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168: An t-Alltan Dubh

Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh - Eadar-mheadhanach Adhartach (B2)
Letter to Learners - Upper Intermediate (B2)

Gaelic Gàidhlig

’S dòcha gum bi sibh eòlach air an òran, an t-Alltan Dubh – Tha ligh’ an-diugh san Alltan Dubh, chan urrainn mi dhol thairis air… Uill, chan eil fhios a’m mun Alltan Dubh, ach cuiridh mi geall gu bheil an t-Allt Muirneach a’ ruith gu làidir an-dràsta, oir tha uisge trom ann. Tha mi cinnteach gu bheil an t-Allt Muirneach fhathast ann am bith, ged nach fhaca mi a-riamh e. Agus cuiridh mi geall gu bheil glè bheag de mhuinntir Inbhir Nis, far a bheil e, air càil a chluinntinn mu dheidhinn.

Ach tha e ann, a’ sruthadh an là an-diugh fon talamh ann am pìoban tro àiteachan le ainmean math Gàidhlig orra – Cùil na Càbaig is Sloc Dhonnchaidh. Tha e a’ dol fo Rathad Allt a’ Mhuilinn don mhuir ann an Linne Mhoireibh. Agus ’s e an ceangal a th’ aig an allt seo ris a’ mhuir a tha a’ toirt orm smaoineachadh gur e The Marram Grass Burn a tha an t-ainm – an t-Allt Muirneach – a’ ciallachadh.

’S e muran a’ Ghàidhlig air marram grass. Tha e a’ coimhead coltach gu bheil an t-ainm co-cheangailte ri muir, oir ’s ann air tràigh ghainmhich agus aig oir machair mar as trice a chithear an lus seo. ’S e an t-ainm saidheansail air Ammophila, a tha a’ tighinn bho dhà fhacal Greugach a tha a’ ciallachadh gu bheil e toigheach air gainmheach. Ged nach eil gin ann an-diugh ann an Inbhir Nis, chanainn gum biodh e gu math coltach gu robh muran an ìre mhath pailt uaireigin air na cladaichean timcheall a’ bhaile.

Mura h-eil sibh eòlach air a’ mhuran, mholainn dhuibh cuairt a ghabhail anns na h-eileanan machaireach air taobh siar na h-Alba. Agus cha b’ urrainn na b’ fheàrr na Uibhist a Deas oir ’s e Tìr a’ Mhurain a chanas bàird ris an eilean sin, dìreach mar a chanas iad Eilean a’ Chèo ris an Eilean Sgitheanach no Eilean an Fhraoich ri Leòdhas.

’S e lus àraidh a th’ anns a’ mhuran. Leis gu bheil e a’ fàs air gainmheach, feumaidh e a bhith comasach dèiligeadh ri tiormachd. Ma choimheadas sibh air na duilleagan air là blàth tioram, chì sibh gu bheil iad air an roiligeadh gu teann. Tha sin a’ cumail nam pòraichean, na stomata, trom biodh deatach-uisge a’ falbh, dùinte.

Anns an t-seann aimsir, bhiodh muinntir na Gaidhealtachd a’ cur a’ mhurain gu feum de chaochladh sheòrsachan. Bhiodh iad a’ fighe nan duilleagan airson pocannan a dhèanamh, a chumadh rudan mar min-eòrna is min-choirce. Dhèanadh iad sguaban leotha agus sgìopan airson seilleanan-meala, agus tughadh airson mullaichean taighean.

Anns an leabhar aige, Gruth is Uachdar, no Crowdie and Cream, oir ’s e leabhar Beurla a bh’ ann, tha Fionnladh Dòmhnallach, Finlay J, mar a chanadh iad ris, a’ dèanamh tuairisgeul de mhealtrach agus mar a chaidh a chleachdadh na là le muinntir taobh siar na Hearadh. ’S e mealtrach na freumaichean aig a’ mhuran.

