Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gaelic and Me

As many of you know, I am thoroughly in love with Scotland. On any given day, one may find me perusing the reality for sale in some of my favorite spots in the country. This summer is very sad for me because I was supposed to spend the whole months of June and July on a farm near Stirling then join my husband in Vienna, Austria the middle of August.

Alas, this did not happen for a couple of reasons. Money being the main one. I started looking for cheap airline tickets almost eighteen...yup, that’s right...eighteen months ago so I could get the best deal. The unfortunate thing is there was no best deal. The cheapest deal I could get was roughly $1400 to cross the big pond.

Now I have never paid more than $500 for a ticket to Britain and I wasn’t about to start now. I was so certain something would come up that I didn’t panic. About six months ago, I started looking weekly and for the last three months, daily. There was nothing to be had. Nada. Zip. I was out of luck for my trip this year.

The other reason was closer to my heart. My two bundles of joy called Michael and Joseph made the pain a little less because I’ve gotten to spend more time with them. They are adorable and I’ve been having fun as have the rest of the family.

What does this have to do with Gaelic you ask? Well, last year in September I started taking a class in Gaelic and loved it. If I had actually gone to Scotland this year, I was going to do an immersion class on the Isle of Skye. Unfortunately, I had to drop out in November because I got really sick and couldn’t participate.

I bet you’re wondering just how I participated in a Gaelic class. Being the native language of Scotland, you could assume I would need to go there to enjoy such a class. Not anymore. I had looked for years into finding a Gaelic class near me to no avail. It just wasn’t going to happen. Then came a wonderful thing called Skype. The whole class was done with Skype. We had lectures, question sessions, practice sessions and everything in between.

Matter of fact, the first thing the instructor told us was that we would be taking the class again. Most people have to take every class at least twice because it is that difficult because of pronunciation. A person basically has to retrain their tongue to make the sounds needed in Gaelic. Some do it naturally but most have to take things slow. My instructor at the time said he had been speaking Gaelic for a fair portion of his life but had to take most of the classes twice himself.

Gaelic is like any foreign language and has a whole different set of grammatical rules to learn. The one I had to remember always was that there are male and feminine ways to say things. An example would be the Mac names like MacLeod, MacKenzie and so on. MacLeod is for a male and NicLeod is the female version. I had so many questions during that lesson it wasn’t even funny. LOL!

Again, I’m sure you’re still wondering just what this has to do with you. Well, as you know I am trying different things with the blog: Wednesday’s Classroom, This & That Friday...well...I thought that I would occasionally give you some Gaelic phrases to munch on for Thursdays. So here goes.

Now this is for all the tweeters out there:

English: Thanks for tweeting. Gaelic: Taing airson tweeting. Pronounce: Taheeng ersson tweeting.

Yes, I will use it...I promise...but if you’re not following me on Twitter, you’ll never know. LOL!

So, here’s one more for you:

English: Perhaps. Gaelic: 'S dòcha. Pronounce: Iss dohkha

When hearing Gaelic, I’m reminded of the Nordic languages. After all, many of the Scottish people did come from the Vikings. To me it sounds a lot like Swedish or Norwegian. There are even some sounds, which come across like Finnish to me. Believe it or not, if you saw Lord of the Rings, you’ve heard Finnish as the elven language is based upon it. I answered a question correctly in Scotland because I could identify what language a man doing a demonstration. I had to ask him to repeat the phrase but once I really listed to him, I knew right away what language it was. Gaelic has the same guttural flow. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s harsh.

All I know is that I have at least ten books where I use it. And if I have my way, I plan to use many, many more.

What languages have you studied in your life? Do using an authentic language puts more into a story or takes something away? Can’t wait to hear what you all say.

Have a great evening...see you all on Saturday...enjoy This & That Friday!


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