"grian mhòr"

Translation:a big sun

March 19, 2020



How many suns are there shining on the Gaeltacht that you might need to refer to one of the big ones?


Well, there is the high noonday sun which is small, and the rising and setting sun which are large... The "moon illusion" isn't just for a' ghealach.

Or maybe it's a small excerpt from a science fiction story.


It's not the qualifier "big" that bothers me. It's the indefinite aspect. THE sun is the only one we have. Everything else is "stars." Unless, of course you are on another planet. ....No it would still be "the" sun.


"then he painted above the trees a big sun and several small clouds ... "


Excellent example, and how quaint a scene.


In science fiction it is common to refer to the star around which the planet you're writing about orbits, as a "sun".

Anyway, since even our sun appears as different sizes depending on where it is in the sky, I don't think it's an unreasonable sentence. Another point is that at some stage a learner has to have the confidence that they know what the sentence actually says even if it's an unexpected statement. You can't keep taking a good guess on the basis of the context forever.


When you say "the only one we have, you are imply that there are others, that other life forms have?

Personally, I don't think we should have these unrealistic indefinite phrases, but the course design thinks we should learn the nouns before the articles, presumably because the article is quite complicated. The reality level does not seem to come into it.


I know it doesn't make sense grammatically, but to me it sounds very much like she's saying "grian a mhor" rather than just "grian mhor". Is this just a quirk of this particular recording, or does that aversion to certain consonants being together that causes the 'extra' vowel in words like Alba and Glaschu also occur across word boundaries sometimes?


I put ghrian as mhor was lenated, so i thought it was feminine!


This is an easy misunderstanding, as a word can lenite in one situation and not in another, with no obvious difference in the situation. The mistake, which can sometimes result from bad teaching, is to think that it is something to do with the word that causes lenition. It is not. It is to do with the previous word. Therefore, if there is no previous word, there is no lenition. (There are a couple of exceptions, where the previous word has disappeared, or where the lenition is unexplained, but you should only lenite if the previous word causes lenition, except when advised to the contrary.)

In this case it is the feminine singular definite article that would cause the lenition

A' ghrian mhòr

but as there isn't one here, we have

Grian mhòr

So here the mhòr is lenited, not because it is the feminine form of the adjective, but because it is following grian (which is feminine).

Please say if you think this is clear, as it is always difficult finding an explanation that is correct without be over complicated.


Hi. Thanks very much for that and I get it now. I've only just started to learn the feminine article THE, so I guess it will just take time. I'm sure I'll get there in the end. Tapadh leibh!!


Many thanks. I think I have now cracked ( a bit) down the lenition. Your explanation was very clear. Easier to understand than in the grammar I bought.

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