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Celtic Hearts : Dé tha thu ‘g ràdhainn? | What are you saying?

Story by: Shannon MacMullin

5 Gàidhlig Phrases to Use While Dreaming Your Visit to Cape Breton Island

Gàidhlig has been spoken in Cape Breton and eastern Nova Scotia for nearly 250 years, coming over with the Scottish Gaels.  While the language and culture were subjected to colonial pressures over generations, Gàidhlig continues to be spoken in our province today.  It’s the only place outside of Scotland where Gàidhlig is still passed on o ghlùin gu ghlùin | from knee to knee, intergenerationally.

Celtic Hearts : Dé tha thu 'g ràdhainn? | What are you saying? 8

Latha brèagha! | It’s a beautiful day!

No matter the season, you may be sure that Gaels will be discussing the weather when they make a céilidh | a visit.  This phrase is a great way to start a conversation!

Celtic Hearts : Dé tha thu 'g ràdhainn? | What are you saying? 9

Suas e! | Keep it up!

There’s nothing like hearing some terrific music to lift the heart – in person or over the internet.  If you are enjoying yourself, appreciating dancers and musicians is very welcome with a holler like, “Suas e!” – give it a go!

Celtic Hearts : Carson a tha a' Ghàidhlig Cudthromach ann an 2020? Why Does Gaelic Matter in 2020?

Cha bhi e fad’ a-nis. | It won’t be long now

This is a dandy phrase a person can use so often. In these times, it’s not clear when we’ll be able to céilidh | visit together again, and I hope it won’t be long!

Celtic Hearts : Dé tha thu 'g ràdhainn? | What are you saying? 4

Chì sinn sibh! | We’ll see you!

There are loads of ways to part company, but there’s no clear “Goodbye” in Gàidhlig.  Give this one a try – Chì sinn sibh!  It implies that the parting won’t be the last and there’ll be a welcome ahead of you next time you land.

Celtic Hearts : Dé tha thu 'g ràdhainn? | What are you saying? 2

Chan eil tuil air nach tig traoghadh. | There isn’t a flood which will not subside.

As you learn more about the Gàidhlig language, you begin to understand the worldview of the Gael.  This proverb offers hope in uncertain times that this too shall pass.

Celtic Hearts : Dé tha thu 'g ràdhainn? | What are you saying? 3

 I hope you’ll take a crack at these Gàidhlig phrases.  Use them at home and when you visit.  As we say, she’s (the Gàidhlig) no burden to carry.  Slàn gum bi sibh! | May you be well!  We look forward to your céilidh | visit!

Shannon MacMullin

Seigheag ni'n Aonghais Iain Pheadair | Shannon MacMullin is a Gàidhlig learner, singer and storyteller; a community educator, and the Cultural Experiences Co-ordinator at Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village. She loves dancing, making beauty in the world and bringing people together. Name: Seigheag ni'n Aonghais Iain Pheadair | Shannon MacMullin Social Handle Links- Facebook: @HighlandVillageMuseum Instagram: highland_village Twitter: @highlandv

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