"Tha seo goirid."

Translation:This is short.

July 28, 2020

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Why does this sentance have a "Tha" Isnt just "Seo" "this is" as in "Seo tunnag" or "Seo cearc" this is a duck and this is a chichen respectively. Why dont they need to be Tha seo tunnag if in this sentance Tha seo is how you say this is. When do you need to say just Seo for this is and when do you need to say Tha seo, or is the Tha in this sentance a gramical error?


You couldn’t say tha seo tunnag – it wouldn’t be grammatical. Just as seo goirid on its own wouldn’t be. Gaelic has two different distinct to be verbs, with their own distinct syntax, and you cannot use one when the other is required.

One is the bi verb with forms like tha, bheil, bha, robh, etc. The other is the copula is (which is hidden in seo tunnag – it is a short form of is e seo tunnag).

I wrote about the differeces and usage of both bi and is in those discussions – you might find them helpful:

Although one common phrase, namely is math sin for that is good does not fit the general pattern – I wrote about it in:


The gender of whatever "this" is not specified here. Is it a non-lenited "goirid" by default of will it change depending on the gender of "this"


It won’t change, because predicative adjectives – ie. adjectives connected to the verb bi to be and not directly attributing a noun – never change. Only attributive adjectives change.

Compare eg. na cait mhòra the big cats with mòr changing to mhòra after a plural masc. noun vs tha na cair mòr the cats are big (here big complements the tha are verb, not cait cats directly).

Or pàirc ghoirid a short park (pàirc is feminine) vs tha a’ phàirc goirid the park is short.

So you don’t need to assume anything about the grammatical gender of seo here.

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