Archive for the Category: Scottish Gaelic

Tag questions, innit!

Tag questions or question tags are interrogative fragments (tags) added to statements making them into sort of questions. They tend to be used more in colloquial speech and informal writing than in formal writing, and can indicate politeness, emphasis, irony, confidence or lack of it, and uncertainty. Some are rhetorical and an answer is not […]

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Gaelic

While I was in Scotland last week I took part in conversation circles in the evenings after class. Among those attending there were some whose Scottish Gaelic was very fluent, others who struggled to put sentences together, and people like me who are somewhere in between. I could understand almost everything people said and could […]

Also posted in Irish, Language 8 Comments

Cuddies

An interesting Scots word I came across this week was cuddy which means coalfish or donkey and featured in the English translation of a Gaelic song. From the context I knew it was some kind of creature, but which one I wasn’t sure. According to the Scots Language Centre website cuddy is a Scots word […]

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Scottish adventures

I’ve been in Scotland since last Saturday, mainly at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. I’m doing a course in Gaelic mouth music (puirt à beul) and waulking songs (òrain luaidh) with Christine Primrose, and am having a wonderful time. There are eight of us in the singing class – […]

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Spòg

I came across the Scottish Gaelic word spòg (foot) in a song I learnt today and it caught my attention because I heard it a couple of weeks ago when I was in Ireland being used to mean foot in English. I thought it might be a Irish word, but didn’t get round to checking. […]

Also posted in English, Irish, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Gleann Cholm Cille

I returned to Bangor from the Isle of Man yesterday after a very enjoyable week at Yn Chruinnaght. I spoke and sang lots of Manx, and heard all the other Celtic languages, except Breton, being spoken and/or sung. I also spoke a bit of French and German, and even some English. I was even inspired […]

Also posted in Cornish, English, French, German, Irish, Language, Manx, Welsh 5 Comments

Sonic the happy Manx hedgehog

Arkan sonney is a Manx expression I came across today that means hedgehog, or literally “happy sucking pig”. Arkan is a diminutive form of ark (piglet), and sonney means ‘affluent, lucky, fortunate, happy’, and sounds a bit like sonic, hence the little of this post. Another Manx word for hedgehog is graynoge, which is related […]

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Yn Chruinnaght

Tomorrow I’m off to the Isle of Man for Yn Chruinnaght (‘the gathering’) – a celebration of Manx and Celtic music and culture featuring performers and participants from the Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. I’m really looking forward to it as it’s a great opportunity to see old friends and make […]

Also posted in Breton, Cornish, English, Irish, Language, Manx, Travel, Welsh 3 Comments

True sisters

The word for sister in Irish is deirfiúr /dʲɾʲəˈfˠuːɾˠ/, and it has always puzzled me why this word is so different from the words for sister in the other Gaelic languages: piuthar /pju.ər/ in Scottish Gaelic and shuyr /ʃuːr/ in Manx. Yesterday I discovered that deirfiúr is in fact a combination of deirbh /dʲɾʲəv/ (true) […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 10 Comments

Obrigados / Obrigadas

According to someone who wrote to me today, the words obrigados/obrigadas are only used in Portuguese to mean ‘obligated’, and are not used to thank more than one person. However, according to João Rosa, who wrote the article Obrigado – how to express your gratitude in Portuguese, these words are used to mean ‘thank you’ […]

Also posted in Grammar, Irish, Language, Manx, Portuguese, Zulu 14 Comments