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  5. "Do you still have red hair?"

"Do you still have red hair?"

Translation:A bheil falt ruadh ort fhathast?

January 8, 2020



how is this red different from dhearg?


Ruadh is the old word for 'red' and it is related to red. It is used for the more natural shades that you find in nature from brown through red to orange, but not the really bright scarlet or orange that are rare in nature (but with exceptions such as poppies, strawberries and oranges). You might use dearg for hair if it was a very unnatural shade out of a bottle. I have heard it said that fairies have falt dearg but people have falt ruadh.

This is not only because of the shades implied but because, historically, dearg (related to English dark) has strong undertones of 'altered, defiled, criminal, unnatural'. It is used for red herrings (i.e. kippers) not because of the colour but because they are processed. It is used for the part of a field that has been ploughed (because ploughing is altering or making unnatural). The unploughed part is bàn.


We have in Carrick a settlement called "daljarrock", a small part of the valley of the Stinchar Water with some flat land. I thought the name meant "the red dale" but it puzzled me because there's nothing red about it, not even the ploughed soil. Thanks again!


That is intriguing for a whole load of reasons. A bit of Googling found that a significant minority of the local names are Gaelic, with lots of British (Welsh-like) and some English and Norse. That is quite normal over a large part of Scotland reminding us that there was never a Gaelic part or a British part. Just a big mixture of different peoples in different places at different times or even the same time.

The spelling suggests that Gaelic has not been spoken there for a very long time as it is entirely phonetic. The a in dearg represents a dialect closer to Irish than anything you will hear on this course, but the Dal shows the Norse influence on Gaelic.

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