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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.

so:

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”.

Summary:

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.

Learn Gaelic, Uncategorized

Scottish Gaelic Lesson 7 – Possessives

One of the most interesting things about Gaelic is the way it uses possessives, there are two ways in Gaelic. Some things are “at you” meaning in English, close to you, and other things are the same as in English with a version of my, yours, his etc…

The possessives of My yours his etc are only used in Gaelic if it is something very very close, like a body part, a family member or a quality which is cherished. Everything else is “at you” or “at him”

This topic also introduces certain behaviours like Lenition where “h” is inserted in the word as well as others which we have yet to discuss such as mo becoming

Please study the following, taken from the Gaelic Grammar wiki page:

Examples

Before words beginning with consonants

  • my foot: mo chas
  • your foot: do chas
  • his foot: a chas
  • her foot: a cas
  • our feet: àr casan
  • your (pl) feet: ùr casan
  • their feet: an casan

Before words beginning with vowels

  • my father: m’athair
  • your father: d’athair
  • his father: athair
  • her father: a h-athair
  • our father: àr n-athair
  • your (pl) father: ùr n-athair
  • their father: an athair

Possessive Pronouns using Aig

To express a less close relationship between the possessor and the possessum, a combination of an article, a noun, and an accordingly inflected preposition, in this order, is used.

  • my cat: an cat agam
  • your cat: an cat agad
  • his cat: an cat aige
  • her cat: an cat aice
  • our cat: an cat againn
  • your (pl) cat: an cat agaibh
  • their cat: an cat aca
  • Iain’s Cat: an cat aig Iain”

 

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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 6 – Questions

Questions in Gaelic (ceistean)

The question form of “tha” is bheil (valugh) and it needs to have AM in front – Am bheil….

Tha e fuar becomes as a question Am bheil e fuar?

So Tha effectively becomes Am bheil in a question.

To negate the above Tha e fuar, we still use bheil,  add cha and then shorten bheil to eil.

cha n-eil e fuar – he is not cold

and finally to make a question of it:

nach´eil e fuar? – is he not cold?

The above looks ever so complex, so we will not move on until we have mastered this.

To Summarise:

Tha e fuar  – he is cold

cha n-eil e fuar – he is not cold

nach´eil e fuar? – is he not cold?

 

 

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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 5 – A Bible Verse

Dara Litir an Abstoil Pòl a-chum nan Corintianach

“1.1

Pòl, abstol Iosa Criosd tre thoil Dhè, agus Timòteus, ar bràthair, a-chum eaglais Dhè a tha ann an Corintus, maille ris na h-uile naoimh a tha ann an Achaia uile”.

Pòl – Paul,

abstol – apostle,

Iosa Criosd – Jesus Christ

tre thoil Dhèby the Will of God

agus – and

ar bràthair – our brother

a-chum – to

eaglais Dhè – Church of God

maille ris – together with

na h-uile naoimh – all the saints

uile all

 

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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 4 – Tha and Is

There is often a lot of confusion with the verb to be, which is expressed using the word tha and the word is.

Tha mi fliuch I am wet

Is mise Joseph I am Joseph

There are some people who believe that the IS version is  archaic and is starting to disappear and indeed it sometimes does from sentences. But it is still used sometimes invisibly.

The best way to know when to use them s simply to think about emphasis – if there is a physical characteristic like a name, its unlikely to change so you can use is mise, but for occupations or transient things we use Tha…… although for vocations or people who feel they have a gift or a special calling, we can also use Is.

There is a very helpful chart here

 

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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 3 – Speaking about Islam

Ramadan: An naoidheamh mìos sa mhìosachan Islamach nuair a bhios Muslamaich a’ trasgadh gach latha eadar beul an latha agus beul na h-oidhche.

naoidheamh ninth

mìos month

mhìosachan Islamach Islamic calendar

Muslamaich Muslims

trasgadh fast

gach latha each day

beul an latha dawn

beul na h-oidhche sunset

eadar – between