All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
Polygot2017
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:30 am

Thanks guys - I do appreciate all the help you've given me. I know my questions can sometimes be detailed and analytical! I will get there, it's just a case of time and perseverance. Anyway, I will check out that book recommendation too :-)

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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby faoileag » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:47 am

Also keep an eye out for an affordable copy of Colin Mark's large G>E dictionary. Apart from being an incredibly useful dictionary, crammed with examples, it has a book-sized grammar appendix at the back, with a stomping great section on verbs.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gaelic-English ... 0415297613


As ebook too (GBP 40). (And you can do limited searches via this link.)

https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/ ... &q&f=false

Polygot2017
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:00 pm

faoileag wrote:Also keep an eye out for an affordable copy of Colin Mark's large G>E dictionary. Apart from being an incredibly useful dictionary, crammed with examples, it has a book-sized grammar appendix at the back, with a stomping great section on verbs.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gaelic-English ... 0415297613


As ebook too (GBP 40). (And you can do limited searches via this link.)

https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/ ... &q&f=false


Thanks for the book recommendation. I've heard good things about Colin Mark's other book too, 'Gaelic Verbs: Systemised & Simpified'. Would it be worth getting this as well as his dictionary?

Polygot2017
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:05 pm

GunChleoc wrote:Source of the post What you should also try to get you hand on is the grammar by Michel Byrne: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/6559/

Unfortunately, it is out of print at the moment, and second-hand prices have gone through the roof. They are planning a revised edition, but it seems like it's taken them more time.

Maybe it will be best right now just to start learning the basic stuff and keep in the back of your head that there will be more. And most importantly, start speaking and writing. Learning a language takesa lot of practice, and grammar knowledge is just a tool.


Ok, I'll look for that book too. You're right that I should practice the speaking and writing too. I'm actually thinking of doing a video for Facebook and Youtube of me speaking Gaelic. Just something short like a minute or 2, telling people a bit about myself, my background, hobbies, etc. I could write this in the bilingual forum as writing practice too. Would people be able to correct my mistakes too, as that might help me improve?

Polygot2017
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:14 pm

faoileag wrote:Source of the post Several things :priob: :

Could have, should have (ought to have, must have, might have etc) are no longer 'tenses', but different modal verbs.

English and Gaelic treat these modals, and also some of the other 'tenses' you list, very differently - these are conceptual differences.

You are hanging onto non-equivalent English terminology and concepts, despite every effort of expert forum members to point you in the direction of Gaelic ways of seeing/doing things. This takes time. C' est la vie. :mhoire:


Thanks for your encouragement btw 8-) I was thinking, the tenses I listed with 'Dinner is served', 'The house is sold etc', if I understand it correctly, are simply the passive voice of the same tenses I listed earlier. I'm still very much learning all these different grammatical terms, but the active vs passive voice distinction is one I'd previously overlooked, until now. Therefore, 'I sold the house' would be the active voice form of the simple past tense, whereas the passive voice form would be 'The house is sold'. Am I correct here? As far as I can tell, most tenses have a passive and active voice form.

In fact for an overview of all tenses in English, I have found the ultimate diagram that seems to cover them all:

https://i.stack.imgur.com/7FbRO.jpg

I know I need to start thinking in terms of the Gaelic way of seeing the tenses, rather than English, however a quote worth noting from the great language teacher Michel Thomas is 'in order to express yourself in a foreign language', you first need to have a heightened awareness of your own language'. That's a really good point. I mean, we speak our native tongue without consciously thinking about the grammar or the different tenses, but having a conscious understanding of these things is important if you are going to understand how language is constructed and therefore be able to think and speak another language fluently.

Anyway I may back off this thread a bit because I'm probably driving you all crazy with my questions. I only ask because I want to be fluent in Gaelic.
Last edited by Polygot2017 on Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby akerbeltz » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:18 pm

I only ask because I want to be fluent in Gaelic.


Then above all else, work on pronunciation first, then basic grammar & vocab, then idiom, then bigger vocab, perfect grammar last.

Polygot2017
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:24 pm

akerbeltz wrote:Source of the post
I only ask because I want to be fluent in Gaelic.


Then above all else, work on pronunciation first, then basic grammar & vocab, then idiom, then bigger vocab, perfect grammar last.


Ok, good idea. The 2 books I'm working through, 'Scottish Gaelic In 3 Months' and 'Colloquial Scottish Gaelic' have good explanations of how to pronounce the letters/sounds in Gaelic.

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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby GunChleoc » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:39 pm

If you want corrections, you better change the flag in your profile - it's thet to "I don't care" at the moment: ucp.php?i=172
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

Polygot2017
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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:51 pm

Ok, I've edited my corrections status, thanks.

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Unread postby GunChleoc » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:29 pm

Glè mhath :)
Oileanach chànan chuthachail

Na dealbhan agam

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Unread postby Níall Beag » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:28 pm

Polygot2017 wrote:Thanks for your encouragement btw 8-) I was thinking, the tenses I listed with 'Dinner is served', 'The house is sold etc', if I understand it correctly, are simply the passive voice of the same tenses I listed earlier. I'm still very much learning all these different grammatical terms, but the active vs passive voice distinction is one I'd previously overlooked, until now. Therefore, 'I sold the house' would be the active voice form of the simple past tense, whereas the passive voice form would be 'The house is sold'. Am I correct here?

