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Beginners (A1)- Unit 13 - An important cultural site in the Highlands
Luchd-tòiseachaidh (A1) - Aonad 13 - An important cultural site in the Highlands

Introduction

Tursachan Chalanais

The Callanish Standing Stones

The Callanish Standing Stones are an important neolithic site on the Isle of Lewis, much visited by tourists. In this Unit you will learn some phrases which are useful in speaking to people who run tourist enterprises. Here is some vocabulary:

tursa standing stone
tursachan standing stones
ionad cultarail cultural centre
ionad-tadhail visitor centre
luchd-turais tourists
muinntir an àite local people
dualchas heritage
sean old
bùth shop
taigh-bìdh café
taigh-beag toilet
seann rudan old things, antiquities
arc-eòlas archaeology
arc-eòlach archaeological

Tourist conversations

Tursachan Chalanais

The Callanish Standing Stones

Conversation 1

Listen to the dialogue in conversation 1. It starts when Donnchadh (Duncan), a tourist, enters the visitor centre and engages the lady behind the counter Magaidh (Maggie) in conversation.

Conversation 2

In this next conversation there are three participants. Donnchadh has gone into the café to order morning tea. He is the only customer there. Magaidh enters and engages both himself and the lady behind the counter (Iseabail) in conversation. This dialogue should give you some ideas about how to break the ice and engage fluent Gaelic-speakers in conversation

Conversation 1

Listen to the conversation:

Donnchadh:
Madainn mhath.
Good morning.
Magaidh:
Madainn mhath. Tha i brèagha.
Good morning. It's a beautiful day.
Donnchadh:
Tha i àlainn.
It's a magnificent day.
Magaidh:
An robh sibh aig na Tursachan fhathast?
Were you at the Standing Stones yet?
Donnchadh:
Bha. Agus bha iad uabhasach inntinneach.
Yes. And they were very interesting.
Magaidh:
A bheil sibh ag iarraidh fiosrachadh mun deidhinn?
Do you want information about them?
Donnchadh:
Tha. Bhiodh sin uabhasach math.
Yes. That would be very good.
Magaidh:
Tha leabhraichean beaga an seo anns a' bhùth.
There are booklets here in the shop.
Donnchadh:
An e ionad-tadhail a tha seo cuideachd?
Is this also a visitor centre?
Magaidh:
'S e. Bidh tòrr luchd-turais a' tighinn an seo.
Yes. Many tourists come here
Donnchadh:
Chan eil mòran ann an-dràsta.
There are not many just now.
Magaidh:
Chan eil fhathast. Tha e ro thràth.
Not yet. It is too early.
Donnchadh:
Is toil leam seann rudan. Is toil leam arc-eòlas.
I like old things. I like archaeology.
Magaidh:
Gu dearbh. Tha dualchas math arc-eòlach againn an seo.
Indeed. We have a good archaeological heritage here.
Donnchadh:
An toil le muinntir an àite sin?
Do the local people like that?
Magaidh:
Is toil. Gu mòr.
Yes. Very much.
Donnchadh:
Gabhaibh mo leisgeul, ach a bheil taigh-bìdh ann?
Excuse me, but is there a café?
Magaidh:
Tha. Agus tha e fosgailte an-dràsta.
Yes. And it is open just now.
Donnchadh:
Agus taigh-beag?
And a toilet?
Magaidh:
Tha. Tha taigh-beag ann cuideachd.
Yes. There is also a toilet.
Donnchadh:
Mòran taing.
Many thanks.

Conversation 2

Listen to the conversation:

