"Iain is from America."

Translation:Tha Iain à Aimearaga.

June 13, 2020

This discussion is locked.


My Latin American friends dislike the US being referred to as a singular place called America, since they also see themselves as Americans. Hence, I've learnt to refer to the country as the US and the people as US Americans. Does Gaelic have other options for describing the country and people?


The Gaelic for "the US" is na Stàitean Aonaichte. I don't think I've ever heard a specific word for "US Americans" in Gaelic, Aimeireaganach being implied to mean that, but if I wanted to be more precise in the way that you mean I'd simply go for daoine anns/às na Stàitean Aonaichte "people in/from the US". A sentence like thuit mi ann an gaol le duine às na Stàitean Aonaichte "I fell in love with a guy from the US" = "a US American" doesn't sound artificial to me.


I have mentioned this before, but no moderator ever got back to me, but the way I was taught Gaelic, learnt Gaelic and heard Gaelic, was that às is used before a vowel, the s is dropped if a following consonant. Further, a great many native speakers whom I met and lived amongst in the Uists and Barra, tended to use the full preposition às most of the time, anyway. I don't know what the current state of this rule is, or, has it dropped by the wayside? However, it does feel wrong on the ear if the full preposition às is not used in front of a vowel, and, I am tempted to follow the native speakers I have met, and use às most of the time anyway, which is much more natural to me. So, any moderator out there, and, if so, what's the crack here, please?


Is the Gaidhlig spelling for America in flux or somehow contested? The Google keyboard Scottish Gaelic insert for my phone tells me to spell it as Ameirigea or Ameireaga. Aimearaga is in there too but doesn't seem to be the default.

Are all of these correct?


There is a rule stemming from the Irish medieval Bardic standard concerning vowels and spelling, which is broad with broad, slender with slender. The first group: a, o, u,. The second: i, e. So, any consonant is flanked by vowels of the same quality, so, if M, then, broad-m-broad or slender-m-slender. So, if you look at the spelling given, only one is legitimate: Aimearaga. The 'm' is flanked by two slender vowels. Other variants, and, this is general 'problem', is that the adoption of new words, loan words from other languages, often put pressure on the rule, and, on occasions, the rule is broken, yielding less than standard spellings. Often when you go back, the Gael referred to America, as 'The New Island'. I heard this in Gaedhilg Tír Chonaill, and, in Colbhasa, an old gentleman said that his Grandfather referred to America as the big island or the new big island, almost as a joke name. So, America? The effort is to produce a standard spelling of it according to the rules, i.e. Aimearaga, but others have arisen. Lastly, before I totally bore you, sometimes names such as, Iseabail you can see with less standard spellings or even macaronic forms, which often reflects periods when Gaelic was not more formally taught. If writing, it is a good idea to use conventions if they exist, and, if not, it is understandable and no hanging offence.

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