Relative Pronouns

For positive relative clauses the relative pronouns who, which and that are all expressed by the word a. This conjugates with the independent form of the verb :
Sin am fear a bha air an loch - That's the man who was on the loch
Seo an cat a bha fon chathair - This is the cat which was under the chair

For negative relative clauses the relative pronouns who, which and that  are all expressed by the negative particle nach. The dependent form of the verb is used :
An ise a' chaileag nach robh anns an sgoil? - Is she the girl who was not in school?
Is mise nach eil ag iarraidh seinn - It's I who does not want to sing

There is an important relative pronoun na which can be translated as what and all that :

Seo na tha agam de dh'airgead * - This is all the money that I have (lit. This is all that I have of money)

* de dh' is the usual form before an indefinite noun beginning with a vowel

The Relative Future Form of the Verb

This is a special form of the future verb which occurs only after the relative pronouns a and na (not after the negative relative pronoun nach, when the root of the verb is used). It is formed by adding  -eas or -as (according to the spelling rule) to the root of the verb. The verb is also lenited whenever possible :
'S mise a bhitheas an sin a-nochd * - It's I who will be there tonight
'S ise a sheinneas aig a' chŔilidh - It's she who will sing at the ceilidh
'S i do mhÓthair nach bi toilichte - It's your mother who will not be happy

* the relative future of the verb To Be bhitheas is usually shortened to bhios in unstressed situations

The Relative Prepositional Pronoun

For relative clauses introduced by a preposition the interrogative forms of the verb are used :
An esan am fear ris an robh thu a' bruidhinn? - Is he the man to whom you were talking?
'S e seo am baile anns am bi mi a' fuireach - This is the town in which I stay
'S ise a' chaileag leis a bheil am peann - She's the girl who owns the pen (lit. ... to whom the pen is)
Tha iomadh eilean ann air nach eil daoine a' fuireach - There's many an island on which no-one lives

In some dialects an alternative form somewhat analogous to the poorer grammatical form in spoken English is found. The structure is based on the relative pronouns a and nach. In this case, however, a prepositional pronoun agreeing in both gender and plurality with the subject is used. It is included here for completeness and many do not regard it as good practice :
An esan am fear a bha thu a' bruidhinn ris ? - Is he the man whom you were talking to?
'S iadsan na fir a bha mi a' bruidhinn riutha ? - They are the men whom I was talking to?
'S ise a' chaileag a bha thu a' bruidhinn rithe ? - She's the girl whom I was talking to?


briste - broken liath - grey, greyed
˛ir - golden purpaidh - purple

baga (m) - bag bÓrd (m) - bard,poet
cli¨ (m) - praise, respect dath (m) - colour
fraoch (m) - heather gleann (m) - glen
iomadh (m) - many a (+ singular noun) M˛d (m) - GÓidhlig music and Arts festival
speur (m) - sky
beinn (f) - mountain, ben gainmheach (f) - sand
coille (f) - forest drochaid (f) - bridge
luch (f) - mouse p˛caid (f) - pocket
rýoghachd (f) - kingdom trÓigh (f) - beach

coisinn, cosnadh - earn, win dýrich, dýreadh - climb, straighten
falbh, falbh - leaving, (+ le - dating) itealaich, itealaich - fly

EXERCISE 1 Translate into English
1.An e sin an tŔ a tha ag obair anns a' bhanca? 'S e 2.Seo am bogsa anns am biodh sinn ga chumail
3.Is mise a shnÓmhas thairis air an abhainn 4.Is iadsan na daoine ris an robh sinn a' bruidhinn
5.'S esan am bÓrd a choisinneas cli¨ m˛r aig a' Mh˛d 6.'S e sin an loch air an robh sinn an-dŔ
7.'S e an speur an rýoghachd anns am bi an iolaire ag itealaich 8.Chan eil fios agam na tha aca anns a' bhaga
9.Is e purpaidh an dath a tha air an fhraoch an-drÓsta 10.'S iad a bha toilichte leis na bha aca de dh'airgead
11.'S ann anns a' choille sin a tha am fear ag obair 12.Siud an drochaid air am bi sinn a' coiseachd
13.'S esan an duine a dhýricheas a' bheinn sin 14.A' chaileag air an robh am falt liath
15.'S e sin an nighean leis a bheil e a' falbh 16.B' e sgian mh˛r a bha aige na ph˛caid
17.B' ann air an luch a bha an iolaire a' coimhead 18.Siud an gleann trom (tro + am) bi sinn a' coiseachd a-mÓireach
19.Tha an drochaid air an robh sinn a' coiseachd a-nis briste 20.'S e gainmheach ˛ir a tha air an trÓigh sin


ANSWERS - EXERCISE 1 (The translations are mostly literal and are not always good English. This has been done to show you the stress placed on a clause by the Assertive Verb)
1.Is that the female who works in the bank? Yes 2.Here's the box in which we keep it
3.It's I who can (will) swim across the river 4.They are the men to whom we were speaking
5.He's the poet who will earn / win great praise at the Mod 6.That's the loch that we were on yesterday
7.The sky is the kingdom in which the eagle flies 8.I don't know what they have in the bag
9.Purple is the colour of (that is on) the heather just now 10.It's they who were pleased with what money they had
11.It's in the forest that the man works 12.Yonder is the bridge on which we will be walking
13.He's the man who can (will) climb that mountain 14.The girl who had the grey hair
15.That's the girl with whom he is going out 16.It was a big knife that he had in his pocket
17.It was (on) the mouse that the eagle was watching 18.Yonder's the glen through which we shall be walking tomorrow
19.The bridge on which we were walking is now broken 20.It's golden sand that is on that beach

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