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

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

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:45 pm

Recently I've been learning all the verb tenses in Gàidhlig (well, attempting to, anyway) and I thought it would be useful to make a post on this subject, since this is still causes a lot of confusion to Gàidhlig learners. This thread could summarise how to form each tense in the simplest, most easy to follow way in order to take the mystery out of them, and the more experienced here could make sure the info here is all correct. Not only would this be useful for me, but also for other Gàidhlig learners too.

I'm most likely edit and refine this thread as we go along, based upon feedback and corrections from others, to make it even simpler and easier to follow, but I'll get started for now anyway - this thread is a bit of an experiment really too.

As a starting point for learning verb tenses, I like to imagine that there are 4 basic categories of tenses in English - present, past, future and conditional - and then 4 sub-categories for each of these tenses - simple, progressive/continuous, perfect, and perfect progressive/continuous, making 16 tenses in total. I know that technically there are more tenses than this, especially if one counts modal verb forms (but I'll save modal verbs for another thread), and also some people refer to these subcategories as 'moods' or 'voices' etc, but for the purpose of this thread let's refer to all 16 as tenses. When I learn another language, I like to figure out how to create all 16 tenses as a good starting point. Now I am aware that not all tenses tr*nsl*t* exactly/at all into other languages, so I simply figure out which tenses are viable/which are not when I learn them in another language.

You could imagine these 16 tenses in a grid, with the 4 basic categories verticaly on the left, and the 4 sub-categories of each horizontally at the top. Let's make a list of all 16 tenses, using the verb 'to eat' to illustrate them: (btw, it is possible to insert images into posts here? It may be easier for me to create a picture of a grid of the tenses instead)...

Present tense

Present simple - I eat, I do eat
Present progressive/continuous - I am eating
Present perfect - I have eaten
Present perfect progressive/continuous - I have been eating

Past tense

Past simple - I ate, I did eat
Past progressive/continuous (also called the 'imperfect' tense) - I was eating
Past perfect (also known as the 'pluperfect') - I had eaten
Past perfect progressive/continuous - I had been eating

Future tense

Future simple - I will eat, I am going to eat
Future progressive/continuous - I will be eating
Future perfect - I will have eaten
Future perfect progressive/continuous - I will have been eating

Conditional tense

Conditional simple - I would eat
Conditional continuous/progressive - I would be eating
Conditional perfect - I would have eaten
Conditional perfect progressive/continuous - I would have been eating

So now the question is how to form all these in Gàidhlig, without getting your brain in a twist. Well first let's start with the present tense....

Present Tense in Gàidhlig

English has 3 ways to express the present tense, for which I will use the verb 'to eat' to illustrate - I eat (present simple), I do eat (present simple), and I am eating (present progressive/continuous). (Technically in English, both 'I have eaten' and 'I have been eating' are forms of the present tense, but for practical purposes I prefer to refer to these as past tense forms, so I'll leave them out in this section).

As I understand it, in Gàidhlig you use 'Tha' followed by mi/thu/e/i/sinn/sibh/iad followed by the particle 'a' or 'ag' and the verbal noun for all these forms. Simple! Don't be put off by the funny spelling in Gàidhlig - 'Tha' is prounounced like 'ha' as in 'ha ha' (why are you laughing?)

To form the negative statement, you simply replace 'tha' with 'chan eil'. To form the question form, you replace 'tha' with 'a bheil?', and to form the negative question form you replace 'tha' with 'nach eil'.

'Chan eil' is pronounced like 'can yell', but with a harder, harsher 'c' formed at back of the throat like in the word 'loch'. Can you yell out 'chan eil'...go on give it a try.

'A bheil?' means 'are (you, we, they)?' or 'do (you, we, they)?' or 'is (he/she/it)? or 'does (he/she/it)? (depending on what pronoun follows), and is pronounced like 'a vill' as in 'a village' or 'a villa'. Think of asking someone 'are you from a village?' or 'do you live in a village?'

'Nach eil' mean 'do (you, we, they) not?'/'are (you, we, they) not?' or 'doesn't (he/she/it)?'/'isn't (he/she/it)', and is pronounced as 'knack yell'...you are really getting the 'knack for yelling out things in Gaelic now, aren't you? Just remember to make the end of 'nach' into that harder/harsh 'c' as in 'chan eil'.

