1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. Gaeilge Agus Gaidhlig.


Gaeilge Agus Gaidhlig.

Dia Daoibh, or Halo i nGAIDHLIG. Has anyone got any tips for someone fluent in Irish almost native, in regards to learning Gaidhlig ? I feel like the small differences like Oidhche agus Madainn Vs Irish Oiche agus Maidin may start to mess with me. More so stuff like Is toil Leam vs Is maith liom; similar but fairly different.

November 28, 2019



No advice I'm afraid, but I found the same problem in reverse. I really struggled with Gaelige because it was too similar to Gaidhlig, so ended up giving up! I hope you manage to stick at it though; I know of two people fluent in both and because they use the languages every day, they don't mix them up. Perhaps the key is practise? Either way, good luck.

[deactivated user]

    It's quite close to Ulster Irish as spoken in Gweedore and on Tory Island in Western Donegal. You may want to immerse yourself in that to some extent. Those who know Munster, Standard, and/or Connacht Irish struggle with understanding Ulster Irish for the very reason that it's quite, dare I say, Scottish in character.


    What's your aim in learning Gaidhlig? Just like learning any other closely related pair of languages, you're going to find a lot of the second one quite easy, but be thrown by some things that are unexpectedly different. It's likely your rate of comprehension will be much higher than your production ability, far more than in a language you do not already know relatives of, but this isn't a bad thing, it's just something to be aware of and allow for. What I'm doing (I learnt Irish in school, but am nowhere near fluent) in my first pass is just to accept what is similar enough I can just recognise it, and paying more attention to what I don't, immediately. So I'm not trying to learn the Scottish Gaelic spellings of cognate words (oidhche/oiche, maidainn/maidin, leam/liom), particularly, but I am trying to remember the new phrases, like "Is toil leam", and that plural you and it's derivatives apparently get used for single respected figures, as is done in French and German and other related languages.


    Indeed - the negative form "Chan eil" will also take some getting used to.


    Not if you understand what is going on. An Irish speaker will know (from the spelling An bhfuil for A bheil that the original verb had an f in it (so fuil in Irish, feil in Gaelic). Then once you have learnt the Gaelic word cha(n) + lenition then the form *chan fheil is logical. We just leave out the silent fh because we have forgotten where the word comes from.


    It’s just like the f in níl!

    (< ní fhuil)


    Quite so. Irish speakers have the benefit of An bhfuil to tell them where níl comes from whereas Gaelic speakers have no clear clues.

    And if anyone is wondering where the feil/fuil comes from in the first place, it is a bit strange. It comes from Old Irish fil 'see', explained here.

    So níl mé anseo / chan eil mi an seo actually means '[one] does not see me here' so, by implication, 'I am not here'. This means that the 'subject' is actually the object - it would have been in the accusative in Old Irish.

    This explains the lenition of the f in níl (a) fhios agam / chan eil fhios agam - see any course in Old Irish or Welsh Duolingo notes - just search for the word object. It looks as if the a in the Irish was added to try and make sense of the fh.


    Aim is to be fluent also, i'm a historian , so knowledge of both is necessary!


    Yes, the similarities mean quick comprehension of the second language, but being dogged for much longer with spelling mistakes, especially when tired.


    Dia dhuit Kern

    No tips, but I certainly know what you mean. There are definitely some very false friends (a charaid ≠ a chairde, greannach ≠ greannmhar, èibhinn ≠ aoibhinn). I feel like there might be some logic behind variations in ‘eu’ and ‘ea’ that I’m missing, but it’s not clear to me yet. Some of it is like the old Irish spelling system, but I couldn’t confidently spell in that either!

    Is breá an teanga í pé scéal.

    Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.