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  5. "There are good people here."

"There are good people here."

Translation:Tha daoine matha an seo.

April 26, 2020



Question for the hive mind: I tried "Tha daoine matha ann an-seo".

My thinking being that "Tha daoine matha an-seo" would be "Good people are here" and to say "There is [something]" you would say "Tha [rudegin] ann".

Is my thinking dead wrong?


The sentence does translate literally as good people are here – but that’s not how you speak in (most varieties of) English. The sentence means some good people exist and those existing good people are located here – you express this in English by this weird construction with dummy subject pronoun there, as if defining the there as being good people here, you state there are good people here. And most varieties of English do it always with indefinite subjects. You never say a fly is in my soup, you say there is a fly in my soup, you don’t say a horse is on the farm, you say there is a horse on the farm.

On the other hand you never use this there is/are thingy when speaking about some specific persons or items, when the subject is definite: you just say that the man is in the hotel and not there is the man in the hotel, and you say my father is in Scotland and never there is my father in Scotland (because my father already is specific and exists and you don’t need to assert the existence of someone in the class of my fathers – and that’s what there is is used for in English).

Gaelic (as many other languages) doesn’t distinguish the two cases and just puts the subject as the subject of the sentence. Without any dummy meaningless words like there in English. So tha na daoine an seo means the people are here while tha daoine an seo means there are people here (some people exist and they are located here).

You need ann meaning there, in general existence if you don’t specify any place (as you need to put something after the subject in a sentence involving the verb tha), so you say tha daoine matha ann for there are good people, good people generally exist – here ann is a dummy predicate, put there just because you don’t specify any concrete place where those people are (and you can’t just say tha daoine matha ‘good people are’ as Gaelic requires some predicate – though that’s what you could say in some other languages, eg. in Polish).


These were my thoughts exactly! I am really struggling with the present/missing 'ann' - I can't work out when it should be in or not.


I put that answer too thinking of the 'there' but incorrect ie. Tha na daoine matha ann an seo


Could this also be "people are good here"?


Nope, but it could be 'good people are here'. :)


I think for people are good here you’d need tha daoine an seo math (the predicative adjective must stay in default form math, and it generally goes at the end; but maybe tha daoine math an seo would also be OK? joannejoanne, help? ;-)).


I'm not sure I can! :o

I think you'd naturally default to: "Tha daoine math an seo". This does, of course, come with the problem of sounding very similar to the above sentence. Would you ever really say "people are good here" in English though? I guess you could swap 'good' for 'kind' (or something like that), and say "Tha daoine còir an seo".

Thinking about it more, you could make 'daoine' definite and say, "Tha na daoine an seo math". That's the best I've got for now! :D


Why does 'deagh duine' not work here?


You can’t say deagh duine – first, you need the plural form daoine for ‘people’, second, deagh lenites the following word. You could try deagh dhaoine – it might be accepted, I am not sure (if not, perhaps worth reporting).


I really struggled with this one... why doesn't daoine need a definite article, please? Why isn't it na daoine? Also, why is there no 'ann' in the sentence? So far, I thought 'tha ... ann' meant there is/there are or it is... (as in there is ice on the road or it is raining). Why not here? Thank you.


Why would you expect the definite article? The sentence is not about some specific definite the good people (eg. ones mentioned before), but it is about unspecified good people in general existing here. So just daoine matha ‘good people’, not na daoine matha ‘the good people’.

Second, there is nothing in Gaelic that just ‘means there is/there are…’ – as it is very English specific way of forming existential sentences – and there is no such structure in Gaelic.

It’s just that in (most varieties of) English you don’t use indefinite subjects when stating that something exists (in some place), you use a meaningless dummy subject pronoun there. You just never really say good people are here, you say there are good people here. You don’t say a fly is in my soup, you say there is a fly in my soup. And I wrote earlier there is no such structure in Gaelic and not just no such structure is in Gaelic¹. As if defining the there (whatever it is) as being good people here, a fly in my soup, no such structure in Gaelic.

And reversely you don’t use there is/are with definite nouns – some specific persons or items, you always say the man is in the hotel (and not there is the man in the hotel), my mother is in Europe (and not there is my mother in Europe), etc.

But in Gaelic you just directly use the verb tha and put the indefinite noun as its subject without any gymnastics with some meaningless word there – the same as with definite nouns. You say good people are here in the meaning some good people exist and they are here – the same thing that you express in English by this weird there are good people here.

You do need some predicate after the verb tha though, so when you don’t specify any place you use the dummy ann there in Gaelic, ie. to state that good people exist (generally, without saying where) you can’t just say good people are in Gaelic (as you need something after the are) so you say tha daoine matha ann, literally good people are there/in-general-existence – but in English you express this by there are good people.

¹ There might be some varieties of English where this structure is also used – but I don’t know them too well. If there are any, they still accept the there is…, there are… existentials.

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