Sgriobh Frank Wilson
> I remember a long time ago M explaining this merging over time of these
> two different verbs but can't find it in my folder.
> Could someone re-explain this to me?
Well, I can tell you what I said back in 1996, which may be what you were
> In a message dated 10/05/96 20:47:56, [log in to unmask] (Sean V.
> >------- My question:
> >What is the difference between
> >"Is toigh leam" and "Is toil leam" in Scottish Gaelic?
> The two phrases mean exactly the same thing.
> I'm guessing when I say this, but I reckon probably this use of
> "toil" as an adjective began as a corruption of "toigh" in just
> this phrase; it doesn't seem to be used adjectively in any other
Perhaps not as much as of an explanation as you remembered?
Of course if someone claims that "toigh" and "toil" have merged I will also
still insist (as I did elsewhere in the same thread way back then) that
> No, toigh and toil nave NOT merged, except in this
> one phrase; in most cases toil is still a noun and retains
> its original sense (wish, will).
Or maybe this from 2004 is what you were thinking of (the more I see of
things I wrote around then the more convinced I am that trying to indicate
Gaelic pronunciation using English spelling was complete stupidity, and this
includes a nice example of that). I think what I wrote in 1995 made more
sense than this, too.
> There's a difference, but many people claim it's only pedants
> like me that make the distinction. toigh is an adjective and
> means pleasant/pleasing. so is toigh leam bainne means I like
> milk. toil is a noun and means will/wish, so is toil leam
> bainne doesn't make sense. But half the current text books have
> been written by people who have forgotten the distinction and
> are confused because the real phrase and the strange one sound
> exactly the same.
> Sometimes when I'm being irritated by the new Gaelic spelling
> rules for school exams I recall that the only spelling rule I
> really belive for gaelic is "write it as you say it" (which the
> new rules blatantly contradict) and that should make toil le an
> acceptable alternative spelling for toigh le; but usually (not
> always) I think that rule applies to words, not to phrases.
> Since toigh leam and toil leam both sound as if they could be
> written in English as "talyoom" you probably can't tell which
> anyone is saying. And if, when answering a question, "Is toigh
> leam" (Yes, I do like it) is contracted to "Is toigh l'" it
> sounds just like "is toil".
> You can see a "correct" use of toil in phrases like "ma's e do
> thoil e" (If it is your wish - common way to say please) where
> it's very obviously a noun.
> I think it's worth keeping the distinction between the two
> words - there are contexts where the two words do not sound the
> same (see previous sentence, for example) and in those cases you
> can't substitute toigh for toil or vice versa. So when you see
> "is toil le" just take it as a case where someone has spelled
> "toigh" in a strange manner.
There's probably other comments on this topic from me out there in the
email/web world, as it's a question that crops up regularly. But I don't
know what or where.