When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

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When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

Unread postby Ionatan » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:48 pm

In Can Seo and Speaking our language they use brèagha for a lovely/fine day as in tha latha brèagha ann. However, in LearnGaelic, they seem to prefer àlainn. Now these words have very similar meanings, so I am wondering what the nuances in actual common usage are.

For instance, I heard somewhere that snòg used to be used just for people but now is used for the weather as well (as LearnGaelic demonstrates it). In English we have lots of similar words too, of course. For instance, being a native speaker I 'automatically' know not to describe a day as 'handsome' but that a person could be both handsom and 'handsomely' rewarded though is unlikely to be 'beautifully' rewarded and that it is archaic to describe a woman as 'handsome' as that is now reserved for men in monern usage etc.

I guess I'm trying to get that sort of feel for these two words. I know that you can say nighean brèagha, but can you say gille brèagha or nighean àlainn and gille àlainn? (I did look up handsome and found about half a dozen other words all new to me, so this is a rabbit hole of Gaelic beauty that I am dissapearing down for sure!).



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When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:56 pm

I'm not sure of the nuances, but you can certainly use àlainn for people. "Nach tu tha àlainn" and the like. The Irish song An Chailín Álainn was translated into Scottish Gaelic as A Chailin Àlainn without changing the word.

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When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:58 pm

Àlainn trumps brèagha, snog is short by the way.

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When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

Unread postby Ionatan » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:56 am

Thanks for the input as ever and thank you for being so patient with my stream of x vs y questions!

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When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

Unread postby faoileag » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:26 pm

And you may wish to add bòidheach to your complimentary repertoire. Lovely, pretty, graceful, bonnie, pleasing to the eye.
Especially if describing a nighean donn... ;-)

Google combinations for context and frequency, but check if sources look reliable.

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When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

Unread postby Ionatan » Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:08 pm

And you may wish to add bòidheach to your complimentary repertoire. Lovely, pretty, graceful, bonnie, pleasing to the eye.
Especially if describing a nighean donn... ;-)


Duly added, though I personally favour the nighean ruadh! So far I can only say nice stuff about people (which is probably just as well) but one day I must learn how to say "Your mother is a hamster and your father smells of elderberries"! I'm surprised that isn't one of Akerbeltz's Easter eggs.

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When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:43 pm

I don't think 'S e hamstair a tha 'nad mhàthair agus tha fàileadh nan caoran-dromain far d' athar would make it, it fails to illustrate any specific usages, grammar or idiom, that would require an entry 8-)

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When to use àlainn vs brèagha?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Thu Oct 17, 2019 3:08 pm

akerbeltz wrote:I don't think 'S e hamstair a tha 'nad mhàthair agus tha fàileadh nan caoran-dromain far d' athar would make it, it fails to illustrate any specific usages, grammar or idiom, that would require an entry 8-)

Well, I personally wasn't aware of the idiomatic way to express "to smell of sthg" until now.... ;-)