Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

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Polygot2017
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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:36 am

Hi all. I have a question about the verb 'to leave' in Gàidhlig (well, technically not the infinitive, but the verbal noun 'leaving'). Sometimes I've seen 'fàgail', whereas other times I've seen 'falbh'. For example:

Feumaidh mi falbh - I have to leave

Bidh mi a’ fàgail an taighe aig cairteal gu naoi - I leave the house at quarter to nine

So is there are any difference between the two, or are they basically interchangeable? Would it be possible to switch these 2 sentences around so they become?....

Feumaidh mi a’ fàgail

Bidh mi a’ falbh an taighe aig cairteal gu naoi



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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:50 am

There has to be an object with fàgail. Think of it as "leave something" i.e. a' fàgail Glaschu, fàg an sashimi ud... but falbh doesn't need one i.e. tha mi a' falbh and can't actually take one unless you slap it on with a prep i.e. a' falbh leis a' ghaoith.

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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby Polygot2017 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:06 pm

akerbeltz wrote:Source of the post There has to be an object with fàgail. Think of it as "leave something" i.e. a' fàgail Glaschu, fàg an sashimi ud... but falbh doesn't need one i.e. tha mi a' falbh and can't actually take one unless you slap it on with a prep i.e. a' falbh leis a' ghaoith.


So do they both mean leaving in the sense of physically leaving a place? What about leaving something behind, e.g 'I left my bag at the house' etc, or is there a different verb in Gàidhlig for that?

I'm still not quite sure what you mean when you say 'falbh' needs a prep in order to have an object with it. Which preps do you mean, and can you give me an example with the sentence 'Bidh mi a’ falbh an taighe aig cairteal gu naoi' (which I presume is incorrect because there's no prep with it?) ?

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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby GunChleoc » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:20 pm

Exactly, this has to be 'Bidh mi a’ fàgail an taighe aig cairteal gu naoi' or 'Bidh mi a’ falbh on taigh aig cairteal gu naoi'

Use "fàg" for "leaving behind". "falbh" also works for "go away".
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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby faoileag » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:40 am

Falbh is leave, depart, go off, set out, take off - no direct object.

Dh'fhalbh mi aig 9m.

Lots of common idiomatic uses, e.g.
na bliadhnaichean a dh'fhalbh - years gone by
Tha Calum a' falbh le Catrìona - C. is going (out) with C.
Bha mo sporan air falbh - my purse was gone!
Dh'fhalbh iad gus caraidean fhaicinn. went (off) to see friends (often translates the English "go")
Dh'fhalbh iad uile a Chanada. - went (off) to C.

(You can add any sensible preposition, eg bho, le, a, to get a prepositional object - if you call it that - but no direct or "accusative" object. As soon as you have that, you need fàg.)

Fàg is leave behind - a place, an object, a person.

Dh'fhàg iad Glaschu / an taigh / na caraidean.
Dh'fhàg mi am baga agam air a' bhus.

Common idiom : air fhàgail - left over.
Cha robh ach criomagan air fhàgail. (Or formally, air am fàgail.) There were only crumbs left over.
Chan eil mòran air fhàgail - there's not much/many left.

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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby Ionatan » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:13 am

I know I am late to the party but mòran taing to the people who explained this (@akerbeltz, @GunChleoc and @faoileag). I was about to ask the very same question. In Can Seo people regularly stomp off in a mood saying "Tha mi a-falbh" and then we get to lesson 8 where they start leaving their possessions all over the place (so careless!). But in the work book you are asked to tr*nsl*t* Tormod's diary into Gaelic and in one part he says "I left home at 7:50".

I put: "Bha mi a-falbh an taigh aig deich mionaidean gu a h-ochd"
Given answer: "Dh'fhàg mi an taigh aig deich mionaidean gu a h-ochd"

I think my mangled version perhaps says "I was leaving" rather than "I left" in retrospect anyway, but at least I now understand why it is fàg and not falbh here.

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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:26 am

a-falbh » a' falbh
by the way

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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby Ionatan » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:01 pm

a-falbh » a' falbh


Ah! Yes. Taing! And, tha me duilich, for using the 'T-word' without putting it into "code". I understand the necessity.

I do know a' falbh should be with the appostrophe (honest) but I keep writing it with a hypen because of the likes of a-steach, a-staigh, a-muigh and a-mach and because of the (mostly American) idion of putting a- in front of the infinitive as in "she came a-running down the road while he was a-standing on the roof a-hollering fit to burst" (or something like that).

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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:26 pm

Ionatan wrote:Ah! Yes. Taing! And, tha me duilich, for using the 'T-word' without putting it into "code". I understand the necessity.

Don't worry about it -- the site handles it. You're allowed to say the word, we just make sure Google doesn't hear it... ;-)

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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:30 pm

I do know a' falbh should be with the appostrophe (honest) but I keep writing it with a hypen because of the likes of a-steach, a-staigh, a-muigh and a-mach and because of the (mostly American) idion of putting a- in front of the infinitive as in "she came a-running down the road while he was a-standing on the roof a-hollering fit to burst" (or something like that).


I'd try hard to weed that habit out. The hyphen in Gaelic does things very different to English. Mostly it indicates unexpected stress placement i.e. in a-mach for example, it's not Amach in terms of stress but aMAch, hence the hyphen.

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Fàgail vs falbh for 'leaving', is there any difference?

Unread postby Ionatan » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:39 am

Mòran taing!

I'd try hard to weed that habit out. The hyphen in Gaelic does things very different to English. Mostly it indicates unexpected stress placement i.e. in a-mach for example, it's not Amach in terms of stress but aMAch, hence the hyphen.


That is a VERY useful snippet of information for a beginner.