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  5. "I will be swimming and then …

"I will be swimming and then I will be sleeping."

Translation:Bidh mi a' snàmh agus an uairsin bidh mi a' cadal.

March 23, 2020



'I will be going to sleep' is both a better translation and a more likely thing to say.


I think you meant will be going to sleep, but that’s not what bidh mi a’ cadal means – it doesn’t mean going to sleep (an action just before you sleep) but rather being asleep, so I’d translate it either as the default will be sleeping or will be asleep.


Thank you. Corrected. I am no expert, so I cannot say you are wrong, but I can say that is exactly the opposite of what I was taught, at SMO and elsewhere, where the difference was always stressed to us.

Dwelly does not make it clear what he means by sleep, but Mark says, specifically, in his dictionary,

□ used with the prep prons of ann an thus: bha e na chadal he was asleep / sleeping / dormant mascbha i na cadal she was asleep / sleeping / dormant fem etc.

In his Gaelic Verbs he explains the difference in too much detail to give here (three pages) 137-140, for this and other verbs. He says you can use a' cadal etc. in a habitual sense, but this is inconsistent with the future continuous in the English in the question. He does accept that a' ruith and a' laighe can be used instead of na ruith and na laighe but not for any other verbs.

Ruairidh MacIlleathain, in Litir 181, glosses bhiodh i na cadal os cionn mo leaba as she would sleep above my bed.

Even Wiktionary gives only the na cadal form as an example. I simply cannot find any examples of the a' cadal construction even when I Google it. But I do find several when I Google nam chadal before I even get onto the other persons.

Perhaps it has come in since I learnt Gaelic about 10 years ago, from the English?


Interesting, I didn’t think of it. I guess you’re right bidh mi nam chadal would be more natural. I am nowhere near being enough familiar with Gaelic to judge how common or uncommon a’ cadal would be in such a sentence.

(Still, I wouldn’t translate bi a’ cadal as going to sleep ;-))


I think I was not taught that you say this, but rather that it would mean that if you did say it. And it would only be used if you were suggesting the process of going to sleep, not the act. You cannot really see someone going to sleep, but you can see someone lying down. So

Bha e na laighe nuair a ràinig mi 'he was horizontal when I arrived'
Bha e a' laighe nuair a ràinig mi 'he was actually moving into a horizontal position when I arrived'


I think this is different a that causes lenition, eg. from Dwelly: chaidh iad a chadal they went to sleep.

Also in Colin B.D. Mark’s:

a part used with vns, with the force of the English ‘to’ with an infinthàinig e a shealltainn orm he came to see me

(I think it comes from unstressed do but I’m not entirely sure)

Here it is a’ cadal – with an apostrophe and without lenition, a form of aig used before verbal nouns starting in a consonant.

The same difference: (bi) a’ sealltainn (be) seeing, looking; a shealltainn to see, to look.


Or maybe laighe can mean both lying (down) as changing position into horizontal and as already being in that position. But AFAIK cadal just means sleeping, not falling asleep nor going to bed in order to sleep (I might be wrong though, maybe it can mean both).


As for the different a, which I don't think relates to the previous discussion, this is a preposition that goes before a vn like to in English but it is used in far fewer situations. Some grammarians call the resultant form the true infinitive, as if the usual structure is some sort of false infinitive. As far as I recall it is used after verbs of motion, as in your example - also in the chaidh passive with a noun subject.

Chaidh a' chèic a dhèanamh

It is also used when the verbal noun comes after the object noun:

Bha mi ag iarraidh cèic a dhèanamh

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