Thursday, 28 February 2013

DUALCHAINNT BHÀIDEANACH - Badenoch Dialect - Day 3

DUALCHAINNT BHÀIDEANACH - Badenoch Dialect - Day 3

In common with many in the Badenoch area, some of my family spoke Gaelic up until around the time of the Second World War. It is a source of much sadness to me that it no longer exists in its native form in the area. But such was the association with English as the language of progression that Gaelic usage gradually dwindled.

Alexander Macbain says in his paper of 1892 (from The Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness) : “The number of Scotch and English words in the dialect of Badenoch is now very large; the people, especially the young people, appropriate English words, and impress them into a Gaelic sentence, with the utmost indifference. Such a sentence as follows I have good reason to believe was actually spoken by one Englified Gael from a far-away glen in the district;- " Tha mi 'g admiring most anabarrach am beauty aig an scenery th’ ann so"- “I am admiring most excessively the beauty of this scenery here." ”

The old family letters from the Macpherson chest are in English but my mother remembers the older relatives speaking to each other in Gaelic. How I would have loved to have been a fly on their walls.
There are now no remaining speakers of Badenoch Gaelic but there are two speakers of Strathspey Gaelic, one of whom is Dr Seumas Grannd who has researched both dialects. I am indebted to Dr Grannd for his kind permission to reproduce extracts of his paper here.

From looking at Dr Grannd’s research, it is apparent that Badenoch dialect shares many but not all the key features of Strathspey Gaelic. They are two distinct regions and it is possible that the geography of the area accounts for the difference in the dialects. Badenoch comes from the Gaelic ‘Bàideanach’ , meaning ‘the drowned place’, and the marsh of the NE part of Badenoch acts as something of a natural barrier between it and Strathspey.


I have been given kind permission by Dr Seumas Grannd to reproduce extracts of his paper “ The Gaelic of Strathspey and its Relationship with Other Dialects”, pub. Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, vol. LXI 1998-2000.

For example: a’ bualadh (hitting) in Standard Gaelic becomes a’ buala’ in dualchainnt Bàideanach, a’ gearradh (cutting) becomes a’ gearra, samhradh (summer) becomes samhra’ and in the case of names Donnchadh would become Donncha’ and Murchadh would become Murcha’ in the dialect for example.

Dulachainnt Bàideanach has, in common with dualchainnt Strathspè, the “final slender nn when preceded by a close front unrounded vowel (the vowel normally represented by i in Gaelic) is pronounced as a medio-palatal nasal (a sound pronounced in a similar fashion to the ng in the English word ‘sing’)” according to Dr Grannd.
For example – (gu) tinn (unwell) becomes - gu ting in dulachainnt Bàideanach
Cinn (heads) becomes - cing, and grinn (lovely) becomes gling in the dialect.
(I have a fancy I heard this feature surviving in my elderly aunt’s spoken English but it could have been on account of her ill-fitting false-teeth).

The adverb used for ‘down’ in Badenoch is a-bhàn. ‘He went down the stairs’ would be translated as ‘Chaidh e a-bhàn an staidhir’.
I quote here directly from Dr Grannd:
“ Although the principal meanings sìos and suas normally have in most dialects are ‘down(wards)’ and ‘up(wards), the principal meanings they have in Badenoch and Strathspey are are ‘east(wards)’ and ‘west(wards)’. This is probably due to the fact that the River Spey runs from the heights of Badenoch (in the west) to the lowlands of Moray (in the east).
The forms shìos and shuas are used in Badenoch and Strathspey for ‘east’ and ‘west’ where no movement is involved and have found their way into the toponomy of the area- the two entrances to Glen More, now known as the ‘Pass of Ryvoan’ and ‘The Sluggan’ were known to some of my informants as An Slugan Shìos ‘the eastern defile’ and An Slugan Shuas ‘the western defile’.”

The word used in most circumstances in dualchainnt Bàideanach is burn, whereas rain is uisg’ .
The form proitseach is used for ‘boy’ in the dialect.

There are two other features missing from this list but I am awaiting confirmation of these from Dr Grannd.

