Sunday, 24 January 2010

Scottish Gaelic Conversational Phrases

for impressing, intimidating, and annoying your
friends, family and pets


Here are a few phrases, mostly simple, some useful, some a bit whimsical, to help you communicate in Scottish Gaelic. Spoken Scottish Gaelic, unlike spoken English, flows seamlessly from word to word. Practice saying the whole phrase as if it were all one word, with no breaks in it.
Remember that "ch" always sounds like "Bach" or "Loch." And always roll your "R"'s -- though not all over the place, like Groundskeeper Willie on "The Simpsons" -- more as a simple popped "R" sound.
And keep in mind that no pronunciation guide can adequately convey the unique sound of spoken Scottish Gaelic -- anyone interested in an authentic sound should consider trying one of the instructional self-study courses including videotapes and/or audiotapes, to be found on the SGLABA Books page.

Na h-Abairtean (the Phrases)

  • "Dè an t-ainm a tha oirbh?" (Jeh un TAH-num uh HAW-ruv?) What's your name?
  • "'S mise.....(insert your name)." (SMIH-shuh...) "My name is..."
  • "Ciamar a tha sibh?" (KIM-mer uh HAH shiv?) "How are you?"
  • "Tha gu math, tapadh leibh." (HAH guh MAH, TAH-puh LEH-eev) "I'm well, thank you."
  • "Dè tha thu a dèanamh?" (Jeh HAH oo uh JEE-ah-nuv?) "What are you doing?"
  • "Chan eil mi a' dèanamh càil." (chahn-yel mee uh JEE-ah-nuv KAHL) "I'm not doing anything."
  • "Tha mi airson Gàidhlig ionnsachadh." (hah mee EHR-sawn GAH-lik YOON-sa-hugkh) "I want to learn Gaelic."
  • "A bheil an t-acras ort?" (Uh VEHL uhn TAH-krus orsht?) "Are you hungry?"
  • "Ceart gu leòr. Tha an t-acras orm." (Kyarsht guh LYAWR. Hahn TAH-krus AW-rum) "You bet. I'm hungry."
  • "Bu toigh leam bracaist a ghabhail." (Boo tuh LUH-oom BRAH-kawsht uh GAH-ull) "I would like to have breakfast."
  • "Càit a bheil an taigh beag?" (KAHTCH uh vehl un tye bek?) "Where's the bathroom?"
  • "An toir thu dhomh pòg?" (Un TUH-r oo ghawnh pawk?) "Will you give me a kiss?"
  • "Cha toir, ach bheir mi dhut sgailc!" (Chah TUH-r, ach vehr mee ghoot skahlk!) "No, but I'll slap you!"
  • "Slàinte mhòr agad!" (SLAHN-tchuh VORR AH-kut!) "Great health to you!" ("Cheers!")
  • "Nach i tha teth an-diugh?" (nahch ee hah TCHEH un-DJOO?) "Isn't it hot today? (It's hot today.)"
  • "Bha e brèagha an-de." (Vah eh BREE-uh un-DJEH) "It was beautiful yesterday."
  • "Cò an caora sin còmhla riut a chunnaic mi an-raoir?" (Kaw uhn KEU-ra shin KAW-la root uh CHOO-nik mee uhn-royer?) "Who was that sheep I saw you with last night?"
  • "Cha b'e sin caora, 'se sin mo chèile a bha innte!" (Chah beh shin KEU-ra, sheh shin moe CHYEH-luh uh vah EEN-tchuh!) "That was no sheep, that was my spouse!"
  • "Tha gaol agam ort." (Hah GEUL AH-kum orsht) "I love you."
  • "Tha gaol agam ort-fhèin." (Hah GEUL AH-kum orsht-HEH-een) "I love you too."
  • "Chan eil fhios agam." (CHAHN-yel iss AH-kum) "I don't know."
  • "Dè tha thu ag iarraidh?" (jeh HAH oo ug EE-uh-ree) "What do you want?"
  • "Tha mi ag iarraidh briosgaid!" (hah mi ug-EE-uh-ree BRISS-kahtch) "I want a cookie!"
  • "'S toigh leam briosgaidean gu mòr!" (STUH LUH-oom BRISS-kaht-chun goo MAWR) "I like cookies -- a lot!"
  • "A bheil Gàidhlig agaibh?" (uh vil GAH-lik AH-kiv) "Do you speak Gaelic?"
  • "Tha, beagan." (hah, BECK-un) "Yes, a little."
  • "Dè thuirt thu?" (jeh HOORSHT oo) "What did you say?"
  • "Can a-rithist sin?" (kahn uh-REE-isht shin) "Say that again?"
  • "Chan eil mi a' tuigsinn." (chan-yel mi uh-TOOK-shin) "I don't understand."
  • "Tha mi duilich." (hah mee DOOH-lich) "I'm sorry."
  • "Gabhaibh mo leisgeul." (GAHV-iv moe LESH-kul) "Excuse me."
  • "Ceart gu leòr." (kyarsht guh LYAWR) "Right enough" -- "Okay."
  • "Tha sin glè mhath!" (hah shin gleh VAH) "That's very good!"
  • "'S math sin!" (SMAH-shin) "Great!" -- "Terrific!"
  • "Ma 'se ur toil e." (mah sheh oor TUL-leh) "please."
  • "Tapadh leat." (TAH-puh LAHT -- also -- TAHplett) "Thank you."
  • "Mòran taing." (MAW-run TAH-eeng) "Many thanks."
  • "'Se do bheatha." (sheh doe VEH-huh) "You're welcome."
  • "Mar sin leibh an dràsda." (mahr shin LEH-eev un DRAHSS-tuh) "Ta ta for now."



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