In addition to this, for the simple present tense form ('I eat' or 'I do eat'), for actions you do habitually/on a repeated basis, you can also use the future tense to express this, by using 'Bidh mi/thu/e/i/sinn/sibh/iad' followed by the particle 'a' or 'ag' and the verbal noun for all these forms. This is interchangeable with the 'Tha' form of the present tense if you are discussing habitual actions, but for the present progressive/continuous form (e.g 'I am eating', with the 'ing') you MUST use the 'Tha' form I just discussed, and not this second form with 'bidh'.

'Bidh' is pronounced like 'bee', as in honey bees that fly around your garden in summer. Who said languages were difficult, eh?

So that's the present tense dealt with. Now let's move on to the future tense....

(To be contunued....)
Last edited by Polygot2017 on Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Unread postby GunChleoc » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:19 am

If it helps you sort things our, do continue with this, but keeom in mind that just as with the meaning for words, tenses don't always match 1:1. For example. Porgutuese has 3 forms of continuous tense and more past tenses than English, which are being used differently. For Gaelic, the future tense used to be the present tense once, so many things thyt you would express in the present tense in English need the future tense in Gaelic.

We also have some verb tables, in case you find thm useful: http://www.foramnagaidhlig.net/index.php?page=142
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All the main verb tenses in Gàidhlig, no more mystery!

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:26 pm

GunChleoc wrote: If it helps you sort things our, do continue with this, but keep in mind that just as with the meaning for words, tenses don't always match 1:1. For example. Porgutuese has 3 forms of continuous tense and more past tenses than English, which are being used differently.


I know that not every tense will tr*nsl*t* exactly, or even at all in some cases, but just to have an overview of the main tenses in Gaelic would be great, and to have the experienced Gaelic speakers here check my translations/summaries of each tense here would be helpful. I'm aiming to find the simplest way of explaining how to form each tense really.

GunChleoc wrote:For Gaelic, the future tense used to be the present tense once, so many things thyt you would express in the present tense in English need the future tense in Gaelic.


Ok, are you talking about habitual actions in the present tense that are expressed using 'Bhi mi...' etc, like I discussed in my summary of the present tense? What about the other future tense form that use the dependent and independent forms of verbs, can this also be used for habitual present tense actions, and is it basically interchangeable with the 'Bhi mi...' form?

GunChleoc wrote:We also have some verb tables, in case you find thm useful: http://www.foramnagaidhlig.net/index.php?page=142


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. Are all Gaelic tenses covered there?
Last edited by Polygot2017 on Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:49 pm

Ok let's move on to the future tense...

In English, we use 'I am going to...' or 'I will...' for the simple future tense, e.g. 'I am going to eat' and 'I will eat'. For the progressive future tense English uses 'I will be eating.

How to form these in Gàidhlig.

I believe it's possible to form the future tense in Gàidhlig with 'going to', as in 'Tha mi a' dol...', but instead of simply putting the particle a or ag & a verbal noun after 'Tha mi a' dol' you have to put 'a' followed by the lenited verbal noun, e.g. 'Tha mi a' dol a dh'ithe' for 'I am going to eat', etc.

For the future tense with will, for the progressive/continuous future ( 'I will be eating', etc), just start with the present tense with 'Tha' etc but replace 'Tha' with 'Bidh' (meaning 'will' or 'will be', and pronounced 'bee' as in the insect) instead.

For the negative statement, replace 'bidh' with 'cha bhi' (meaning 'will not (be)' and pronounced like the first 2 syllables of caviar, but with the harder 'ch' sound instead of a normal 'c').

For the question form, replace 'bidh' with 'Am bi?' (meaning 'will (be)?', pronounced 'am bee'), and the negative question form is 'nach bi?' (meaning 'will not (be)', and pronounced like 'nach' for the present tense and 'bee').

My confusion arises as to whether this tense also covers for the simple future tense, i.e. 'I will eat', rather than 'I will be eating'.

