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Scottish Gaelic

Scottish Gaelic

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Published by: skydancezzz on Jan 31, 2011
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Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig)
Scottish Gaelic is spoken by about 60,000 people in Scotland (
), mainlyin the Highlands (
a' Ghaidhealtachd 
) and in the Western Isles (
Na h-Eileananan Iar 
), but also in Glasgow (
), Edinburgh (
Dùn Eideann
) andInverness (
Inbhir Nis
). There are also small Gaelic-speaking communities inCanada, particularly in Nova Scotia (
Alba Nuadh
) and on Cape Breton Island(
Eilean Cheap Breatainn
). Other speakers can be found in Australia(
), New Zealand (
Sealainn Nuadh
) and the USA (
Na StàiteanAonaichte
Relationship to other languages
Scottish Gaelic is closely related toManxandIrishand was brought to Scotland around the 4th century AD by the Scots from Ireland. ScottishGaelic was spoken throughout Scotland (apart from small areas in theextreme south-east and north-east) between the 9th and 11th centuries, butbegan to retreat north and westwards from the 11th century onwards. AllScottish Gaelic dialects are mutually intelligible, and written Irish can beunderstood to a large extent.Scottish Gaelic is also distantly relatedtoWelsh(
) andBreton(
), whichform the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages, also known as P-Celtic.The Celtic languages all have a similar grammatical structure, but haverelatively little vocabulary in common.Here is an illustration of some of the differences and similarities between theCeltic languages using the phrase 'I live in Scotland':
Scottish Gaelic -
Tha mi a' fuireach ann an Alba
Irish -
Tá mé i mo chónaí in Albain
Manx -
Ta mee cummal ayns Nalbin
Welsh -
Dw i'n byw yn yr Alban
Cornish -
Trigys ov yn Alban
Breton -
E Bro-Skos emaon o chom
Celtic connections - words that are similar in the Celtic languagesThe earliest identifiably texts in Scottish Gaelic are notes in the Book of Deerwritten in north eastern Scotland in the 12th century, although the existenceof a common written Classical Gaelic concealed the extent of the divergencebetween Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
The Scottish Gaelic alphabet
Scottish Gaelic is written with just 18 letters each of which is named after atree or shrub. The consonants all have more than one pronunciationdepending on their position in a word and which vowels precede or followthem.
A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i
Ailm(Elm)Beith(Birch)Coll(Hazel)Dair (Oak)Eadha(Aspen)Fearn(Alder)Gort(Ivy)Uath(Hawthorn)Iogh(Yew)
L l M m N n O o P p R r S s T t U u
Luis(Rowan)Muin(Vine)Nuin(Ash)Oir/Onn(Gorse)Peithe(Guelder Rose)Ruis(Elder)Suil(Willow)Teine(Furze)Ur (Heather)
A grave accent on a vowel (Àà, Èè, Ìì, Òò and Ùù) indicates a longer versionof the vowel, but these are not considered separate lettersThe olderGaelic (uncial) scriptor "
corr litir 
" has not been used for severalcenturies in Scotland, and has never been used in printed Gaelic. The uncialscript is still used in Ireland on road signs and public notices.The orthography of Scottish Gaelic was regularised in the late 1970s. Fordetails see:http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/goc/
Pronunciation - vowels (
) and diphthongs (
The second pronunciations, indicate with separate brackets [] are used inunstressed syllables.
Pronunciation - connragan (consonants)
connragan leathann
or broad consonants are those preceded or followedby a, o or u.
Connragan caola
or slender consonants are those preceded orfollowed by i or e. Most consonants have different pronunciations dependingon whether they appear at the beginning of a word or elsewhere.The initial consonants of Gaelic words can change in various contexts. Thisprocess is known as "lenition" and involves the addition of an <h> after theinitial letter. The resulting letters are
or fricatives.
Sample text
Tha gach uile dhuine air a bhreth saor agus co-ionnan ann an urram 's annan còirichean. Tha iad air am breth le reusan is le cogais agus mar sin buchòir dhaibh a bhith beò nam measg fhein ann an spiorad bràthaireil.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They areendowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another ina spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Longer sample text(Tower of Babel)
Other Scottish Gaelic pages

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