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Bilingual transcription: Abairtean

Bilingual transcription: Phrases

Watch this clip where Joy gives us some of her useful tips and favourite phrases.


Gaelic is a very expressive language: na facail, an ceòl, na h-òrain agus a’ bhàrdachd. And in this next section, we’re going to talk about feelings and emotions.

When we talk about how someone or something made us feel, we have a number of ways in which we can do this.

If you were surprised by something, you could say:

Chuir e iongnadh orm. It surprised me. Chuir e iongnadh orm.

What that means literally is that it put surprise on me.

And we do this by using the construction:

cuir + air (cuir and air) to make someone feel or be something. Cuir agus air.

If you want to express surprise but in the present tense you could say:

Tha sin / a’ cur iongnadh orm, that surprises me, tha sin a’ cur iongnadh orm

And there are other emotions which also use a’ cur and air. Bheir sinn sùil air eisimpleir no dhà.

The word fearg means anger, fearg and if you wanted to say something makes you angry, it’s:

Tha sin / a’ cur fearg orm, that angers me or that makes me angry, tha sin a’ cur fearg orm.

What about being afraid? The word for fear in Gaelic is eagal, eagal. And to say that something frightens us, we say:

Tha sin / a’ cur eagal orm, that frightens me, tha sin a’ cur eagal orm.

Now, let’s look at a couple of examples using the emotive words:

cianalas, homesickness, cianalas:

And nàire, shame or embarrassment, nàire.

To use these words in sentences, starting with cianalas you can say:

Tha sin / a’ cur cianalas orm that makes me feel homesick, tha sin a’ cur cianalas orm;

And to say that something shames or embarrasses you it’s:

Tha sin / a’ cur nàire orm, tha sin a’ cur nàire orm.

You can also use a more straightforward construction, which is almost as effective, by using Tha mi… Mar eisimpleir:

Tha mi brònach, I am sad, tha mi brònach;

or if you’re doubtful or unsure you could say:

Tha mi teagmhach, I am doubtful, tha mi teagmhach.

I think I should lighten the mood a little now! You’ll often hear gàire being used for smile, gàire.

If someone made you laugh, you could say:

Thug i gàire orm, she made me laugh, thug i gàire orm. Neo thug e gàire orm.

And a favourite phrase of mine is: lag a’ gàireachdainn, weak laughing, lag a’ gàireachdainn! A good one to try and work into your next conversation.