GC's Gaelic for Beginners

Lesson 6 - Who are you?

First, a bit of advice: only follow up the supplementary reading if you're really up for it, it's a bit much. So, if you're the type of learner who wants to know everything at once by yesterday like me, go ahead and check it out. If you'd rather take things bit by bit as most people will, just skip these for now and come back for it later when you're ready for it.

So, here goes:

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1. In Lesson 1 of Beag air Bheag, they mention slenderization and lenition. If you wish to know more about these processes, you can read up on them on the Morphology and Morpho-Phonology page in the section on Morpho-Phonological Processes Used in Gaelic. You will need some lingo that is explained earlier on that page. If it's too much information for you to take in right now, just skim it or drop it and return for it later.

2. Go to Beag air Bheag, lesson 2. One grammatical point to look out for: We have learned that "I am" is "Tha mi". Now, it's suddenly "Is mise". Huh? Two things happen here:

- There are two different Gaelic verbs corresponding to English "to be". The present tense for one of them is tha, and for the other it's is. Now, when to use which? To make things simple, use is when you describe what a noun is, and tha for all other words. "Tha mi gu math": gu math is an adverb, so I use tha. "Is mise GunChleoc": GunChleoc is a name, and thus a noun, and I use is. You can also have both in one sentence, as in "Dè an t-ainm a th' ort?". is is an elusive little fellow and likes to hide itself, in this case it's hidden in the question word . an t-ainm is a noun phrase. So, you have is, but hidden in , because it is a question. th' is a shortened form of tha, and it's followed by a preposition. If your head isn't spinning in circles by now, you can read more about this type of sentence in Existentials or 'I think therefore I am' @ akerbeltz.

- Why mise and not mi? Gaelic has two sets of personal pronouns, one with emphasis or contrast, and one without emphasis:

without - with emphasis
mi - mise (I)
thu - thusa (you)
e - esan (he)
i - ise (she)
sinn - sinne (we)
sibh - sibhse (you)
iad - iadsan (they)

cf. English "it is me (and not him)!"

If you remember back to Lesson 1, here's one of the means Gaelic uses for stressing words. You do not raise your voice like in English, but you add something to the words instead. You also use emphasized personal pronouns when you switch to something new, and introducing yourself is as new as it gets.

3. Let's talk! Is mise GunChleoc. Cò sibhse?
Last edited: 16 June 2022 07:30:42