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Letter to Gaelic Learners Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh

Ruairidh MacIlleathain A series of letters to support Gaelic learners. This will help learners who already have some knowledge and understanding of Gaelic and are looking to develop their language skills. Sound files, text, vocabulary and language notes are also available. Sreath de litrichean a bheir taic do luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig. Bidh iad seo cuideachail do luchd-ionnsachaidh le beagan tuigs air a’ Ghàidhlig agus a tha a’ coimhead airson dòigh air na sgilean cànain aca a leasachadh. Tha faidhle fuaim, teacsa, briathrachas agus puingean cànain rim faighinn cuideachd.

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Uilleam Mac Ille Bhrath (Litir 162)

Bha mi a-mach an t-seachdain sa chaidh air an Fhrangach, Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld, a chaidh air chuairt air a’ Ghaidhealtachd aig deireadh an ochdamh linn deug. Tha e inntinneach a bhith a’ leughadh an t-seòrsa beachd a bh’ aig coigrich air ar dùthaich aig an àm sin.

Tha e cuideachd inntinneach a bhith a’ leughadh aithrisean a rinn Gaidheil air dùthchannan eile. Am measg sin, tha na sgrìobh Uilleam Mac Ille Bhrath mun chuairt aige eadar Obar Dheathain agus Lunnainn ann an ochd-deug is naoi-deug (1819). Cha chreid mi nach eil e ceart gu leòr “Gaidheal” a ghabhail air, oir thogadh e anns na Hearadh, am measg muinntir an eilein, dham buineadh e, bha an cànan aige, agus bha e a’ coimhead air fhèin mar chuideigin a bhuineadh don Ghaidhealtachd thar àite sam bith eile.

Bha ùidh mhòr aig Uilleam ann an nàdar – gu dearbh, bha e na Phroifeasair ann an Eòlas-nàdair aig a’ cheann thall – agus bha e airson a dhol gu Taigh-tasgaidh Bhreatainn ann an Lunnainn airson coimhead air na bh’ aca de bheathaichean, agus gu h-àraidh de dh’eòin. Choisich e fad na slighe, leis fhèin. Ged a ghabh e slighe dhìreach ann an Sasainn, a’ coiseachd trì cheud, trithead ’s a seachd mìle eadar Gretna agus Lunnainn, cha do ghabh e slighe dhìreach idir ann an Alba, agus choisich e còrr is còig ceud mìle anns an dùthaich seo. Bha e airson pàirtean ùra de dh’Alba fhaicinn agus choisich e tro bheanntan na Gaidhealtachd, uaireannan a’ cadal a-muigh gun teanta. Chaidh e don Ghearastan, an uairsin gu Inbhir Aora, Glaschu, Inbhir Air, agus Dùn Phris mus do ràinig e crìoch Shasainn.

Rinn Mac Ille Bhrath coimeas eadar na rathaidean ann an diofar sgìrean. Bha e dhen bheachd gu robh a’ Ghaidhealtachd air rudeigin a chall leis gu robh rathaidean a-nise ann far nach b’ àbhaist gin a bhith. Ach bha e cuideachd dhen bheachd gu robh na rathaidean fada na b’ fheàrr air a’ Ghalldachd agus ann an Sasainn na bha iad air a’ Ghaidhealtachd. Anns na h-eileanan, sgrìobh e, chanadh muinntir an àite “rathad mòr” ri ceum-coiseachd eadar dà bhaile beag. Agus chanadh iad “rathad mòr an Rìgh” ri rathad mòr mòr no turnpike road.

Bho àm gu àm bhiodh Mac Ille Bhrath a’ dèanamh coimeas eadar tìr is sluagh na Gaidhealtachd, agus na h-àiteachan eile tron robh e a’ siubhal. Uaireannan sgrìobhadh e rudeigin inntinneach mu dheidhinn na Gàidhlig. Nise, bha aon diofar a-riamh follaiseach dhomh eadar cainnt nan Eireannach agus cainnt nan Albannach. ’S e sin gu bheil mòran ann an Eirinn, nuair a tha iad a’ bruidhinn Beurla, ag ràdh “t” far am biodh muinntir Shasainn, agus muinntir na h-Alba, ag ràdh “th”. Bidh sibh eòlach air an fhealla-dhà mun dithis Eireannach a chunnaic sanas anns a’ phàipear-naidheachd “Forestry company seeks tree fellers” agus an dragh a ghabh iad nach robh treas fear aca!

