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An Litir Bheag (The Little Letter) An Litir Bheag

Ruairidh MacIlleathain Sreath de litrichean a bheir taic do luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig. Bidh iad seo cuideachail do luchd-ionnsachaidh a tha seachad air ìre-tòiseachaidh agus a tha ag iarraidh barrachd Gàidhlig a leughadh. Tha faidhle fuaim, teacsa agus eadar-theangachadh an cois gach litir. Sna tràth-litrichean, tha puingean cànain is abairtean a’ gabhail àite eadar-theangachadh slàn. A series of letters that offer support to Gaelic learners. These will be helpful to learners who are beyond a beginners’ level and want to read more. Audio, text and translation accompany each letter. In the early letters, language points and phrases are provided instead of a full translation.

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Alexander Carmichael and the Napier Commission (Litir Bheag 709) Alasdair MacIlleMhìcheil agus Coimisean Napier (1) (Litir Bheag 709)

Alexander Carmichael and the Napier Commission Alasdair MacIlleMhìcheil agus Coimisean Napier (1)

I write a Gaelic column every week for the Inverness Courier. The title of the column is ‘Am Peursa’. Peursa means ‘signal pole’.

Now, I must admit I haven’t often heard or seen the word peursa. But, the other day, I was reading a piece in English about the Western Isles. And the word peursair or perchman was in it. The piece was written by a Gael.

Here is my translation of it: ‘ ... the people of the Outer Hebrides are pleased when they see their shores ... strewn with seaweed. In order to apprise them of the arrival of the seaweed, most farms have a man living near the shore, whose duty it is to hoist a bundle of ragged seaweed on the top of a pole. This man is called Am Peursair, the perchman, and his services are paid in seaweed and land.

The author of this passage was Alexander Carmichael from Lismore. I was speaking about him last week. He wrote Carmina Gadelica. But the piece I am speaking about here is in the Napier Commission report about the condition of crofters and cottars in the Highlands.

There are interesting things in his account. For example, he has words for a song sung by the people of St Kilda. The song commemorates the return of the seabirds to St Kilda every year:

Thanks to the Being, the gannets have come,

And the Great Auks have come with them,

Dark-haired dusky girl with a cow in the fold,

Brown cow, brown cow, playful brown cow...

I reckon the words demonstrate how important the two things were – cattle and birds – to the St Kildans. The final line of the song is The birds have come, let us hear their music! Indeed!

The song names a bird called the Great Bird – And the Great Birds have come with them . That’s the Great Auk – a seabird that became extinct in the nineteenth century. I’ll have more next week from Carmichael’s account in the Napier Commission report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alasdair MacIlleMhìcheil agus Coimisean Napier (1) (Litir Bheag 709)

Alexander Carmichael and the Napier Commission

Bidh mi a’ sgrìobhadh colbh Gàidhlig gach seachdain airson Courier Inbhir Nis. ʼS e ‘Am Peursa’ tiotal a’ chuilbh. Tha peursa a’ ciallachadh ‘signal pole’.

Nise, feumaidh mi aideachadh nach ann tric a chuala no a chunnaic mi am facal peursa. Ach, an latha eile, bha mi a’ leughadh pìos ann am Beurla mu na h-Eileanan Siar. Agus bha am facal peursair no perchman ann. Chaidh am pìos a sgrìobhadh le Gàidheal.

Seo m’ eadar-theangachadh air: ‘... tha muinntir nan Eilean A-muigh toilichte nuair a chì iad brùchd de fheamainn ... air na cladaichean aca. Airson fios a chur gu na daoine gu bheil an fheamainn air nochdadh, tha aig a’ chuid as motha de bhailtean-fearainn fear a tha a’ fuireach faisg air a’ chladach, air a bheil an dleastanas cnap mòr feamainn a chur air mullach peursa. ʼS e Am Peursair a chanar ris an duine seo, agus gheibh e duais ann am feamainn agus fearann.’

B’ e ùghdar na h-earrainn seo Alasdair MacIlleMhìcheil à Lios Mòr. Bha mi a’ bruidhinn mu dheidhinn an t-seachdain sa chaidh. Sgrìobh e Carmina Gadelica. Ach tha am pìos air a bheil mi a’ bruidhinn an seo ann an aithisg Choimisean Napier air cor nan croitearan ʼs nan coitearan air a’ Ghàidhealtachd.

Tha rudan inntinneach anns a’ chunntas aige. Mar eisimpleir, tha briathran aige airson òran aig muinntir Hiort. Tha an t-òran a’ comharrachadh tilleadh nan eun-mara do Hiort gach bliadhna:

Buidheachas dhan Tì, thàinig na gugachan,

Thàinig ʼs na h-Eòin-mhòra cuide riuth’,

Cailin dubh chiar, bò sa chrò,

Bò dhonn, bò dhonn, bò dhonn bheadarach...

Saoilidh mi gu bheil na faclan a’ dearbhadh cho cudromach ʼs a bha an dà chuid – an crodh agus na h-eòin – do mhuinntir Hiort. ʼS e an loidhne mu dheireadh dhen òran Na h-eòin air tighinn, cluinneam an ceòl! Gu dearbh fhèin!

Tha an t-òran ag ainmeachadh eun air a bheil an t-Eun Mòr – Thàinig ʼs na h-Eòin-mhòra cuide riuth’ . ʼS e sin an Great Auk – eun-mara a chaidh à bith anns an naoidheamh linn deug. Bidh tuilleadh agam bhon chunntas aig MacIlleMhìcheil ann an aithisg Choimisean Napier an-ath-sheachdain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh

This letter corresponds to Tha an Litir seo a’ buntainn ri Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh 1013

Podcast

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Other Letters Litrichean eile

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Àireamh / Number

Facal / Word