I've seen a separate form of the future tense for 'I will' rather than 'I will be...', using independent and dependent forms of verb. Basically you take the dictionary form of the verb (imperative) and add 'idh' and 'aidh' to get the future tense with 'will'. For the negative form, just use the dictionary form preceded by 'cha' (before a consonant) or 'chan' (before a vowel). For the question form, replace 'cha/chan' with 'An' or 'Am', and for the negative question form replace with 'Nach'.

I don't know whether there are any other future tense forms in Gàidhlig also - I've seen something called the relative form of the future tense, but am not sure how this differs from the forms I've discussed here. Some clarification on this point would be helpful, thanks.

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Unread postby akerbeltz » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:06 pm

Ummm slow down 8-)

I think you're doing this the wrong way round. You're approaching this from English but that's just going to turn into one unholy mess because the tense/mood system of Gaelic is rather different, even though you may be able to re-use familiar labels. For starters, while Gaelic in theory has things like the pluperfect, you very rarely see them. The language has a distinct preference for simple tenses i.e. future, present, past and conditional. Where it adds a layer of complexity you don't get in English is where Gaelic "mirrors" the whole set by introducing impersonal forms (e.g. nì "will do" vs nithear "one/people will do, it will be done").

I really recommend you grab a copy of Brìgh nam Facal and copy the verb tables there and go from there or in any case to work from Gaelic and accept that in many cases where English might make distinctions between imperfect and perfect and goodness knows what else, Gaelic usually rolls with 3 (4 if you count present) tenses. At the stage you're at, I really suggest you just get those 4 under your belt to begin with and start worrying about the others when you have a really good grip on the irregular and regular verbs in those 4. That's a fair chunk as it is.

Also, move off the English fonetix, there is a very small overlap between Gaelic sounds and English sounds and trying to correlate them is going to result in truly terrible Gaelic. Even Gaelic and English b d g are significantly different, not to mention the more "exotic" ones. Another reason to go easy on trying to learn ALL tenses at once.

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:22 pm

akerbeltz wrote:Where it adds a layer of complexity you don't get in English is where Gaelic "mirrors" the whole set by introducing impersonal forms (e.g. nì "will do" vs nithear "one/people will do, it will be done").


Ok, now that sounds quite tricky - do you have any resources on learning these forms?

akerbeltz wrote:I really recommend you grab a copy of Brìgh nam Facal and copy the verb tables there and go from there


Ok I looked that up and it's a Gaelic to Gaelic dictionary? Do the verb tables cover all/most of the tenses, including the compound ones and modal verbs too? I was considering getting 'Gaelic Verbs: Systemised And Simplified' by Colin B.D. Mark as apparently this covers all tenses but the downside is that it has no audio.

akerbeltz wrote:Gaelic usually rolls with 3 (4 if you count present) tenses. At the stage you're at, I really suggest you just get those 4 under your belt to begin with and start worrying about the others when you have a really good grip on the irregular and regular verbs in those 4. That's a fair chunk as it is.


Ok so I should focus on the basic 4 tenses first - present, past, future and conditional? I pretty much understand the present tense, the future tense with 'Bidh mi' etc, the past tense with 'Bha mi' etc (I believe this is the imperfect tense), and also the simple past 'I ate/did eat' etc. I need to work on the conditional tense, it shouldn't be too difficult.

What about the past tense with 'have' (I believe technically it's called the 'present perfect'), e.g 'I have eaten' etc? Is that used a lot in Gaelic? As far as I can tell, the simple past and past tense with 'Bha mi' forms are used a lot. According to Taic, this perfect tense is 'Tha mi air ithe'.

And according to Taic, the pluperfect in Gaelic is 'Bha (mi) air...', e.g. 'Bha mi air leughadh' ('I had read').

In fact, thinking about it, the pattern seems really easy to me for compound tenses, it looks like for all the perfect tenses you just start with the usual present/past/future/conditional form and the replace a or ag with 'air', and for the progressive/continuous tenses you replace 'air' with 'air a bhith' instead. That makes it all easy to me, but are you saying these compound tenses aren't used much in Gaelic then?

