"Tha Fionnlagh agus Tormod an-seo."

Translation:Finlay and Norman are here.

August 11, 2020

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There are so many variations in spelling of these names (and others), it is almost impossible to get the right ones. I cannot understand the logic behind the variation of the same names. Some names don't change at all - why do certain ones change?

I put "Tha Fhionnlaigh agus Thormoid an seo" which, in any other context, would have been correct.


I put "Tha Fhionnlaigh agus Thormoid an seo" which, in any other context, would have been correct.

No, they wouldn’t be correct in ‘any other context’ (but they certainly would be in some contexts). I think you should review the tips and notes on the vocative case, in the Phrases and Names skills.

In the sentence Finlay and Norman are here the phrase Finlay and Norman is the subject of the sentence. The subject is put in the nominative case – the base form of nouns in Gaelic, and the base form of Finlay in Gaelic is Fionnlagh, the base form of Norman is Tormod.

When you speak directly to somebody (but that person is not the subject or the object of the sentence), then you use the vocative case, and that’s what you tried here, Fhionnlaigh is the vocative of Fionnlagh, and a Thormoid is the vocative of Tormod (but note you need a before the name), thus you would say eg. càite a bheil sibh, Fhionnlaigh agus a Thormoid? where are you, Finlay and Norman? – here the subject is you but the phrase Finlay and Norman is just direct address to them, not the subject.

Basically you use vocative in Gaelic only and always when you can put o! before the noun in English, eg. you could say where are you, o Finlay and Norman?!, what have you done, o father?, help us, o God!, o dear friend, I write to you to tell you…, etc.

The forms you used are also genitive forms of those names (since vocative of masculine names is often identical to their genitive, and genitive of personal names is often always lenited), so Norman’s life would be saoghal Thormoid and Finlay’s wife would be bean Fhionnlaigh – that’s another context where they would be correct. But I don’t think genitive is taught at the moment in the course.


Thank you very much, Silmeth. I hope you understand just how confusing this is, especially when some names never change their form at all!


Why on earth do they spell Tormod with two o when we can hear only Taramad?

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