I have heard anecdotally that the genitives in the dialect can be different to Standard Gaelic but again need to confirm this with Dr Grannd before I can give any examples. In the word list I give below you will notice that the gender of nouns changes quite frequently in the dialect....something of a challenge for a learner like me!


From Dwelly’s Online Gaelic Dictionary.

faltraich va Badenoch & Strathspey for fairtlich, va Overcome.
ilimeag sf Badenoch, Strathspey, North Argyll, Wester Ross, North Sutherland and Lewis for imleag, sf The navel.
ilimich va Badenoch, Strathspey, North Argyll, Wester Ross, North Sutherland and Lewis for imlich, va Lick with the tongue.
beum sf Badenoch.
blè'ch (blàthach?) Pretty. Badenoch. breac-eunan sf Badenoch for breac-sheunain.
breac-eunan sf Badenoch for breac-sheunain.
cealair see ceallair. 2 Virago - Badenoch.
cluith v Badenoch for cluich.
dealtag sf Badenoch for ialtag.
dealtag-anmoch sf Badenoch for ialtag.
domar (MM) Badenoch for domail.
éile Skye, Badenoch & S. Argyll for féileadh.
fàithn Suth'd & Badenoch for àithne.
faltraich va Badenoch & Strathspey for fairtlich, va Overcome.
firmidh Badenoch for imiridh.
fos Badenoch for os, above.
freineach Badenoch for raineach.
irimich Badenoch & Gairloch for imrich.
irimidh Badenoch for imiridh
luramadh Badenoch for lomradh. meal-maig (AK) see mial-mhag — Badenoch.
meal-mhàgain see mial-mhàgain — Badenoch.
so-in (an so-in & an so-in-ich) Slang form of seo — Badenoch.
Ollaig Badenoch for Nollaig.
pàpar Badenoch, Glenurquhart &c. for pàipear.
piobar -air, sm Badenoch for peabar.
pronnastail Badenoch for pronnasg.
riadh Badenoch for riamh & ruith.
ritistich Badenoch for a-rithist. Thoir gaol do d' bhean (mhnaoi) rithistich, love your wife again.
sging Badenoch, Argyll & W. of Ross for sginn, s. Sging e troimh, he squeezed through.
so-in (an so-in & an so-in-ich) Slang form of seo — Badenoch.
stididh Badenoch for stìdean.

breac-eunan sf Badenoch for breac-sheunain.
cluith v Badenoch for cluich.
faltraich va Badenoch & Strathspey for fairtlich, va Overcome.
ilimeag sf Badenoch, Strathspey, North Argyll, Wester Ross, North Sutherland and Lewis for imleag, sf The navel.
ilimich va Badenoch, Strathspey, North Argyll, Wester Ross, North Sutherland and Lewis for imlich, va Lick with the tongue.
sleac Badenoch for leac.
buit a. Badenoch for buitidh. 2 "Fugy" as a fowl, see pùt.
sliosraig ‡ Badenoch for liosraig.
ciall sm in Badenoch, for ciall.
feagal -ail, sm Badenoch &c. for eagal.
boineid sm in Badenoch. See a' bhoineid. Correct form in Aberfeldy for mushroom, not boineid-smachain.
aitreabh sf in Badenoch.
baothailt s Fool. Badenoch.
beuc sf Roar. Badenoch.
deighreach sm Dirling - Badenoch.
ulbhach ‡ -aich, sm Ashes — Badenoch.
dorchadas (MS) sm Blind, but in Badenoch it is sf.
sleastair ‡ va Bedaub — Badenoch.
croineagan spl Small peat. Badenoch.
doidse sf Dint. — Badenoch.
earr -a, -an, sm [f. in Badenoch]. End, conclusion. 2 Extremity, limit, boundary, bottom. 3 Tail, as of salmon. †4 Champion. 5‡‡ Heroism. 6 see earran-geal. 7(AH) Deadwood in stern of a boat, see O3, p.73. 8* Extremity of a barrel. 9(DMy) Chimb of a tub or barrel. 10(DMy) Rock submerged on a promontory. 11(AH) Butt of a gun. 12(MS) Botch. Gum bu tapaidh thu fhéin air earr a' ghunna-ghlaic, how expert you were at the butt of the gun!
faileas -eis, -an, sm [sf in Badenoch]. Shadow. 2* Reflected image. 3** Shade. 4** Spectre, ghost. Mar fhaileas teichidh tu, as a shadow you shall fly; mar fhaileas ar làithean, our days are like a shadow; faileas an ré, the reflected image of the moon.

