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  5. "My tortoise is so fast."

"My tortoise is so fast."

Translation:Tha an sligeanach agam cho luath.

March 10, 2020



Why is "an" used here. I thought "sligeanach agam" would translate to "my tortoise"


From a literal construction, "sligeanach agam" would be "a tortoise of mine" while "an sligeanach agam" is "the tortoise of mine" which more closely hews to "my tortoise" Besides, that's just how Gaels say it. :)


Tapadh leat! Perfect explanation.


The definite article is always needed when you use the possessive construction with agam/agad/aige/aice etc. an sligeanach agam, an t-each agad, am peansail aige, a' bhò aice, etc.


Why is "mo sligeanach" wrong?


You can use the inalienable mo/do etc. with pets as well as the agam/agad construction, but you need to lenite if you're using mo. It's possible that "mo shligeanach" would have been accepted - sl is one of the s+ combos that can be lenited, and have to be lenited after mo.


The basic difference is that mo, do etc are used for what are called 'inalienables' - thing that are yours, only yours and permanently yours - mo bheul, mo mhathair etc, while the agam, agad construction is used for potentially more transient belongings. Of course there are exceptions and grey areas - do charaid may not be do charaid forever, and for some reason husbands and wives are often referred to with the agam construction - an duine agam, a' bhean agam. But that's language for you - infinitely fluid.


Because you don't love your tortoise enough?

I am unclear about the distinction between mo and the agam form, and whether it is as clear cut as all that. We are taught "mo charaid" but I have heard "an caraid agam" lots of times on TV. There may be subtleties here we are not picking up yet.


something else that hasn't been explained properly - why the definite article?

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