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  5. "Tha deagh latha ann."

"Tha deagh latha ann."

Translation:It is a good day.

May 10, 2020



When should deagh be used, and when should math be used?


At least to some extent they can be interchangeable. As for latha math vs deagh latha – you can use math in a general greeting, to say that the day is not particularly bad and deagh to emphasise that it is indeed good, at least according to this paper by Veronika Csonka:

We can also come across examples for starting a conversation: Latha math ann an-diugh, Uilleam., literally ‘Today’s a good day, William.’ which is halfway between a statement and the actual greeting. With regard to deagh-, it may function as an emphasising device: e.g. Thàinig an latha, agus deagh latha cuideachd... ‘The day came, and it was a good day indeed...’

And you can probably find more in her PhD thesis, eg. there is a listing of factors deciding whether to use a prefixing or a regular adjective:

This combined methodology revealed various factors that influence the choice between marked adjective + noun and unmarked noun + adjective constructions, including: (a) dialect (with the overall use of preceding adjectives in South Uist, but the preference for math ʻgood’ in Lewis); (b) register (ma(i)th in religious texts); (c) conceptualisation in the vocabulary (by the preceding adjectives deagh- ʻgood’ and droch- ʻbad’ qualifying abstract concepts, whereas the plain adjectives math ʻgood’ and dona ʻbad’ tangible and countable nouns); (d) pragmatic factors such as the emphatic nature of deagh- as opposed to math; and (e) grammatical factors (see the use of deagh-/droch- in subjunctive clauses, particularly in time expressions).

(Not a native speaker and I wrote the comment based just on skimming through those papers, so take it with a grain of salt)


Fantastic, thank you! I think personally I'll label it as "too complicated to worry about yet, as a beginner"

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