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Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:38 pm
by Teddie
I grew up in a bi-lingual village ( infact two of my aunties are from the hebredies and fluent in gaelic, and my mum learned a good bit of gaelic, though shes forgotten alot.) so i grew up with the odd gaelic phrase and gaelic words. I also got a few lessons in primary and high-school, but it wasnt until about S4 (15'Ish) that i actually realised i wanted to learn gaelic, as i felt it was supposed to be my 'native' language. My school offered learners gaelic, but i was unfortunatly unable to take this when i was there, so i first started gaelic lessons when i arrived at university in St Andrews, as the university offers evening classes every week.

My family, and gaelic tutor are very supportive of my learning of the language, but one critisicm i often get from other people that i tell i am learning gaelic is what is the point in learning a language that no-one speaks (to be fair, some of these people are joking).

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:29 pm
by Seonaidh
Tha buidheann Ghàidhlig againn am Fìobha: 's dòcha gum bi thu eòlach air Anna Desseyn à Fàclann? Ruithidh i cùrsaichean Ùlpan air feadh na Rìoghachd. Gu mi-fhortanach fhuair i "breab sna fiaclan" leis iomadach ùghdarras Gàidhlig - dìth taic amsaa - agus chan eil i na rabaid sona an-dràsta idir. Mar sin dheth, 's ann caran neo-mhisneachail a tha sinn an-dràsta, ach tha sinn a' fuireach anns an dòchas...(this is Not Good Gaelic - do not try this at home...)

We have a Gaelic group in Fife: perhaps you've heard of Ann Desseyn from Falkland? She runs Ulpan courses throughout the Kingdom. Unfortunately, she recently got kicked in the teeth by sundry Gaelic authorities - lack of support etc - and she's not exactly a happy bunny at present. So we're a bit dispirited at the moment, but we wait in the hope...(chan e Beurla mhath a th' ann an seo - na feuch seo aig an taigh...)

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:31 pm
by Teddie
Chan eil. Chan creid mi tha mi choinnich i, ach Tha i mi-fhortanach bha de thachair gu i. Chan toil mo clas-companach cursaichean Ulpan ach Cha mi dh' fheuch i.

No, i don't think i've met her, but it is unfortunate what has happened to her. My classmates don't like Ulpan courses, but i've never tried one.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:08 pm
by Seonaidh
Seo thusa:-
A-nis, Na Mearachdan:-
[quote="Teddie"]Chan eil. Chan creid mi tha mi choinnich i, ach Tha i mi-fhortanach bha de thachair gu i. Chan toil mo clas-companach cursaichean Ulpan ach Cha mi dh' fheuch i.quote]
"Chan creid mi": should be "Cha chreid mi". You usually only get "chan" when the next letter is a vowel (or fh+vowel, which is basically the same thing), e.g. "Chan eil", "Chan fhaca" (No I didn't see...), "Cha toil". Also, apart from before t and d, "cha" tends to cause sèimheachadh, e.g. "Cha ghabh" (gabhail).

"I don't believe I've met her" would usually be something like "Cha chreid mi gu bheil mi air tachairt rithe" or "air tadhail oirre" or "air a coinneachadh". If you actually wanted to refer to a definite event in the past that didn;t happen (e.g. "I don't believe I met her at 1834 on 27th April 2011" or whatever, the second bit would be"gun do choinnich mi i" or similar.

As for "it is unfortunate what has happened to her", "tha i mi-fhortanach" is probably OK (but why "i" and not "e"?). To say "...what has happened to her", the word "na" is useful (meaning "that which", as opposed to "a", which is just "which"). For "has happened", try "tha air tachairt" - or even (as it's really One Event) just "thachair". As for "to her", you're probably dealing with "do" rather than "gu" or "ri" here. However, Gaelic tends to combine such words (prepositions) with pronouns (me, thee, him, her, us, you, them), so you don't have "do i", "gu i" or "ri i": rather, you have "dhì", "thuice" and "rithe"

"My classmates don't like Ùlpan courses": "Cha toil cùrsaichean Ùlpain (optional!) lem chompanaich-clas" - and even that sounds somewhat too literal a tr*nsl*t**n. "le mo" is quite OK for "lem", incidentally.

