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  5. "Chan eil mi beag."

"Chan eil mi beag."

Translation:I am not small.

March 19, 2020

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AniruddhaJ20

Whoa! 'Beag' sounds like 'big' and it means 'small'! Way to go Gaelic :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SrGI2aed

Wait til you get to 'gabh' for 'take' and "tug" for "gave"!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

If you live in Scotland you're very used to "mòr" meaning big, because it's all over the freaking landscape. And of course beag for small is also there. There's an awful lot of Gaelic in our everyday placenames, so it makes it easier.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AniruddhaJ20

Could you please give some examples?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

The easiest one is "Ben More" of which there are several. The biggest mountain in an area tends to get called Ben More. Beinn Mòr.

My own name includes the "Mòr" root. Feminine diminutive of "big" or "great". Amusingly, Google translate always translates my name as "Lord".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

If you're thinking of place names in general, an obvious one from near where I live is "Garvald". Garbh Allt, or the rough burn (or stream). In Gaelic a river is abhainn but a small stream or a burn is allt.

Another one I clocked recently is a hill I'd noticed on the map labelled "Beinn na Sròine", also called "Strone Hill" in English. Once I realised the Gaelic for "nose" was "sròn" it all made sense and I had no trouble remembering it. (I suspect "na sròine" is the genitive case.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AniruddhaJ20

Tapadh leibh for your very informative comments! Much appreciated :-) The Celtic languages have a charm of their own and it is heartening to see that more and more people are taking an interest in them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

I have a friend who is working on an edition of the entire Ordnance Survey map of Scotland with all the place names in Gaelic. I asked him what he was doing with the ones which don't have a Gaelic root and he said "translate them". But in fact most of them do. I already knew glas, garbh, gorm, buidhe, dubh, abhainn, beinn, cnoc and a lot more just from looking at maps. (A quick glance revealed a "sròn gharbh" and a "sròn tairbh". Honestly, in the Highlands every feature on the landscape has a Gaelic name.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AniruddhaJ20

That's great! Is it easy for a Gaelic speaker to identify the roots of the place names in Ireland?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AniruddhaJ20

What does the name of Scotland (Alba) in Gaelic stand for? The neighbouring Irish has "Albain" and the Welsh has "Yr Alban". Is Scottish Gaelic mutually intelligible with Irish?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morag_Kerr

England is also called "Albion". (As in "perfidious Albion"!) I think I once knew where this came from but I couldn't be certain I'd remember correctly.

As to mutual intelligibility, it depends on who you ask. I could figure out what most public notices in Ireland meant from seeing the Scottish equivalent - it was mostly "these guys are really bad at spelling!" But I'm talking very simple stuff. I think some dialects of Irish are closer to Scottish Gaelic than others. Manx seems to be kind of hald way between.

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