1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. "Ann an Dùn Dè a-rithist."

"Ann an Dùn a-rithist."

Translation:In Dundee again.

March 29, 2020



It's fine for fluent speakers/learners to criticize or discuss one or the other spellings -- but what is the point of marking beginners wrong for a spelling that is clearly accepted by some sources? Of course, on the other hand learners may as well get used to this (some fluent speakers/learners saying a specific spelling or pronunciation is completely wrong) because it does seem to occur throughout the learning process (for a number of words) unless the learner keeps only to one specific source or teacher. It is particularly annoying in my opinion because some fluent speakers/learners/teachers are fully aware of the spelling and pronunciation differences being taught by others but do not inform beginners of this nor of their expectation for only one specific spelling or pronunciation but mark wrong anything that deviates from their specific expectation. In my experience this situation occurs with a number of words - which is interesting in itself - but it leaves beginners completely confused until they realize the number of differing spellings that exist. That's my rant for the day. I don't mean to insult anyone but I really think both spellings should be allowed in this course.


The main issues are logistical, rather than pedagogical. Hard working volunteers enter the data by hand. When they started they did not understand how the system worked, and it has some very strange quirks. It takes time to add all the options, especially when they have to be added later. They are not necessarily aware of all the non-standard variants when they write the course.

In an ideal world with infinite resources, all sorts of things could be allowed, but that simply does not apply. D


Could someone give me kind of a sentence breakdown? I generally understand it but I'm a bit confused.


ann an in Dùn Dè Dundee a-rithist again.

It's probably best to think of ann an (in) as one word, to avoid getting confused by thinking that the an part has anything to do with "the".


Really good advice. No one knows for sure how an became ann an.


Well, we kind of do, actually. It's a doubling, and is common in languages where change makes something become ambiguous. Ann is actually "in him" but basically used in the sense of "in the area" and combined with an to make it clear we mean 'in' and not 'the'. Oddly, with place names it's usual to put simply 'an place' since they don't take the definite article.


I disagree. I accept that your mechanism could be correct, but what I said was 'no one knows for sure'. I'm sticking to that. There are other possible mechanisms, and I have never seen your suggestion argued by any authority, or even stated anywhere. Perhaps you have some sources?


Thank you, that's extremely helpful.


Please, add 'Dùn Deagh' as another correct spelling.


Are you saying you've heard this or seen this?

An internet search suggests that Dùn Dè and Dùn Dèagh are the forms used on all sites except when it is being used by people who clearly do not speak Gaelic.

And I have never heard it with a short e as in fear or Beathag, or as the ea in deagh. D


My 'Essential Gaelic Dictionary' spells Dundee as Dùn Dèagh The place names on Duolingo are often different from those in this dictionary and also as on BBC ALBA ! Not happy at being marked wrong for this


The spelling of this place is very controversial, so let's look at the evidence. D

As soon as I Google one of the terms I get several links to discussions of this question.

Fòram na Gàidhlig says both are acceptable but does not argue which is better or correct.

Wikipedia in English gives both, plus a ludicrous pronunciation. It also says

and a second part that may derive from a Celtic element, cognate with the Gaelic , meaning 'fire'.

although they say the reference, is

Watson 1926, p. 220; Dundee is also recorded as Dun-Tay, e.g. Pont c1583-96

which is a bit confusing.

Wikipedia in Gaelic says Dùn Dèagh no Dùn Dè but then proceeds to use Dùn Dèagh throughout. The reference it gives is

Tha Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba a' moladh "Dùn Dè" ach chan eil "Dùn Dèagh" cearr a-rèir AÀA. Ainmean Àite na h-Alba

This AAA link is indirect, but when you get there it says

Ailec c. 1699 Lhuyd MS1369, 71r
Dun deadha: 1875 An Fhianuis
Dun-didhe Songs and Poems in Gaelic, by Ron Donn vol 2 1899, 283
the modern Gaelic is Dùn Dèadh: Watson 2002 (1904), 36
Dun Deabh (‘Deaw’) also an Athaileag (Strathardle & Rannoch) A Latin name for Dundee is Alectum; Dun Dia in Lochaber: Robertson MS405, 167
Dun-Dèadh ‘Dun-Deāw’: Robertson MS436, 41
Dun-dè: Macfarlane, School Gaelic Dictrionary, 1912
Dùn Deagha: East Perthshire Gaelic, 333
Dun-deagh: Diack MS2276 [informant from Strathardle]
d. dshau (transferred): Diack Ms2276 [Aberfoyle informant]
Dun-deagh; this is known to all but in Braemar Dundee is commonly called Bail aillyak, or ai’ak: Diack MS2276
Dun-tshugh or tshe-ugh (Cameron) Dun-dèagh, Dun diaigh: Diack MS2276
Dùn-dèagh, Dundee (gh very distinct & ea broken): Watson CW12 [From Miss M Glashan 3 Aug 1923]
Dundee is in Gaelic Dùn Dèagh: Watson 1926, 220

Additional Information
There are two competing forms here Dùn Dèagh and Dùn Dè and neither are wrong. Our recommendation is Dùn Dè based on the most common pronunciation today.

Alternative Forms
Dùn Deagh

AFB gives only Dùn Dé. Note the accent going the wrong way. This is contrary to the modern spelling convention regardless of how it used to be spelt. AFB uses this when it is historically correct. However, in this case, I have not seen anyone spell it this way anywhere. I Googled this spelling and, apart from AFB, the occurrences were so rare that they can be assumed to be mis-prints. There was Wikipedia in Basque and the entry for Dundee in Canada in Wikipedia in English, as well a an entry on Flickr.

Dwelly does not have the word.

Mark gives only Dùn Dèagh.

Joanne says

As an adopted Dundonian, I can honestly say the only place I've ever seen Dùn Deagh is on the sign outside the train station. Inexplicably though, the sign on the platform says Dùn Dè, so it seems even ScotRail themselves are unsure. I'd personally stick with Dùn Dè, as it's probably the more common of the two.

So overall I would say that it is pretty inconclusive. I would go with what Joanne says as she has local knowledge of current practice, and my own experience is that it is always pronounced as Dùn Dè so that is what I will write.

However there is also no doubt that both versions are acceptable. Both are found historically and there is no accepted etymology to guide us.


The accent was missing.


again in Dundee?

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