As I've already mentioned in an earlier reply on this thread, I need to understand the other 2 future tense forms, i.e. the relative form and also the one that use the independent and dependent forms of verbs (does this form mean 'I will (eat)' as opposed to 'I will be eating' for the 'Bidh mi' form?).

akerbeltz wrote:Also, move off the English fonetix, there is a very small overlap between Gaelic sounds and English sounds and trying to correlate them is going to result in truly terrible Gaelic. Even Gaelic and English b d g are significantly different, not to mention the more "exotic" ones. Another reason to go easy on trying to learn ALL tenses at once.


I get what you mean, but the idea there was just to create a fun little 'memory hook' to help remember the forms.

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Unread postby akerbeltz » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:21 pm

Ok, now that sounds quite tricky - do you have any resources on learning these forms?


Brìgh nam Facal has them in a really logical layout.

Ok I looked that up and it's a Gaelic to Gaelic dictionary? Do the verb tables cover all/most of the tenses, including the compound ones and modal verbs too? I was considering getting 'Gaelic Verbs: Systemised And Simplified' by Colin B.D. Mark as apparently this covers all tenses but the downside is that it has no audio.

It covers the irregular verbs, plus a couple of regular ones. Not the compound ones (I assume with that you mean stuff like the pluperfect) or modal verbs. Colin Mark for the fuller picture is good, but you really want to reach the stage where you can just rattle off the irregular and regular ones first without thinking, that's a pretty big challenge for starters. Most modal verbs you only get in the past/conditional anyway.

Ok so I should focus on the basic 4 tenses first - present, past, future and conditional?

Definitely.

I pretty much understand the present tense, the future tense with 'Bidh mi' etc, the past tense with 'Bha mi' etc (I believe this is the imperfect tense), and also the simple past 'I ate/did eat' etc.

Technically it probably is but for simplicity, you can just call it the past. That's how Gaelic looks at it.

What about the past tense with 'have' (I believe technically it's called the 'present perfect'), e.g 'I have eaten' etc? Is that used a lot in Gaelic? As far as I can tell, the simple past and past tense with 'Bha mi' forms are used a lot. According to Taic, this perfect tense is 'Tha mi air ithe'.

And according to Taic, the pluperfect in Gaelic is 'Bha (mi) air...', e.g. 'Bha mi air leughadh' ('I had read').


Technically correct but you have more birthdays in a year than occasions to use the pluperfect in Gaelic without sounding weird. Things like air ithe are quite common but the other ones aren't.

That makes it all easy to me, but are you saying these compound tenses aren't used much in Gaelic then?

I am indeed. Not that it's not worthwhile learning them but until we can have these questions and answers in Gaelic using the 4 basic tenses/moods, they're not high priority.

As I've already mentioned in an earlier reply on this thread, I need to understand the other 2 future tense forms, i.e. the relative form and also the one that use the independent and dependent forms of verbs (does this form mean 'I will (eat)' as opposed to 'I will be eating' for the 'Bidh mi' form?).

That's really only one future tense (bidh/nì/chì/leughaidh...). The other one is a future tense (bidh) plus a tense-less participle, so nothing much to learn there.

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:48 pm

akerbeltz wrote: Brìgh nam Facal has them in a really logical layout.


Ok, I'll consider getting hold of a copy.

akerbeltz wrote: you really want to reach the stage where you can just rattle off the irregular and regular ones first without thinking, that's a pretty big challenge for starters.


I'm working on memorising the irregular verbs too. The thing is, most of these verb tables I see for the irregular verbs contain the root, verbal noun, infinitive, past tense and future tense - can irregular verbs be made into conditional and other past tenses too (presumably you'd use the verbal noun and the forms of 'to be' to get the other tenses, like you would for regular verbs?).

Also, some sources say there 10 irregular verbs in Gaelic, others say 12, so which is it?

akerbeltz wrote:Most modal verbs you only get in the past/conditional anyway.


So there's no present or future for modal verbs? What about 'feumaidh mi' for 'I must/I have to then' ? Isn't that in the present tense? Isn't it possible to make this into the future too, by saying 'I will have to...' etc?

Also 'is urrainn dhomh' and 'Tha mi ag iarraidh' and 'Tha mi airson' - these are present tense too, surely there must be a future form of these?

