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Little by Little Beag air Bheag

Beginners (A1)- Unit 10 - Talking about music and dance
Luchd-tòiseachaidh (A1) - Aonad 10 - Talking about music and dance

Introduction

Is toil leam ceòl

I like music

Many people are attracted to the Gaelic language through a love of Gaelic music and song. In this unit, you can pick up some simple vocabulary related to music and learn how to express likes and dislikes. The Gael’s love for his music and song is expressed in this proverb which is still very true today:

Thig crìoch air an t-saoghal ach mairidh gaol is ceòl.

The world may come to an end, but love and music will last for ever.

Further on, you’ll come across the word mòd, which refers to a gathering, in which competitions are held in Gaelic music and arts. The annual Royal National Mòd, Am Mòd Rìoghail Nàiseanta, is Gaeldom’s largest gathering and lasts several days. It is held in a different place each year. A fèis is a gathering, usually non-competitive, in which students learn skills in music, song and dance. Fèis has gone into English as a loan-word, even in its plural form, fèisean.

Here is some vocabulary to get you started:

Ceòl music
mòd mod
mòdan mods
fèis fèis
fèisean fèisean (the plural)
danns dance
dannsaichean dances
a’ dannsadh dancing
a' seinn singing
a' cluich playing
fidheall fiddle
pìob mhòr Highland bagpipe
clàrsach clarsach, Celtic harp

Conversation 1

Listen to this simple conversation. When we are talking in the present tense about habitual occurrences we actually use the future tense (known in this instance as the present habitual). That is why Iain, in this conversation says 'am bi iad a’ seinn ann an Gàidhlig?' and not 'a bheil iad a’ seinn ann an Gàidhlig?' The latter would only refer to what the group was doing at the time of the conversation.

Conversation 1

Listen to the conversation:

Iain:
Dè an ceòl a tha sin?
What music is that?
Raonaid:
Sin Cinn Tìre. 'S e còmhlan Albannach a th' ann.
That's Kintyre. It's a Scottish group.
Iain:
Tha iad math. Am bi iad a' seinn ann an Gàidhlig?
They're good. Do they sing in Gaelic?
Raonaid:
Bithidh, gu dearbh. Agus tha iad math gun teagamh.
They certainly do. And they are good, without doubt.
Iain:
Am bi thusa a' seinn?
Do you sing?
Raonaid:
Cha bhi. Chan eil mi math air seinn.
No. I'm not good at singing.
Raonaid:
Am bi thusa a' seinn?
Do you sing?
Iain:
Bithidh. Ach chan eil mi ann an còmhlan.
Yes, but I'm not in a group.
Raonaid:
Am bi thu a' seinn aig mòdan?
Do you sing at mods?
Iain:
Bithidh. Bidh mi aig a' Mhòd Nàiseanta am bliadhna.
Yes. I will be at the National Mod this year.
Raonaid:
An robh thu a-riamh aig fèis?
Were you ever at a fèis?
Iain:
Bha. Ach cha robh mi a' seinn.
Yes, but I wasn't singing.
Raonaid:
Dè bha thu a' dèanamh?
What were you doing?
Iain:
Bha mi ag ionnsachadh na fìdhle.
I was learning the fiddle.
Raonaid:
A bheil fidheall agad?
Do you have a fiddle?
Iain:
Tha. Tha fidheall ùr agam.
Yes. I have a new fiddle.

Learn to say you like something

Is toil leam ceòl

I like music

Now, to learn how to say you like something. For this we use a special phrase: Is toil leam. Here the leam is a special construction, a prepositional pronoun, which is a combination of the preposition le (with) and mi (me). These change with each person. Hear how they work:

Is toil leam (le + mi) I like
Is toil leat (le + thu) You like
Is toil leis (le + e) He likes
Is toil leatha (le + i) She likes
Is toil leinn (le + sinn) We like
Is toil leibh (le + sibh) You like
Is toil leotha (le + iad) They like

Conversation 2

Hear how negatives are formed and how to reply to a question about likes or dislikes by following the conversation between John and Helen.

Conversation 3

The construction is toil le will often be met in the conditional i.e. where the action is uncertain or may be conditional on something else. Here the construction is bu toil le, but otherwise it is the same. The following conversation will show you how it works.

Notice the word seadh in the conversation - it is a very useful word which is roughly equivalent to 'aye' or 'uh-uh', an acknowledgement that you have heard what is being said to you. It is not, however, a direct answer to a question. That must always be done by using the verb which is used in the question.

Là math dhuibh!

Conversation 2

Listen to the conversation:

Iain:
An toil leat ceòl Gaidhealach?
Do you like Gaelic music?
Eilidh:
Is toil. Is toil leam gu mòr e. An toil leat fhèin e?
Yes, I really like it. Do you like it yourself?
Iain:
Is toil. Is toil leam ceòl Ceilteach agus ceòl Afraganach.
Yes. I like Celtic music and African music.
Eilidh:
Ceòl Afraganach? An toil leat na drumaichean aca?
African music? Do you like their drums?
Iain:
Is toil. Tha iad math dha-rìribh.
Yes. They are really good.
Eilidh:
Is toil leamsa a' chlàrsach agus a' phìob mhòr.
I like the clarsach and the bagpipes.
Iain:
Bidh do bhràthair a' cluich na fìdhle, nach bi?
Your brother plays the fiddle, does he not?
Eilidh:
Uill, tha fidheall aige, agus is toil leis ceòl.
Well, he has a fiddle and he likes music.
Iain:
Nach bi e a' cluich na fìdhle?
Doesn't he play the fiddle?
Eilidh:
Cha bhi. Bidh e a' cluich a' ghiotàir.
No. He plays the guitar.
Iain:
An toil leat fhèin an giotàr?
Do you like the guitar yourself?
Eilidh:
Cha toil. Cha toil leam idir e.
No. I don't like it at all.

Conversation 3

Listen to the conversation:

Pàdraig:
Anna ...
Anne ...
Anna:
Seadh..?
Uh-huh?
Pàdraig:
Am bu toil leat dhol don Mhòd am-bliadhna?
Would you like to go to the Mod this year?
Anna:
Bu toil. Bu toil leam a dhol ann.
Yes, I would like to go.
Pàdraig:
Is math sin.
That's good.
Anna:
Am bu toil leat fhèin dhol don Mhòd?
Would you like to go to the Mod yourself?
Pàdraig:
Bu toil, ach bidh mi air falbh aig fèis.
Yes, but I will be away at a feis.
Anna:
Tha sin duilich. Is toil leam an ceòl aig a' Mhòd.
That’s a pity. I like the music at the Mod.
Pàdraig:
Is toil leam na dannsaichean. Is toil leam dannsadh.
I like the dances. I like dancing.
Anna:
An toil leat na cèilidhean?
Do you like the ceilidhs?
Pàdraig:
Is toil. Tha iad glè mhath mar as trice.
Yes. They're usually pretty good.
Anna:
Am bu toil leat cupa tì?
Would you like a cup of tea?
Pàdraig:
Cha bu toil. Ach bu toil leam cupa cofaidh!
No. But I'd like a cup of coffee!
Anna:
Bu toil, is leamsa.
So would I.
Pàdraig:
Am bi do phàrantan aig a' Mhòd?
Will your parents be at the Mod?
Anna:
Bu toil leotha a bhith ann, ach bidh iadsan air falbh aig an fhèis cuideachd.
They would like to be there, but they will be away at the feis as well.