16/07/2012

Tha litir bheag na seachdain aig Ruaraidh MacIllEathain.
This week's short letter for learners is introduced by Ruaraidh MacLean.

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5 minutes

Last on

Mon 16 Jul 2012 19:00

An Litir Bheag 375

Anns an leabhar aige In The Shadow of Cairngorm, tha an t-Oll. Urr. Uilleam Fearsithe ag ràdh gum biodh teaghlaich-ean de ghobhair gan rangachadh fhèin anns a’ bhuaile. Bha sin airson cadal air an oidhche. Gu h-àrd, bhiodh a’ mhàthair. An uair sin an nighean. An uair sin an t-ogha, agus mar sin air adhart, sìos na ginealaich.

            Bha mo smuaintean a’ dol don Ghàidhlig air na diofar ghinealaich ann an sliochd cuideigin. Ma tha e fìor airson ghobhar, tha e fìor cuideachd airson daoine.

            Seo mar a tha Faclair Dwelly ag aithris a’ ghnothaich. Bruidhnidh mi mu fhireannaich an toiseach, airson a chumail sìmplidh. An toiseach, na ginealaich: athair, mac, ogha, iar-ogha, fionn-ogha agus dubh-ogha.

            Agus seo an t-eadar-theangachadh: athair, father; mac, son; ogha, grandson; iar-ogha, great-grandson, fionn-ogha, great-great-grandson; agus dubh-ogha, great-great-great-grandson. Agus, nas fhaide na sin: iar-dubh-ogha is iar-iar-dubh-ogha.

            Mas ann air nigheanan tha sibh a’ bruidhinn, tha e ag obair mar seo: ban-ogha, granddaughter; iar-bhan-ogha, great-granddaughter. Cha chuala mi fionn no dubh air an cleachdadh le ban-ogha. Ach chuala mi ogha airson granddaughter agus iar-ogha airson great-granddaughter. Uaireannan, cha dèan daoine diofar eadar fireannach is boireannach a thaobh sin.

            Ma tha sinn ag obair an rathad eile – suas na ginealaich – tha e a’ dol mar seo: athair, father; seanair, grandfather; sinn-seanair, great-grandfather; sinn-sinn-seanair, great-great-grandfather is mar sin air adhart.

            Le boireannaich, tha e ag obair mar seo: màthair, mother; seanmhair, grandmother, sinn-seanmhair, great-grandmother, sinn-sinn-seanmhair, great-great-grandmother.

            Nise, seo tòimhseachan dhuibh: Is mise iar-ogha mo shinn-seanar. Cò mi? Is mise iar-ogha mo shinn-seanar. Cò mi? Uill, ’s e am fuasgladh – mise! Ach bhiodh sibh ceart cuideachd le bhith ag ràdh “mo bhràthair” no “mo phiuthar” no “mo cho-ogha”.

            Na gobhair bhochd – theich iad orm! A, uill, tillidh mi thuca anns an ath Litir.

The Little Letter 375

In his book In The Shadow of Cairngorm, the Rev. Dr. William Forsyth says that families of goats would rank themselves in the fold. That was for sleeping at night. At the top would be the mother. Then the daughter. Then the grand-child, and so on, down the generations.

        My thoughts were drifting to the Gaelic terms for the different generations among a person’s descendants. If it’s true for goats, it’s also true for people.

        Here’s how Dwelly’s Dictionary reports the matter. I’ll speak about men to start with, to keep it simple. To start with, the generations: father, son, grandson, great-grandson, great-great-grandson and great-great-great-grandson.

        And here’s the translation: athair, father; mac, son; ogha, grandson; iar-ogha, great-grandson, fionn-ogha, great-great-grandson; and dubh-ogha, great-great-great-grandson. And, further than that: great-great-great-great-grandson and great-great-great-great-great-grandson

        If it’s girls you’re talking about, it works like this: ban-ogha, grand-daughter; iar-bhan-ogha, great-grand-daughter. I’ve never heard fionn or dubh used with ban-ogha. But I’ve heard ogha for granddaughter and iar-ogha for great-granddaughter. Sometimes people do not distinguish between man and woman in that regard.

        If we’re working in the other direction – up the generations – it goes like this: athair, father; seanair, grandfather; sinn-seanair, great-grandfather; sinn-sinn-seanair, great-great-grandfather and so on.

        With women, it works like this: màthair, mother; seanmhair, grand-mother, sinn-seanmhair, great-grandmother, sinn-sinn-seanmhair, great-great-grandmother.

        Now, here’s a puzzle for you. I’m the great-grandchild of my great-grandfather. Who am I? I’m the great-grandchild of my great-grandfather. Who am I? Well, the solution is – me! But you’d also be correct by saying “my brother” or “my sister” or “my [first] cousin”.

        The poor goats – they’ve run away on me! Oh, well, I’ll return to them in the next Litir.

An Litir Bheag air LearnGaelic

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An Litir Bheag 122

Tha gach Litir Bheag an seo / All the Little Letters are here.