I must admit, I haven't really studied modal verbs in detail in Gaelic yet, but I'll get to them.

akerbeltz wrote:
I pretty much understand the present tense, the future tense with 'Bidh mi' etc, the past tense with 'Bha mi' etc (I believe this is the imperfect tense), and also the simple past 'I ate/did eat' etc.

Technically it probably is but for simplicity, you can just call it the past. That's how Gaelic looks at it.


So 'Bha mi ag ithe' means both 'I was eating' but can also mean 'I ate'/'I did eat'?

akerbeltz wrote:That's really only one future tense (bidh/nì/chì/leughaidh...). The other one is a future tense (bidh) plus a tense-less participle, so nothing much to learn there.


If there's only one future tense, why are there are 4 different forms taught in Taic?...

1) The future tense with 'to be' - http://taic.me.uk/leasan9.htm

2) The future tense for regular verbs (with independent and dependent forms of verbs) - (lesson 26) -

3) The relative future - (lesson 28)

4) The future tense using 'Tha mi a dol...' - (taught in lesson 8)

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Unread postby akerbeltz » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:54 pm

The thing is, most of these verb tables I see for the irregular verbs contain the root, verbal noun, infinitive, past tense and future tense - can irregular verbs be made into conditional and other past tenses too (presumably you'd use the verbal noun and the forms of 'to be' to get the other tenses, like you would for regular verbs?).

Yes, apart from defective verbs like the copula is, faod/feum and their like, you get the whole range.

Also, some sources say there 10 irregular verbs in Gaelic, others say 12, so which is it?

It depends on whether you count is as a full verb on the one and how suppletive you handle others i.e. most of the paradigm of abair for example is provided by the regular verb can, with only the past tenses thuirt/duirt being commonly used of abair.

So there's no present or future for modal verbs? What about 'feumaidh mi' for 'I must/I have to then' ? Isn't that in the present tense? Isn't it possible to make this into the future too, by saying 'I will have to...' etc?

Feum and faod technically have future tenses (i.e. feumaidh/faodaidh etc) but they operate as if they were present. It's a funny side effect of Gaelic losing its present tense. There is no way of making feumaidh "future", you have to draft in periphrastic constructions like bidh agam ri... if you want to be very specific about something having to be the case in the future.

Also 'is urrainn dhomh' and 'Tha mi ag iarraidh' and 'Tha mi airson' - these are present tense too, surely there must be a future form of these?

is is indeed present but there is no way of making the copula future. This is part of the reason why I said you should organize your verb learning coming from Gaelic, not English. Putting on my linguist's hat for a moment, the classical concept of past/present/future/conditional/etc does not fit Gaelic well. If a linguist encountered Gaelic today in, for the sake of argument, the Amazon, they would not likely use these terms to describe the tense/mood system. I believe it was MacAulay who pointed out that for Gaelic, a 4-way grid of
Definite Non-definite
Tensed
Non-tensed
would be a much more elegant solution than the classical model which works well for Latin and English (amongst others) but not Celtic - and a lot of the rest of the world. But since that freaks learners even more, most tutors even at uni stick to the classical terms.

As regards tha mi airson, since the verb is tha, of course that one you get in all the tenses you can get tha in.

So 'Bha mi ag ithe' means both 'I was eating' but can also mean 'I ate'/'I did eat'?

No. This is why I keep trying to slow you down a bit :priob: You really have to separate the construction of bi + ag (i.e. is + participle) from a plain verb construction. Just as in English, eating does not have a tense - you can't tell just from that word whether it was today, yesterday or right now, only that the action was ongoing. The tense is imparted by forms of be (am/is/are/was...). In ate/drank/ran on the other hand there is no participle (i.e. the action is completed) and the verb tells you when something happened. tha mi ag ithe and dh'ith mi operate exactly like that, in the first, the tha is the bit that tells you it's happening now (and you can swap it for bidh or bha to change the when). In dh'ith mi, the dh' tells you it's past tense and from the lack of a participle aka verb noun you know the action is not ongoing.

If there's only one future tense, why are there are 4 different forms taught in Taic?...

