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> Scottish Gaelic, Lesson 1
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Posted: 22-Jan-2005, 10:50 AM
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Hello everyone!

As promised, here is the first in a series of lessons in Scottish Gaelic. These lessons will come from:


This site is an excellent resource for learners of Gaelic. Sound files are provided there for those with no access to a Gaelic speaker. I highly recommend going there and listening to the pronunciation of these words and phrases. When posting these lessons, I will post the lesson and the answers to the exercises in two different posts. Try to do the exercises on your own before looking at the answers! smile.gif I will be posting new lessons every one to two weeks, depending on the progress everyone seems to be making. Please feel free to ask questions and post your comments here.

So, without further ado, here is?

Scottish Gaelic
Lesson 1

1. The Present Tense of the Verb TO BE

Like all verbs in Gidhlig there is only one form for all persons. For a positive statement in the present tense this is Tha. Just add the subject to it, either a pronoun or a noun.

The pronouns combine with the verb Tha as follows :
Tha mi - I am Tha sinn - we are
Tha thu - you are Tha sibh - you are
Tha e - he is Tha iad - they are
Tha i - she is

Sibh - You, plural. Also singular for formal situations as a mark of respect
Thu - You, singular only. Informal form.

Similarly with nouns :
Tha am fear .. - The man is ..
Tha an l .. - The day is ..

Adjectives can be used following the verb To Be. The adjective is the same for all subjects :
Feminine subject Tha i fuar - She is cold
Plural subject Tha iad fuar - They are cold
Masculine subject Tha Calum fuar - Calum is cold


beag - small blth - warm
fliuch ? wet fuar - cold
leisg - lazy, reluctant, loath mr - big, large
sgth - tired tioram - dry
trang - busy snog - nice
toilichte - pleased, happy

l - day
fear - male, man

mi - I, me sinn - we, us
thu - you (singular, familiar) sibh - you (plural, formal)
e - he, him, it
i - she, her, it iad - they, them

EXERCISE 1 Translate into English
1.Tha mi sgth 2.Tha iad trang
3.Tha i fuar 4.Tha iad blth
5.Tha sinn leisg 6.Tha sibh tioram

EXERCISE 2 Translate into Gidhlig
1.We are cold 2.You are small
3.They are big 4.I am lazy
5.He is busy 6.She is tired

2. A bhith - To be

All verbs have what is known as an independent form; for the verb To Be this is Tha, which as you saw above is used to form positive statements. All verbs have another form, the dependent; this is used to form the negative statement and interrogatives (question forms).

For the present tense of the verb To Be :
independent - tha dependent - bheil

Tha for positive statements:
Tha e fuar - It is cold
Chan eil for negative statements:
Chan eil e fuar - It is not cold
A bheil? for asking a question (interrogative)*:
A bheil e fuar? - Is it cold?
Nach eil? for a negative question (negative interrogative):
Nach eil e fuar? - Is it not cold?

* In addition you will also find the form Am bheil? and in spoken Gidhlig both are frequently contracted to Eil? This is the form always used for a negative statement and question.

EXERCISE 3 Translate into English
1.A bheil thu sgth? 2.Nach eil i fliuch?
3.Chan eil iad trang 4.Chan eil sinn fuar
5.Nach eil iad leisg? 6.A bheil sibh fuar?

EXERCISE 4 Translate into Gidhlig
1.I am not cold 2.Are you warm?
3.Are you not warm? 4.Is she tired?
5.Are they pleased? 6.Isn't she nice?
7.He isn't dry 8.We aren't lazy

This post has been edited by WizardofOwls on 22-Jan-2005, 12:40 PM

Sln agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tr mo chridhe. 'S i Gidhlig cnan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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