"but I've never tried one" - "ach chan eil mi air fear fheuchainn a-rìamh" - literally "but not am I on man to try ever", where "man" (fear) is basically "one", being in this case a "male" one (cùrsa). If it was a "female" one, you'd use "tè"

Anyway, "Ùlpan" is only one thing she does - she also does less specific Gaelic teaching, i.e. not tied to a specific method. I suspect that none of your classmates have ever tried Ùlpan, i.e. their dislike is much the same as my dislike of Guinness - I've never tried it. That is not to say that Ùlpan is Where It's At - it would suit some people, but not others - and there's no such thing as a "magic bullet" for learning any language. However you set about it, you need loads of practice so it becomes second nature to you.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:18 am
by GunChleoc
If you are interested in having a look at Ùlpan classes, you could try finding a taster session. That's the best way to find out if you like it. One thing that's definitely good about the system is that you do the pronunciation of new phrases first before you see them written or get them translated. There is also nobody forcing you to stick to one system always. You can go to different types of classes if they are available and pick up different things from them.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:16 am
by Teddie
Thanks for correcting my gaelic :) one problem i always tend to have is tr*nsl*t*ng to literally from english to gaelic. I was taught that either i or e could mean 'it' and i had just got in the habit of always using i, thou i can see why it probably would have been better to use e in this context. What is the difference between 'do' 'gu' and 'ri'? Is it similar to the 'to' and 'too' in English?

When saying that someone likes someone, i thought that it went 'like, the person liking and then what is liked', so why does it seem like your saying the course likes my classmates? Or does it just depend on where the 'le' goes in the sentence?

Two of my classmates say that they have tried ulpan courses, and they agree with our teacher that they dislike the little emphasise on grammar. I might try one at some point, but i like being able to see words written down first before speaking them as it helps me pronounce them.

One problem im already seeing is a difference in dialects :p my teacher is from Harris, so im learning her dialect whereas from what i can see it seems that a more lewis-like dialect seems to predominate here? E.g, i've seen 'where are you from?' written here as 'Co as a thu?' whereas i learned it as 'Caite as am bheil thu?'.

Also, my teacher has never used the gaelic accents in class, so i'm not sure whether she is going to teach us them later (though i can't see a reason for this).

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:05 pm
by Seonaidh
From what I know of Ùlpan, it does actually have loads of grammar in it. But it's not the first thing you do. Not sure on the feallsanachd (philosophy), but I think the idea may be to get you into the new language in a way broadly similar to how you got into your first language. And let's face it - how many folk could actually explain the detailed grammatical structure and syntax of the language they spoke fluently every day from childhood? They just "do it".

How many forms of the word "the" do you use in English? It's not the same in all English dialects, but it's quite usual to have two forms, one used before vowels and another before consonants. And there's no sign of that in spelling. To an extent, Irish is the same regarding "an". But Gaelic has actually adopted spelling variations to indicate when it's "an", when it's "a'" and when it's "an t-" (to say nothing of "am"). Anyway, a tiny illustration that we all use language features (grammar etc.) as "second nature" without realising it.

I've never come across "Càite às am bheil thu?". That's not to say it doesn't exist, but the form "Cò às a tha thu?" is certainly not just Lewis dialect - it is (so far as I can tell) generally understood amongst Gaelic speakers and is the literary norm (inasmuch as there is one).

"Toil" means something like "pleasing", so "Is toil leam" means "It's pleasing to (with, by) me": one could think of non-standard English expressions like "Fine by me", "It's OK with me" and so on. And this is the standard way of saying you like something in Gaelic - literally "Is pleasant with-me such-and-such", as opposed to "I like such-and-such".

As for "do" "gu" and "ri", none of them are like the English "too" (or, for that matter, "two"). "do", when spatial, often implies "into" or "through the door and inside", while "gu" tends more to be "up to", or "just as far as the door". Though this is by no means a rigid rule and much interchange is possible (you might, for instance, see road signs like "Fàilte do Mhalaig" or "Fàilte gu Malaig" - they both mean "Welcome to Mallaig"). What you'd be unlikely to see would be "Fàilte ri Malaig"! - get a photo if you ever see a sign like that! "ri" is not used spatially - it's more "in order to" or "so that" or denoting an obligation, as in "Tha agam ri sgrìobhadh", which means "I have to write" (rather than something like "I've got writing" or "I am writing" or whatever). "do" can also be used quite often where you might have "for" in English: as a test, if an English sentence has "for" in it and you can replace it by "to" without destroying the meaning completely - or even by "for to" - then you can use "do" in Gaelic. If you can't, you're looking at a different "for" and might try words like "air" or "airson" or even "ri".

