in ann an
in me annam
in you annad
in him ann
in her innte
(rel pronoun) a
‘Se sgrìobhaiche a tha annam. An e tidsear a tha ann an Seumas? Chan e tidsear a tha ann an Seumas, ach ‘Se dotair a tha ann an Seumas. An e ministear a tha? ‘Se minister a tha ann. Nach e banaltram a th’ innte, ach ‘Se tuathanach a th’ innte. An e teachdaire a th’ ann? ‘Se e teachdaire a th’ ann, agus ‘se saighdear a th’ annam, ach chan e tighearna a th’ annad idir. ‘Se iasgair a th’ innte.
Note 1: Existential ann is really a subset of the preposition ann an meaning “in”. We also meet 4 forms of prepositional pronouns here: in me, in you, in him, in her. Almost all prepositions in Gaelic have a contracted form with the personal pronouns. Note that ann by itself is actually the form ann + e.
Note 2: So far we have met Is + pronoun + noun, as well as ‘Se + noun + noun as forms of X is Y. Now we meet a third construction that is commonly used, especially to indicate that Y is an indefinite noun X. It involves the relative a along with the existential ann. To translate literally into English, we would express this as “It’s X that Y is”.
Note 3: Gaelic regularly elides vowels where in writing where they are also elided in speech. So a tha ann… will become a th’ ann.
I am a crofter. Are you a singer? Are you the singer? I am a singer, but I am not the singer.1 Is Angus a soldier? Angus is not a soldier, but Donald is a soldier. Angus is a good singer. Isn’t Mary a nurse? Mary isn’t a nurse, but Mary is the doctor. Is Donald a big man? He’s a big and tall man.2 Margaret is a student, but she’s not a good student. He is a wicked and lazy boy.
1 In these two examples, use simple ‘se X Y, for the indefinite “a singer”, and ‘Se X a tha ann an Y for the definite. This is the standard patterning.
2 Note the difference between saying ‘He’s big and tall’, and ‘He’s a big and tall man.’