Archive | April, 2012

Mummy, how do you say “fichead” in English?*

29 Apr

My son, the Monster, asked me this yesterday. I see it as a good sign that his Gaelic is sinking in.  In fact, he can already count to 39 in Gaelic which is more than he can do in English. I think he hears the patterns better, and if he forgets what comes next he can work it out quickly himself.

I wonder if this is something that will happen more and more in the future – that he’ll be picking up brand new ideas and vocabulary in Gaelic, that are taught and explained to him in Gaelic at school so that he will need to ask us for the English separately. I’ve been taught to ask, “ciamar a tha thu ag radh ___ ann an Gaidhlig?” for my course.  Maybe in future I’ll be hearing, “ciamar a tha thu ag radh ___ ann an Beurla?”

*fichead means 20.  (And please excuse any spelling mistakes.)


We got news of our placing request today

28 Apr

…and we got in!  Although we had been pretty confident about that, as the end of April approached I was starting to get a little bit concerned.  So, the Monster is off to visit the school with his nursery on Tuesday. Exciting times!

Now, I really must get my head round the dative case…

How do you expose yourself to more Gaelic?

3 Apr

We are now almost 3 months in to learning Gaelic as a family.  My husband and I have covered lots of basic vocabulary and there’s been some grammar thrown in along the way.  We can hold a simple conversation, though we can only meet people once as there’s a limit to how often we can tell them where we’re from and where we live at the moment.  I look forward to the day we can use our Gaelic in a natural setting, and though that seems like a lifetime away I do believe it will happen one day.

There are two important things that I think we need to really help our Gaelic to grow.

  • Firstly, we need to find/make more time to practise with each other rather than cramming the night before.  At the moment we’ve been getting away with it because there’s a limit to the questions we can be asked, but each week that gets harder and harder.
  • Secondly, we need to hear Gaelic spoken fluently, naturally.

Making the time is a matter of prioritising.  In the same way that we can make sure there’s time for Desperate Housewives, we need to make sure we’re giving some time to Gaelic, even if it means “sacrificing” ironing time and having to wear crushed clothes sometimes.  (Oh, the hardship!)  I think I’ll make that suggestion to Gaelic Medium Dad…

It’s hearing natural Gaelic that’s a bit trickier.  As I work at night it’s difficult for us to get out to Gaelic community events, (and I think we’re still at a very self conscious stage so a bit too shy to try it out), so I think we’re going to have to go with BBC Alba at the moment.  My husband happily watched football on BBC Alba this weekend, listening for numbers he could recognise and hearing “An Eaglais Bhreac” (Falkirk) spoken naturally.  However, as great as it is to hear the flow of the language, and to be able to pick out random words, it’s difficult to hold your attention when almost everything is going over your head, so we’ve started watching the children’s programmes.  We can all pick out “Is mise” and “cluich an-diugh” on the Abadas, and learned “ga iarraidh” from Igam Ogam.  I think we’ve found our intellectual level.

Are there any simple programmes you can suggest that we watch?  We’d watch Speaking our Language but we’d need to start at/near the beginning, and sadly, Dotaman is no longer being shown.

In fact, maybe that’s what we need – to get Donnie MacLeod, Anna Murray and Dotaman back on our screens!