a-steach or a-staigh (does it matter?)

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...

a-steach or a-staigh (does it matter?)

Unread post by Ionatan »

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?

Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:51 pm
Language Level: Tha mi, no, um, 's e… ?
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu

a-steach or a-staigh (does it matter?)

Unread post by ithinkitsnice »

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.

a-steach or a-staigh (does it matter?)

Unread post by Ionatan »

Mòran taing!

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.
Posts: 4598
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:26 am
Language Level: Mion-chùiseach
Corrections: Please correct my grammar
Location: Dùthaich mo chridhe

Re: a-steach or a-staigh (does it matter?)

Unread post by GunChleoc »

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
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam
Post Reply