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Cait' Caite/ bheil

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:00 am
by clarsach
Hi,

Can someone explain cait' vs caite (where?) and when to use bheil vs using a bheil?

My lesson book has cait/caite in the dictionary at the back but only ever uses cait' that I can see. Is this just shortening the word, as we do in English with contractions? They never explain, that I can find.


Also, I see phrases at many places around the internet using

cait a bheil,
caite a bheil, and
caite bheil.

When and how would each of these properly be used? What exactly is the difference?

tapadh leat!

Cait' Caite/ bheil

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:10 pm
by GunChleoc
Yes, it's a bit like contractions. In "Càite a bheil", the 2 sounds that I underlined are pronounced the same, so they usually get pulled into one.

Càite bheil is an unusual spelling for it though, Càit' a bheil is the usual way to spell it.

Cait' Caite/ bheil

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:46 am
by clarsach
Thank you, GunChleoc. That's what I figured.

Any explanation for cait a bheil, caite a bheil, and caite bheil? Is it all pretty much the same thing, just different spellings to account for that similar sound of caite a bheil? Typos? Or an actual difference in meaning?

Many thanks for your help.

Cait' Caite/ bheil

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:43 pm
by Níall Beag
They are all different renderings of the same thing, just as GunChleoc says.

Basically, as both the "a" and the "e" are weak, they're pronounced the same way, and you'll only hear one of them.

People who write "caite a bheil" are thinking "they're both there, even if they sound like one sound".
People who write "cait' a bheil" are thinking "there's only one sound, so I'm only writing one sound, and if I don't write the a, the grammar won't be clear".
People who write "caite bheil" are possibly thinking "there's only one sound, so I'm only writing one sound, and if I write cait' a then I'm going to be using just as much space, so why bother?"

People, basically, never agree on anything. ;-)

Cait' Caite/ bheil

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:57 pm
by akerbeltz
Mmm it's mostly down to people not quite getting the way Gaelic sounds and the Gaelic writing system works. Càite is a contraction of an old question word, let's just say c- and àite.

Now, how this is exactly pronounced depends on mainly on two questions: a) what comes after the càite and b) where is the speaker from.

If the answer to a) is "it is followed by a vowel or it is at the end of the sentence" then in most varieties of Gaelic, the final /ə/ sound disappears. This is a general sound rule and applies in many other word combinations so technically speaking, since it's a general sound rule, there's no specific need to drop the -e in writing. There are, however, people who like to write stuff how they think they say it (I say "think" because what they usually end up writing is rather inconsistent).

If the answer to a) is "it is followed by a consonant" then chances are the /ə/ at the end is still there because it's easier to say a sequence of consonant - vowel - consonant than consonant consonant.

The answer to a) can be complicated by the answer to b) because Hebridean speakers have a tendency to drop a final weak /ə/ in GENERAL i.e not only does càite generally come out as càit irrespective of the answer to a) but also words like eaglaise come out as eaglais, even of they're not at the end of a phrase or followed by a vowel.

As a learner, you're probably going to see the least amount of red ink if you always write it càit (without the -e and without a final apostrophe).

Cait' Caite/ bheil

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:55 pm
by AlexAkimov
SMO definitely goes down the Càite a bheil route (at least to begin with). Occasionally see it reduced to Càit' a bheil. Just sayin' :priob:

Cait' Caite/ bheil

Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:17 pm
by ithinkitsnice
AlexAkimov wrote:Source of the postSMO definitely goes down the Càite a bheil route (at least to begin with). Occasionally see it reduced to Càit' a bheil. Just sayin'


Just did a 'find' through all my old ACA (didn't do ACI) materials and could only find " càite " written, I'm guessing sticking with one spelling for consistency at that level. You do see "càit" (no apostrophe) fairly routinely before vowels in other subject materials though.

I can't find any examples of the apostrophe in any SMO materials; GOC specifies "càit(e)" as the spelling, with the example "càit a bheil?", and GOC is obv policy there.

Not to say the apostrophe is 'wrong', but SMO don't seem to use it.