Uill, bha mi a-riamh a’ smaoineachadh, leis gur e an aon chànan – seann Ghàidhlig – a bh’ aig Gaidheil gach dùthaich bho shean, gur dòcha gu robh an aon rud fìor uaireigin mu dheidhinn nan Albannach. Sgrìobh Mac Ille Bhrath gu robh, agus ri linn. “Tha am fuaim “th”, a th’ aig na Sasannaich,” sgrìobh e, “neo-aithnichte do na Gaidheil. Mar sin, bidh am fear Gaidhealach, a tha ag ionnsachadh na Beurla, ga radh mar “t” no “d”; an àite throw away that nasty thing, canaidh e tro afuawy tat naisti ting.” Sin Gaidheil na h-Alba, chan e Gaidheil na h-Eireann. A bheil sinn air atharrachadh bhon uairsin? I tink so, mar a thuirt am fear eile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faclan na Litreach: an-còmhnaidh: always; Uilleam Mac Ille Bhrath: MacGillivray; Taigh-tasgaidh Bhreatainn: the British Museum; an Gearastan: Fort William; Inbhir Aora: Inveraray; Inbhir Air: Ayr; Dùn Phris: Dumfries; ceum-coiseachd: footpath; neo-aithnichte: unknown, unrecognised.

Abairtean na Litreach: bha mi a-mach an t-seachdain sa chaidh air X: I was on about X last week; a bhith a’ leughadh an t-seòrsa beachd a bh’ aig coigrich: to read the sort of opinion that foreigners had; dè chanamaid airson sin?: what would we say for that?; cha chreid mi nach eil e ceart gu leòr “Gaidheal” a ghabhail air: I think it’s alright to call him a “Gael”; mar chuideigin a bhuineadh don Ghaidhealtachd thar àite sam bith eile:as somebody who belonged to the Gaidhealtachd over and above any other place; bha e na Phroifeasair ann an Eòlas-nàdair aig a’ cheann thall: he was eventually a Professor of natural History; ged a ghabh e slighe dhìreach: although he took a direct route; trì cheud, trithead ’s a seachd mìle: 337 miles; uaireannan a’ cadal a-muigh gun teanta: sometimes sleeping out without a tent; mus do ràinig e crìoch Shasainn: before he reached the border of England; far nach b’ àbhaist gin a bhith: where there used to be none; na h-àiteachan eile tron robh e a’ siubhal: the other places through which he was travelling; bha aon diofar a-riamh follaiseach: one difference was always obvious; nach robh treas fear aca: that they didn’t have a third “feller”; sgriobh X gu robh, agus ri linn: X wrote that it was, and in his day; a bheil sinn air atharrachadh bhon uairsin?: have we changed since then?

Puing-ghràmair na Litreach: Choisich e fad na slighe, leis fhèin: he walked the entire route, by himself. If you use fad as a noun to represent the entire length of something eg distance or time, remember that the second noun which is qualified by it is placed in the genitive case (ie fad na slighe means “the length of the route). To use it properly, therefore, you must know how to form the genitive of a noun, most particularly by recognising if it is masculine or feminine. Here are some feminine examples, where the article is na: fad na h-ùine (all the time); fad na tìde (all the time); fad na h-oidhche (all night long); fad na seachdain(all week long); fad na bliadhna (the entire year long). Here are some examples where the noun is masculine: fad an rathaid(the entire road); fad an là (all day long); fad an t-siubhail (lit. all the journey, but it means “all the time). Fadcan also be used without the article eg fad seachdain (for a week); fad ceala-deug (for a fortnight); fad bliadhna (for a year); fad trì uairean a thìde (for a period of 3 hours).

Gnàthas-cainnt na Litreach: Bho àm gu àm: from time to time.

Download the text of this week's letter as a PDF: Thoir a-nuas Litir mar PDF: Adobe PDF of this letter

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Podcast

BBC offers this litir as a podcast – visit the programme page for more info and to download or subscribe. Tha am BBC a’ tabhainn seo mar podcast. Tadhail air an duilleag-phrògraim airson barrachd fiosrachaidh no airson podcast fhaighinn

Other Letters Litrichean eile

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Àireamh / Number

Facal / Word