Feasgar Math – Lesson 1

Good afternoon\evening! If you are reading this at any other time period of the day then the sentiment persists, I just haven’t learned how to say any other greetings in Gaelic yet.

This post, like all subsequent posts, exists in order to document my progress in learning Scottish Gaelic or Gàidhlig from absolute beginner level.

I have signed up for lessons via the Office of Lifelong Learning at The University of Edinburgh and recently attended my first class.

The class size is pretty reasonable at 15 fellow students and the teacher is a native of the Western Island of Lewis.  We were advised that the dialect we’ll be picking up as the weeks continue will be the Lewis dialect but hopefully we’ll be understandable elsewhere too.

My initial impressions of the course are all positive, even considering we have to sing a different Gaelic song each week!  At this stage of the process I am a very eager and engaged student.. I hope this feeling continues.

It would obviously be entirely unfair for me to share the entire contents of the course as this may convince potential students that they need not attend any classes.  Beware however, even at this early stage it seems that Gaelic is not pronounced in any way that resembles the way that the words are written.

Point of example: tinn which means sick/unwell sounds a bit like choing when said aloud. I may occasionally refer to the International Phonetic Alphabet when trying to explain pronunciation, this is not one of those times.

Some of the phrases which we learned are listed below and I’ve attached some audio clips of MY attempts at pronunciation.  I’ll refer you back to the statement above that I am an absolute beginner and therefore some of the pronunciations may be incorrect.  This will enable me to look back and see where I was going wrong as I progress with the language.  It is not an attempt to mislead!

 

Gàidhlig English Audio
Feasgar math Good Evening/Afternoon
Cò thusa? Who are you?
Is mise Jon I am Jon
Ciamar a tha thu? How are you?
Tha mi fuar I am cold
Cò às a tha thu? Where are you from?
Tha mi a Alba I am from Scotland
Tapadh leat Thank you
Oidhche mhath Good Night

We learned more vocabulary than this and also our revision/homework contains other pronouns such as he, she, we, they etc.

One of the many things I learned was that I  (and I presume many other folk) have long been pronouncing Alba (Scotland) incorrectly.  It is pronounced as if there is a wee half ‘a’ in between the ‘ll and ‘b’.  This also impacts the pronunciation of Albanach (Scottish) which I’ve also been mispronouncing as the last 3 letters are pronounced ‘och’ in Gaelic, or at least in Lewis dialect.

We also had a few goes at the following Gaelic song, where we sang along with the chorus.  It wasn’t as bad as we all thought, but probably not as good as the kids in the video sang it.

 

Are you a Gaelic speaker? If so, are you a native or non-native speaker?  Have you noticed many differences between Gaelic dialects?

Whether you speak Gaelic or are interested in learning or indeed neither of the two, please feel free to comment below!