Scottish Gaelic Lesson 1 – Basic Sentence Structure

Tha an la fuàr  (pronounced fooar)

You can see here a literal translation “Is the day cold”

Tha – is

an – the

la – day

fuàr  – cold

This is a great sentence to explain the word order of Gaelic. Verb first, subject and then the other bit .

Tha mi fuàr  – I am cold

A good exercise for today would be to sit down with a Gaelic dictionary and try to make new sentences with the verb “to be”. As your knowledge gets better we can revisit those later. Try to write some descritions of yourself or of people you know.

Tha mi Caraid (Caritsh) I am a friend. You will notice that there is no “a” in the Gaelic but I put this into the English translation. The “a” as an article before a noun does not exist in Gaelic.  It nly exists  when we use “the” like the example “Tha an la fuàr”. We can see “an”. We will talk more about that later.

Tha e saighdear (sy-tshir) he is (a) soldier.

These are simple sentences and we will make them more complex as we continue but right now, I want to keep it simple for a while until you understand the basics and get some vocabulary.



Scottish Gaelic Lesson Intro: Articles and Verb To Be

Like many languages, there are two genders in Gaelic, as a general rule, the article for “a” like “a sheep” does not exist, therefore you will not see it in Gaelic. There are articles for “the” (a and am)  but since “an” can have many meanings, such as  common articles, possessive, preposition, question, etc it cannot be used to define gender, these artciels also change depending on the first letter of the following word, my advice is to learn the gender and its accompanying article and keep in mind that before B, F, M or P it will always be M.


The verb “to be”

Tha mi : (ha mee) I am

Tha thu:  (ha oo) You are

Tha e:  (ha eh) (as in get) He is

Tha i:  (ha e)  (as in feet) She is

Tha sinn:  (ha sheen) We are

Tha sibh:  (ha shiv)  You (Pl) are

Tha iad (ha eeut) They are

Learning Scottish Gaelic – Introduction

The problem with learning Gaelic is no different than learning any other language:

  1. access to material
  2. access to a teacher
  3. access to people to practice with.

There is an opinion that because it´s Gaelic; the language will somehow be harder. This is gladly not the case.  It is simply because there are less people around to practice with.

I am about to launch a Gaelic blog on this site to help with learning which will be called “Morning in the Mountains” since I will mostly be writing it in the mornings here in Scotland. It will be a little bit different from usual courses because I want to try and cover the three points mentioned above. I also want to make the course a bit slower than other courses so we can enjoy the rich grammar and more vocabulary without having to rush through a grammar book.  I also want it to move slower for older people. Finally, I want to use different kinds of materials for learning, Art, Spirituality, History, Proverbs and Experiences.  I really don´t want this to simply be another Gaelic blog, I want it to be something which people can connect with, enjoy reading and get to know.

I also want it to be an expression of my faith. Something a bit more mental and experiential rather than trying to cram in information to my brain. Something which you will like.

I suggest you use these pages in conjunction with a thorough study of “Gramar na Gàidhlig” by Michael Byrne

and  use the decks version