Gaelic is the beautiful, ancient language of Scotland, full of wisdom and wit. Below are a few brief bits to help get your Gaelic going!

Is obair latha tòiseachadh
Translation: Beginning is a day’s work.
Especially on a Monday. We all know that feeling of taking the entire morning to get moving. Many Gaelic proverbs make you think hard before the sense of it is revealed in that “Zen” sorta way. Sometimes stating the obvious is just as effective!

Nach gorm na cnuic a tha fada bhuainn
Translation: How green the hills which are far from us.
Can you guess what the English equivalent of this one is? That’s right! “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. Personally I think our Gaelic one has the edge on it!

Cuimhnich air na daoine às an tàinig u
Translation: Remember the people from whom you came.
People travel from all over the world to experience our native culture. I take pride in remembering the millions of Scots who came before us and who are responsible for its very existence.

Abair ach beagan’s abair gu math e
Translation: Say but little and say it well.
Nuff said!

Bu mhath an sgàthan sùil caraid
Translation: A friend’s eye is a good looking-glass.
When even your friends have started to look at you eyebrow raised at the end of the night, it might be time for a new tack!

Breac à linne, slat à coille ‘s fiadh à fìreach – mèirle às nach do ghabh Gàidheal riamh nàire
Translation: A trout from the river pool, a staff from the wood and a deer from the moor -thefts of which no Gael was ever ashamed.
The necessity for land reform in Scotland is well known. It is not difficult to see why the current system of requiring permits to exercise basic and very ancient rights did not sit well when it came into being.

Is sàmhach an obair dol a dholaidh
Translation: Going to ruin is silent work.
Most of us will have stepped into an office or shop at one time or another and thought “this is a right pigsty” as the boss sits blithely behind the counter reading the paper, cup of tea in hand having not even noticed you’re there!

Chan fhaigh an duine socair nach fhuilinn dochainn
Translation: A person who cannot suffer pain will not find comfort.
Recognise this one? I reckon this is the same sentiment as “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. When you look around your friends, you often find that those who have suffered a lot during their lives tend to be the most philosophical when something goes wrong.

‘S fheàrr cinnteach na caillteach
Translation: Better be sure than a loser.
Better safe than sorry. The classic warning to those of us with an impulsive streak!

Lìonar beàrn mhór le clachan beaga
Translation: Great gaps may be filled with small stones.
Fantastic advice to those frustrated by a lack of progress. Just keep plugging away and you’ll get there!

Théid seòltachd thar spionnadh
Translation: Cunning overcomes strength.
This one is somewhat similar to the pen being mightier than the sword, if a wee bittie more devious-sounding!

Thig crìoch air an t-saoghal, ach mairidh ceòl ‘s gaol
Translation: An end will come to the world, but music and love shall endure.
Picture the party at the end of the world. Surrounded by family and friends with the i-Pod hooked up to a coupla massive speakers and a 10-gallon keg on the go. Perfection.


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