1) The future tense with 'to be' - http://taic.me.uk/leasan9.htm

2) The future tense for regular verbs (with independent and dependent forms of verbs) - (lesson 26) -

3) The relative future - (lesson 28)

4) The future tense using 'Tha mi a dol...' - (taught in lesson 8)

Again, this is why I keep saying slow down. You're zooming past stuff without it getting a grip in your memory properly. There is only one future tense, conceptually, but what that looks like depends and it's rather different from English.

To begin with, what you have under 1) 2) and 4) is the same thing but just looking at different verbs. The future of the root bi is bidh, the future of the root seòl is seòlaidh, the future of the root faic is chì. Those are all the same future tense. What you have in 4) is just what you have in 1), tha is the present tense of the root bi which in the future becomes bidh. The fact that sometimes bi is used as a main verb and sometimes it combines with a participle/verbal noun to express an ongoing motion does not mean it's a different future.

As for 3), that's where you possible glossed over stuff in a rush :priob: In English, the verb forms tend to vary depending on the person i.e. is becomes am/are/is depending on whether it's preceded by I/you/he/she/it/we... Gaelic largely doesn't care two hoots about whether the person is mi/thu/e/i... (except in some instances of the conditional and imperative). What Gaelic does is it changes the shape of the verb depending on what particles precede it - or don't precede it. In the future, bidh is the so-called independent form because it occurs when there is nothing in front of the verb: bidh mi an-seo a-màireach. In am bi mi an-seo a-màireach? the form has changed to bi because after a positive question word like an/am Gaelic requires the dependent form of the verb in the future. In cha bhi mi an-seo a-màireach, we have a sub-category of the dependent form i.e. bi + lenition because cha not only requires a dependent verb form to follow but also lenites bcfgmp. In carson a bhios mi an-seo a-màireach? the verb bi appears as bhios because it is preceded by the relative particle a, which is something that has to be there if you link certain question words (like carson or ciamar) with a verb. But it's still all the same future tense.

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:44 pm

akerbeltz wrote: I believe it was MacAulay who pointed out that for Gaelic, a 4-way grid of
Definite Non-definite
Tensed
Non-tensed
would be a much more elegant solution


Ok, so in practical terms, what would fit into each of these 4 categories?

akerbeltz wrote: Again, this is why I keep saying slow down. You're zooming past stuff without it getting a grip in your memory properly. There is only one future tense, conceptually, but what that looks like depends and it's rather different from English.

To begin with, what you have under 1) 2) and 4) is the same thing but just looking at different verbs. The future of the root bi is bidh, the future of the root seòl is seòlaidh, the future of the root faic is chì. Those are all the same future tense. What you have in 4) is just what you have in 1), tha is the present tense of the root bi which in the future becomes bidh. The fact that sometimes bi is used as a main verb and sometimes it combines with a participle/verbal noun to express an ongoing motion does not mean it's a different future.

As for 3), that's where you possible glossed over stuff in a rush :priob: In English, the verb forms tend to vary depending on the person i.e. is becomes am/are/is depending on whether it's preceded by I/you/he/she/it/we... Gaelic largely doesn't care two hoots about whether the person is mi/thu/e/i... (except in some instances of the conditional and imperative). What Gaelic does is it changes the shape of the verb depending on what particles precede it - or don't precede it. In the future, bidh is the so-called independent form because it occurs when there is nothing in front of the verb: bidh mi an-seo a-màireach. In am bi mi an-seo a-màireach? the form has changed to bi because after a positive question word like an/am Gaelic requires the dependent form of the verb in the future. In cha bhi mi an-seo a-màireach, we have a sub-category of the dependent form i.e. bi + lenition because cha not only requires a dependent verb form to follow but also lenites bcfgmp. In carson a bhios mi an-seo a-màireach? the verb bi appears as bhios because it is preceded by the relative particle a, which is something that has to be there if you link certain question words (like carson or ciamar) with a verb. But it's still all the same future tense.


This whole way of labeling verbs as dependent vs independent forms is a new concept to me that I'm trying to get my head around. So in simple terms, an independent verb form has nothing in front of it, whereas a dependent one does?

