Scottish Gaelic/Gàidhlig: A New Beginning

Tea: Passion Fruit/black tea. It is nice, but over-steeps quite rapidly.


My relationship with Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) has been off-and-on. I went to Scotland a few years back, and fell in love with everything Scottish. Having had a falling out with A Scottish friend, I found it to be too raw to connect with Scotland for a bit — we both said some really hurtful things —. Now, that the scar tissue is thick, and we have made up as friends, I realised that I missed Scotland. It was so much more than one trip/one friend/one experience. I, therefore, started battling with picking up the languages (I also have a Scots textbook) again. I decided to relearn it a little after finding Nynorsk. Nynorsk helps me connect to my Germanic background, so I stuck with that — expect the second part of The Golden Gander next week —. I, nevertheless, never forgot Gàidhlig.



Here we go: this is the book which I bought in Scotland. It has served me in that it has I.P.A. — International Phonestic Alphabet, and not the nasty beer that my boyfriend is fond to drink —, and it is broken up into parts in a rather nice way. When I get my PhD, and write a textbook; I want to write one more on this side of the spectrum. It is definitely more on the pocketbook side than I usually buy — I am a Victorian when it comes to learning languages. I want the largest dictionary, a reader, and a lot of time to translate. It is the best system which I have found for me. —, but I do not regret it at all.






Another book that I bought is a collection of short stories. I believe the translation is ‘Re-acquaintance’ which is quite fitting for this project. I will admit to being terrified of this collection. If it does not say Gàidhlig on it, I am always terrified that I have bought/looked up Irish (Gaelige) item. Let us hope that I have not immensely embarrassed myself online. We all know how forgiving the Internet can be.







For pronunciation practice, I have only been able to locate the audio from Scottish Gaelic in Twelve Weeksand a early 90s special called Speaking Our Language. The other audio is meant for native speakers — the news like BBC Nan Gàidheal, and one old soap opera —; however, I am always hopeful that a new show, or item will become available. There is a website that aims itself at children, it seems, at Learn Gaelic. I have no shame, so I will be using colouring sheets, and paper dolls if need be.


A few words that just catch my eye:

An t-aog / An t-eug               Death (the personified form)

An leabhar                             book

An tì                                        tea

An cnuasachadh                   Rumination

An tìm                                     time


Eventually I will be able to put those together for Tea Time Rumination in Gaelic, but I fear to butcher it. Having said that, my attempt would be: An Cnusachaidhean Tì-thìmean. We shall see how that turns out.

Something I learnt whilst preparing this post is that Gaelic has eight forms of the definite article. I love complicated languages, so I look forward to learning them; however, this will definitely be work. I wonder the etymology of such a development.

Otherwise, I do hope that I learn well. Be safe. Be loved.

One thought on “Scottish Gaelic/Gàidhlig: A New Beginning

  1. Irish is the same and the definite article is certainly malleable. An serves as “the” while the An bhfuil form may also pose a question in relation to an object. Na is plural and “of the” and acts as a bridge between two words normally relatable (Poblacht *na* hEireann).

    It’s ability to flex in my humble opinion isnt what makes it complicated as much as the fact that An when used with the posed “bhfuil” form is taking something we usually considered an article and turning it into something implying a question (verbally), despite An bhfuil translating in such a way that it doesnt seem like a verb, but it more or less is implied.

    Greek by contrast…or German…that’s an absolute mess with the articles. Greek has 3 but assists those 3 with a handful of special changes based on gender (or even quantities).

    I think that while the good Gaels of the world speak like it’s a problem and hard to learn, I really would argue Celtic (the Q types, anyway) languages arent too rough. Welsh is a mindbender if you’re ever curious.

    Liked by 1 person

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