Interrogatives or Who the what why?

O Goireasan Akerbeltz
Gearr leum gu: seòladh, lorg

Interrogatives are those little words that introduce questions, like who, what, why, which in English or có, càite, ciamar in Gaelic. On the whole these are pretty straight forward but first let's take a quick detour into history, as there are some historical oddities which are bound to confuse you at some point.

Interrogatives are not the most stable of words, strange as that may seem. Think about it; for example, no one uses wheretofore or whence any more. So, interrogatives can fall out of use, fuse, or do other funny stuff. A lot of that has happened in Gaelic over the centuries. For those reasons, some of the usages around interrogatives in Gaelic seem downright weird, such as asking có ás a tha thu when is normally reserved for who or why people in Lewis say [deː] when everyone else says [dʲeː]. So, without much further ado, here's a family tree:


That's pretty much it. So in fact, it's not the expression có ás a tha thu that's weird but actually using for "who" that's an odd innovation.

Beagan gràmair
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