A magic spell?

I've mentioned Scrìobag before, the plushie monster in the kiddie cartoon series on BBC Alba. She draws things with crayons and invites the children to draw with her, describing each line as she does it so up across down around in out and so on become familiar words. Also head eye nose mouth leg, body tail hair arm etc. Then she brings the drawings to life and accompanies them through an adventure.

At the point where the drawing is brought to life she always says the same thing, holding up her fist and opening one finger at a time. I thought this was some sort of abracadabra spell and didn't imagine I would ever understand the words. But then last night I had the TV on but was only half watching it when I heard someone else say Scrìobag's magic words. It was a programme called "Beul Chaint", "exploring the richness and diversity of the Gaelic language." The words were

Òrdag, sgolagag, fionna-fada, mac an abair, lùdag.

The man on the screen was indicating each finger at a time, and naming them. Sgrìobag's "spell" is actually the names of the five fingers in Gaelic! Thumb, forefinger, middle finger, ring finger, pinkie. The programme went on to look at regional variations and differences in pronunciation.

I just thought that was a fun thing.

March 27, 2020


You've just brought back a very old memory! My grandfather used to say a rhyme with us when we were wee, counting on our fingers: òrdag, sgealbag, Màiri fhada, mac an aba, luchag bheag an airgead. Which was fun, except he'd always tickle us on 'luchag bheag', and that sucks when you're the most ticklish person in the world...

We also had a song in croileagan though, which used Uilleam òrdag, Calum corrag, Màiri fhada, mac an aba and luchag bheag. I think there's an English equivalent of that song as well though.

Those other names were all explored in the Beul Chaint programme. It was very interesting.

“lùdag” - ”lúidín” in Irish,

“òrdag” - “ordóg”

That is interesting - I will have a look at that, hopefully I can access it from Tasmania, despite the current load on the internet.

You might have to find some way to fool the BBC into believing you're located somewhere in the UK. Although I believe that is possible.

I shall have a go!

You need a VPN so your request for a connection comes from the UK (VPN means a virtual private network)

I seems to have worked by giving it my old London postcode and saying I am in the London area. Nothing particularly tech or clever.

Ooh, that's interesting! If you can watch live, Sgrìobag is going to draw a robot at 17.25 this evening. I am still hazy as to whether this will be GMT or BST.

Britain moved to BST on Saturday night, but yesterday BBC Alba was still broadcasting its schedule as if it was still on GMT.

ETA: They've belatedly sorted their times and they're now on BST. GMT+1.

Argh! I can't download or stream! I can look at what is there but it won't play.

But thank you anyway.

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