"An t-ugh agus an hama."

Translation:The egg and the ham.

July 14, 2020

This discussion is locked.


In English we tend to drop the second "the" as it is redundant and just say "the egg and ham". Why not here?


As Gaelic does not have an indefinite article, the second "the" is not redundant - it tells us that the second noun is also definite. Also, the definite article gives us information about the gender of the noun and its grammatical case, which "the" doesn't do in English. Compare an t-ugh agus an hama = the egg and the ham/ the egg and ham with an t-ugh agus hama = the egg and a ham.

I imagine the requirement to use "the" with each noun in English is to reinforce the habit of using the definite article with each noun in Gaelic.


But why use the second "an"? The first "the" serves to indicate definitiveness for BOTH nouns. The egg and ham. The car and driver. The King and Queen.

I imagine it is one of those "just because" situations.


In English the first "the" can serve to indicate definitiveness for both nouns because English has an indefinite article. "The egg and ham" can only mean "the egg and the ham" and cannot mean "the egg and a ham". Gaelic has no indefinite article and instead the lack of a definite article attached to a noun indicates indefiniteness. If the "an" were to govern both nouns, there would be no way in Gaelic to distinguish between "the egg and (the) ham" and "the egg and a ham".


That makes sense.

Imagine that! A grammar rule that actually makes sense.


Would we be using the definite article or the indefinite article saying "Green eggs and ham"?

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