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Scottish Gaelic Lesson 17 – Possessives and word change

One absolutely frightening thing about Gaelic is that when you think you know a word, suddenly that word appears looking very very different leaving the reader very very confused. Some of these differences we have already spoken about, like an H coming in after the first letter, or an I being added at the end (lenition and slenderisation).

In Slenderisation particularly, when the I is added, another vowel letter sometimes changes. This happens a lot, but today we want to focus on  short nouns because these usually change when they are in the possessive.

Try to examine the following and complete the ones which are missing:


Ceann becomes cinn / mo chinn / my head

fear becomes fir / còta an fhir mhòir / coat of the big man

mac becomes mic / ainm a mic / name of her son

falt becomes fuilt

eun becomes eòin

bard becomes bhùird

Please see  page 32 of Gràmar na Gàidhlig by MIchael Byrne

Learn Gaelic, Uncategorized

Scottish Gaelic Lesson 9 – Present Continuous

The continuous present tense is written with ag before the word, abbreviated to a’ to make it easier when we are speaking. It is used more often than in English.

An-diugh, tha mi a ’sgrìobhadh sgeulachdan, (tràth làthaireach). Is mise fear-gèidh,  Tha mi a ’fuireach le mo bhràmair  agus  An-diugh, tha Glaschu glè bhrèagha. an-diugh tha fèis Ghàidhlig ann an Glaschu, le ceòl agus cofaidh




Learn Gaelic, Uncategorized

Scottish Gaelic Lesson 7 – Possessives

One of the most interesting things about Gaelic is the way it uses possessives, there are two ways in Gaelic. Some things are “at you” meaning in English, close to you, and other things are the same as in English with a version of my, yours, his etc…

The possessives of My yours his etc are only used in Gaelic if it is something very very close, like a body part, a family member or a quality which is cherished. Everything else is “at you” or “at him”

This topic also introduces certain behaviours like Lenition where “h” is inserted in the word as well as others which we have yet to discuss such as mo becoming

Please study the following, taken from the Gaelic Grammar wiki page:


Before words beginning with consonants

  • my foot: mo chas
  • your foot: do chas
  • his foot: a chas
  • her foot: a cas
  • our feet: àr casan
  • your (pl) feet: ùr casan
  • their feet: an casan

Before words beginning with vowels

  • my father: m’athair
  • your father: d’athair
  • his father: athair
  • her father: a h-athair
  • our father: àr n-athair
  • your (pl) father: ùr n-athair
  • their father: an athair

Possessive Pronouns using Aig

To express a less close relationship between the possessor and the possessum, a combination of an article, a noun, and an accordingly inflected preposition, in this order, is used.

  • my cat: an cat agam
  • your cat: an cat agad
  • his cat: an cat aige
  • her cat: an cat aice
  • our cat: an cat againn
  • your (pl) cat: an cat agaibh
  • their cat: an cat aca
  • Iain’s Cat: an cat aig Iain”


Learn Gaelic, Uncategorized

Learning Scottish Gaelic – Introduction

The problem with learning Gaelic is no different than learning any other language:

  1. access to material
  2. access to a teacher
  3. access to people to practice with.

There is an opinion that because it´s Gaelic; the language will somehow be harder. This is gladly not the case.  It is simply because there are less people around to practice with.

I am about to launch a Gaelic blog on this site to help with learning which will be called “Morning in the Mountains” since I will mostly be writing it in the mornings here in Scotland. It will be a little bit different from usual courses because I want to try and cover the three points mentioned above. I also want to make the course a bit slower than other courses so we can enjoy the rich grammar and more vocabulary without having to rush through a grammar book.  I also want it to move slower for older people. Finally, I want to use different kinds of materials for learning, Art, Spirituality, History, Proverbs and Experiences.  I really don´t want this to simply be another Gaelic blog, I want it to be something which people can connect with, enjoy reading and get to know.

I also want it to be an expression of my faith. Something a bit more mental and experiential rather than trying to cram in information to my brain. Something which you will like.

I suggest you use these pages in conjunction with a thorough study of “Gramar na Gàidhlig” by Michael Byrne


http://www.memrise.com  use the decks version



Scottish Gaelic Lesson 4 – Yes. No and Accents.

In Gaelic, there are no words for simply yes or no, the way to agree or to disagree is by repeating a little bit of the sentence

Tha e fuar

Tha! Tha e fuar!

Tha e blath

Chan eil e blah

To ask a question you use a bheil ..

A bheil thu fuar?

chan eil mi fuar!

The accent . we haven´t used it so far.

The accent is written as a grave accent (Scottish Gaelic: stràc throm, “heavy stroke/accent”) in Scottish Gaelic, as opposed to the acute accent (Irish: síneadh fada, “length accent”; Scottish Gaelic: stràc gheur, “sharp stroke/accent”) used in Irish; This basically means that in Scottish Gaelic it looks like a little backslash whereas in Irish it looks like a little forwardslash: hence the word for “welcome” is written as fàilte in Scottish Gaelic and in Irish as fáilte. Irish has no backslashes, only forward ones, while until recently Scottish Gaelic had both grave and acute accents which were used to differentiate between open and closed vowel sounds. However, recent spelling reform has meant that there are now only grave accents (forwardslashes) in Scottish Gaelic, the opposite of Irish.

A grave accent over a vowel means that it’s pronounced according to its long value rather than its short one. like this:

  • à represents the sound in English father.
  • è represents the sound in English dare,
  • ì represents the sound in English sheep.
  • ò represents the sound in English dock.
  • ù represents a sound pretty close to English sewer, but as a single sound

I will try to remember to type these from now on!