mhath is used because sìde is feminine and the adjective qualifying it is thus lenited. The noun itself only becomes lenited in some cases if there is a definite article before it, though I don't think sìde is. It becomes 'an t-sìde' So good weather sìde mhath, the good weather an t-sìde mhath, but the weather is good is tha an t-sìde math (because good there is being equated to the noun, not modifying it)
Because we never say a weather in English - it is an uncountable noun. When translating Gaelic into English you have to decide if you need to put the a in. This is not a misunderstanding of the Gaelic but just an error in the English, so arguably you should not be penalised for it. But unfortunately it is just not possible for them to program the system to accept all possible bad-English translations.
I think most of my wrong answers in this excercise are due to this. My first language doesn't have articles, and sometimes, especially if I'm tired or if I'm rushing it, I'll keep missing such details.
But back to the topic, I thought (although it did seem odd) that the speaker was saying a particularly long "fàilte" instead of "latha teth" :|
Well you have two completely different problems on the Gaelic course
Since there is no indefinite article in Gaelic and your language (a Slavic one I guess) are exactly the same. There is nothing to learn. Them penalising you for not getting the article right in English is unjustified as it has nothing to do with you learning Gaelic.
The definite article works the same way in Gaelic as it does in all the other Celtic languages, French etc. (except that they don't have any possessives using the genitive to worry about), English and Scots, Old English, Old Norse (mostly, but NOT modern Scandinavian languages) 18th-century German (but NOT modern German) and other Germanic languages. There are of course small differences, such as word order, but basically you have to work on the basis that Gaelic is the same as English, except where a difference is mentioned. There is a further problem, in that the teaching often makes it sound much more complicated than it is, for someone who already knows English. This dates back to the earliest classes in Old Irish, which were run for Latin-speaking monks. Latin, of course, has no articles, and so they found it difficult to explain at the time, and they have not updated the teaching methodology in the last 1000 years.
I actually guessed that, from the « » and the spaces before the punctuation, so I looked it up in English Wiktionary. It said
le temps n'est pas bon ici ― the weather is no good here
quel temps fait-il ? ― how's the weather?
So the word 'uncountable' meant to me that there should be no difference between French and English. This actually sounded wrong to me so of course I should have looked in a better dictionary. My mistake was that I am so used to languages where the best dictionaries are written in English that I did not think to look it up in a French dictionary. But when I do, I find two dictionaries, where neither says 'uncountable' (so I assume that means it is countable) and both give examples of un temps
- French Wiktionary (section 22) gave one example out of eight with un
- Sous le porche, un boueux attendait l’arrivée de la voiture en songeant que, par un temps pareil, elle ne viendrait sans doute pas.
CNRTL (section II) had perhaps 50% of the examples with un, + one with the plural, Sortir par tous les temps.
So there is plenty of evidence it is countable in French. What is odd is why the people who wrote the English Wiktionary entry even thought it was uncountable. They must have done very limited research.
To translate those French examples into English we would have to use just weather, or, if it did not make sense using an uncountable noun, type of weather or sort of weather.