Highland English - Grammar

Grammar

The grammatical influence of Gaelic syntax is most apparent with verbal constructions, as Scottish Gaelic uses the verb to be with the active participle of the verb to indicate a continuous action as in English, but also uses this construction for iterative meanings; therefore "I go to Stornoway on Mondays" becomes "I am going to Stornoway on Mondays". Occasionally older speakers use -ing constructions where Standard English would use a simple verb form, example "I'm seeing you!" meaning "I can see you!". The past tense in Highland English may use the verb to be followed by "after" followed by the participle: "I am after buying a newspaper" to mean "I have bought a newspaper", although this construction is more common in Irish English. Some speakers use the simple past in situations where standard English would require "have" plus verb constructions, for example "France? I was never there" rather than "I have never been there".

The diminutive -ag is sometimes added to words and names, and is a direct lift from Gaelic, e.g. Johnag, Jeanag. It is still used in Caithness as well. A great variety of distinctive female names are formed using the amazingly productive -ina suffix appended to male names, examples: Murdina ( < Murdo), Dolina, Calumina, Angusina, and Neilina.

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