the 3rd person masc. (às can mean out of him, from him, while aiste is out of her, asainn out of us, etc.).
When you ask where from in Gaelic, you literally ask something like what-from-is-it…? and to ask that you use cò às…? which uses the 3rd person masc. form of the preposition (you can think about it as what-is-it from-which …?); similarly with whom? is cò ris…? (who-is-it with-him…?) and at whom…? is cò aige…? (who-is-it at-him…?).
The a (with no accent above it) in the question is a relative particle which introduces relative sentences. You might think about it a bit as English that, which, who, whom…. The question cò às a tha thu? thus breaks down to:
- cò às…? – where-from-is-it…?
- a – that
- tha – is, are
- thu – you
where-from-is-it that you are?