"Does he have a big head?"

Translation:A bheil ceann mòr air?

June 22, 2020

11 Comments
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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LouiseGreg2

Why is this air and not oirre (or whatever the male version of that is)? Is the suggestion that he has a small head in a bag (for instance)? And does 'air' mean 'he has' - if so, how does it differ from 'aige' that we learned in a previous lesson?


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

Why is this air and not oirre (or whatever the male version of that is)?

It's because air is the masculine equivalent of oirre. It can mean both 'on' and 'on him'. Here's a table of those prepositional pronouns:

Prepositional Pronoun English Translation
air on
orm on me
ort on you (singular)
air on him
oirre on her
oirnn on us
oirbh on you (plural)
orra on them

Is the suggestion that he has a small head in a bag (for instance)?

So there's two ways of translating this sentence from English:

  • A bheil ceann mòr aige? - Does he have a big head? (in a bag, for example; not his own head)
  • A bheil ceann mòr air? - Does he have a big head? (on his shoulders; his own head)

We use air for body parts that are 'on him', so to speak (falt, sùilean, ceann, etc.). We use aige for things he owns/is holding/has in his possession (bàta, taigh, cù, etc.).

If you use aige with body parts, it suggests he is in possession of them (i.e. they aren't his own). With clothing, you can use either or. The difference there is that using air suggests he is wearing the item, whereas using aige suggests that he owns/is holding the item, but isn't necessarily wearing it:

  • Tha brògan aige. > He has (owns) shoes.
  • Tha brògan air. > He is wearing shoes.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LouiseGreg2

That's brilliant, thank you! I was assuming because of the 'a' that 'air' was part of the 'agam, agad, aige, aice' pronouns, not that it was part of the 'orm, ort, oirre' pronouns (I'd assumed it would also have an 'o' at the start if that was the case)! That makes perfect sense!


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

An easy mistake to make! The same happens with the preposition ann, which can mean in or in him / in it. If it helps, air is the only prepositional pronoun I can think of the starts with a different letter to the others in its 'family'. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesOHare8

why not a bheil e ceann mor agad?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/S.Sol.5

Agad = you have (literally at you)


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

Can anyone explain how "air" relates to "air bhioran" please? Tapadh leibh!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/inuchan17

Why air and not aige?

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