You're very unlikely to hear "do" in speech (meaning "to" - you'll hear it in various forms of past tense). In speech. more common are "dha" and "a". Also, whereas "do" causes sèimheachadh (as in "Fàilte do Mhalaig" above), "dha" often doesn't (maybe because it's already been done to the D). "a", however, usually does cause it (when it means "to").

There's (now) only one accent in Gaelic, the high-to-low one (`). Sometimes, this is used merely to differentiate between two words that are otherwise spelt the same, but usually it is used to show that the vowel underneath is l-o-n-g. For instance, "dè" (what) is often pronounce much as a native of Yorkshire might say "jay", i.e. with a long e (but without the usual English diphthong on that), whereas "de" (of) always has a short e (and it can become more like a schwa, as in the French pronunciation of "de"). In some dialects of Gaelic, the "slender D" is actually executed still like a D sound (rather than a J sound), but narrower than the other D.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:19 pm
by Thrissel
Teddie wrote:Also, my teacher has never used the gaelic accents in class, so i'm not sure whether she is going to teach us them later (though i can't see a reason for this).
Im afraid Id put about as much faith in learning good (written) Gaelic from someone whos never using accents as Id put in learning good English from someone whos never using the apostrophe.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:03 am
by Teddie
She's a native speaker (From Harris) so she it's not like she doesn't know what she's talking about, but i dunno. I might just ask her about accents.

Thanks Seonaidh, your post really cleared a lot up for me :) I didn't mean to say that it was the Lewis form of Gaelic spoken here, just that it seems abit different form what i've learnt. I agree that Co as a tha Thu is widely understood (i learnt it myself when i was growing up around Gaelic speakers). But Caite as am bheil thu seems more logical to me as it's using the 'where' question as opposed to the 'who' question. My teacher said that most non-lewis gaelic speakers agreed that Caite as am bheil thu was the correct form, though both are understood.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:24 pm
by faoileag
It isn't really a case of a correct and incorrect form, just a regional difference, and because there is much friendly rivalry between Lewis and Harris, each side tends to proclaim they have the better/more correct Gaelic (and better beaches etc etc). There is quite a movement now to preserve or revive Gaelic regional dialects, so if you want to learn Harris Gaelic, go ahead. Help keep it going into the future.

'Cò às a tha thu' actually means 'who' are you from, i.e. what family or social/clan group are you from. (Which then automatically told people the township, island or area, traditionally speaking.) So it's a traditional way of thinking about place that's all part of the heritage, the 'dualchas', that is built into a language.

As regards accents: for native speakers the length and 'colour' of syllables is automatically correct when speaking, so maybe some don't see the accents as important, or haven't had to do much writing themselves (as schools didn't teach in Gaelic for several generations) so are less comfortable with them, but for learners and for exams and for publishing and for any writing which others will read, they really are necessary, so learn them yourself from the books you have or the other learning materials you use. It's irritating to the reader if common accents are missing, like seeing spelling mistakes.

Why spoil the ship for a hap'orth of tar! :lol:

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:49 am
by GunChleoc
I expect you are getting really beautiful Harris Gaelic from your teacher. There's nothing wrong with Harris Gaelic, or Lewis Gaelic, or any other dialect for that matter :lol:

You should ask her though if she could make an effort to use accents, especially if you like using writing to help you with the sounds. Vowel length is a very important feature.

Concerning ri, there used to be an article on the Akerbeltz site about it that hasn't been included in the new site yet. Here's part of it minus the snazzy formatting: wrote:Meaning and use of ri are a bit more tricky. Rather than do what most textbooks do which is to give you a long list of ways in which this preoposition can be translated depending on context and the verbs it is used with, we will try to give you an idea of what concept(s) ri entails within Gaelic.