fearann -ainn, sm [sf in Badenoch]. Land, country. 2 Estate. 3 Farm. 4** Earth, land, in contradistinction to water. Fearann saor, freehold land; fearann bàn, lea-ground, 2 vacant (i.e. temporarily unoccupied) land; fearann treabhta, ploughed land; fearann àlainn na h-Éireann, the fair country of Ireland; fearann tioram, dry land; ann am fearann fàs, in a desert land; fearann comhroinn, suburbs; fearann oighreachd, a manor; fearann coillteach, woodland; fearann dlighe, manor.
fios -a, sm [sf in Badenoch]. Knowledge, information. 2 Notice, intelligence. 3 Word, message. 4‡‡ Science. 5 Art, understanding. 6‡‡ Vision. Fhuair mi fios, I got word; thoir fios, inform, give notice; fhuair sinn droch fhios, we received sad intelligence; am fios dhut? a bheil fios agad? do you know? tha fios agam, I know; cuine a fhuair thu fios? when did you get information? a-réir fios dhomh-sa, to the best of my knowledge; as fhios don bheò, what the living know; 'ga fios, to her knowledge; 'ga fhios, to his knowledge; thàinig e a-steach gun fhios dha, he came in unknown to him; gun fhios nach dig e, not knowing whether he may come; gun fhios dé a nì mi, not knowing what I shall do; gun fhios carson, without knowing why; thàinig fios ort, a message came for you; fios an torraidh, an invitation to the funeral; fios fuadain, a flying report; fios nam fàidh, fore-knowledge; am fios a bu lugha, the slightest knowledge; fios air an fhios, repeated information; an urgent invitation; is beag fios dhomh-sa, little do I know; fios freagairt, an answer to a leter; tha fios fithich agad, you have a raven's knowledge — supposed to be supernatural; also said to cheeky children; foighneachd air fios, foighneachd as miosa a tha ann, asking what in well known, the worst of asking; chuir mi fios air a-nìos thugam, I sent word to him to come from below to me. [see ex. under dathadair].

greann grinn, sm [f. in Badenoch, North Argyll and Poolewe, m. in Coigach,] Grim surly scowl, angry look, appearance of rage. 2 Hair. 3 Hue, colour. 4 Collision, act of striking. 5 Courage, boldness. 6 Bristling of the hair, as on an enraged dog. 7* Ripple on the surface of water. †8 Uncombed hair. 9** Beard. †10 Fair hair. 11** Gloom. †12 Noise, clangour, blast. 13 Siren (creature). †14 Friendship, love. 15 Joke. 16 Cloth. 17 Rough-piled clothing. 18* Head having the hair standing on end. Tha greann air an fhairge, the sea has a rippled, scowling aspect; bho gach greann a bhiodh teann do m' thòir, from every siren hard pressing me; dh'fhàs air cith is greann, he became angry and scowling; mar ghreann a bheireadh dà òrd, like the clangour of two hammers; is iomadh corp a chaochail a ghreann, many a body changed its hue; pòr as beadaraiche greann, a race of the loveliest hue; mar ghreann reòthaidh, like a wintry blast.

boitidh! int Call to a pig - Badenoch.
great sm Soap-sud — Badenoch. Scots, graith — warm water so wrought up with soap as to be fit for washing clothes.
bile sf Rim. sm in Badenoch.
robh'd s. Lump, bit — Badenoch.
gasgag ‡ -aig, -an, sf Step, stride —Badenoch.
teibeid sf Taunt, cut — Badenoch. see teabaid.
aitidh -e, a Moist, damp, wet. 2 Badenoch for aiteamh. Tha d' aodach aitidh, your clothes are damp.
nasg naisg, -an, sm [sf in Badenoch]. Tie-band, wooden collar for a cow, formerly made of plaited or twisted birch or other twigs. 2 Seal. 3 Deposit, pledge. 4 Store, provision. 5 Chain. 6 King. 7(AF) Chained dog. 8(MS) Air. 9(DMC) Wooden ring of a sieve or fan. 10(DMC) Film. Tha an t-airgead an nasg, the money is left in pledge, is deposited as security.

