"Tha mi a' ceannach còta."

Translation:I am buying a coat.

June 10, 2020

10 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thomgunn

Why is 'I buy a coat' wrong here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

Because tha mi a’ ceannach còta does not mean I buy a coat, it is a progressive tense meaning I am buying a coat (at the moment), I am in the process of buying a coat (lit. I am at buying (of) a coat).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thomgunn

Thanks! So presumably Scots Gaelic (like English) has another form of the present tense equivalent to 'I buy a coat' (eg every winter, as opposed to now)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

Actually Gaelic has two forms for that, both using what is called the future tense (but it can express both future and present habitual meanings – the modern Gaelic future tense actually comes from merging two separate Classical Gaelic tenses: future and present which are still separate in Irish).

I think (but don’t quote me on that) the more common way would be to say bidh mi a’ ceannach còta, I will be buying a coat or I buy a coat, literally I (usually, habitually) am at buying (of) a coat, or in Hiberno-English I do be buying a coat.

The other way is to use the future tense directly: ceannaichidh mi còta (I will buy a coat or I buy a coat).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Veronique305471

Im a bit confused with the structure. I thought it was always verb-subject-adjectiv/noun structure but here we have a verb-subject-verb again - noun. Is ot the normal with compound verbs?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

No. We have verb - subject - prepositional phrase. I (subject) am (verb) at buying (prepositional phrase).

ceannach is a noun meaning (the act of) buying.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pete670519

Does the apostrophe in a' indicate that it's an abbreviation or shortening of something else? If so, then of what? If not, then what does it mean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

It is a shortening of ag, the older form o the preposition aig at (so literally a’ ceannach is at buying).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pete670519

So would ag ceannach be acceptable as an answer?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joannejoanne12

Nope. The rule is pretty much: if it begins with a consonant, it takes a', and if it begins with a vowel, it takes ag.

  • a' ceannach > buying
  • a' faicinn > seeing
  • a' dol > going

BUT

  • ag innse > telling
  • ag òl > drinking
  • ag ithe > eating

There's only one exception to this rule, which is ag ràdh (saying ) :)

Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.