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Beautiful Spring

September 10, 2012
  • Bha i brèagha anns an t-earrach. (VAH ee BREE-uh OUNz ahn TSHARR-uch)  It was beautiful in the spring. 

The Four Seasons

September 1, 2012

Step right up, Vivaldi!  Let’s talk about the seasons!

  • na ràithean  (nah RAH-yen) the seasons
  • an t-earrach  (ahn TSHARR-uch) the spring
  • an samhradh  (ahn sahv-rahgh) the summer
  • am forghar  (ahm FAH-er)  the fall
  • an geamhradh  (ahn gev-rahgh) the winter

Tomorrow, we’ll combine these with some of our weather words, and soon you’ll be set for the Minnesota State Pasttime of…talking about the weather!  But first, make sure you know the seasons so you don’t say there’s snow anns an t-earrach!

For a change of pace, here’s a farewell to am samhradh.  Tha mi an dochas…that you like it!

Oran (Song)

August 31, 2012

An cluinn thu, Iain?

An cluinn, an cluinn, an cluinn thu Iain?  (Ahn CLOO-in, ahn CLOO-in, ahn CLOO-in oo EE-in) Do you hear, do you hear do you hear, Iain?

An cluinn, an cluinn, an cluinn thu Iain? 

An cluinn, an cluinn, an cluinn thu Iain? 

Tha chuthag ‘s a’ choill ‘s an oidhche tighinn, o tha (Tha CHOO-uks ah CHOH-ils uhn OY-ee-chuh CHEE-in oh tha) The cuckoo is in the wood and the night is coming, o yes.

A few words:

  • cuthag (KOO-uk) cuckoo
  • coill (KOH-il)
  • oidhche (OY-ee-chuh)
  •  tighinn (CHEE-in) coming

Notice that cuthag and coil are different as vocabulary words than they appear in the song.  This is due to lenition, discussed in previous lessons.  Certain words ‘lenite,’ depending on grammatical usage, meaning the H is added.  This H, when added after a C, changes the pronunciation from a hard K to the ch back in the throat, as in the German ich.

The complete song can be found at Omniglot, along with a wonderful selection of Scottish music, all translated and with links to listen.

You can listen to a piece of the actual song at Tobar an Dualchais.  Or you can hear Mary Jane Lamond sing another song with the same phrase at youtube, below.  Notice the two singers pronounce cluinn very differently.

Hope for the Future

August 30, 2012

Now we have it, the hopes of Past, Present, and Future!  All we’re missing is Ebenezer Scrooge!

  • Tha mi an dòchas gum bi… (HA mee un DAWK-us goom bee….)  I hope that (X) will be…
  • Tha e an dòchas nach bi…  (HA eh un DAWK-us nach bee….)  He hopes that  (X) will not be….
  • Tha i an dòchas gum bi…  (HA ee un DAWK-us goom bee….) She hopes that (X) will be….
  • Tha iad an dòchas nach bi…  (HA EE-ud un DAWK-us nach bee….)  They hope that (X) will not be….
  • Tha sinn an dòchas gum bi…  (HA sheen un DAWK-us goom bee….)  We hope that  (X) will be….
  • Tha Anna an dòchas nach bi…  (HA AHN-uh un DAWK-us nach bee….) Anna hopes that (X) will not be….


Past Hopes

August 29, 2012

To express that you hope X was or was not, past tense, use gun robh and nach robh.

  • Tha mi an dòchas gun robh… (HA mee un DAWK-us gun roe….)  I hope that (X) was…
  • Tha e an dòchas nach robh… (HA eh un DAWK-us nach roe….)  He hopes that  (X) was not….
  • Tha i an dòchas gun robh…  (HA ee un DAWK-us gun roe….) She hopes that (X) was….
  • Tha iad an dòchas nach robh…  (HA EE-ud un DAWK-us nach roe….)  They hope that  (X) was not….
  • Tha sinn an dòchas gun robh…  (HA sheen un DAWK-us gun roe….)  We hope that  (X) was….
  • Tha Anna an dòchas nach robh…  (HA AHN-uh un DAWK-us nach roe….) Anna hopes that (X) was not….

As noted before, not only do accents vary among native speakers anyway, but it is very difficult to show exact sounds in writing.  Gun is not pronounced like our English word gun, nor is it pronounced goon, but somewhere in between.

Negative Hope for the Present??

August 27, 2012

When you hope that something is not

  • Tha mi an dòchas nach eil… (HA mee un DAWK-us nach ale….)  I hope that (X) is not…
  • Tha e an dòchas nach eil…  (HA eh un DAWK-us nach ale….)  He hopes that  (X) is not….
  • Tha i an dòchas nach eil…  (HA ee un DAWK-us nach ale….)  She hopes that  (X) is not….
  • Tha iad an dòchas nach eil…  (HA EE-ud un DAWK-us nach ale….)  They hope that  (X) is not….
  • Tha sinn an dòchas nach eil…  (HA sheen un DAWK-us nach ale….)  We hope that  (X) is not….
  • Tha Anna an dòchas nach eil…  (HA AHN-uh un DAWK-us nach ale….) Anna hopes that (X) is not….

Glen Coe brèagha

An interesting site for listening: this link takes you directly to the word brèagha, but you can listen to many other words here, too.

If you’re new to the site, you’ll find an index of the lessons at the Welcome page.  It’s also handy for reviewing.

Hope for the Present

August 24, 2012

We all hope for a present, but this, unfortunately, is the grammatical meaning of present.  No gifts for any of us today.  Well, maybe for someone.

In English, we can say I hope such and such or I hope that such and such.  In Gaelic, we must always use the construction that effectively translates as that.  The expression for I hope (tha mi an dòchas) is followed by gu, gun, or gum if the hope is a positive one, i.e., I hope that such and such is…..  (as opposed to I hope that such and such isn’t….)  Tomorrow, we’ll be negative.  Today, it’s all positive!

When the expressed hope involves to be, the form becomes Tha X an dòchas gu bheil…. or X hopes that [something] is….


  • Tha mi an dòchas gu bheil… (HA mee un DAWK-us goo vale….)  I hope that (X) is…
  • Tha e an dòchas gu bheil…  (HA eh un DAWK-us goo vale….)  He hopes that  (X) is….
  • Tha i an dòchas gu bheil…  (HA ee un DAWK-us goo vale….)  She hopes that  (X) is….
  • Tha iad an dòchas gu bheil…  (HA EE-ud un DAWK-us goo vale….)  They hope that  (X) is….
  • Tha sinn an dòchas gu bheil…  (HA sheen un DAWK-us goo vale….)  We hope that  (X) is….
  • Tha Anna an dòchas gu bheil…  (HA AHN-uh un DAWK-us goo vale….)  Anna hopes that (X) is….

Just one example today:

  • Tha mi an dòchas gu bheil am brot blasda.  (HA mee un DAWK-us goo vale ahm brote BLAHS-duh.)  I hope that the soup is tasty.

Feel free to substitute other foods already taught or use the dictionaries linked in my Learning Gaelic Online page to look up more. 

Listening today: BBC’s Beag Air Bheag, Lesson 16’s transcript 1, in which the phrase is used.

If you’re new to the site, you can find an index of the beginning lessons on my Welcome page. (It will be updated someday.  I hope that it is…tha mi an dòchas gu bheil…soon!



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