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Celtic Hearts : Dé tha thu ‘g ràdhainn? | What are you saying?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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Heather Rankin is a singer, songwriter, actor and member of the 6X Juno Award winning band The Rankin Family. As a solo artist she has released two albums, A Fine Line (ECMA/Juno Nom.) and Imagine (ECMA Nom.).