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 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:17 pm

GunChleoc wrote:Source of the post I have now read your first post in-depth. I think it would be better not to try to give pronunciation notes with "English" spellings, because there are already some sounds in there that don't exist in the English language like that, vowels included. It would be better for people to paste the words into the Cereproc site or listen to them at a dictionary site.

Polygot2017 wrote:Ok, I looked at those verb tables for the regular verbs and they do look very comprehensive, but I just can't make sense of any of it at all. I would love some sort of explanation as to which tense each column is referring to etc, as I'm sure it's a very good resource.

Tenses are in rows, not in columns. They are using Gaelic terminology and their English translations, rather than trying to map to English... it's a list of tenses and their forms, and not an explanation on when to use which.

Polygot2017 wrote:Are all Gaelic tenses covered there?


Yes.


Ok, I'll look into those verb tables as soon as I get a chance. Also, I'd never heard of the Cereproc site, so I googled it. I presume you mean www.cereproc.com ? So you can just paste words in different languages into there and it will pronounce them 100% accurately, even for Gaelic?

Another thing I'm looking into is learning the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), as it would be useful for Gaelic as well as other languages - indeed several Gaelic learning books have the pronunciations in IPA.



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Unread postby akerbeltz » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:30 pm

it will pronounce them 100% accurately, even for Gaelic?

100% no, maybe somewhere in the 90s.

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.

I'd try one of the Gaelic groups on Facebook, someone is bound to have turned them into mp3 files

indeed several Gaelic learning books have the pronunciations in IPA.

Cothrom Ionnsachaidh (good but terrible layout), ScG in 3 Months ... I think that's it, apart from Blas na Gàidhlig which is exclusively about pronunciation.

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)?

It's always a mood rather than a tense, but folk are lazy 8-)

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Unread postby GunChleoc » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:24 am

It applies to other languages too.

Rather than speaking of a tense system, linguists call it the TMA (tense-mood-aspect) system.
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:26 am

Ok, btw I managed to get hold of a copy of Brìgh nam Faca at my local library. I looked at the verb tables you mentioned and can't understand them at all. Could you explain what each row/column means, which tense they're referring to, and how this is supposed to help me learn the tenses in Gaelic?

1) First of all, there are 2 different tables on each page for each verb, listed as a) and b). What's this about?

2) Then each table has 3 rows (horizontally) at the top, comprising of 'spreigeach' at the left, 'taisbeanach' in the middle', and 'aithneach' on the right.

3) The left column seems to have (vertically from the top): TRATH, teachdail, caithte, cumhach/neo-choileanta.

4) Directly below the middle row there are 3 sub-rows: neo-eisimeileach, daimheach, eisimeileach

5) Below the middle row, there are 3 sub rows, then below that 2 sub rows, and finally 2 sub rows at the bottom.

6) Below the right row there are various forms of the verbs.

As I say, none of this makes any sense to me whatsoever. You'd think there would at least be some explanation in the book as to what all this means.

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Unread postby akerbeltz » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:52 am

It's called a matrix and in the spirit of learning, I think you should spend some time putting the column/row headings into http://www.faclair.com and see if it makes more sense. They are *very* clear, you just need to wean yourself off the Beurla.

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:02 pm

akerbeltz wrote:It's called a matrix and in the spirit of learning, I think you should spend some time putting the column/row headings into http://www.faclair.com and see if it makes more sense. They are *very* clear, you just need to wean yourself off the Beurla.


Ok so I looked them up in Faclair and got the folowing:

Spreigeach = active

Taisbeanach = indicactive

Aithneach = acquaintance (àithneach, with the à, means imperative?...I don't know if the first 'a' is meant to have an accent or not, but they've missed the accent out in Brìgh nam Facal)

Trath = tense (likewise, in Faclair this is written as tràth, with an accent on the 'a', but is spelled 'trath' in Brìgh nam Facal)

Teachdail = future

Caithte = past

Cumhach = conditional

Neo-choileanta = imperfect

Neo-eisimeileach = independent

Daimheach = relative

Eisimeileach = dependent

Ok, is everything correct there? No sign of the perfect tenses by the looks of it.

Also, why are there 2 tables on each page for the same verb (and 'a' and 'b' form?)?

So it's just a case of learning the different patterns/verb endings in these tables/matrixes and then the same applies to all regular verbs?

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Unread postby GunChleoc » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:16 pm

Your translations are correct ;)

Gaelic uses a combination of words to express the operfect,m just like with the progressive (c.f. English "I am doing" - "am" is in the present tense).

a is personal, b is impersonal.
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Unread postby akerbeltz » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm

Ok, is everything correct there? No sign of the perfect tenses by the looks of it.


There's really, as I've said before, only one past tense that needs to be "learned", once you've covered that, you can easily derive the other forms of past tense without having to resort to a table.

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:30 pm

akerbeltz wrote:
Ok, is everything correct there? No sign of the perfect tenses by the looks of it.


There's really, as I've said before, only one past tense that needs to be "learned", once you've covered that, you can easily derive the other forms of past tense without having to resort to a table.


In fact if I'm understanding it correctly, for any regular verb you simply need to memorise the imperative/citation form and the verbal noun, then you can get every other tense from these forms either by using Tha/bha/bidh etc with the VN, or by leniting the first letter of the imperative/citation to get the simple past.

