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  5. "Bha i grianach an-dè."

"Bha i grianach an-dè."

Translation:It was sunny yesterday.

July 25, 2020



Is it true that the pronouns it and she are the same in Gaidhlig?


Not really. It’s that there is no pronoun it in Gàidhlig, as it lost the neuter gender. i means she, it is the feminine pronoun. But it may translate to English it when English uses the neuter pronoun for the thing having feminine gender in Gaelic – and English it will be translated as i if it refers to something that is described by a feminine noun in Gaelic; or to e if it is described by a masculine noun.

So you’ll see English it translated to Gaelic as either e or i depending on context. If the context doesn’t give any clue which one should be used, generally e is the default it, but in case of weather it is often referred to as i in Gaelic (probably because both words for weather: sìde and aimsir are feminine), but you might see e used in this context too.

(Actually there is old neuter eadh it in a few set phrases, but it’s not used as a general neuter pronoun anymore.)


Might interest some people, I’ve just found it – this i referring to weather is explained by Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh in his Scottish Gaelic in Twelve Weeks as coming from a reference to feminine oidhche night instead, rather than to the weather words (thus I guess a while ago people would say tha e brèagha during a day and perhaps tha i brèagha during night time, later i becoming more popular in some dialects, as taught in Duolingo) – this would be in line with Irish still generally using masculine when referring to weather.

Scottish Gaelic in Twelve Weeks, §5.43 The Weather, p. 62:

43 The Weather

The weather sìde (f) or aimsir (f) is an important part of daily conversation in Gaelic. Most conversations begin with comments on the weather. Here are some useful examples:

  • Is e latha brèagha a tha ann. It is a lovely day.


Alternatively, we can simply use the verb tha as follows:

  • Tha e brèagha an-diugh. It is fine today.


The feminine pronoun i rather than e is used in some dialects to refer to the weather in the above phrases; the feminine reference refers to, or originally referred to, oidhche ‘night’ which is a feminine noun.


I know it's not a great font of linguistic knowledge but I just popped

"Bha i grianach an-dè."

into Google Translate flipped it from Gaelic - English to English - Gaelic it translated the sentence correctly but when I flipped it, it became

"Bha e grianach an-dè."

Any suggestions as to why that might be?

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