Archive for the Category: Scottish Gaelic

Towns, gardens and fences

Last week I went to Denbigh, a small town in the north east of Wales, to sing in a concert. On the way there there was some discussion about the origins and meaning of the name Denbigh. So I thought I’d find out more. The English name of the town doesn’t mean anything, but the […]

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Dirks, Saxons and Messers

I discovered today that dolch is the German equivalent of dirk, the dagger that is worn in the sock in Scottish Highland dress (see photo). The dirk is known as a sgian dubh (black knife or secret knife) in Scottish Gaelic, and the word dirk, which first appeared in English as dork in the 17th […]

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Which language next?

As today is the 1st October it’s time to change my focus to a different language on my Multilngual Musings blog – but which one? During the past three months I’ve focused on Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx – a different one each month – and have found the exercise of writing something and recording […]

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Knowledge and seeing

I discovered today that there is a connection between the Gaelic word for knowledge, information, news – fios in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, fys in Manx – and the English words video and wit. Their roots can all be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European root woid-/wid- (to see/to know), which, according to the OED, is […]

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Back in Bangor

I’m now back in Bangor after a very enjoyable and interesting week at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. We learnt 15 songs during the week, so the course wasn’t as intensive as the one I did last year when we learnt twice as many songs, and we learnt about the background of the songs, and even saw […]

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Sgoinneil

When someone asks you ‘Ciamar a tha thu?’ (How are you?) in Scottish Gaelic, the standard answer is ‘(Tha mi) gu math’ (I’m fine). An interesting alternative I learnt today is ‘Tha mi sgoinneil’ [ha mi sgɤn̪ˠʲal] The word sgoinneil means ‘trim, well-made; careful; cool, groovy’ according to Am Faclair Beag and ‘careful, heedful; attentive; […]

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Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

This week I am doing a course in Scottish Gaelic songs with Mary Ann Kennedy at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. This is my third visit to the college and each time my Gaelic gets a bit better. Even though I’m not doing a course in Gaelic language, I […]

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Math math

This week I discovered that you can emphasize adjectives in Scottish Gaelic by repeating them. For example: – bha e math math air faclan a chur ri chèile ann am bàrdachd (he was very good at putting words togther in poetry). Emphasis can also be indicated with glé (very) – bha e glé mhath – […]

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Gàidhlig

This month I am focusing mainly on improving my Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig). I’ve been listening to Gaelic radio, reading various things in Gaelic, writing and recording things every day in Gaelic on my other blog, and speaking and singing to myself in the language. I plan to make another animation in Gaelic sometime this month […]

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Mouth to mouth with the night

I discovered an interesting idiom in Scottish Gaelic today: beul ri beul na h-oidhche, which means near nightfall, or literally “mouth to mouth with the night”. Are there interesting expressions in other languages for different times of the day? The word beul /bial̪ˠ/ means mouth; beginning; opening; edge; gunwale, and in found in such expressions […]

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