Càite Bheil Thu A’ Fuireach? – Lesson 3

Week three and the pace slowed a little whilst the lesson focused on revision of the previous two weeks.  That is not to say however that we don’t have new grammar concepts and vocabulary to go over, we do indeed.

The first new grammar concept we learned was in response to the question Càite bheil thu a’ fuireach? which means where are you living? (as opposed to Cò às a tha thu?  – where are you from?)

The response to this question varies depending on the structure and/or spelling of the location of residence and there are three variations:

  1. If the location is proceeded by a definite article such as The States (united and of America) which is Na Stàitean then the location is preceded by anns – Tha mi a’ fuireach anns Na Stàitean.
  2. If the place name begins with B, F, M or P and there is no definite article such as Barra which is Barraigh then the location preceded by ann am – Tha mi a’ fuireach ann am Barraigh.
  3. If the place name begins with any other letter other than B, F, M or P and there is no definite article such as Edinburgh which is Dùn Eideann then the lcoation is preceded by ann an – Tha mi a’ fuireach ann an Dùn Eideann.

Simple (simplidh), right?

By way of a wee non-recorded pronunciation guide:

  • anns – like ounce but swap the ce for an s.. ouns
  • ann  – same as above but without the s
  • am – you think you have this one don’t you? it’s pronounce im like Tim without the Tennent’s
  • an – in like in without adding or subtracting any letters or sounds.

Next up, TENSES!

This isn’t as difficult as you might think, Gaelic is actually pretty logical in some regards (not its spelling to pronunciation mapping) and there are really just two tenses, PAST and FUTURE/HABITUAL.

I think I understood that right anyway, present tense is only really represented by the verb ‘to be/do’ and isn’t in itself really a tense.. yup, that sounds wrong but I am fairly certain that is what I was told.  The tutor definitely said only two tenses even though there are apparently three.  If you know different or can confirm this then please do comment below.

In any case, there are two NEW tenses.


Sentence structure is as before but with different questions words, positive and negative responses to what we’ve learned so far.


Gàidhlig English
An robh mi? Was I?
An robh thu? Were you?
An robh e? Was he?
An robh i? Was she?
An robh sinn? Were we?
An robh sibh? Were you?
An robh iad? Were they?

The positive response to An robh? is Bha – Bha mi, bha thu, bha iat etc.

The negative response to An robh? is Chan robh – Chan robh mi, chan robh thu, chan robh iad etc.


Gàidhlig English
An robh thu ag’ol uisge beatha a raoir? Were you drinking whisky last night?
An robh e trang an dè? Was he busy yesterday?
An robh cat aice? Did she have a cat?



This tense not only represents what will happen in the future but also an activity that is carried out regularly.

Once again, sentence structure is as before but with different questions words, positive and negative responses to what we’ve learned so far.


Gàidhlig English
Am bi mi? Will I be?
Am bi thu? Will you be?
Am bi e? Will he be?
Am bi i? Will she be?
Am bi sinn? Will we be?
Am bi sibh? Will you be?
Am bi iad? Will they be?

The positive response to Am bi? is Bidh – Bidh mi, bidh thu, bidh iat etc.

The negative response to Am bi? is Chan bhi – Chan bhi mi, chan bhi thu, chan bhi iad etc.


Gàidhlig English
Am bi thu ag’ol uisge beatha a nochd? Will you be drinking whisky tonight?
Am bi e trang a màireach? Will he be busy tomorrow?
Am bi cat aice? Will she have a cat?

Yes, I do like whisky, why do you ask?

Of course, no lesson would be complete without our weekly song and this time I actually really like it, much better pace than the previous two.  Cànan Nan Gàidheal  – The language of the Gael written by Murdo MacFarlane from Lewis.


 I may come back to this post to add some voice recordings of the examples above but it’s very noisy here at the moment so not an ideal recording environment.