"Tha an radan ann am baga."

Translation:The rat is in a bag.

August 23, 2020

This discussion is locked.


Why isn't this 'the' bag?


Because there is no the before bag in this sentence, phrase-byphrase it is:

  • tha is,
  • an radan the rat,
  • ann am in,
  • baga a bag.

As is explained in the tips and notes to the About me skill, ann an (or ann am before labial consonants: b, p, f, m) just means in – and you really should just think of it as a single word.

(You can read the tips and notes on the web browser version of Duolingo at https://duolingo.com and also on the https://duome.eu/tips/en/gd website; unfortunately they might not be available in the Duolingo mobile app, so if you’re on mobile, you might want to open your web browser for the reading.)

Historically in was just an (and you see that today in some phrases, eg. one can say an Glaschu for in Glasgow instead of ann an Glaschu, or you say am bliadhna for this year, literally in-(current)-year), but it could be confusing as it sounded like the masculine definite article (am bàta could mean both the boat and in a boat) it started to be doubled to avoid the ambiguity: am bàta for the boat and ann am bàta for in a boat, lit. there, in a boat.

If you wanted to say in the bag you’d need anns a’ bhaga – as (ann) an changes to anns before the definite article, and the singular def. art. in dative causes lenition.


  • am bàta the boat vs ann am bàta in a boat vs anns a’ bhàta in the boat,
  • a’ choille the wood, forest, ann an coille in a wood, in a forest, ann an coilltean in woods, anns na coilltean in the woods.


That's a useful explanation, thanks.


Every time I get this as an audio lesson I get it wrong because I keep hearing, “Tha an radan ann am banca.”

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