Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
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Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby Creag » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:22 am

Ciamar a chanas mi…


1. Does anyone here speak Gaelic?
A bheil e: "A bheil duine an-seo bruidhinn Gàidhlig?"

2. Do any of you here speak Gaelic?
A bheil e: "A bheil duine sibh an-seo bruidhinn Gàidhlig?"


Mòran taing! :)

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Re: Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby GunChleoc » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:25 am

1. A bheil a' Ghàidhlig aig duine sam bith an seo?

2. A bheil a' Ghàidhlig aig duine sam bith agaibh an seo?

I speak Gaelic = Tha a' Ghàidhlig agam
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

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Re: Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:30 am

Or alternatively "is there anyone here who speaks Gaelic"

A bheil duine sam bith an seo aig a bheil Gàidhlig?

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Re: Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby Seonaidh » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:30 pm

Quite a neat illustration of the pitfalls of tronslotion. The sort of thing G&N have produced is natural to a Gaelic speaker and is definitely not what you might call a "literal tr*nsl*t**n". I mean, "Tha Gàidhlig agam" actually means something like "There is Gaelic at me": now, imagine somebody learning English, feeling full of confidence and telling people "There is English at me" - well, you wouldn't really take such a person to have any deep knowledge of English. But we do get a sort of "semi-translation" on occasion: the "aig so-and-so" (at so-and-so) form is often used in Gaelic for possession, e.g. to say "I've got a car" (or "I have a car") you might in Gaelic say "Tha càr agam" (there is a car at me). So you do get folk occasionally saying things like "I have the Gaelic" and so forth.

The point is, the literal tr*nsl*t**n of "speak" tends not to be used in this context. If somebody says, e.g., "Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig", it means that the man/boy in question is currently rabbiting on in Gaelic, not that they are proficient in it (although it would tend to follow...).

As for "Does anyone here speak Gaelic?", start by examining the English. What function is served by the word "Does"? All it really is is a somewhat comic way the English language has of asking a question: whereas you could say "He washes dishes", you wouldn't say "Washes he dishes?" - you'd use "Does", e.g., "Does he wash dishes?" How on earth do folk manage to learn such a language... Anyway, this means that something like "Does anyone speak..." is actually the question form of "Anyone speaks". With a "literal tr*nsl*t**n", therefore, you might come up with "Am bruidhinn neach...", from "Bruidhnidh neach..." (the affirmative form). Anyway, suppose you had asked such a question: "Am bruidhinn neach an seo Gàidhlig?" or some such - you would not be asking about our capability or lack of in Gaelic but more whether we actually spoke a lot of Gaelic in our day-to-day existence. But that's maybe what you meant?

Now: see if you've got it: what's the difference between:-

(a) Tha i a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig (alt: Tha i a' bruidhinn na Gàidhlig)
(b) Tha Gàidhlig aice (alt: Tha a' Ghàidhlig aice)

Which sentence would use use if you wanted to say:-

(i) that some woman on the telly was speaking Gaelic as you watch?
(ii) that a female friend of yours was a fluent Gaelic speaker?

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Re: Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby An Gobaire » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:55 pm

An additional point I would like to make is that I think "sam bith" is often over-used when tr*nsl*t*ng "any..." from English into Gaelic.

The examples given could quite naturally be expressed as: "A bheil a' Ghàidhlig aig duine an seo?" or in Cape Breton: "A bheil a' Ghàidhlig aig neach an seo?"

Let me also add (c) to Seonaidh's list, which expresses ability on its own; or with an appropriate time expression, habit and routine.

(c) Bruidhnidh i Gàidhlig.
Dèan buil cheart de na fhuair thu!

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Re: Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:23 pm

An Gobaire wrote:An additional point I would like to make is that I think "sam bith" is often over-used when tr*nsl*t*ng "any..." from English into Gaelic.

Good point. Sorry. It is more like "anyone at all", isn't it? I've been out of Scotland too long....

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Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:34 pm

Seonaidh wrote:Source of the post
The point is, the literal tr*nsl*t**n of "speak" tends not to be used in this context. If somebody says, e.g., "Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig", it means that the man/boy in question is currently rabbiting on in Gaelic, not that they are proficient in it (although it would tend to follow...).


I know this is an old post, but it brings up a point I wanted to ask about: why can't one say 'Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig' for 'I speak Gaelic'? I know that 'Tha Gàidhlig agam' is used for this phrase, however I thought that the for the present tense in Gàidhlig, using the verbal noun express both the progressive and simple present, i.e. both 'I am speaking Gaelic' and 'I speak Gaelic'. Why is that not the case with 'Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig'?

Also, is it possible to say 'I can speak Gaelic', like we would say it English (i.e. expressing our ability to speak Gaelic)? For this phrase, would it be correct to say '’s urrainn dhomh Gàidhlig a' bruidhinn' ? (Not sure about the inversion, I think 'bruidhinn' goes at the end, right?).

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Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:04 pm

I know this is an old post, but it brings up a point I wanted to ask about: why can't one say 'Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig' for 'I speak Gaelic'?

e = he
mi = I

I know that 'Tha Gàidhlig agam' is used for this phrase, however I thought that the for the present tense in Gàidhlig, using the verbal noun express both the progressive and simple present, i.e. both 'I am speaking Gaelic' and 'I speak Gaelic'. Why is that not the case with 'Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig'?