Almost. "The house is sold" is a weird one, where either it's basically an adjective -- cf. "The king is dead" or it's a fossil of an older structure (related to etre&avoir(French) and essere&avere(Italian). "Dinner is served" is definitely a fossil, because speaking in archaisms is considered the height of sophistication. :priob:

True passives in English should be able to take a "by..." after them (even if you normally would leave it out).
"The man was bitten by a snake" (passive) --> (active) "A snake bit the man."

But if we try to treat "dinner is served" as though it's a passive and add a "by", the meaning changes somewhat:
"dinner is served by the waiting staff" --> "The waiting staff serve dinner."
You should immediately recognise this as a habitual action, something that usually happens, and nothing in it says anything about the state of today's meal.


I personally agree with you about trying to get an early grasp of grammar when learning a new language, but I'd caution that the material currently available for Gaelic doesn't really make that easy (Colin Mark's verb books isn't quite as "simplified" as the title would have you believe, for instance). Akerbeltz's site is one of the best explanations of grammar out there, and even if it doesn't leave you immediately understanding a grammar point, I found a lot of what he wrote primed me quite nicely for getting a deeper understanding when I encountered the points in other materials that made little or no attempt to explain them.

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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Níall Beag » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:45 pm

Polygot2017 wrote:Source of the post
akerbeltz wrote:Source of the post
and Hugo's 'Scottish Gaelic in 3 Months' that I'll get soon too.


While the 3 months is an untenable promise (name of the series, not the author's idea), I'd get that sooner rather than later. It is very good on grammar.


Ok, got hold of a copy - briefly looked through it and it does look like it covers the grammar quite extensively, including most of the main tenses. The downside is that it has no audio with it - some versions apparently used to come with a cassette tape, alas my version does not. So I emailed the publisher to ask if the audio is archived anywhere online, we'll see if they respond.


Unlikely -- the publisher's rights have expired, and the author wrote a revised version about 10 years ago called "Scottish Gaelic in Twelve Weeks", so it's unlikely that Hugo would be able to make the recordings available even if they still have a master copy. I don't know how closely the new book matches the old one, so I don't know whether the CD for the new one would work with the old one... and I'm not even sure it's available separately from the book.


akerbeltz wrote:Allow me to nitpick - the conditional is a mood, not a tense 8-) but other than that your statement seems kosher. :flur:


Haha ok. Most language courses refer to it as the conditional tense - is it just in Gaelic that it's technically a mood not a tense, or does that apply in other languages too (including English)?

This is where the literal meaning of terminology helps: "tense" is a corruption of the Norman French word for time (something similar to Modern French "temps", but back then, the M hadn't merged with the E, so it was something like "temss" which became "tense".

In strict terminology, then, only things that change time are called "tense", so future, present and past. "Would" has no time, so it can't be a tense, hence mood.

On a similar note, there's that whole "infinitive" thing you discussed elsewhere.

Not all languages have "an infinitive" -- but what they do have is "finite" and "non-finite" verb forms. If something is "finite", it is "limited", and how that is interpreted varies between language. "The infinitive" (in languages that have one) is a non-finite form, but other non-finite forms exist. In Gaelic, the verbal noun is the basic non-finite form, and does practically everything that has no time or mood.

Finite forms are generally the first verb of the string:
I want to tell you -- the telling has no time other than that which is implied by "want"
I like painting/to paint -- there is absolutely no indication of when the painting will take place (if ever)

Polygot2017
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:18 pm

Níall Beag wrote:This is where the literal meaning of terminology helps: "tense" is a corruption of the Norman French word for time (something similar to Modern French "temps", but back then, the M hadn't merged with the E, so it was something like "temss" which became "tense".

In strict terminology, then, only things that change time are called "tense", so future, present and past. "Would" has no time, so it can't be a tense, hence mood.

On a similar note, there's that whole "infinitive" thing you discussed elsewhere.

Not all languages have "an infinitive" -- but what they do have is "finite" and "non-finite" verb forms. If something is "finite", it is "limited", and how that is interpreted varies between language. "The infinitive" (in languages that have one) is a non-finite form, but other non-finite forms exist. In Gaelic, the verbal noun is the basic non-finite form, and does practically everything that has no time or mood.

Finite forms are generally the first verb of the string:
I want to tell you -- the telling has no time other than that which is implied by "want"
I like painting/to paint -- there is absolutely no indication of when the painting will take place (if ever)


Very interesting, Níall. I'd never really thought of the conditional as a 'mood', but now you explain it like that, as not being linked to time, it makes more sense to call it a 'mood'. Still, most language books/courses still refer to it as a 'tense'.

Polygot2017
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:36 pm

Níall Beag wrote:Source of the post
Almost. "The house is sold" is a weird one, where either it's basically an adjective -- cf. "The king is dead" or it's a fossil of an older structure (related to etre&avoir(French) and essere&avere(Italian). "Dinner is served" is definitely a fossil, because speaking in archaisms is considered the height of sophistication. :priob:

True passives in English should be able to take a "by..." after them (even if you normally would leave it out).
"The man was bitten by a snake" (passive) --> (active) "A snake bit the man."

But if we try to treat "dinner is served" as though it's a passive and add a "by", the meaning changes somewhat:
"dinner is served by the waiting staff" --> "The waiting staff serve dinner."
You should immediately recognise this as a habitual action, something that usually happens, and nothing in it says anything about the state of today's meal.


Ok so I'm thinking, if all the sentences I listed like 'dinner is served', etc, are not the passive voice, they're simply the 3rd person versions using the different forms of 'is' or 'to be', aren't they? Hmm. These were taught in the Michel Thomas advanced French course.


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