I’ve been wondering for a wee while how to express the official referendum question, “Should Scotland be an independent country?”, in Scottish Gaelic. A few enquiries on Twitter didn’t get me anywhere.
I had this idea that the way to express “should” would be through some obscure verb form, but when I finally looked it up in my copy of “Scottish Gaelic in Three Months” today, I learnt that it’s expressed as bu chòir do “it’s proper for”.
With that information in hand, it didn’t take me long to find a BBC blog page which gives the question as Am bu chòir do dh’Alba a bhith na dùthaich neo-eisimeilich?
Although I have no way to verify it, this looks correct to me. The structure is as follows:
|Am||bu||chòir||do dh’||Alba||a bhith||na||dùthaich||neo-eisimeilich|
(I’m not entirely sure about the na. I believe it means “in her” here — “in his” would lenite the following word, and the genitive form of the definitely article would require the genitive form of dùthaich — and I suspect it’s here to bind together the infinitive with the rest, but I must admit I don’t remember the details.)
If the government provided ballot papers in Gaelic, too, they would presumably then look as follows:
Am bu chòir do dh’Alba a bhith na dùthaich neo-eisimeilich?
- Bu chòir
- Cha bu chòir
I wonder whether it would change the number of Yes and No votes if the question in English had been “Is it proper for Scotland to be an independent country?” too…