You can say Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig but it just means something else. Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig means he is speaking Gaelic, right now, maybe holding a speech or talking to a neighbour. Gaelic differentiates this act of currently speaking IN a language from the general ability of speaking in a languages. So does English, if you think about it. He speaks Tabasaran means he has the ability to do so but may or may not be doing so right now. He is speaking Tabasaran on the other hand means that he is doing so right now in this moment. Since this is a pretty important distinction, it's hardly surprising that Gaelic has a way of separating out the two. Otherwise you couldn't tell the difference.

Also, is it possible to say 'I can speak Gaelic', like we would say it English (i.e. expressing our ability to speak Gaelic)? For this phrase, would it be correct to say '’s urrainn dhomh Gàidhlig a' bruidhinn' ? (Not sure about the inversion, I think 'bruidhinn' goes at the end, right?).

Just for stating your general competence/ability, no, you have to stick to tha Gàidhlig agam. You CAN say 's urrainn dhut Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn but you'd use it in a different way... imagine someone asked you to present a paper at Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig and to clarify that the audience will all be fluent or that there will be simultaneous tr*nsl*t**n, they tell you that you can (in meaning, more like to have the "opportunity") to speak Gaelic i.e. there will be nothing to prevent you from doing so. That would, before you ask, also work with Faodaidh...

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Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby ithinkitsnice » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:32 pm

A bheil thu ag ràgh nach bi "'s urrainn dhomh Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn" ag obair idir, no gun crochadh e air a' cho-theacsa?

m.e. Dè mu dheidhinn…

"B' urrainn dhomh Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn nan robh i agam, ach chan eil." ?

Tha sin cgl, nach eil?

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Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:55 pm

akerbeltz wrote:Source of the post
I know this is an old post, but it brings up a point I wanted to ask about: why can't one say 'Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig' for 'I speak Gaelic'?

e = he
mi = I
You can say Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig but it just means something else. Tha e a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig means he is speaking Gaelic, right now, maybe holding a speech or talking to a neighbour. Gaelic differentiates this act of currently speaking IN a language from the general ability of speaking in a languages. So does English, if you think about it. He speaks Tabasaran means he has the ability to do so but may or may not be doing so right now. He is speaking Tabasaran on the other hand means that he is doing so right now in this moment. Since this is a pretty important distinction, it's hardly surprising that Gaelic has a way of separating out the two. Otherwise you couldn't tell the difference.

Also, is it possible to say 'I can speak Gaelic', like we would say it English (i.e. expressing our ability to speak Gaelic)? For this phrase, would it be correct to say '’s urrainn dhomh Gàidhlig a' bruidhinn' ? (Not sure about the inversion, I think 'bruidhinn' goes at the end, right?).

Just for stating your general competence/ability, no, you have to stick to tha Gàidhlig agam. You CAN say 's urrainn dhut Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn but you'd use it in a different way... imagine someone asked you to present a paper at Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig and to clarify that the audience will all be fluent or that there will be simultaneous tr*nsl*t**n, they tell you that you can (in meaning, more like to have the "opportunity") to speak Gaelic i.e. there will be nothing to prevent you from doing so. That would, before you ask, also work with Faodaidh...


I meant to type 'mi' instead of 'e' for 'I speak Gaelic' - sorry about the confusion! Your answer has pretty well told me everything I need to know anyway. Gaelic does seem to be a weird language in that there are a lot of simple ways of saying things in other languages that just can't be translated into Gaelic :-( At least not easily anyway. I would have thought that the verb 'to be able to' was a staple of most languages, but in Gaelic isn't it used like in English, for expressing stuff like 'I can (do this, do that etc)', or to ask questions like 'can you (do this, do that)?' etc, or is it only for the verb 'bruidhinn' where it doesn't work like English? It would be good to know what the pattern is.

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Does Anyone Here Speak Gàidhlig?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:48 pm

Gaelic does seem to be a weird language in that there are a lot of simple ways of saying things in other languages that just can't be translated into Gaelic :-( At least not easily anyway. I would have thought that the verb 'to be able to' was a staple of most languages, but in Gaelic isn't it used like in English, for expressing stuff like 'I can (do this, do that etc)', or to ask questions like 'can you (do this, do that)?' etc, or is it only for the verb 'bruidhinn' where it doesn't work like English? It would be good to know what the pattern is.


The difficulties for each language lie in different places. Overall, Gaelic is no weirder than English, it's just that you're used to the sheer madness of it.

English has plurals (house/houses) - which is pretty weird for many others like Cantonese because there are no plural nouns
English has irregular tenses (go/went) - which is pretty weird for many others like Cantonese because there are no irregular tenses
English has a verb for to be - which is pretty weird for Polynesians because there is no verb for to be
English has two different words for thank you and please - which is pretty weird for Chichewa speakers because there's only the one word
English has no politeness particles/verb endings - which is pretty weird for Japanese speakers who struggle with how to be polite in English

I could go on but I think you get the gist. Gaelic has two main challenges, phonology and idiom. The grammar is pretty diddly, comparatively speaking. You win some, you lose some 8-)


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