Liking and agreeing

One of the many verbs that are standard in other European languages, but missing in the Gaelic, is “to like”. In the present and conditional tenses, Gaelic uses what I think is a lovely expression:
‘S toil le xxx yyy

where xxx is the person or thing doing the liking, and yyy the thing or person or verb being liked. So, for instance:

‘S toil leam biadh teth: I like hot food
‘S toil leotha snàmh: they like swimming
Cha toil leatha caorich: she doesn’t like sheep
Bu toil leam pinnt: I’d like a pint

And so on. I love the construction, which in English literally translates as:

“there’s a wish with xxx for yyy”

Since learning this, though, I’ve wondered how you say “I liked to swim”, or “I will like to learn Gaelic”. The verb “Is” (abbreviated as ‘S) only operates in the present (as far as I know, at this early stage in my learning). If you’ve a construction with ‘S that requires the past then the time indicator goes elsewhere, eg:

‘S e croitear a bh’ann: he was a crofter

But how on earth do you put “‘S toil leam snàmh” into the past or future? It turns out, as we were taught today*, that you don’t, and instead you use a proper verb to express liking in other tenses. The verb being “a’ cordadh ri” (root: cord), which according to my dictionary literally means “agreeing (with)”. Some examples:

Tha an lite a’ cordadh rium: I like porridge (porridge is agreeing with me).
Bithidh sin a’ cordadh rinn: We’ll like that
Bha snàmh a’ cordadh riutha: They used to like swimming
An do chord e riut?: Did you enjoy it?

Note that, without the “ri” the verb becomes “agreeing”, eg:

Tha sinn a’ cordadh: We agree.

* I’m at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig this week on a Level 3 summer course.

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One response to “Liking and agreeing

  1. Tha sinn a’ còrdadh – we agree I’ve never heard this – Tha sinn ag aontachadh ri chèile – we agree with each other

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