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Irish Gaelic vs. Scots Gaelic?

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Post April 12 2004, 18:29 PM
Anseo again
Posts: 26
Can anyone tell me what the differences are? I read somewhere that they are quite similar, but now I'm not so sure. I want to learn Irish Gaelic, but recently purchased a book/cd set that teaches Scots Gaelic (before I knew there was a difference). Should I not even bother with the book/cd set?


Post April 12 2004, 18:31 PM
Scríbhneoir d'Éigean
Posts: 23921
they are related in many ways but not the same. some of the vocabulary is shared (albeit mostly spelled differently) but I would recommend learning one at a time
Is é Christian Stoehr mo chroí
Dáta pósadh: 16 Deireadh Fómhair 2010

Post April 12 2004, 18:39 PM
Andúileach IGTF
Posts: 14098
They're related, but different enough to be different languages.

Like Méabh said, there's a lot of vocabulary in common, but words sometimes have different meanings, and each language has its own stock of words that belong only to it.

The grammar is similar enough that if you know one, you can figure out the other pretty easily. Scottish doesn have eclipsis, only lenition.

The pronuciation is VERY different, though.

Post April 12 2004, 23:21 PM
Andúileach IGTF
Posts: 10981
An Irish speaker wouldn't understand a Scottish speaker. The written language looks similar but it's still unintelligible to Irish speakers.
"Tá an saol mór lán den fhilíocht ag an té dar dual a thuigbheáil agus ní thráfaidh an tobar go deo na ndeor."
Seosamh Mac Grianna, Mo Bhealach Féin

Post April 12 2004, 23:35 PM
Let's face it, Scots speaking English is hard enough to decipher as it is :wink: :lach: .. (only jesting Scottish friends)

Post April 13 2004, 6:49 AM
Brian Costello
Laoch na nGael
Posts: 656
Scottish Gaelic is basically just an older more conservative form of Irish Gaelic preserving some characteristics of Old Irish and Middle Irish which have disappeared in Modern Irish Gaelic. Because the majority of Gaelic speakers migrating to Scotland (though not all) came from Ulster, it's not surprising that Scottish Gaelic comes closest to the Irish Gaelic dialects of East Ulster, Tyrone and Tir Chonaill.

Scotland and Ireland had close ties with each other until the early 16th century when Queen Margaret Tudor brought the country closer to England.

Unfortunately, Scottish Gaelic began retreating before English as early as the 7th century with the establishment of an Anglo-Saxon settlement in Lothian in the Southeast. By Tudor times, it was spoken only in the Highlands. It's doubtful that there are any genuine speakers of Gaelic left in Scotland. It is a known fact that the last speaker of the Sutherland dialect, Mary Stewart died in 1972. I have some tapes from the 70's and 80's of Irish and Scottish Gaelic speakers. What's interesting is that the Irish Gaelic speakers still sound young and vivacious while the Scottish Gaelic speakers are old men with tired, creaky voices. It's sad.

--- Brian Costello
Seattle, Wa.

Post April 13 2004, 11:07 AM
Andúileach IGTF
Posts: 14098
The only thing more "conservative" about Scottish Gaelic is the spelling. Irish spelling was officially reformed in the 1930's to eliminate silent consonant groupings in the middle of words. These consonants remained in Scottish Gaelic, which did not undergo such a reform. That is why Scottish Gaelic looks more archaic, because it resembles the archaic spelling of Irish.

The grammar of Scottish Gaelic has evolved further from Common Gaelic than Irish has, particularly in the verb conjugations. Scottish Gaelic has, for the most part, abandoned synthetic verb forms, and prefers "tha" with the "ag" and the verbal noun to a conjugated verb.

There was never anything like formal alliance between Scotland and Ireland, because Ireland as a political entity didn't quite exist until Henry VIII created it Kingdom in 1547. There was, however, a very strong cultural connection between Gaels on both sides of the water, especially in Ulster. The MacDonald Lords of the Isles were a major power in both countries until defeated by the Scottish Crown. From Dingle to John o' Groats, a common Gaelic culture could be found, but it was a cultural unity only.

It was not the marriage of Henry VII's daughter to James IV that prompted the Scots and the Irish to go their separate ways. The first item was religion: Scotland became overwhelmingly Presbyterian, and Ireland remained overwhelmingly Catholic. Next was the union of the crowns in 1603, when James VI of Scotland became James I of England.

Post April 13 2004, 12:13 PM
Aistritheoir Cíocrach
Posts: 16141
Ailill wrote:An Irish speaker wouldn't understand a Scottish speaker.

Nor would an Ulster speaker be able to understand anyone from the South :wink:

Post April 13 2004, 12:16 PM
Scríbhneoir d'Éigean
Posts: 23921
I think you would understand éanna 8)
Is é Christian Stoehr mo chroí
Dáta pósadh: 16 Deireadh Fómhair 2010

Post April 13 2004, 12:17 PM
Aistritheoir Cíocrach
Posts: 16141
why?! I thought he was from Cork :nixweiss:


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