"She is walking as slow as a snail."

Translation:Tha i a' coiseachd cho slaodach ri seilcheig.

August 23, 2020

This discussion is locked.


In Angus Watson's dictionary snail is given as 'seilcheag' as the nominative singular with 'seilcheig' as the genitive singular. Am I missing a grammar point here?


Good question. Perhaps worth reporting.

You’ll need to wait for contributors or other fluent speaker for a better response, but in the meantime my thoughts on this:

The sentence isn’t wrong, you can say ri seilcheig, but that looks like old singular dative (compare ri bròig instead of ri bròg in the phrase cho sona ri bròig as happy as a shoe). It might be that this form is more common in the language (just like ri bròig is in the phrase cho sona ri bròig) – but even then it probably should be explained in the tips and notes.

Corpas na Gàidhlig DASG – literary corpus of the Gaelic language – has many instances of an t-seilcheag in the nominative but always an t-seilcheig in dative (but there is one instance of ri seilcheag in dative too). So I’d guess it’s today possible to say both ri seilcheig (older literary form) and ri seilcheag (more colloquial without dative).

Also possible that some speakers actually use seilcheig as the nominative (eg. there is at least one instance of ’s tu an t-Seilcheig in the literature…) – but judging from the dictionaries that’s not the common norm.

If after reading this you want to ask but which one should I use then? which is correct? – it’s kinda like using with whom? vs with who? or hypothetical if I were vs if I was in English – historically the former is correct but today the latter is the actual common form. You’ll encounter both when learning the language.


Yup, this is the dative here, but either or is cool :)


To add to what silmeth said, both seilcheig (dative) and seilcheag (nominative) will be accepted here :)

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