My other question is regarding what these forms of the future tense mean - I know that they cover the future tense with 'will' (apart from the one that uses 'Tha mi a' dol', which of course means 'I am going to...'), but do all the first 3 categories I listed mean simply 'will (eat)' or 'will be (eating)', or do they cover both? It may sound like a small distinction, but there is a difference in English (and many other languages) between the two - 'I will (eat)' is the simple future, whereas 'I will be (eating)' is the progressive/continuous future.

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Unread postby akerbeltz » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:28 pm

Ok, so in practical terms, what would fit into each of these 4 categories?


I don't think I can explain this here, at least not so that it makes sense

This whole way of labeling verbs as dependent vs independent forms is a new concept to me that I'm trying to get my head around.

May I ask what materials you are studying with just now?

So in simple terms, an independent verb form has nothing in front of it, whereas a dependent one does?

Oversimplifying, yes.

My other question is regarding what these forms of the future tense mean - I know that they cover the future tense with 'will' (apart from the one that uses 'Tha mi a' dol', which of course means 'I am going to...'), but do all the first 3 categories I listed mean simply 'will (eat)' or 'will be (eating)', or do they cover both? It may sound like a small distinction, but there is a difference in English (and many other languages) between the two - 'I will (eat)' is the simple future, whereas 'I will be (eating)' is the progressive/continuous future.

Anything that has ag/a' + VN in it in Gaelic will be "progressive", whatever tense the main verb appears in; same as in English where you can have I was eating/I am eating/I will be eating appearing in 3 different tenses, the only difference being the tense marking of the main verb. If it doesn't have ag/a' + VN in Gaelic, no -ing i.e. it'll be a simple past/future.

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:48 pm

akerbeltz wrote:May I ask what materials you are studying with just now?


A mix of different materials, but mostly 'Speaking Our Language' and 'Taic'. I've got to the end of series 3 of 'Speaking Our Language', and it does teach a lot of the tenses we've discussed actually, but it doesn't actually explain the grammar points directly. You kind of learn the tenses within the context of dialogues you watch, which is good in some ways, but not so good in that you don't consciously understand the grammar behind why those tenses are like that. Hence a lot of my confusion.

I've also been going through some of the Taic lessons, especially those on tenses. That is also a really good resource, but can be quite formal at times.

I also have copies of 'Colloquial Scottish Gaelic' and Hugo's 'Scottish Gaelic in 3 Months' that I'll get soon too.

I've looked at some other courses on LearnGaelic.net too - their beginners course, and the 'little by little' lessons - as well as some basic lessons on 'Go Gaelic' (which was designed for kids, but it's useful for beginners to learn basic phrases).

I realised that I have actually learned enough material to hold reasonable level conversations in Gaelic - but it's just consciously understanding all the grammar that I find tricky. Perhaps if I didn't over-analyse it so much I might do better. I'm trying to organise all the stuff I've learned into a logical order so I can hold better conversations, basically.

akerbeltz wrote:Anything that has ag/a' + VN in it in Gaelic will be "progressive", whatever tense the main verb appears in; same as in English where you can have I was eating/I am eating/I will be eating appearing in 3 different tenses, the only difference being the tense marking of the main verb. If it doesn't have ag/a' + VN in Gaelic, no -ing i.e. it'll be a simple past/future.


Ok that makes sense, so the form of the future that adds onto the verb as in Taic lesson 26 is the simple future, whereas 'bidh' is the progressive future.

I've briefly looked into the conditional tense - there are 2 lessons on this in Taic, lesson 11 and 29. The first deals with the form of bi + VN (Bhithinn / Bhiodh / Bhiomaid etc) so is obviously the continuous/progressive conditional tense, the second deals with the conditional without the form of 'bi' by the looks of it, so is therefore the simple conditional, but I need to read into it more.

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Unread postby akerbeltz » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:35 pm

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.

I've briefly looked into the conditional tense

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

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Unread postby GunChleoc » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:11 pm

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.
Oileanach chànan chuthachail

Na dealbhan agam

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Unread postby Polygot2017 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:10 pm

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.

However I can more or less read Gaelic and get the correct pronunciations, plus it does state how most of the words are pronounced in the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet, which I am yet to properly learn, but would likely be helpful for Gaelic as well as other languages).

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)?
Last edited by Polygot2017 on Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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