Wednesday, February 17, 2010


So we can already get a conversation started, so great work thus far! Now, if you wanted to know where somebody is from, there is a simple way to ask that.

Cò às a tha thu?

Cò = Who/which
às = from/out of

The pronunciation is: Coe ahs a ha oo

One thing to note is this is not asking "Where you live". It is asking "Where are you from" meaning place of birth or where you grew up. So if you were born in the Maryland but are now living in Scotland, the answer to "Cò às a tha thu?" would be Maryland.

To respond to this, you would say:
Tha mi à [location].

Some locations:
America: Ameireaga
Australia: Astràilia
Canada: Canada
Nova Scotia: Alba Nuadh (Note Alba means Scotland!)
England: Sasann
Germany: A' Ghearmailt
Ireland: Eirann
Italy: an Eadailt
Norway: Lochlann
Russia: Ruisia
Scotland: Alba
Wales: a' Chuimrigh
Europe: an Roinn Eorpa
The United States: na Staitean Aonaichte

So, if somebody was to ask me "Cò às a tha thu?", I would respond "Tha mi à na Staitean Aonaichte".

To ask "where do you live" you say: Càit' a bheil thu a' fuireach?
Càit = Where
bheil = is
fuireach = Staying/permanently residing

To respond, you would say "Tha mi a' fuireach ann an [Location].
So, for me it would be "Tha mi a' fuireach ann na Staitean Aonaichte."

So, a recap of today's and the past few days (including a bit that you should be able to figure out by now!):

Me: Halò! Is mise Aaron.
You: Halò, a Aaron!
Me: Dè an t-ainm a th’ ort?
You: Is mise [You]. Ciamar a tha thu?
Me: Tha mi gu math, tapadh leat! Ciamar a tha thu fhèin?
You: Tha mi gu math! Cò às a tha thu?
Me: Tha mi à na Staitean Aonaichte. Cò às a tha thu fhèin?
You: Tha mi à [location]. Càit' a bheil thu a' fuireach?
Me: Tha mi a' fuireach ann na Statean Aonaichte. Càit' a bheil thu a' fuireach fhèin?
You: Tha mi a' fuireach ann [location].

Me: Hello! My name is Aaron.
You: Hello, Aaron!
Me: What is your name?
You: My name is [You]. How are you?
Me: I am well, thanks! How are you yourself?
You: I am fine! Where are you from?
Me: I am from the United Stated. Where are you from yourself?
You: I am from [location]. Where do you live?
Me: I live in the United States. Where do you live yourself?
You: I live in [location].

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How are you?

Now that we have gotten an introduction down and learned eachother's names, how about a follow-up question and answer? "How are you?" is generally the next step in the cycle, so let's learn that!

Ciamar a tha thu?
How are you?

Key-a-mar ah ha oo (as in the sound of "ue" in blue)

Ciamar = How
tha = are
thu = you

And to return an answer, we can say "I am well" which is:
Tha mi gu math!

Ha me goo mah!

Math = good
"Gu" is a bit tricky. It is the equivalent of adding an "-ly" to a word in english, transforming an adjective into an adverb. You would not say "I am good" in english (or rather, you shouldn't, it isn't proper) instead you would say "I am well".

If you wanted to return the question you can either repeat the same exact question "Ciamar a tha thu" or you could add a little more to it:

Ciamar a tha thu fhèin?
which literally translates to "How are you yourself?"

Key-a-mar ah ha oo hane

Congratulations! You can now hold a three second introductory conversation with somebody in Scottish Gaelic!

Aaron: Halò! Is Mise Aaron. Dè an t-ainm a th’ ort?
You: Is mise [your name].
Aaron: Ciamar a tha thu?
You: Tha mi gu math. Ciamar a tha thu fhèin?
Aaron: Tha mi gu math!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My name and your name!

I figure a good way to start out this story is by writing the most common way we introduce ourselves. "Hello! My name is Aaron."

Halò! Is mise Aaron.
Hello! My name is Aaron.

Halò = Ha-Low
Is = Is
Mise = Mish-eh
Aaron = My name

"Mise" translates to "my" while "is" translates to "is", so a close representation of a literal translation is "Is my Aaron".
Edit: A big thanks to Iain in the comments to this post for responding with this:
"mi" is I or me, and the "se" adds emphasis. Sorta like "mi fhèin" or "meself". So 'S mise just means "I am".

And in turn, I would like to know your name! The proper way to ask somebody their name is:

Dè an t-ainm a th’ ort?
What is your name?

Pronunciation: Dey ahn tahnyahm a horsht.
Note: those "ah"s should be pronounced lightly, similar to the "ahhh" sound. (not AAAAAHHHH! like a scream)

Dè = What
ainm = name
ort = on you

Thus, a more literal translation is "What is the name that is on you?"

So, to sum it up.
Halò! Is mise Aaron. Dè an t-ainm a th’ ort?

A bit about this endeavor

Greetings! Over the past couple years I have been slowly attempting to learn Scottish Gaelic. The language is a fascination of mine. It sounds beautiful and writes eloquently. Unfortunately, the language is slowly dying and without the efforts of a few selective universities and associations, it would be lost within a few generations.

While I can not take the time to go immerse myself in Scotland, I have been attempting to learn it through websites, books, cds, and by listening to BBC's Alba radio. I was hoping to pick up a Rosetta Stone course on Scottish Gaelic, but the closest they have is Irish, which is quite a bit different.

Unfortunately, most of the resources I have read or listened to attempt to teach common phrases that, while useful if you find yourself stranded in some part of Scotland that doesn't speak any English, does not allow me to grasp the language on a whole.

The idea of this blog is to post a few words, sentences, or sayings a day that will help me practice writing and reading Scot's Gaelic. Hopefully down the road I can find an adequate voice embedder so I can show pronunciation. Until then, my "English-stacized" writing will have to suffice.

Let me take a moment to say that I am not anywhere near fluent. That... that doesn't even seem to convey it. I am not anywhere near... Hmm. I do not even assume to know that what I am writing is accurate and I can promise you that I will make mistakes. I am hoping to have somebody that speaks and writes this language give me some corrections.

Also note that similar to most other languages, Scottish Gaelic has two different ways to talk to people. The first is the informal way, which is how you probably speak to friends or people younger than you. The other is the formal way, which you use when you meet somebody new, talk to your parents or elders, or are on a job interview. While I will be trying to stay consistent with learning the informal way, chances are a few formal words will slip in.