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Little by Little Beag air Bheag

Beginners (A1)- Unit 7 - a good ice breaker
Luchd-tòiseachaidh (A1) - Aonad 7 - a good ice breaker


An aimsir

The weather

It has been said of Scotland that it does not have a climate – only weather. That is maybe a little harsh, but the country’s varied meteorological conditions allow for a considerable vocabulary concerning the weather. Conversations often start with a comment about the prevailing conditions.


It is important to note that the two common words meaning 'weather' – aimsir and sìde are both feminine. In fact, weather is a feminine concept in Gaelic – that is why we say such things as tha i brèagha for 'it’s [a] fine [day]', using the feminine pronoun i.

Here are some useful comments which you might make to a stranger about the weather. Why not try out a few of them the next time you talk to a Gaelic-speaker?

Tha i brèagha.

It’s fine.

Tha i àlainn.

It’s beautiful.

Tha i tioram.

It’s dry.

Tha i blàth.

It’s warm.

Tha i teth.

It’s hot.

Tha i grianach.

It is sunny.

Tha i fliuch.

It’s wet

Tha i fuar.

It’s cold.

Tha i sgòthach.

It’s cloudy.

Tha i garbh.

It’s rough.

Tha i grànda.

It’s horrible.

With 'tha i grànda', just be careful that there is no female in the vicinity about whom the hearer might think you are commenting, because it can also mean 'she is ugly'!

The prepositional pronoun ann

An aimsir

The weather


When commenting on the weather, the prepositional pronoun ann (in it) is very commonly used, sometimes – as in Unit 06 – with the assertive verb is. Here are some examples. Note the use of the adjectives deagh and droch which, unusually in Gaelic, come before the noun they qualify. They also may cause lenition of the initial consonant in the noun – a sound change indicated by the inclusion of a letter h (Unit 05).

Tha an t-uisge ann.

It’s raining.

Tha là brèagha ann.

It’s a beautiful day.

’S e là brèagha a th’ ann.

It’s a beautiful day.

’S e là fuar a th’ ann.

It’s a cold day.

Tha droch shìde ann.

The weather is bad.

Tha deagh shìde ann.

The weather is good.

You can hear a simple conversation about the weather by following Conversation 1 at the end of this unit.

Comparative forms of Gaelic adjectives

An aimsir

The weather

Because Scotland’s weather is so changeable, it is good to be able to say it is getting 'warmer' or 'colder' or 'wetter'.

For this, you need to be able to create the comparative forms of Gaelic adjectives. With the exception of a few irregular adjectives this is very straightforward – it involves slenderising the final vowel (see Unit 5) and adding a terminal e. Occasionally there is lenition of the initial consonant.

Here are some examples, with the adjective and its comparative form e.g. blàth, nas blàithe. You can hear how the pronunciation changes. The last three are irregular.

blàth, nas blàithe

warm, warmer

grianach, nas grianaiche

sunny, sunnier

fliuch, nas fliuiche

wet, wetter

fuar, nas fhuaire

cold, colder

fiadhaich, nas fhiadhaiche

wild, wilder

sgòthach, nas sgòthaiche

cloudy, cloudier

teth, nas teotha

hot, hotter

math, nas fheàrr

good, better

dona, nas miosa

bad, worse

Now try the two conversations.

Conversation 1

Listen to a simple conversation about the weather.

Conversation 2

Now listen to this more complicated conversation where Peter and Anne use some comparative adjectives.

Pick up phrases which will help you tell the time in Gaelic in Unit 8, Dè ’n uair a tha e?

Conversation 1

Listen to the conversation:

Tha i brèagha an-diugh.
It is lovely today.
Gu dearbh, tha. ’S e là brèagha a th’ ann.
It certainly is. It is a fine day.
Cha robh i brèagha an-dè.
It wasn’t beautiful yesterday.
Cha robh, gu dearbh. Bha i fliuch agus fuar.
It certainly wasn’t. It was wet and cold.
Bha an t-uisge ann fad an là.
It was raining all day.
Cha robh an t-uisge ann fad an là ann an Inbhir Nis.
It wasn’t raining all day in Inverness.
Uill, bha an seo anns an Eilean Sgitheanach.
Well, it was here on the Isle of Skye.
Ach tha i grianach an-diugh.
But it is sunny today.
Tha. Tha i grianach agus blàth.
Yes. It is sunny and warm.
’S e deagh là a th’ ann.
It’s a good day.
’S e, gu dearbh. ’S e droch là a bh’ ann an-dè ach ’s e deagh là a th’ ann an-diugh.
It certainly is. It was a bad day yesterday but it is a good day today.

Conversation 2

Listen to the conversation:

Tha i àlainn an-diugh, Anna.
It is beautiful today, Anne.
Tha, gu dearbh. ’S e là teth a th’ ann.
It certainly is. It is a hot day.
Ach cha robh i teth anns a’ mhadainn. Bha i fuar.
But it wasn’t hot in the morning. It was cold.
Tha sin ceart. Tha i nas fheàrr a-nis.
That’s right. It is better now.
Tha i nas grianaiche na bha i anns a’ mhadainn.
It is sunnier than it was in the morning.
Agus nas blàithe.
And warmer.
Fada nas blàithe.
Much warmer.
An e àite blàth a th’ ann an Glaschu?
Is Glasgow a warm place?
Tha e nas blàithe na Reykjavik ach nas fhuaire na Madrid!
It’s warmer than Reykjavik but colder than Madrid!
Ach a bheil an t-uisge ann tric ann an Glaschu?
But does it often rain in Glasgow?
Chan eil uabhasach tric.
Not very often.
Tha sibh fhèin à Baile Atha Cliath. An e àite fliuch a th’ ann?
You’re from Dublin. Is it a wet place?
Chan e. Chan e àite fliuch a th’ ann idir.
No. It’s not a wet place at all.
A bheil Glaschu nas fliuiche na Baile Atha Cliath?
Is Glasgow wetter than Dublin?
Tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gu bheil.
I think it is.
Tha mi an dòchas gum bi i grianach an seo fad an fheasgair.
I hope it will be sunny here all afternoon.
Uill, chan eil sgòth anns an adhar a-nis.
Well, there is not a cloud in the sky now.
Chan eil. ’S e là math a th’ ann gun teagamh.
No. It’s a good day without doubt.