1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. "Na bàtaichean dearga."

"Na bàtaichean dearga."

Translation:The red boats.

March 18, 2020



I understand that a one syllable adjective following a plural noun gets an a at the end, but dearg seems to have two syllables when I hear it pronounced, so didn't think it should get the added a at the end. Is it considered to have only one syllable?


Good question - yes, dearg gets an a at the end in the plural, even though in speech it has two syllables.


You'll find the same with gorm, which when spoken has two syllables but takes an a in the plural. The epenthetic vowel (the vowel added in speech to separate consonants) is ignored in these syllable counts. It's best to think of "adjectives of one syllable add an a in the plural" as meaning "adjectives that look as if they have one syllable when written down add an a in the plural".


Thanks for the explanation! Makes sense!


There are lots of rules in Gaelic (as in other languages) based on phonology, e.g. how many syllables, what sound a word starts with/ends with, etc.

But these rules were laid down over 1000 years ago, even though they have changed a bit since. Whilst the strange spelling system can be annoying, here it is useful. Whenever you meet these rules, just go by the written form - ignore how it is pronounced. For example dh counts as a dental (sound made with the tongue on the teeth) even though it isn't any more.


It says bàtaichean but my brain sees flùraichean. I hate when this happens. :)

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