Ceart – Notes on Lesson 2

Blog: Kilted Scot
Categories: 5-minute read

Despite the pace of lesson 2 there were some interesting notes and facts to keep us going through the intensity.

Firstly, the word “cat” in Gaelic is cat and that’s because the word “cat” in English comes for the Gaelic for “cat” which is cat. I may have dragged that out a little, the original sentence was too short to be particularly interesting.

Tha is a very frustrating useful word, it is the affirmative answer to a question starting with a bheil which loosely means “are” and therefore tha loosely means “am” as such it can appear to mean “yes” but it doesn’t. However, it can also mean “there is” or “there are” when using prepositional statements/questions which end with the preposition+pronoun combinations such as agam, agad or aice. I am fairly certain in future lessons we are going to discover that it harbours even more meanings!

Towards the end of the class, in pairs we played through a waiter & customer scenario to practice phrases such as Dè tha thu ag iarraidh? (What would you like to order?) and Tha mi ag iarraidh … (I would like …). At which point we learned neach-frithealaidh which means “waiting person” but which is never practically used in Gaelic.

My usual (2 weeks in a row) partner is also an absolute beginner so we swapped partners and I was with a lovely lady whose parents both spoke Islay Gaelic and so she is familiar with some of the language. We ran through the following conversation a few times, swapping roles on each iteration:

neach-frithealaidh: Feasgar MathIain: Feasgar Math neach-frithealaidh: Ciamar a tha thu an-diugh?

Iain: Tha mi gu math tapadh leat, ciamar a tha thu-fhèin?

neach-frithealaidh: Tha mi gu math tapadh leat. Dè tha thu ag iarraidh?

Iain: Tha mi ag iarraidh brot, tapadh leat.

neach-frithealaidh: A bheil thu ag iarraidh aran agus ìm?

Iain: Tha, tapadh leat.

neach-frithealaidh: Ceart. Tha thu ag iarraidh brot le aran agus ìm. Dè tha thu ag òl?

Iain: A bheil uisge-beatha agad?

neach-frithealaidh: Chan eil. Tha mi duilich. Chan eil uisge-beatha agam.

Iain: A bheil fìon dearg agad?

neach-frithealaidh: Tha gu dearbh. Gloinne fìon dearg?

Iain: Botul. Tha mi sgìth agus fuar agus fliuch.

neach-frithealaidh: Glè mhath. Tha thu ag òl iarraidh botul fìon dearg.

waiter: Good evening.Iain: Good evening. waiter: How are you today?

Iain: I am well thank you, how are you yourself?

waiter: I am well thank you, what would you like to order?

Iain: I would like soup, thank you.

waiter: Would you like bread and butter?

Iain: yes, thanks.

waiter: OK. You would like soup with bread and butter. What you you like to drink?

Iain: Do you have whisky?

waiter: No, we don’t. I’m sorry. We have no whisky.

Iain: Do you have red wine?

waiter: Yes indeed we do. A glass of read wine?

Iain: a bottle. I am tired, cold and wet.

waiter: Very good. You would like a bottle of red wine.

My learned partner was very complimentary on my pronunciation (just being polite I’m sure) and asked if I wanted to try the conversation without referring to the script. To this I replied “No, I most certainly do not want to try that” and after a little gentle persuasion we did anyway. I played Iain.. and I did it, I only fucking did it! Went through the whole conversation without once referring to the script.. chuffed, I am!

Interesting phrases/vocab picked up during this lesson

Gàidhlig English
eadar-theangaich translate (lit: between tongues)
an-diugh today
dè a Ghàidhlig a th’air …? what is … in Gaelic?
air ais gu … go back to …
a rithist again
tha mi duilich i’m sorry*
ceart OK/fine
falt hair**
ghruag wig**

* duilich doesn’t just mean sorry, it also means sad and/or difficult.. the sentence tha mi duilich can mean any of the three.

** in this week’s miserable song Gràidh Geal Mo Chridh’ the final line in the final verse goes ‘S thug thu ghruag bhàrr mo chìnn which is translated in the notes as “My hair is thinned” referring to the woman’s physical state since her love left her. However, according to our tutor from Lewis ghruag doesn’t mean “hair”, it means “wig” so her translation was “you took the wig from atop my head” which added a little amusement to a depressing song!

Lastly, it occurred to me during this class that I really need to get a Gaelic<->English dictionary but apparently there aren’t any good ones! The most recommended was one called ‘Abair: Gaelic-English, English-Gaelic Dictionary’ which cost about £4.95 to buy new, but there are questions over whether or not it is still printed. I’ve found a few copies online varying from around £20 to £2,£499.50 (honestly!) which suggests that perhaps they are indeed limited in supply. I’ll maybe have to trawl around some old second hand bookshops!

I had a quick look online earlier too and found a couple of useful links:

The latter three actually all came from the first link and I haven’t explored them for long but I think they could be very useful resources for furthering my Gaelic knowledge.


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