Bhiodh aig Fionnladh òg ri falbh a-mach gach Disathairne airson poca de mhealtrach a chruinneachadh do mhàthair. Sin agus làn pheile de ghainmheach. Goirid mus deigheadh màthair Fhionnlaidh innte oidhche Shathairne, bhiodh i a’ sguabadh làr fiodha an taighe le siabann, ga shuathachadh leis a’ mhealtrach. Agus mus biodh an t-ùrlar tioram, sgaoileadh i gainmheach air. An uairsin, bhiodh i a’ sguabadh a’ ghainmhich air falbh, a’ fàgail ùrlar cho glan ris an òr, deiseil airson na Sàbaid. Tha Fionnladh ag innse dhuinn nach robh cead aig duine sam bith falbh a-mach don taigh bheag as dèidh gun deach a’ ghainmheach a chur air an ùrlar!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faclan na Litreach: an t-Alltan Dubh: the little black burn; lighe: flood; Cùil na Càbaig: Culcabock (lit. nook of the cheese); Sloc Dhonnchaidh: Duncan’s Hollow; Rathad Allt a’ Mhuilinn: Millburn Road; Linne Mhoireibh: Moray Firth; saidheansail: scientific; na h-eileanan machaireach: the low-lying islands (on which there is a lot of machair); Uibhist a Deas: South Uist; caochladh: various; min-eòrna: barley meal; min-choirce: oatmeal.

Abairtean na Litreach: chan urrainn mi (or dhomh) dhol thairis air: I can’t go over it; cuiridh mi geall: I bet; oir tha uisge trom ann: because it’s raining heavily; ged nach fhaca mi a-riamh e: though I never saw it; tha e a’ sruthadh an là an-diugh fon talamh ann am pìoba: it runs today under the ground in pipes; a tha a’ toirt orm smaoineachadh: that makes me think; ’s ann air tràigh ghainmhich agus aig oir machair mar as trice a chithear X: it’s on a sandy beach and at the end of machair that X is usually seen; gu bheil e toigheach air gainmheach: that it loves sand; gum biodh e coltach gu robh muran an ìre mhath pailt:that it would be likely that marram grass was pretty plentiful; feumaidh e a bhith comasach dèiligeadh ri tiormachd: it must be capable of coping with drought; gu bheil iad air an roiligeadh gu teann: that they are tightly rolled; trom biodh deatach-uisge a’ falbh: through which water vapour would escape; bhiodh iad a’ fighe nan duilleagan:they would knit the leaves (together); dhèanadh iad sguaban leotha agus sgìopan airson seilleanan-meala: they would make brushes with them and hives (skeeps) for honey bees; mar a chaidh a chleachdadh na là: as it was used in his day; ’s e mealtrach na freumhaichean aig a’ mhuran: mealtrach is the roots of the marram grass; sin agus làn pheile de ghainmheach:that and a bucketful of sand; mus biodh an t-ùrlar tioram, sgaoileadh i gainmheach air: before the floor was (would be) dry, she would spread sand on it.

Puing-ghràmair na Litreach: cho glan ris an òr: lit. as clean as the gold. Gaelic has a wide range of similes which do not necessarily correspond to those in English. Why not keep a small notebook handy and write them down when you hear them? Of course, if you remember that the formula is: cho X ri Y, you can make them up yourself! But it is better if you are familiar with many of those which are traditional and meaningful to the Gaelic community. Here are some examples for your notebook!: cho reamhar ri ròn (as fat as a seal); cho sean ris a’ chrotal (as old as the lichen); cho dubh ris an t-suith (as black as the soot); cho geal ri canach an t-slèibhe (as white as the bog cotton); cho marbh ri sgadan (as dead as a herring); cho sona ris an Rìgh (as happy as the King); cho fuar ris a’ phuinnsean (as cold as the poison); cho coltach ri chèile ri dà sgadan (as alike each other as two herring). And, finally, here’s one with a slightly more complicated formula: cho làn dheth fhèin ’s a tha an t-ugh de bhiadh (as full of himself as is the egg of food).

Gnàthas-cainnt na Litreach: Goirid mus deigheadh màthair Fhionnlaidh innte: shortly before Finlay’s mother would go to bed (lit. in her). Tha mi a’ dol innte (I am going to bed). The Gaelic word for bed, leabaidh, is feminine which explains the use of innte here.

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