gòileag ‡ -eig, sf Haycock, cole — Badenoch
muidse -an & -achan, sf [m. in Badenoch]. Woman's common head-dress, mutch, linen, cap. [m. in Gairloch where it is muiste].
pruidh-dhé! int. Call to a cow — Badenoch & N. Argyll.
sid-naich (an), emphat. form of siud — Badenoch & Glen Urquhart, (siodanaich).
boit v Acquire a taste for - Badenoch.
buachar sm Cow dung, sf in Badenoch.
deudach sm The teeth. sf in Badenoch.
ladhar -air & -dhra, pl. -dhran, sm [f. in Badenoch]. Hoof. 2 Toe. 3 Claw. 4 Prong, fork. 5 Ludicrous name for a shanky leg. 6** Single hoof of a cloven-footed animal. Ladhar is toe (of a man) in Arran & Islay, where hoof is crodhan. Gach aon a sgoltas an ladhar, every one that has a cloven hoof; a' cur bruic á 'ladhran, kicking badgers out of his toes — said of one in a great rage; teas na luaithreach 'nan ladhairean, the heat of ashes in their feet — Arran; barail a' bhruic air a ladhran, the badger's opinion of his own claws — a poor opinion; cho bìth ris an luch fo ladhar a' chait, an quiet as a mouse under the cat's paw; cha déid mo ladhar, not a bit of me will go; chaidh a' bhròg oirre nuair a bha barr nan ladhar gearrta dhith, the shoe went on her (foot) when the tips of her toes were cut off.

smarach -aich, sm Lad, growing youth — Badenoch. 2* Large louse.
uainneart ‡ sm Bustle. 2 Wallowing — Badenoch.
bìd sm Shrill chirping sound. In Badenoch, sf.
cuirteir sm Serge cloth. 2 Plaiding - Badenoch.
teud -a & -éid, pl. -an sm [f. in Badenoch] String, cord, rope. 2 String of a musical instrument. 3‡‡ Music in general. 4** Harp. 5** Any stringed instrument. Feadh thorman gach teuda, through the music of every string; mairidh e am fonn nan teud, he will live in the music of the harp; clàrsach gun teud, a stringless harp; inneal binn nan teudan deich, a melodious ten-stringed instrument. [†† sf]

deò sf Breath. 2 Air. sm in Badenoch.
ath-thalmhainn s Mole (talpa europaea) - Badenoch.
ath-thalainn s Mole (talpa europaea) - Badenoch.
reabhtadh -aidh, sm Disporting, as of boys — Badenoch. 2** Skipping.
tiochaidh A thiochaidh fhéin! int Exclamation of surprise — Badenoch.
speadach * -aiche, a. Sheep-shanked. 2 Kicking — Badenoch.
stiùrag sf Gruel, hot oatmeal drink — Badenoch.
tallaid sf see callaid. 2 Partition — Badenoch.
diolan int A dhiolan sinne! An exclamation. Badenoch.
balair sf Opinion, for barail, sf in Badenoch, Perth and Strathspey.
riadh sm Row, drill, as of potatoes — Badenoch.
prog! (CR) int. Call for a horse — Perthshire, Badenoch & N. Argyll.
bruchd sm Sudden rushing forth. Is sf in Badenoch.
sineachdainn (an sineachdainn) adv emphat. form of sin — Badenoch & Gairloch.
lite gen sing litinn now in Skye, formerly also in Badenoch — Gael. Soc. Inv. xxiii, 84] sf Porridge, pottage. 2** Posset.
broilean sm is the more correct spelling than broilein. Badenoch.
sgarmaich sf Flux of stones on a hillside — Badenoch. (sgàirneach).
fuiteachadh sm Coaxing one to take or to do anything — Badenoch.
sgriothail ‡ spl Lot of small items, as small potatoes — Badenoch. Chuir e sgriotal (sgriothail) dheth, he spoke a great many words with little substance in them, {waffled}. 2†† Crowd of young creatures.

