Saturday, 19 September 2009

Gaelic phrases with Fiona Mackenzie

And now for something completely different...!

I'm a big fan of Scottish Gaelic - I spent years in Bristol learning it alongside Andar Gunneberg, Ray Lenkas, Sile MacMillan and Colin Campbell. I moved to Scotland in 1997 and found that whilst many could speak the language, few wanted to with learners. Thankfully that's all changing now, in a post-devolution Scottish world. I've discovered many instances of ancestors who spoke in Gaelic, but it is not a historic language, Gaelic is just as alive and as adaptive as the English language.

Recently I came across the Twitter page of Gaelic singer Fiona J. Mackenzie, at Fiona is now offering up simple phrases to learn everyday via Twitter - here's last night's parting shot for those off to bed:

Gaelic fr 2nite-Tha mo cho sgith ris a chu- lit. Im as tired as a dog-Im knackered- Ha me cho skee reesh uh choo(as in och rather than choc)

If you want to dabble and learn a few phrases, Fiona provides a painless way to do it. And if that begins to tickle your taste buds, pop along to to try to take things a bit further, and get ready for your first Ciamar a tha thu?!. (How are you?, or as I like to say, What about ye?!!!)

In the meantime, she has also uploaded a recording of a song at the following link - Tha thu beo nam anamsa (You are alive in my soul).

Grab yourself a mug of chocolate, turn the lights down, turn the music up, and relax!

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Anonymous said...

Did you teach Gaelic to your children?
Because people have to bring Gaelic back into the home again if the language is to survive.

Chris Paton said...

As a daily language, no. But each of my boys knows many Scottish Gaelic phrases that I have taught them, but as my wife and I are both Irish (albeit of diffent types!), they have as many Irish phrases also. To teach my kids in Largs with no community support around at all (Largs is not an indigenous Gaelic speraking area) would be difficult at best; but to show them there is nothing wrong with speaking in Gaelic is a step further than many Scots are willing to do. I talk to their Irish granny in a sort of mishmash of Scots and Irish Gaelic (albeit in different dialects!) in front of them, and she shouts cuanas to them they know what it means and humbly obey!

I should add that as a Northern Irishman, I personally see the responibility for the survival of the Scottish Gaelic language as primarily that of the Scots themselves, and it must be driven from the Gaelic speaking areas themselves. In Ireland, the language is not in a healthy state - many people speak Irish in the Gaeltacht areas simply because they are paid to do so. I know of many people from the Hebrides who don't speak Gaelic because their parents thought it would be a handicap to teach them. I've also known of many English people who moved to Skye or wherever as 'white settlers' who have fought harder for the language than many Gaels have. Thankfully that attitude is changing - if Scottish devolution has done one thing, it has restored a bit of Scottish pride amongst its peoples. BBC Alba is one of the best things to hit the airways in a long time, not leats of which because it makes programmes about Scotland. I used to work for the BBC in Glasgow, and I can tell you for a fact that BBC Scotland was nothing more then the BBC in Scotland. STV have finally cottoned onto that fact, and have ditched most of the ITV primetime schedule in favour of its own local content, as it should be.

I should also add however that I think that equality should be given to the treatment of the Scots tongue itself, Lallans. I see no harm in the promotion of all of Scotland's languages, Urdu included. Studies of bilingual Gaelic and English speaking children have shown that those with the language are better at learning other languages at school as a result. I have no reason that it would be any different for Scots or Urdu speakers.

By the way, I also think English should continue to receive state funding! :)