"Seall air Spot a'ruith" translates loosely to "See Spot Run", and anyone who grew up learning to read via the Dick and Jane books will remember that sentence. I think the Gaelic version of it is a rather fitting title for this blog.
Which means "I Love You". Gaelic is an interesting language, I'm learning. There is no word for 'have', for example. I can't say "I have a cup of coffee." Instead I have to say what translates literally to "A cup of coffee is at me."
Instead of saying "I am a fireman", I would have to say "A fireman is in me." (My son would emphatically agree that an Infantryman is in him. In fact he would say:
Leader by birth, Warrior by training, Infantry by the grace of God
But I digress.
I'm finding this idiosyncratic nature of Gaelic to be fascinating. For most of it's history, Gaelic was a spoken language, not a written one. History was passed on via story and song and as a result the Bards were held in high esteem. If you were found to have a good memory at a young age, you may well have become the clan Bard.
A cool thing happened today during my lesson with Muriel. In the past, I described written Gaelic as resembling a handful of Alpha-Bits (the breakfast cereal) casually tossed onto the table. A funny thing happened today: Presented with a short Gaelic phrase, I was able to pronounce most of it. I did not understand it, but I could at least pronounce it. Some of Muriel's pronunciation rules are starting to take root in this old brain. Tha mi glè thoilichte. I am very happy.
Which brings me back to Tha gràidh agam ort, the title of this post. In eleven days my Sweet Lady Wife and I wil be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary. I asked Muriel to teach me to say "I Love You" in Gaelic.
Last night I memorized the adjectives tired (sgith) and sick (tinn). Three more and I'll have her entire list from lesson one memorized.
Reasons why I wanted a live tutor:
To an english speaker, the spelling gives no clue as to how to pronounce a word. 'Sgith' is pronounced 'skee' and 'tinn' is pronounced 'cheen' Hearing a native Gaelic speaker make the sounds is invaluable.
While there are a few audio sources of Gaelic instruction (I'll try to start a list and maintain it here) the problem with learning from a CD or MP3 is that there is no feedback and no one to ask questions of. For example, this week I'm going to ask Muriel about 'dhona' . The dh is pronounced roughly like a 'y' as in yacht, but as I listen to Muriel, I hear a hint of the 'Zh' that you here when saying 'Dr. Zhivago'.
Sometimes my curiosity rears its head. 'How do I say..... in Gaelic?'