The modern Gaelic word for a tattoo was borrowed from the modern English word, first used in 1769. But what if the medieval Gaels had practiced tattooing 1000 years earlier? What would it have been called then? I interview Gaelic scholar Dr. Sharon Arbuthot to find out.
Let’s talk about love. Specifically, one of the most well-known Scottish Gaelic proverbs: “Thig crìoch air an t-saoghal, ach mairidh gaol is ceòl” (The world will end, but love and music will endure). We’ll explore its context, how it’s been used in Gaelic art, how to hear the poetry in it, and how to pronounce it.
I interview linguist Dr. Conor Quinn about the Ogham alphabet, how it relates to Irish & Gaelic, and what to be aware of if you’re using it in a tattoo.
The English language bears traces of historical contact with Gaelic: we explore Gaelic loanwords in English, and the influence of Gaelic grammar on English dialects.
What’s the Scottish Gaelic translation for Wendy? Translating names can actually be complicated. Gaelic name translation raises larger issues about what can be translated, what could be translated but probably shouldn’t be, how we do translation, and why people want certain things translated. This post gives the history of the name Wendy that all the baby name books get wrong, and offers 6 different suggestions for translating Wendy into Gaelic.
Nancy Dorian is well known in linguistics, linguistic anthropology, and Celtic studies for her research on East Sutherland Gaelic, language obsolescence, and the sociolinguistics of minority languages. Emily McEwan-Fujita reviews her 2014 book, an edited volume of her “greatest hits.”
If you’re learning Gaelic, it’s helpful to keep track of what other folks are doing out there so you don’t develop tunnel vision about the language community. One interesting learning resource under development is the eDIL, the electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language. I interviewed Dr. Sharon Arbuthnot about the dictionary project. What does an Irish dictionary have to do with Scottish Gaelic? Read on!
Gaels in Scotland and Nova Scotia don’t tend to know a lot about each other, unless they’ve actually visited each other’s home turf. There are a lot of similarities, but also some significant differences! Here is the second half of my top ten list with #5 through #1 of the top ten differences between Gaelic in Nova Scotia and Scotland from a Nova Scotian perspective.