Temporary Hiatus

I set up a month’s worth of posts to avoid this kind of problem, but having returned from a holiday my computer has had a major problem, which means that continuing with these posts is going to have to take a break. I hope I might have everything sorted by the end of September, and then resume in October. It is difficult to fix first world computers in second world countries…



I didn’t manage to resume in October, largely because my work visa expired in the country I normally reside in, and so I was forced to leave rather hastily. I also didn’t succeed in getting my computer fixed at the time. So now it’s November, I have a working computer, and I am living in a different house most weeks. I do hope to resume these lessons, but you can understand that it’s a little difficult right now.




Leasan 31

you (sg)                  tusa

he                            esan

she                          ise

we                           sinne

you (pl)                   sibhse

they                         iadsan


Exercise 60

An tusa an teachdaire? Cha mhise an teachdaire, ach ‘se mise an dotair. Nach esan an saighdear? ‘Se, is esan an saighdear. An sinne Màiri agus Màiread? Is, is sinne Màiri agus Màiread gu dearbh. Nach sibhse Aongas agus Seoras? Cha sibhse Aongas agus Seoras, ach is sibhse Daibhidh agus Iain. Is iadsan Màiri agus Dòmhnall, is sinne Raonaid agus Roibeard. Tha an cat dubh agus geal aig an t-seinneadair. A’ bheil cù aige? Chan eil, chan eil cù aige idir. A’ bheil an iasgear anns’ an taigh mór uaine? Tha, tha e anns an taigh. Tha móran meala anns a’ choille, ach tha e ro fhuar an-diugh.

Exercise 61

Are you the good teacher? I’m not the good teacher, but he is. She is the doctor, and he is the nurse. we are James and Ian, they are George and Mary. Are you Robert and David? Yes, we are. There’s a large animal in the garden. It’s a horse. No, it’s a big dog. My dog is lazy, but that dog of yorus is industrious and busy. The milk in the box is often warm, but it is not too warm today.


Note: we already met mise in lesson 21, now we introduce the other emphatic forms of the pronouns. They may be used either for emphasis, or contrast. Notice that esan violates the slender-broad rule; this occurs with a handful of compound words. The tendency is to pronounce it esan, so that the s is broad.

Leasan 30

30 Very, too, same

very                         glé c

so                            cho

too                          ro c

same                       aon c

one                          aon


Exercise 58


Tha an latha glé fhuar an-duigh. Tha, tha e cho fuar agus tha móran sneachd ann cuideachd, chan eil mi toilichte idir. Nach eil e ro fhuar? Chan eil e ro fhuar, ach tha e fuar gu leòr. A’ bheil càr agad? Tha aon chàr agam agus aig m’ athair. Tha an t-aon each aice agus againn. ‘Se sgoilear math a tha innte. Tha an feur glè ghorm an-diugh. Tha gu dearbh. Tha aon tighearna againn.

Exercise 59

He’s the same man! The teacher and doctor are the same person. Is there rain today? There is a very cold rain today. It’s so hot. It it hot or warm? No, it’s too hot. She is so happy but he is so busy. It’s too dry in the world today. There isn’t rain enough. Is the girl good? She’s generous and industrious, it’s a good girl that she is.

Note: aon actually means ‘one’, but when we are indiciatng the exact same object, not two objects that are the same, we use it for ‘same’. cf. the English expression “at the one time”. aon for ‘same’, may also be an t-aon in some dialects. aon becomes a h-aon when counting without any other object

The dental rule: generally when a word that causes lenition, such as aon ends with d, n, t, l, and the following word begins with d or t, the word will not lenite. This explains aon tighearna, as well as the irregularity of an tè in Leasan 22.

Leasan 29

brown                     donn, duinne

dog                          cù, coin, coin (fir)

cat                           cat, cait, cait (fir)

bicycle                    rothair, rothair, rothairean (fir)

fast                          luath, luaithe

slow                        mall, maille


Exercise 56

A’ bheil an cù donn? Chan eil. Tha an cù dubh. A’ bheil an cat dubh? Chan eil, chan eil an cat dubh, ach tha e donn agus geal. Nach eil an rothair seo luath? Tha, tha an rothair sin luath gu dearbh, ach chan eil an rothair agam luath idir. A’ bheil an t-each agad mall no luath? Chan eil e mall ach tha e luath gu leòr. A’ bheil càr dearg luath? chan eil. Am bheil an càr uaine aice? Chan eil, chan eil an càr uaine aice, ach tha an càr gorm aice. Nach eil an t-aran donn anns a’ bhogsa aca? Chan eil, ach tha aran geal anns’ a bhoca. An e tu an tidsear? ‘Se, ‘se mise an tidsear. Nach e mise am balach math? ‘Se, ‘se mise am balach math.

