"a' bhò mhòr"

Translation:the big cow

May 28, 2020

This discussion is locked.


In Irish you'll often see people shortening "an" to a' to match (certain dialects) pronunciation like "an bhfuil" would be 'a' bhfuil, compared to the Scottish 'a bheil'. Is that the case here too? Or are a' and an/am different?


If you mean whether a’, am, and an have any different meaning – then no. They are just variant forms of the same words.

Irish sticks to conservatively write the singular article as an everywhere regardless whether it’s pronounced /ən/, /əŋ/, /ə/, /ɪ/, etc. while Scottish Gaelic writes it as it’s spoken there: a’ before lenited consonants, am before labial consonants, an elsewhere.

It might be a result of Gaelic losing the eclipsis and merging some words which did not happened in Irish. There still is a difference in Irish between (standing on its own) an /ən/ ‘the’, i /ə/ ‘in’ causing eclipsis, and a /ə/ ‘their’ causing eclipsis – although the latter two only in writing (eg. an bád /ə(n) bɑːd/ ‘the boat’ vs /ə mɑːd/: i mbád ‘in a boat’ and a mbád ‘their boat’) while all of them are just an/am in Sc. Gaelic (am bàta – either ‘the boat’, or ‘in a boat’, or ‘their boat’, hence the repeated preposition: ann am bàta for ‘in a boat’ – to disambiguate the ‘in’ case). I guess it didn’t make sense to keep those differences in writing in Sc. Gaelic since they disappeared in speech – but it made sense to write all of them as they’re spoken, with no consonant (a, a’), with n (an), or with m (am) depending on phonological context.


Ahh! Míle buíochas leatsa as ucht do chúnaimh :)

I just meant how as Gaeilge you'd see things like place-names like 'Gort an Choirce' written as it's pronounced 'Gort a' Choirce', same with Lios an Phúca -> Lios a' Phúca and many more. Or an bhfuil -> a' bhfuil, an mhaith - > a' mhaith etc.

But, as you've explained, it's not the same.

Tapadh leat mo charaid!!


The difference is that in Irish things like Lios a’ Phúca is just an eye dialect spelling – a non-standard spelling to emphasize the pronounciation, while in Scottish Gaelic it is the standard spelling and an bhò instead of a’ bhò would probably be considered a spelling mistake.

(but then in some cases in older literature there is some variation, eg. a bheil, a’ bheil, am bheil, am beil, or extremely rarely even am feil – showing also different pronunciations in dialects)


even after listening several times I could not understand this speaker

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