I understand that it's easy to form the perfect tenses if you already know the present, past and future forms with Tha/bha/bidh + VN, so no problem there.

I know I've left out the conditional, but I'll get to that properly soon.

Some of these grammatical terms like inactive vs active, indicative, relative etc are going to take a while to sink in but I'll get there.
Last edited by Polygot2017 on Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:38 pm

GunChleoc wrote:Source of the post Your translations are correct ;)

Gaelic uses a combination of words to express the operfect,m just like with the progressive (c.f. English "I am doing" - "am" is in the present tense).

a is personal, b is impersonal.


Ok so are there spelling mistakes in Brìgh nam Facal, between 'àithneach' and 'aithneach', and 'tràth' and 'trath', then? Because it leaves out the accents in there. Or are the ones without the accents just different forms?

As for 'a' being the personal, 'b' the impersonal, can you give me an example of the difference? It's probably something really obvious and simple I know.

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Unread postby akerbeltz » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:18 pm

for any regular verb you simply need to memorise the imperative/citation form and the verbal noun, then you can get every other tense from these forms

Correct. The one caveat are words which end in l/r/ng which can exhibit syncope (shortening of the word, see this page

Ok so are there spelling mistakes in Brìgh nam Facal, between 'àithneach' and 'aithneach', and 'tràth' and 'trath', then? Because it leaves out the accents in there. Or are the ones without the accents just different forms?

In older books, accents on capital letters are often left out (French does that too) though it's getting much rarer with modern word processing. Brìgh nam Facal uses small caps in those tables, that's why the accents are not there.

As for 'a' being the personal, 'b' the impersonal, can you give me an example of the difference? It's probably something really obvious and simple I know.

Tha Calum a' dol dhan sgoil = Calum is going to school
Thathar a' dol dhan sgoil = people go to school, one goes to school (i.e. there is no overt subject in impersonal sentences)

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Unread postby vb99 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:04 pm

Brigh nam Facal has a list of abbreviations and terms 2 pages prior to the verb tables. The table headings are included and an English “equivalent” is shown. Using this list, I think the labels for the 2 verb tables on most pages could also be called “active voice” and “passive voice” (spreigeach or fulangach in the upper left corner of the matrix). This list is also helpful because the definitions in the dictionary sometimes include abbreviations (such as “gin.” – genitive, “iol” – plural, etc.). :)

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:23 pm

akerbeltz wrote:Source of the post
for any regular verb you simply need to memorise the imperative/citation form and the verbal noun, then you can get every other tense from these forms

Correct. The one caveat are words which end in l/r/ng which can exhibit syncope (shortening of the word, see this page


Ok, I'll get to this soon.

akerbeltz wrote:
As for 'a' being the personal, 'b' the impersonal, can you give me an example of the difference? It's probably something really obvious and simple I know.

Tha Calum a' dol dhan sgoil = Calum is going to school
Thathar a' dol dhan sgoil = people go to school, one goes to school (i.e. there is no overt subject in impersonal sentences)


Ok that makes sense. So in Gaelic you have to use a different form of the verb for the personal and impersonal, and that applies to all regular verbs? If so, that's gonna make the whole thing much harder to learn :-(

I was actually thinking, although I said at the start of this thread that there are main 16 tenses in English, there are actually a fair few more than that - the additional ones I didn't mention seem to be ones that use a conjugation of 'to be' + the past participle, instead of 'I have' + past participle. For exampe, instead of 'I have eaten', you might say 'Dinner is eaten' etc or maybe 'Dinner is served', 'The house is sold', etc. If we use the phrase 'Dinner is served', we can actually find at least 12 more tenses using this conjugation of 'to be' + past participle form (admittedly, the last 4 in this list are modal verb forms):

- Dinner is served
- Dinner was served
- Dinner has been served
- Dinner had been served
- Dinner will be served
- Dinner will have been served
- Dinner would be served
- Dinner would have been served
- Dinner could be served
- Dinner could have been served
- Dinner should be served
- Dinner should have been served

Now I'm wondering what the grammatical term for these tense with the 'to be' conjugation + past particle is. I know that with 'to have' + past participle, it's called the perfect tense. This other form means there are a lot more tenses than I originally though. This also applies in French too - some past tense forms don't start with 'to have', but rather with a conjugation of 'to be'.

So how would this tense and the sentences above be translated into Gaelic? (If it's possible to do so?).

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Unread postby faoileag » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:22 am

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:

To be perfectly honest, I think by now you are really in the realm where normally I would be paying a private teacher to help me sort out these things, e.g. via Skype. Please always remember this is a forum with volunteers, very few of them at a level to deal with your very detailed queries, so please do not take their time and expertise for granted :flur: , however helpful they are when they can spare the time. I am not saying this to be mean or discouraging, but as a fellow forum admin, aware of demands on time and resources. It's great that you are so dedicated :moladh: - I mean that entirely seriously - but you have to be realistic about what a forum can give you, and also really take time to follow the leads given. Take more time, digest more thoroughly, before grasping for the next step. :priob: Walk before you can run.... :lol:

And keep going! :-) Cum ort! :obair:

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Unread postby GunChleoc » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:16 am

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.
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