The primary meaning of ri is best summed up as "interaction between two participants in which some form of feedback or resistance is exhibited." Think of a man holding his head in front of a fan blowing at full force and you're not far off the concept. And contrary to some grammars, it *can* involve physical motion.

The reason for not just giving you a list of possible translations is that such a long list would suggest that it's a very convoluted preposition when it really isn't. We're just trying to get away from the English speaking point of view for a bit.

If you open your dictionary of Old Irish, you will see that the above definition squares largely with the original meaning of the word and is most commonly translated as 'against,' e.g. fri fál 'against a wall.' A look into your etymological dictionary will tell you that ri is most likely connected to the Indo-European root of *vṛti meaning to turn and is connected to Latin versus and the English suffix -wards. You're probaly getting a pretty good idea of the fundamental meaning of the word already. So, meaning number one is 'against' both in a physical and metaphorical way. This covers phrases like the following:

tha fàradh ris a' bhalla - there is a ladder leaning against the wall
geug a' gnogadh ris an uinneig - a branch knocking against the window
sheas i ris a' chàr - she leaned against the car
déan strì ri nàimhdean - to fight against enemies
croch ri craobh - to hang from a tree
air neo bidh mi riut! - or else you'll get it!
tha an ite maoth ri m' aghaidh - the feather is soft against my face
shuidh e r' a thaobh - he sat next to him

So why is 'hang from a tree' in there? Think of it - the rope has to be attached to something, doesn't it? Something is keeping it from falling to the ground and that is the tree.

This is where some grammars get into really hot water because they look at ri from the English point of view. But staying with the definition that ri is used for the "interaction between two participants in which some form of feedback or resistance is exhibited" the following are quite logical:

tha e a' dol ris a' ghaoith - he is going against the wind
shnàmh i ris an t-sruth - she swam upstream/against the current
bha e ris a' ghréin - it was exposed to the sun
shreap sinn ris a' bhruthach - we ascended/went up the slope

The last one incidentally forms a nice pair with leis a' bhruthach which means exacatly the opposite. Notice how in English we have to use different idiom because English looks at the world from a different angle - but in Gaelic we're still in the same system. This usage of ri is old too - Old Irish has words like fresngabál meaning 'ascent' (lit. 'taking against').

For the next meaning group we are simply going to state that in Gaelic you "compare against" rather than "with" - not as strange, think of the English idiom "to measure against!"

tha e coltach ri cù - he is similar to a dog
tha seo mór an taca ris an té sin - this is big in comparison with that one
tha e cho glas ri càl Obar Dheathain - it is as green as grass
tha e an aon dath ri mo phlangaid - it is the same colour as my blanket

This use again is old and existed as far back as Old Irish. For the next group, we get closer to the meaning 'against' again. You can think of the following as "against, tackling," still staying within the Gaelic definition of ri:

tha e ris an iasgach - he's fishing (for a living)
bha i ri ùrnaigh - she was praying
dé tha thu ris? - what are you up to?
tha iad ri trod - they're having a fight
bha iad ris a-rithist - they were at it again

So where exactly is the difference between bha i ag ùrnaigh and bha i ri ùrnaigh? Not much - some dialects even use ri instead of ag with verbal nouns - slightly more emphasis on the action taking place than in phrases with ag.

The next group also stays quite close to home - even though it gets translated into English by a word whose meaning is seeminlgy unrelated - 'with.' Again, it's a question of your point of view. The physical reality of leaning against a wall and standing side by side with somebody aren't miles apart (unless you're trying to push the wall over of course ...) and in Gaelic they are just that:

chaidh mi ann còmhla ris - I went there with him

bha iad ann maille rithe - they were there alongside her
tha iad ri chéile a-nis - they are together now
rinn mi deasbad riutha - I argues with them

It still is the same concept in Gaelic. The next group is even more obvious as "two participants whith some form of feedback or resistance:"

thachair mi ri muc-mhara - I met a whale
coinnichidh mi rithe - I will meet her
tha mi a' fuireach ris - I am waiting for him

If you look back the picture with the fan and compare it to this one, you'll notice an interesting coincidence - the same "symbol" is used in both cases to represent the action going on:

thuirt mi ris gun a dhéanamh - I told him not to do it
dh'éisd mi ruibh - I listened to you
eughaidh mi ris - I will yell at him

