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  5. "Are you here? Yes."

"Are you here? Yes."

Translation:A bheil thu an seo? Tha.

May 20, 2020



Re: uptalk interrogative. Gaelic seems more rigorous with sentence structure than English with regards to questions. With English (and to a greater extent with French & Spanish) you can adjust the tone of a phrase, making it into a question: «Vous êtes là?» with uptalk interrogative tone is shorthand for «Est-ce que vous êtes là?». Does interrogative tone even exist in Gàidhlig? Is a sentence like «tha thu an-seo?» with interrogative tone a sort of "Anglicism"?


See this discussion – I linked two sources there for Gaelic not using the intonation change for questions or emphasis (but rather word-order and particles).

But then one source – the Gaelic Grammar wiki – does suggest raising intonation for echo questions expressing surprise, like in: ‘(…) and then he went out…’ ‘he left?’; or in Gaelic dh’fhalbh e? with raising intonation. I’m not sure, but it might be an English influence – and even if not, it’s not a part of literary language.


why is the formal sibh not acceptable.


I was using the tile click multiple choice method and took the only choice, "an" and then was told it was a typo and should have been "ann".


Wiktionary also "seadh", is eadh", "chan eadh" as lesser used terms which aren't in the tips section. Are these later on in the course, or am I going down the rabbit hole with this line of questioning?


or am I going down the rabbit hole with this line of questioning?

You kinda are. But let’s dive in a bit. :)

Gaelic doesn’t have a true yes and no words. When answering a yes-no question you typically just repeat the verb in the question, either as a positive statement or a negative one.

For example when asked the question A bheil thu an-seo? (Are you here?) you would answer either:

  • Tha. (Yes. but lit. (I) am – since (bh)eil is just a dependent form of tha, they are the same verb)
  • Chan eil (No. but lit. (I) am not)

When asked An toil leat cait? (Do you like cats?, word-for-word something like are pleasure with-you cats?), you’d answer:

  • Is toil Yes. (but more literally (I) like, (they) are pleasure)
  • Cha toil No. (but more literally (I) don’t like, (they) are not pleasure)

When asked Am feum thu sgian? (do you need a knife?) you’d answer either:

  • Feumaidh. Yes. (but lit. (I do) need)
  • or Chan fheum. No. (but lit. (I do) not need)

So where do seadh and the rest fit into it?

Well, seadh historically literally means it is. Today it is used kinda like indeed in English – not really answering a regular yes-no question but rather agreeing with a statement by the other speaker. Especially if the other speaker’s statement ends with nach eadh? isn’t it?, am I not right? or as a response to someone questioning your statement with an eadh? is it (so)? really? yes?.

Historically eadh was the neuter pronoun it, but since Gaelic lost the neuter gender it went out of use except for those phrases (seadh from is eadh, chan eadh and more archaic ni h-eadh, an eadh?, and nach eadh?).


Very interesting, thank you. Also useful if I ever have to learn a pre-modern Gaelic! (Unlikely, but you never know).

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