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Gaelic Lesson 14 – Tràth Caithte and More About Tenses

Tha mi a ‘sgrìobhadh leabhar.
(Tha sibh etc…..)
Tràth Caithte

Bha mi a ’sgrìobhadh leabhar.

(Bha sibh etc……..)
The above examples show the most common and easiest ways to create the present tense and past, using the continuous of the verb “to be” . To use the simple present (instead of the Continuous present) there is a construction, unusual in Gaelic, using the future tense.
Sgriobhadh mi or bidh mi a´sgriobhadh
The future tense used as the present simple is more common when we talk about things we do habitually and things which happen a lot or are generally true. Practice will make this clearer.  Please try to use the continuous until you have more practice with this.
H is added to create the simple past, here is a chart of imperatives. Notice the irregular form of “DH” with vowels” and “F”.  It is also interesting to notice that nothing happens to “SG” and “R”
Imperative English Translation Past Tense English Translation
fàg! leave! dh’fhàg left
ionnsaich! learn! dh’ionnsaich learnt
pòg! kiss! phòg kissed
obair! work! dh’obair worked
sabaid! fight! shabaid fought
sgrìobh! write! sgrìobh wrote
ruith! run! ruith run
seas! sit! sheas sat
teasgaisg! teach! theagaisg taught
tog! lift! thog lifted

dh´ionnsaich e

dhionnsaich thu anns an obair sin?

It is formed by exactly the same rules as the continuous present tense.

Questions etc and how to ask them will be shown later
Learn Gaelic, Uncategorized

Gaelic Lesson 13: Tha Seosaidh ann.

Is mise Seosaidh, Tha mi a Cill Bhreannain agus tha mi nam mhaighstir-sgoile.  Tha mi a ‘fuireach ann am Pàislig. Thàinig mo theaghlach à Ìle.

Is mise  fear-gèidh,  bàrd,  bruadaire, agus  cluicheadair piàna.

Cur-seachadan agus ùidhean

Agus a’ bruidhinn ri mo charaidean air-loidhne, ’S e tidsear a th’ annam, Air-loidhne.

Meadhanan Ceilteach

Cànan nan Gàidheal


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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 12 – A´Sgrìobhadh

Try to write something about yourself:

Is mise Joseph agus tha mi a´fuireach ann an Alba. Bha mi a´fuireach ann an flat ann am Pàislig, Tha am beagan Gaìdhlig. Tha mi ag ionnsachadh….

a bheil Ghaìlig agad  / an robh Ghaìlig agad

chan eil Ghaìlig agad  / cha robh Ghaìlig agad

Nach eil Ghaìlig agad / nach robh  Ghaìlig agad





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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 11 – Practice

In the previous 10 lessons, I have given you the basics of Gaelic Grammar, mainly in English, to set the scene for using the present tense.

We have more than enough information to make Gaelic sentences therefore, this blog will now contine in Gaelic, to force you to practice new vocabulary and grammar.

When we move to more complex grammar topics, I will likely switch to English to explain them.

So, I recommend that you get yourself a good dictionary and start using programs like memrise where you will find free vocabulary flashcards and games.

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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 10 – Lenition Examples

As I understand it, lenition is something which has been “evolving” to smooth the letters of the language for many centuries. What we know of lenition today is perhaps the remaining part. Simply the insertion of the letter H into the word after the first letter. Much older forms of lenition have been absorbed into vocabulary and you can see evidence of these in words like sèimh or fliuch which looked very different in the past and whose endings were lenited.

Remember the list of consonants which can be lenited from last time, not all consonants are lenited. C, B, M, D, G, S, T, P, F The letters L, N and R also lenite but are not written, you need to keep this in mind.

Below are the conditions of lenition

Choisich mi past tense *we will discuss that later, along with other tenses which can be lenited

oidhche mhath adjectives with feminine noun

mo bhràthair  possessives mo, do and a, *only these possessives,  always lenite. Possessives also cause the word to insert a vowel near the end of the word, Its called slenderisation. We will talk about that later.

bho, de, do, fo, gun, mar, mu, ro, tro prepositions which cause lenition.

corra deagh, droch, priomh, sàr, seann  adjectives which lenite

glè mhath modifiers glè, fior, ro

aon, dà, a’chiad  these numbers lenite

bu  this verb lenites

cha negative particle lenites.









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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 9 – Present Continuous

The continuous present tense is written with ag before the word, abbreviated to a’ to make it easier when we are speaking. It is used more often than in English.

An-diugh, tha mi a ’sgrìobhadh sgeulachdan, (tràth làthaireach). Is mise fear-gèidh,  Tha mi a ’fuireach le mo bhràmair  agus  An-diugh, tha Glaschu glè bhrèagha. an-diugh tha fèis Ghàidhlig ann an Glaschu, le ceòl agus cofaidh




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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 8 – Intro to Lenition and Word Change

One of  the most frightening things about learning Gaelic is Lenition  – that´s where an H enters a word and changes its whole pronunciation. When you first come across it, you will see that it looks very confusing – but, actually it isn´t. In fact we use them in English all of the time. Consider the word Phone – we have inserted an H into the word to avoid a hard consonant. Fight is another one, we put an H into the word to get the right sound. Gaelic has a structured use of doing this and its easy to know. Just before I tell you about it, you should know that the H always goes into the second letter, is not always written and can behave a bit odd.  Gaelic words also have plurals by changing the end of the word – thats nothing to do with what we are talking about – that process is called “slendering” and we will talk about that another time.


Dont worry too much if you don’t get this, you just need to know that it happens so you can hear it.


The letters which are aspirated are B,C,D,F,G,M,P,S,T

You could try to make a little rhyme to remember it. Mine is “Brigid´s Cold Day First Gave March Pre-Summer Time”.


When we lenite a word, the whole sound changes

mh has a  v sound,

ch as in Loch,

ph like pheasant

sh and th  like hat

dh and gh can vary in sound.


1.We aspirate, to make the past tense

tog e  – he lifts

thog e – he lifted

2. We aspirate SOME of the possessive pronouns

Mo Mhac  – son

Do bhàta – your boat

a bhàta – his boat

Our, their and her do not lenite.  Only practice will make this clear so I don’t want to really write a lot more about it right now.

3. Triggered by some prepositions

  • bho
  • gu
  • do
  • anns a’
  • air
  • aig

4.  also triggered by Feminine nouns

5. Intensifiers also trigger lenition

6. There are also a few other minor things which cause the H, which you will see when you come across them

We will study these more in due course.