’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
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’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby jt256 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:41 pm

Feasgar math a h-uile duine!

I'm struggling with the rules for ’S toil le... constructions. My online course isn't clear at all.

I know that if there's a name involved then you say ’S toil le Seumas....

And for pronouns it would be ’S toil leam / leat / leis etc

But what about for nouns, in this case people but not proper names?

Would it be ’S toil leis mo mhathair an leabhar sin or ’S toil leatha mo mhathair an leabhar sin?

I have a feeling that it should always be ’S toil leis + noun, even when the noun refers to a male or female. But what about plurals? Thanks

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby akerbeltz » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:48 pm

Follows the same pattern as ’S toil le Seumas if the noun phrase is definite (i.e. has a name in it, a possessive pronoun or the article further down), so
’S toil le mo mhàthair
’S toil le nighean do bhràthar
’S toil le bèicear a' bhaile

If the article is at the front, then
’S toil leis an tunnag an t-uisge
’S toil leis an easbaig na nigheanan

If it's indefinite:
’S toil le eun an càr agam
’S toil le eòin an càr agam

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby MarcMacUilleim » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:07 am

What about a phrase like "He's a man who likes music"? Logic would dictate that that should be "''S e fear a th'ann le as toil ceòl" or somesuch, similar to "'S e fear a th'ann aig a bheil mòran fiosa." However, when I was doing An Cùrsa Adhartais at SMO, my tutor was adamant that the correct phrase is "'S e fear a th'ann as toil leis ceòl", which I found strange at first but can see how it works now.

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby poor_mouse » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:11 am

Bha mi den bheachd gur e "tha fear ann leis as toil ceòl", ach chan eil mi cinnteach a-nis.
Eilidh -- Luchag Bhochd

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby jt256 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:58 am

Thanks all! Ciamar a tha ag radh "The penny drops"?

My course notes (An Cùrsa Inntrigidh at SMO) don't say anything about the distinction between ’S toil le and ’S toil leis with regard to the article, so that's very helpful indeed.

A conversation on the course contains the following line "’S fheàrr leis a’ bhalach pasta" when discussing food preferences between a boy and his cousin.

Why has balach been lenited here? Balach is masculine, so the boy is am balach, right?

By the same token, would we say ’S toil leis am fiaclair fiaclan geala or ’S toil leis a' fhiaclair fiaclan geala?

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby MarcMacUilleim » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:08 pm

jt256 wrote:Why has balach been lenited here?

Because "le" / "leis", like many prepositions in Gaelic, requires the dative case: http://www.taic.me.uk/leasan6.htm

jt256 wrote:Balach is masculine, so the boy is am balach, right?

Yes, in the nominative case: http://www.taic.me.uk/leasan3.htm

jt256 wrote:By the same token, would we say ’S toil leis am fiaclair fiaclan geala or ’S toil leis a' fhiaclair fiaclan geala?

Neither, in fact. We would say 'S toil leis an fhiaclair..."

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby jt256 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:11 pm

Neither, in fact. We would say 'S toil leis an fhiaclair..."


Ah yes, of course, careless me!

Thank you for the excellent clarification

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby GunChleoc » Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:22 pm

MarcMacUilleim wrote:What about a phrase like "He's a man who likes music"? Logic would dictate that that should be "''S e fear a th'ann le as toil ceòl" or somesuch, similar to "'S e fear a th'ann aig a bheil mòran fiosa." However, when I was doing An Cùrsa Adhartais at SMO, my tutor was adamant that the correct phrase is "'S e fear a th'ann as toil leis ceòl", which I found strange at first but can see how it works now.

The difference hese is that you have is with one and bi with the other:

"'S e fear a th'ann leis a bheil mòran fiosa." would work the same as with "aig" :)

the "as" in "as toil" is a + is
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby MarcMacUilleim » Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:36 pm

Yes indeed. Similarly, is it not, with an expression like "He's a man who can swim" 'S e fear a th'ann as urrainn dha snàmh."?

