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  5. "Dè a th' ann? 'S e marag-dhu…

" a th' ann? 'S e marag-dhubh a th' ann."

Translation:What is it? It is black pudding.

May 6, 2020



In this type-what-you-hear question she said Dè th' ann?, so that is what I put. She definitely did not say a th' ann?. I would normally write Dè th' ann?. That can be argued about. But there is no doubt what she said, so what I wrote should be accepted, and you could even argue that a th' ann? should not be accepted.


But dè th’ ann? and dè a th’ ann? are exactly the same thing in Gaelic, just as càite a bheil? vs càit a bheil? (and it seems there is quite a few people writing càite bheil? too).

The relative particle a is a never-stressed reduced /ə/ and so it is elided in speech when in contact with other vowels. Dè a always sounds the same as just , just as cò a has the sound of , etc. Thus dè a th’ ann, dè th’a ann, dè a tha ann, etc. are all different ways to write down the same spoken words. Grammatically the tha here is in a relative clause, so if you stick to writing down all relative particles, even the silent ones, then it must be dè a th’…?.

So no, dè a th’ ann should be accepted as that is, I believe, the most common way to write it down in Gaelic. The question I don’t have any answer to is whether the spelling dè th’ ann should be accepted or not.

I see the course uses the reduced spelling (with omitted particle a) only in one expression: dè tha dol? instead of full dè a tha (a’) dol? (as again, the short it the most common spelling used).

Also, there are recordings by one (and as far as I can tell, only one) speaker where the a is fully pronounced as a separate syllable (dè a th’ann pronounced as [dʒeː.ʔə.haun]) – but I think that’s just an artifact of too careful clear slow recording for learners and not the way they would actually say such a sentence (but maybe I’m wrong?). The other speakers all have [dʒeː.haun], two syllables.


I agree with your analysis, but I still think we should be allowed to write down what we hear, exactly as asked. A Google search for "dè a th' ann" and "dè th' ann" made the short one only 25% less popular than the long one.


But then I get only ~50 results for dè tha seo vs 62k for dè a tha seo and that’s a very analogical situation. Should here both be accepted too?

Oups, Google misguided me here. See below.


I think you must have done something wrong because I am getting 579,000 for "dè tha seo" which suggests the short version is 9 times more popular.


I agree, because it does not help anybody to reject what people consider to be the right answer and upset them, especially when it does not help you learn Gaelic at all.


Weird. I thought I got over 500k results for "dè tha seo" once too but then could not repeat that – Google always giving me only 50 hits for the short version with quotes.

Anyway – I won’t argue about that any more. I don’t mind the short version being accepted too if that’s how Gaelic is being written too.

But I definitely think that the long version should be accepted since that’s the default taught in the course.

EDIT: ROTFL, Google was being helpful and decided to ‘omit some entries similar to shown results’ truncating the results list from over 500k to exactly 50. When I forced it to show omitted results I see 500k again.


DaibhidhR and silmeth, I like you both. The thoughtfulness and logic in every comment you both make almost always makes any question I may have unnecessary, because you've already answered it. I appreciate the insights and humor you add to this course; thank you :)


I think we are all having the same problem with this speaker - she is SO fast!


I had the correct answer. Would it be marked as incorrect for not using a capital letter for De

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