The Nominative Case of Nouns

This is the basic form used when the noun is either the subject or the direct object in a sentence.
E.g. in English:
boy as subject The boy is cold
boy as direct object I saw the boy

There is no word for a or an in Gidhlig. All indefinite nouns are simply entered without an article. Nouns are considered to be either masculine or feminine, you will see these in the NEW WORDS and Vocabulary sections as either (m) or (f) respectively:
doras (m) - door eaglais (f) - church
balach (m) - boy leabaidh (f) - bed
taigh (m) - house caileag (f) - girl

Masculine Nouns

The masculine nominative nouns have the definite article as an t- before a vowel; am before words beginning with b, f, m, or p; and an in all other instances:
An t-ran - The song An t-each - The horse
Am balach - The boy Am peann - The pen
An duine - The man An semar - The room

The omission of the initial t- is not uncommon in colloquial speech

Feminine Nouns
Feminine nominative nouns beginning with b, f, m, p, c or g are all lenited with the definite article a' (or an with lenited f). Words beginning with sl, sn, sr or s+vowel have the definite article as an t-. In all other instances the definite article is an:
A' chaileag - The girl An fhearg - The anger
An t-snthad - The needle An t-sth - The peace
An abhainn - The river An litir - The letter

The good news is that all nominative nouns, whether masculine or feminine, beginning with d, t, l, n, r, sg, sm, sp or st all have their definite articles as an:
An leabhar (m) - The book An lmh (f) - The hand
An sgthan (m) - The mirror An sgian (f) - The knife
An nead (m) - The nest An nighean (f) - The daughter


The nominative plural definite article in all cases is na:
Na taighean (m) - The houses Na caileagan (f) - The girls

Don't worry too much just now about the plurals. Remember you can find the other forms of the nouns in the section


falamh - empty geur - sharp
glan - clean osal - low
salach - dirty teth - hot

balach (m) - boy bta (m) - boat
doras (m) - door duine (m) - person, husband
each (m) - horse gille (m) - lad
lr (m) - floor leabhar (m) - book
loch (m) - loch nead (m) - nest
ran (m) - song peann (m) - pen
rathad (m) - road semar (m) - room
sgthan (m) - mirror taigh (m) - house
teine (m) - fire
abhainn (f) - river caileag (f) - girl
eaglais (f)- church fearg (f) - anger
lmh (f) - hand leabaidh (f) - bed
litir (f) - letter nighean (f) - girl, daughter
oidhche (f) - night sgian (f) - knife
sgoil (f) - school sth (f) - peace
snthad (f) - needle

EXERCISE 1 Translate into English
1.Chan eil an sgoil gl ghlan 2.Tha an eaglais fuar
3.An robh an sgian geur? Cha robh 4.A bheil an litir mr? Chan eil
5.Tha am peann tioram 6.Nach eil an loch osal? Tha
7.Tha an t-snthad gl gheur 8.Bha an nead falamh
9.A bheil an semar blth? Chan eil 10.Cha robh an t-ran snog

EXERCISE 2 Translate into Gidhlig
1.Was the book small? No 2.The lad is terribly tired
3.Is the door dry? 4.The floor wasn't wet
5.The mirror isn't clean 6.The peace was nice (good)
7.Wasn't the house empty? Yes 8.The fire was hot
9.The hand was wet 10.Isn't the night cold? Yes
11.The bed wasn't clean 12.The girl wasn't too happy
13.The anger was great

Answers.gif (958 bytes)

1.The school isn't very clean 2.The church is cold
3.Was the knife sharp? No 4.Is the letter big? No
5.The pen is dry 6.Isn't the loch low? Yes
7.The needle is very sharp 8.The nest was empty
9.Is the room warm? No 10.The song wasn't nice

1.An robh an leabhar beag? Cha robh 2.Tha an gille uabhasach sgth
3.A bheil an doras tioram? 4.Cha robh an lr fliuch
5.Chan eil an sgthan glan 6.Bha an t-sth math
7.Nach robh an taigh falamh? Bha 8.Bha an teine teth
9.Bha an lmh fliuch 10.Nach eil an oidhche fuar? Tha
11.Cha robh an leabaidh glan 12.Cha robh a' chaileag ro thoilichte
13.Bha an fhearg mr

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dmlelland - These lessons may be reproduced with credit to the author