Donnchadh:
Madainn mhath. Tha i brèagha.
Good morning. It's a fine day.
Iseabail:
Tha i àlainn. Là brèagha samhraidh.
It's wonderful. A fine summer's day.
Donnchadh:
Am faod mi cupa cofaidh fhaighinn?
May I have a cup of coffee?
Iseabail:
Faodaidh, gu dearbh. Cò às a tha sibh?
Certainly. Where are you from?
Donnchadh:
Tha mi à Dùn Èideann. Chan eil mòran Gàidhlig agam.
I'm from Edinburgh. I don't speak much Gaelic.
Iseabail:
Tha gu leòr agaibh. An gabh sibh dad ri ithe?
You speak plenty. Will you take anything to eat?
Donnchadh:
Gabhaidh. Dìreach briosgaid.
Yes. Just a biscuit.
Magaidh:
Halò, Iseabail. Ciamar a tha thu an-diugh?
Hallo, Ishbel. How are you today?
Iseabail:
Tha gu math, a Mhagaidh.
Fine, Maggie.
Donnchadh:
Halò a-rithist. (to Maggie)
Hello, again.
Magaidh:
Halò. A bheil sibh a' faighinn cupa cofaidh?
Hello. Are you getting a cup of coffee?
Donnchadh:
Tha, gu dearbh. Cofaidh dubh làidir.
Yes, indeed. Strong black coffee.
Iseabail:
O mo chreach! Cofaidh dubh?
Oh dear! Black coffee?
Donnchadh:
Seadh. A bheil càil ceàrr?
Aye. Is anything wrong.
Magaidh:
O, Iseabail. Chuir thu bainne ann!
Oh, Ishbel. You put milk in it!
Iseabail:
Tha mi duilich. Nì mi a-rithist e.
I'm sorry. I'll make it again.

Pardon?

Tursachan Chalanais

The Callanish Standing Stones

The next conversation takes place out of doors, among the standing stones themselves. Magaidh has some time off from the desk and is giving Duncan a tour of the site in Gaelic. But the wind has come up and they have difficulty hearing each other.

Note the ways in which you can ask somebody to repeat a phrase you have not understood properly, particularly the very polite 'Bàillibh?'. You might hear close friends saying 'dè rud?' (what thing?) to each other, but this should be avoided if dealing with strangers as it is considered to be rather abrupt. Stick to gabhaibh mo leisgeul and bàillibh and you won't go wrong. You may need them rather often when you are in the early days of learning Gaelic!

Bàillibh?

pardon?

Gabhaibh mo leisgeul

Excuse me

Dè rud?

(lit) What thing? (very informal)

Conversation 3

Listen to Donnchadh and Maggie's conversation as they walk around the standing stones. See if you can pick out the various forms of pardon and excuse me which they use.

This is the end of Unit 13. Why not test yourself to see how much you've learnt?

If you would like to learn some useful conversation about using Gaelic on the phone and on the internet, go on to Unit 14 - Fònaidh mi thugad.

Là math dhuibh!

Conversation 3

Listen to the conversation:

Magaidh:
Seo a-nis. Seo an sealladh as fheàrr.
Here we are. This is the best view.
Donnchadh:
Tha na tursachan mòr.
The standing stones are large.
Magaidh:
Tha, agus tha pìosan mòra dhiubh fon talamh.
Yes, and there are large parts of them under the ground.
Donnchadh:
Gabhaibh mo leisgeul. Dè thuirt sibh?
Excuse me. What did you say?
Magaidh:
Thuirt mi gu bheil pìosan mòra dhiubh fon talamh.
I said there are large parts of them under the ground.
Donnchadh:
O seadh. Gabhaibh mo leisgeul.
Oh, aye. Excuse me.
Magaidh:
Agus bha riasg gu leòr air a thoirt air falbh.
And much peat was removed.
Donnchadh:
Bàillibh?
Sorry? (I didn't hear you correctly)
Magaidh:
Thuirt mi gu robh riasg gu leòr air a thoirt air falbh.
I said that much peat was removed.
Donnchadh:
Tha mi duilich. An can sibh a-rithist e?
I'm sorry. Will you say it again?
Magaidh:
Bha riasg air a thoirt air falbh.
Peat was removed.
Donnchadh:
O, ceart. Tha mi duilich. Cha chuala mi ceart sibh.
Oh, right. I'm sorry. I didn't hear you properly.
Magaidh:
Ai, tha e doirbh. Eadar a' ghaoth agus na caoraich, a' mèilich.
Aye, it's difficult. Between the wind and the sheep, bleating.
Donnchadh:
Dè tha na caoraich a' dèanamh?
What are the sheep doing?
Magaidh:
Tha iad a' mèilich!
They're bleating!