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  5. "Tha Dòmhnall a' faighinn cao…

"Tha Dòmhnall a' faighinn caora an-diugh."

Translation:Donald is getting a sheep today.

March 31, 2020



Domhnall sounded like 'dol' to me too. Taking nasal pronunciation to the outer limits!


It's pronounced in what I would call the standard way, so probably best to learn it as an irregular spelling.


This pronunciation is spot on


The name is very difficult to understand. It really sounds like "dòl"


It is difficult until you have learnt it. But this is just the way it is. It's just one of those irregular things you have to learn. But you can't complain as Gaelic is 100 times more regular than English. Of all the posters on this page, I imagine we should consider domhnalldo the expert.

You should just be able to pick out a wee bit of a something in the middle so you can pretend it is two syllables. It might sound a wee bit like a /w/ (representing the mh or an /n/. D


The penny has just dropped. I had an Uncle Donald and everyone called him Dol. I I thought it was a nickname, duh.


I got a' faighinn and a' faicinn mixed up here, completely changes the whole meaning of the sentence


If you were inventing a language, I am sure you would not choose to have two words so similar with different meanings, so when this happens we usually find one of the following has occurred:

  1. The words were related but the meanings have drifted apart
  2. The words were different but the forms have drifted together, either (a) by chance or (b) by confusion
  3. The words come from different languages.
    blank line

So I looked up faic and faigh in Wiktionary. Both words come from Old Irish verbs with prefixes. Because Old Irish has loads of prefixes and there is lots of verb mangling over time, this is a recipe for disaster, but it turns out that one thing in particular is the main culprit. Faic's origin is given as

From Old Irish -aicci, prototonic form of ad-cí ("sees, notices, observes; perceives, discerns, realizes"), from Proto-Celtic *ad-kʷis-o-, from Proto-Indo-European *kʷeys- ("observe") or *kʷes-. The initial f- of the modern form (see also Irish feicManx faik) comes from the misinterpretation of aic- as lenited fhaic-.

So it did not have an f and was therefore not confusable with faigh at all. But because fh is silent there has actually been confusion with many different words. Many words have either lost or gained an f, often only in one language (Irish fuinneog = Gaelic uinneag 'window') or in some dialects ((f)eagal 'fear') or even differing from non-Celtic languages (fàinne = French anneau 'ring'). Basically it is pretty random. In this case the word gained an f in Irish, Manx and Gaelic, thus leading to the confusion with faigh.

(Note that this does not happen in languages like Welsh as their mutation rules are slightly different. There it is not f that goes silent but g. And yes there are examples of a g appearing in Welsh by confusion.)


Why isn't gets accepted?


Gets in this sentence would make it habitual, as, for example,

Donald gets a sheep every Thursday.

This give us two problems here. One is that you would have to translate this a different way in Gaelic (that has probably not been covered yet). The other is that this is impossible with the today in the sentence. That word prevents this sentence from having a habitual meaning.

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