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby GunChleoc » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:58 am

The grammar is correct, but one wouldn't say it like that. You sentence means that there is an opportunity for him to swim. The natural way to express most "can" sentence is to use the future tense:

Chì mi am fear ud - I can see that man.
'S e fear a th' ann a nì snàmh.

Or for ability:

'S e fear a th' ann aig a bheil snàmh
'S e fear a th' ann aig a bheil comas snàimh
Oileanach chànan chuthachail

Na dealbhan agam

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Re: ’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby akerbeltz » Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:19 am

What about a phrase like "He's a man who likes music"? Logic would dictate


Logic doesn't necessarily get involved in language ;)

'S e duine as toigh leis ceòl a th' ann

This kind of sentence requires a relative subclause, cf also

An taigh a chaidh am mullach aige ùrachadh
The house whose roof got renewed, lit. "the house that went the roof at it renewing"

As GunChleoc said, the two examples would most likely not get expressed in such a roundabout way in Gaelic. But I think you were after the general principle, not so much the actual phrases.

Another way would be chan eil snàmh sam bith ann, which would contain the same information (i.e. a male who can't swim) vs chan eil snàmh sam bith innte.

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’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby Kate McLaren » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:30 pm

What a relief it is to find that someone else found the section in the SMO Cùrsa Inntrigidh on le/leis etc impenetrable or insufficient! I'm just doing that very test paper and I have stuck on that very question - that's how I ended up in this thread! In general it is a good course, but it is a bit disorganised for those of us who are used to learning languages in the old-fashioned way.

Why 'S toil leis an fhiaclair? I would automatically have written a' fhiaclair. Thank you.

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’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby akerbeltz » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:51 pm

Why 'S toil leis an fhiaclair? I would automatically have written a' fhiaclair. Thank you.


Go by the rule of thumb that the -n is only dropped before an audible lenited sound i.e. leis a' bh/ch/gh/mh/ph. Leis an d/n/t/l don't lenite in this environment, s is weird for historical reasons and fh has no audible sound so it patterns with the vowels i.e. leis an fhiaclair is treated as if the word was iaclair » leis an fhiaclair.

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’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby Kate McLaren » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:22 am

Thank you, and thank you for your online grammar. I find the Cursa Inntrigidh hopeless on grammar (I was a classicist) and although I've now bought Michel Byrne, even that doesn't come up to what I'm used to. I almost always end up coming back to yours.

Would you mind another question, then: I am doing the earrann 2 test and I flew through it all except the "le/leis" section, because, as mentioned above, the course skates over the detail. With leis, is it quite simply the dative case, so "cha bu toil leis a’ mhinistear bruidhinn rinn" rather than "am ministear"? And how about the plural? Is it "B’ fheàrr leis na boireannaich..." or "B’ fheàrr leotha na boireannaich..."

More thanks...

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’S toil le... + name or pronoun rules

Unread postby akerbeltz » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:30 pm

hopeless on grammar (I was a classicist)


The nearest thing to that is Scottish Gaelic in 12 Weeks (or 3 Months) and Will Lamb's Scottish Gaelic which is a typical linguists' structural overview over the language.

Would you mind another question


Of course not 8-)

With leis, is it quite simply the dative case, so "cha bu toil leis a’ mhinistear bruidhinn rinn" rather than "am ministear"? And how about the plural? Is it "B’ fheàrr leis na boireannaich..." or "B’ fheàrr leotha na boireannaich..."


Correct on the minister and leis na boireannaich. With simple propositions, you usually just have a three-way choice (is trinary a word?), singular indefinite (le, tro, ri, bho...), singular definite (leis an, tron (an), ris an, bhon (an)...; the (an) is optional and depends on speaker preference, dialect etc etc) or plural definite (leis na, tro na, ris na, bho na...).

So within the same prepositional phrase, *leotha na boireannaich is never permissible. You could have something like B’ fheàrr leotha, na boireannaich but that comma (aka intonational break) would mean that you have 2 phrases i.e. They would prefer, the woman, ... say for example if as an afterthought you wanted to clarify who "they" are.


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