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  5. "It is cold in Finland."

"It is cold in Finland."

Translation:Tha i fuar anns an Fhionnlainn.

May 13, 2020



why is this anns an please, rather than ann an?


Because in Gaelic Finland is an Fhionnlainn with the definite article, literally the Finland (as most country names in Gaelic).

And the preposition ann an before the definite article changes to anns; hence anns an Fhionnlainn, lit. in the Finland.


Thank you! That wasn't covered in the 'tips' (they just say that how to say 'in the' will be covered in future lessons). Is there a system as to which ones have 'anns', or is it just a case of learning them? (This is the first time I've seen it).


Every word that has an, am, a’, or na in the meaning of the before it will need anns when you try to put in in front of it: anns a’ bhàta in the boat, anns an Fhionnlainn in (the) Finland, anns na coilltean in the woods.

If you ask which countries use the article – then if it’s a European country but not Scotland (Alba), Ireland (Èirinn), or England (Sasainn), then assume it does: A’ Ghearmailt Germany, A’ Phòlainn Poland, An Fhraing France, A’ Chuimrigh Wales, A’ Bheilg Belgium, etc. (also some older non-European names: An t-Seapan Japan, An Èipheit Egypt).

But generally check in a dictionary, there are many countries (mostly more recently borrowed country names) without the article: Canada, Meagsago Mexico, Peru, Bheiniseala Venezuela, Ceinia Kenya

And some have two forms: A’ Bhulgair or Bulgàiria Bulgaria.


Thank you. Is there a rule that determines when it's an or na or a'? Is it a' for BFMP? And an t- for vowels? Na? Is this a male/female adjective thing? (Sorry for all the Qs! I learned languages very old-school in the past, with the grammar and rules etc all explained and am struggling a bit with all of this. I'm sure it does all get explained in the tips, but I'm obviously impatient!).


Yes, it is explained in the tips.

In short: an, am, a’ depends on the next letters:

  • am before unlenited BFMP: am bàta the boat,
  • a’ before lenited consonants: a’ phàirc the park,
  • an in all other cases: an taigh the house, an Fhionnlainn (here it’s before lenited f, but notice that lenited f disappears in speech so it is really an before a vowel).

Another question is whether to lenited the word after the article or not, and that depends on the noun’s gender, number, and case, as well as the sound to be lenited:

  • masculine nouns in nominative singular are not lenited but get t- prefixed if beginning in a vowel: am bàta the boat, an cat the cat, an t-athair the father,
  • masc. nouns in gen.sg. are lenited (no t- prefixing): a’ bhàta of the boat, a’ chait of the cat, an athar of the father,
  • feminine nouns in nom.sg. are lenited: a’ phàirc the park, a’ bhean the wife, a mhàthair the mother, an Fhionnlainn Finland,
  • fem. noun in gen.sg. are not lenited but get h- prefixed if starting in a vowel: na pàirce of the park, na màthar of the mother, na h-Alba of Scotland (lit. of the Scotland since Scotland exceptionally gets the article in genitive),
  • both masc. and fem. sg. nouns are lenited in dative: anns a’ bhàta in the boat, ris a’ chat with the cat, anns a’ phàirc in the park,
  • plural nouns in nom. and dat. are not lenited but get h- prefixed if starting in a vowel: na cait the cats, na bàtaichean the boats, anns na pàircean in the parks, ris na h-athraichean with the fathers,
  • plural nouns in gen. are not lenited: nan cat of the cats, nam bàtaichean of the boats, nan athraichean of the fathers.

But s has weird lenition after an that changes it into /t/ rather than typical /h/:

  • masc.gen.sg.: an t-sagairt of the priest (from nom. an sagart the priest),
  • fem.nom.sg.: an t-sùil the eye,
  • both in dat.sg.: ris an t-sagart with the priest, anns an t-sùil in the eye.

And dental consonants D and T (and in speech N and L) are not lenited after an:

  • an deoch the drink (even though it is feminine),
  • anns an taigh in the house (even though in dative).

And that’s basically it.

You can review the whole paradigms on the Akerbeltz wiki in their Masculine nouns and Feminine nouns articles. Also a nice summary table is on Scottish Gaelic Grammar article on Wikipedia.


@silmeth Thank you for the really detailed explanation! That's been so helpful!


Same here, Amanda. I am missing the structure of the grammatic rules.


Unfortunately, a wee mistake was made in Tree 1 so the answer reads as "Tha i fuar ann am Fionnlainn."

The correct translation of this sentence is "Tha i fuar anns an Fhionnlainn."

Finland is An Fhionnlainn in Gaelic, and not 'Am Fionnlainn'. Sorry for the confusion, but both will be accepted here, and it will be fixed in Tree 2 :)

  • 1205

Can you also check the version of this with REALLY cold in it? I'm pretty sure you had "Tha i gu math fuar ann an Fionnlainn". (it might have been ann am, I'm not totally certain) I'm not clear why making it REALLY cold would make it ann an instead of anns an


Thank you. I came in to ask about that.


Thank you, Silmeth, for taking the time to explain this complicated stuff and to provide further references. Much appreciated though my brain surely hurts now!


I wrote Tha e fuar anns am Fionnlainn. The answer provided was Tha e fuar ann am Fionnlainn. And Silmeth says anns an Fhionnlainn. So. Got no idea. I'll just move along and all will be made clear.


Word-for-word in the Finland (with the definite article) is anns an Fhionnlainn, but if the name of the country is used without the article (apparently it’s also possible, but I think rarer), then ann am Fionnlainn (word-for-word just in Finland).


I get the explanation from Silmeth to AmandaFlee1 but in the lesson just before this I was given "Tha i cho fuar ann am Fionnlainn" when the word for Finland was introduced. Also, no "h" at the beginning of the name. Confused!! Also, what happened to BFMP? Even more confused!


Reading onwards, I see we've been here before. Please ignore me. I've had some time out and just getting back to my studies again.


This lists "Tha i fuar san Fhionnlainn" as the correct answer. "san" is not an option to select when clicking words.


Tha i fuar san Fhionnlainn is one of possible answers. If you selected something that was wrong but by character count it was similar to this answer, then I guess Duolingo suggested this as the one that you might have had in mind.

This means that if you did a writing exercise, you can input tha i fuar san Fhionnlainn and it will be accepted.

But the default answer is tha i fuar anns an Fhionnlainn – and if you do form-sentence-from-tiles exercise, the tiles offered will generally be for this variant (san is just a shortened form of anns an, a bit like English I’m for I am).

So it’s just the Duolingo software suggesting the correct answer that it thinks is most similar to what you have input (not the default one), regardless whether it’s actually possible to form from the tiles. As that’s just the Duolingo software behaviour, it’s nothing that the Scottish Gaelic course contributors can change.

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