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  5. "Tha mo bhean mìorbhaileach."

"Tha mo bhean mìorbhaileach."

Translation:My wife is marvelous.

March 28, 2020



Why is there lenition on miorbhaileach in "mo bhean mhiorbhaileach" but not on "Tha mo bhean miorbhaileach"?


Because in mo bhean mhìorbhaileach my marvelous wife the word mìorbhaileach is an attributive adjective after a feminine noun (it’s part of the phrase marvelous wife), and feminine nouns lenite their adjectives; but in tha mo bhean mìorbhaileach my wife is marvelous the adjective does not attribute the wife directly but is predicate to the verb tha is (the phrase with the adjective is not marvelous wife but is marvelous) and in Gaelic the predicative adjectives are always in their base form.

That’s also way the big cats would be na cait mhòra but the cats are big would be tha na cait mòr.

(The historical reason for this is that in very ancient Primitive Irish the ancestor of the verb tha meant stands and it did not take adjectives as its predicate but rather adverbs: the cat is angry (at the moment) would be expressed as something like the cat stands angrily and the adverbs did not change depending on the gender or number of the subject; in Old Irish, when using the copula is, the adjective did agree in case and number with the subject, but it got simplified in later languages too.)


thanks, that's a very thorough reply!


How would you say simply "my marvellous wife"? Thanks


mo bhean mhìorbhaileach


Why do you sometimes use "mo" and other times "an ... agam/agad"? Is it a matter of formality?

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