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Plurals with Three or More

April 21, 2011

Quick Review: 

  •  a h-aon, a dhà, a trì, a ceithir, a còig, a sia, a seachd, a h-ochd, a naoi, a deich. 
  • When using numbers with a noun, drop the a’s and h‘s
  • aon lenites its following noun starting with all letters except l, n, r, d, t, s, and vowels
  • dhà/dà:
    • dhà is free-standing,  is used before nouns. 
    • nouns following dhà/dà take their dative, singular, lenited form 

Today, plurals.  Before we start, I should warn of what’s ahead.  Do not use aon, dà, tri, etc. for people (man, brother, son, etc.) because there are special counting words for them.  We’ll get to that. 

There are at least 9 main methods of changing a vowel to a plural, according to Roderick MacKinnon.  We’ll take just a couple a day (and spend a couple of days on each).

  • add an (or ean if the last vowel is e or i)
  • place i after the last broad vowel (a, o, or u)

Examples, both olds words and new

  • clach, clachan  (klach, klachun) stone, stones
  • sùil, sùilean  (SOO-il, SOO-il-un) eye, eyes
  • caileag, caileagan   (KAL-ak, KAL-ak-un) girl, girls
  • bàrd, bàird  (baard, baarch*) poet, poets
  • ròn, ròin  (rawn, RAW-in) seal, seals

* the ch here is as in church, as compared to ch which is pronounced in the back of the throat like the German ich.  The i is what changed the sound of the d in this word.

Feel free to use these words in sentences in the comments.  Use the patterns of sentences used in previous lessons, mixing up pronouns and verbs you already know.  Sinn, mi, e, i, thu, sibh, iad, a’ faicinn, ‘s toil leam, ag iarriadh, etc.)

Today’s listening, Can Seo episode 13, part 1 again.  As these get longer and more complex, I’ll be posting them at least twice each.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Renea permalink
    April 26, 2011 4:33 pm

    I am a liitle confused. The word caileag has an a for it’s last vowel. But does not get
    hhhmmm pluralized with an i ?


  2. April 26, 2011 4:46 pm

    Hi, Renea,

    These are two separate methods by which nouns form plurals. Caileag follows the first method, adding an.


  1. TIME to move on | Scottish Gaelic

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