Dè an t-ainm a th-ort? – Lesson 8

Blog: Kilted Scot
Categories: 4-minute read

As I was being a good citizen and attending jury duty in high court and that case being of a mentally and emotionally draining nature, I missed week’s 6 and 7 and as such we’re jumping straight into week 8 and all of the joyful complexities that it contained!

This week’s lesson was focussed around a homework piece which the class had discussed during the previous week’s lesson and been utterly confused. I was sent the piece to attempt as homework however, without any of the context they had discussed and boy did I make a lot of mistakes!

I’ll discuss the homework in my follow up notes article and it as it related to family and counters for people I’ll write about that here. I presume that this was the content of much of week 7 and possibly even week 6 anyway so it will bridge the lesson gap somewhat for me.

An teaghlach – The Family

The crux of the lesson was on the use of different possessive pronouns and how they change the reference to members of a family, but first a vocabulary list of said family members:

Gàidhlig English
Màthair Mother
Màthair-chèile Mother-in-law
Athair Father
Athair-cèile Father-in-law
Bràthair / Braithrean Brother / Brothers
Brathair-cèile Brother-in-law
Piuthar / Peathraichean Sister / Sisters
Piuthar-chèile Sister-in-law
Seanmhair Grandmother
Seanair Grandfather
Antaidh Auntie
Uncail Uncle
Mac Son
Balach / Gille / Balaich Boy / Boy / Boys
Caileag Girl
Pàisde Child
Leanabh Baby
Nighean / Clann Nighean Daughter / Daughters
Bantrach Widow / Widower

Note that with regards to the in-laws, male family members don’t lenite cèile but female family members do lenite chèile.

This is relatively simple, well pronunciation aside at least.

Next we’ll look at the different personal pronouns:

Gàidhlig English
mo my
do your
a his
a her
ar our
ur your (pl)
an their

Immediately you should spot an issue, the pronouns for both his and her are the same! However, possessive pronouns mo (my) do (your) and a (his) are followed by lenition. All others are not, thus allowing us to distinguish between a masculine and a feminine pronoun.

Gàidhlig English
mo mhàthair my mother
do mhàthair your mother
a mhàthair his mother
a màthair her mother

In the case of Athair (father) the pronoun is abbreviated as the word starts with a vowel so mo athair becomes m’athair, do athair becomes d’athair etc. In order to avoid confusion between his and her father, her father becomes a h-àthair.

Next, let’s look at counters for people (only applied to people) which cover between two and ten people, I believe that any greater then you just use the normal number (happy to be corrected!).

Gàidhlig English
Dithis Two
Triùir Three
Ceathrar Four
Còignear Five
Sianar Six
Seachdnar Seven
Ochdnar Eight
Naoinear Naoi
Deichnear Ten

Finally, we looked over numbers again by way of a rest!

As mentioned before, Gaels count in units of twenty which isn’t overly tricky but tired minds find even the simplest tasks difficult so again this was a point of confusion.

On top of the numbers we previously heard we learned ceud (hundred), mìle (thousand) and millean (million), the first two being very familiar from the phrase ceud mìle fàilte meaning ‘a hundred thousand welcomes.’

We were told that you can either say numbers following an English style of just reading out the number as you see it.. so one hundred and fifty eight could be read as ceud dà fichead ‘sa ochd deug (one hundred two twenties and eighteen) or full-fat Gaelic which would be seachd fichead ‘sa ochd deug.

Reading years was slightly different as you read the first part as hundreds and the second as it is, so 1919 would be naoi deug ceud ‘sa naoi deug although that looks far simpler than the extensive discussion that was had around it in class.

As always, we finished with a song though thankfully we didn’t have to sing along as I would have objected to doing so. It was a Gaelic salm (psalm) and I would have been silent on the grounds of atheism.

However, unbeknownst to me this is a famous style of singing in Gaelic and would have been .. difficult.. for us to replicate.

This style of singing has a presenter sing the lyrics then the rest of the choir jump in to repeat, using whatever tune they fancy.

I’ll apologise now as it just sounds like a bunch of drunks trying to sing along at karaoke in an echo chamber as far as I’m concerned but each to their own :).

Salm 72


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