And then there is the remainder of expressions and idioms which use ri which are perhaps best just learned, things like réidh ri Dia 'at peace with God' where you could somehow invoke the above, but only with difficulty. Here's a list of usages which are difficult to predict but thankfully not that tricky to learn:

ri + Verbal Noun

> to be V-PAST
ri ithe - to be eaten
ri ràdh - to be said
ri dhèanamh - to be done

aig + ri > have to [present/non-tense]
tha agam ri èisteachd - I have to listen
tha aca ri bruidhinn - they have to speak

ri + Temporal Adverb
> during/in
ri linn Jingis Khan - during the age of Jingis Khan
ri a latha - in his day
ri aimsir theth - in hot weather

And then there is a number of verbs which take ri for reasons best known to themselves which you just have to learn such as feitheamh ri 'waiting for' and gabh ri 'to accept', but then every language has annoying constructions which don't fit into the pradigm easily.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:03 am
by FiachraÓL
bhuel, is mise Fiachra. tá Gaeilge na h-Éireann agam agus bhí mé ag iarraidh Gaeilge na h-Alba a fhoglaim freisin :) is maith liom uisce bheatha !
uill, is mise Fiachra. tha Gàidhlig na h-Éireann agam agus bha mi ag iarraidh Gàidhlig na h-Alba ionnsachadh cuideachd :) is toigh leam uisge bheatha !
well, I'm Fiachra (that's a lad's name btw, for ye foreigners !), I speak Irish and wanted to learn Scottish Gaelic as well. :) I like whiskey !

Actually, it all started from youtube... i found a weatherforcast in scottish gaelic... and i could understand a lot of it... so i looked into it... and yeah... great lingo... delighted that I could understand it. wanna fluencise myself in it doh. lol

an bhfuil Gaeilge ag aon duine anseo ?
a bheil Gàidhlig na h-Éireann ag aon duine an-seo ?

two best languages in the world are Irish and Scottish Gaelic !!! as I've often said... The celts are the best, the best of the celts are the gaels, and the best of the gaels are the Irish ! (Sorry Scottish cousins, love yous too B-) ) ...

So I really wanna go to Scotland some time soon and live there for a while... right now, for a year now, I'm in what my friends call "the great satan" (sorry, americans, yes, its the usa :'( hehe )... but in 10 days I'm outta here... to Peru... for a year.. then perhaps spain for a few months... back to Ireland... and as soon as I can... Scotland !!!!

In response to previous stuff... yes, it's same for us Irish... tonnes of americans claiming to be Irish :roll: :roll: :roll: I've half given up trying to explain to them...

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 6:57 pm
by akerbeltz
Im afraid Id put about as much faith in learning good (written) Gaelic from someone whos never using accents as Id put in learning good English from someone whos never using the apostrophe.
That's a bit harsh. If she's an older native speaker, she may well struggle with the intricacies of spelling stuff and I wouldn't worry about that too much. Many older books completely sidestep accents and are (in most cases) mostly readable though this system falls over when it comes to rare words. It's a bit like many Polynesian languages (including Malay and Indonesian) not writing the macrons - as long as you've got a lot of really fluent native speakers, it's not much of an issue.

And remember, of the older generation, many are self taught when it comes to reading and writing as the majority got buggerall Gaelic when they were in school.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:09 pm
by Thrissel
I know dozens, nay hundreds, of native Czech speakers, young and old, who struggle with the intricacies of spelling stuff, never mind the relative phoneticity of the orthography and never mind they all had years of Czech lessons in school. (So I didn't mean to sound like I was smirking, my apologies if I did.) Likewise, there were years between the arrival of the first mobile phones and the arrival of the first mobiles that could handle Czech diacritics, so we all texted without diacritics and the texts were mostly easily readable. That still doesn't mean I would put much faith in learning good (written) Czech from those hundreds (many of whom are much better speakers than me) or from somebody who doesn't use diacritics because he only has an English keyboard.

Re: What Made You Want To Learn Gàidhlig?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:39 pm
by akerbeltz
Fàilte ort, Fhiacra, eadar dà sgeul :)

@Thrissel in the case of state languages I'm with you, but oh, to have the luxury of only picking really allround competent tutors in Scotland