Exercise 57

Is that dog fast or slow? That dog is fast. Is the bicycle blue? No, it’s green, but it’s fast. Is this cat brown? Yes, it’s brown. Is there snow today? Yes, there’s snow today. Are you the singer? Yes, I am the singer. Is there red wine in this box? No, there’s a valuable book in this box. Isn’t the tall man the crofter? No, the tall man is the doctor, the poor man is the crofter. Do you have a fork and knife? Yes, I do, but they don’t have a fork.


Note: Gaelic has no direct word for ‎’yes’ or ‘no’, but answers questions by repeating the verb in the positive or negative form. It is also not uncommon to give double-barrelled responses, by repeating the answer verb once individually, followed by a fuller statement, as seen in Exercise 56.

Note: baidhsagal is also common for bicycle.

Leasan 28

at                             aig

pen                          peann, pinn, pinn (fir)

cup                          cupa(n), cupain, cupain/cupannan (fir)

bowl                        bobhla, bobhla, bobhlaichean (fir)

car                           càr, càir, càraichean (fir)

plate                       truinnsear, truinnseir, truinnsearan (fir)


Exercise 54

A bheil peann agad? Tha peann dubh agus peann dearg agam. Chan eil peann agam idir. Nach eil cupa mòr aice? Chan eil cupa mòr aice, ach cupa beag. Tha cupa mòr aig Seoras. Am bheil sgian agus forca agad? Tha sgian agus forca agam ach chan eil spain agam. Tha leabhar math agam anns a’ bhocsa agam. A’ bheil càr aca? Tha càr aca, tha càr math uaine aca. Nach eil truinnsear aig Raonaid? Chan eil e aice.

Exercise 55


Do you have a car? I don’t have a car. I have wine and bread in my bag. Do we have bread? We have bread in the house. Do you (pl) have a blue pen? We don’t have a blue pen, but we have a yellow pen. The minister has a red car. This doctor has green grass in his garden. The student doesn’t have a book at all. Wicked Angus has the wine and you have water a-plenty. Does your brother have a good house? He doesn’t have a house at all.



We have already met agam, agad, etc.. as meaning ‘my, your’. These forms are prepositional pronouns that combine aig + personal pronouns. To express possession in Gaelic is a simple matter of expressing that something is ‘at’ someone. So we either use aig + name, or one of the prepositional pronouns that combines aig with mi, thu, etc..

Leasan 27

in the                      anns an

bag                          baga, baga, bagaichean (fir)

box                          bogsa, bogsa, bogsaichean (fir)

garden                    gàrradh, gàrraidh, gàrraidhean (fir)

world                      saoghal, saoghail, saoghalan (fir)


Exercise 52

Am bheil aran anns a’ bhaga? Chan eil aran anns a’ bhaga. Tha fion anns a’ bhaga. A’ bheil am baga geal no dubh? Tha am baga dubh, ach tha am fion geal anns’ a bhaga dubh. Tha sgian agus forca anns a’ bhogsa mhór, ach tha an spàin anns a’ bhogsa bheag. Nach eil an t-each agad anns a’ ghàrradh? Chan eil an t-each agam anns’ a ghàrradh, ach tha am beathach agam ann. Tha leabhar aige ann an bhogsa. Chan eil seinneadair àrd anns an t-saoghal idir.

Exercise 53

Is there a knife in this box? The knife is not in the box, but it is in the bag. There is war in the world today. The wine is in a box. The doctor is in the house. Our teacher is in the large, cold, forest. There is life in her. This fork is not in the box, it is in the garden. Sometimes your (pl) book is in the house, sometimes in the garden. There is grass in the house and I am not happy. Is it warm in your house?



Note: We have so far met with several important idiomatic uses of ann an, now we review the normal prepositional usage. Notice that the nouns that follow ann an appear in the prepositional (or dative) case.

The second part of anns an is the article, and follows the rules for the definite article. The rule for the definite article with a masculine noun in the prepositional case is identical to a feminine noun in the nominative case. If an adjective follows a masculine noun in the prepositional case, it will also be lenited if the noun is.

Bogsa may also be spelled bocsa.

Leasan 26

in                             ann an

in me                       annam

in you                      annad

in him                      ann

in her                      innte

(rel pronoun)         a

Exercise 50

‘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.

Exercise 51

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.’