Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
In "Can Seo" they habitually use thig a-staigh
for 'come in' and in "Speaking our language" they use thig a-steach
In the book 'Colloquial Gaelic" they claim that a-staigh
should never be used in this context as a-steach implies inward movement and a-staigh implies being inside.
...and then I saw this quote from Dewelly that a-staigh:
is employed both of motion and rest in Perthshire, a-steach not being used there at all.
I am a rank beginner and therefore easily confused and lacking confidence to just plump for one version or t'other. So can I use either? Does it matter?
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It's normal for some folk to use 'a-staigh' for both motion and state and I know a couple of folk from core dialect areas who use it that way, so 'should never' is a bit over the top imo.
On the flipside, I don't think anyone would use a-steach for anything but motion, but I'm not certain about that.
As a learner I'd try to learn them with their distinct meanings, because you'll come across times when the nuance matters, but just be prepared for some folk to use only a-staigh in both senses.
That makes sense. Perhaps in Can Seo they are trying not to bombard a neophyte with too many words and nuances at once because they have conversational sequences where characters say things like (paraprasing a couple of scenes from memory):
Door opens and person inside (a chef just come from the kitchen) says: "Thig a-staigh"
2nd person enters from outside: "Tha e fuar a-muigh"
Chef behind the counter: "Ach tha e teth a-staigh" (theatrically pulls at collar to drive the point home)
Time will tell if they add a-steach later - but looking for an answer to this question has taught me the difference - so that's progress.
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It's best to learn there as motion (change) vs. location (state) pairs.
Tha mi a' dol a-steach -> tha mi a-staigh a-nis.
Tha mi a' dol a-mach -> tha mi a-muigh a-nis.
BTW there are also 2 words for "now" that fit this pattern. State: an-dràsta. Change: a-nis