sgeul -éil, -éile & -euil, pl. -eòil & -an, sm [f. in Badenoch]. Narrative, relation, narration. 2 Tale, fable, story. 3 False or malicious report, falsehood. 4 News, information, tidings. Innis sgeul, tell a tale, relate a story; sgeul thairis! change the subject! — Arran; air aon sgeul, of one opinion; dé do sgeul? what is your news? sgeul mun Fhéinn, a tale about the Fenians; droch sgeul, bad intelligence; bi air sgeul, be in pursuit of information; a bheil e air sgeul? is he (or it) to be found? a dh'innseadh sgeòil, to tell the result; eadar dà sgeul, by the way; a' dèanamh sgéile, making a tale, telling a tale or falsehood; narrating, uttering a speech; a choigrich na sgéile truaighe! stranger of the mournful tale! air sgeul, found.

fraings' sf Scouring-brush made of cross-leaved heath — Badenoch [variant of roinnse, ruinnse in Badenoch, rainnse in Perthshire]. fraoch-frangach.
glùn -ùin & -ùine, pl. glùinean & glùintean, sm [sf in Badenoch]. Knee. 2 Joint. 3 Generation, race. 4** Step, degree, in a pedigree. 5 Descendant. 6 Joint in reeds. 7(AH) Ream-knee in boat, see under bàta, p76. Bean-ghlùin, a midwife; an t-aon nach teagaisgear ris a' ghlùn, chan fhoghlamar ris an uilinn, the child that is not taught at the knee, cannot be taught at the elbow; sìos air do ghlùinibh! on the knee! aon ghlùn, first cousin; dà ghlùn, second cousin; lùbadh gach glùn, let every knee bow.
leum léim pl. leuma, -an, & leumannan, sm [f. in Badenoch]. Leap, bound, spring, frisk, start, shake. 2 Leaping, act of leaping, jump. 3 Animal semen. 4 Emission. 5†† Flaw. 6(DU) Sudden rage, impulsive anger. 7(AF) Milk. Leum gàbhaidh, a desperate leap; thoir leum, leap; ghabh e seachd leumannan den chaothach, he became exceedingly enraged, frenzied. A' leum, pr pt of leum.
spead * -a, -an, sf Very small foot or leg. 2 Cow's or sheep's kick — Badenoch.

ùirsgeul -sgeòil, -an, sm Spreading, as of hay or dung to dry (for air-sgaoil) — Badenoch.
bàrd (CR) sm Meadow, land on the edge of a river. Strathtummel and Badenoch.
na prov. for don. Chaidh e na bhaile, he went to (into) the town — Badenoch &c.
fàsach -aich, -aichean, sm (except gen sing which is f. but f. in all cases in Badenoch). Desert, wilderness, solitude, desolation. 2 Mountain, hill, “forest.” 3 Stubble. 4 Choice pasture. 5‡‡ Edge, border. 6‡‡ Mark, spot. 7** Grassy headland of a ploughed field. Fàsach fiadhaich, a terrible wilderness; féidh na fàsaich, the forest deer; luchd-còmhnaidh na fàsaich, the dwellers of the desert.

blasachd sf Taste. Blasachd air, a taste of it. Arran. Boit air, in Badenoch.
càthar -air, sm Mossy, soft ground, boggy ground. 2‡ Dry part of a peat-moss. 3 Moss in situ - Badenoch. 4 Rough, broken surface (rarely). Bho chàthar 's bho chruaich, from marsh and from mountain.
stairleag (AF) sf Sea-maw, black-headed gull (ɫlarus ridibundus) — Badenoch.
fealan -ain, -an, sm see fiolan. 2 Itch, hives. 3** Fleshworm. 4** Furuncle, bile. 5 Rash on face or body — Badenoch. Duine aig a bheil am fealan, a man who has the itch.
lagh -a, pl. –anna & -annan, sm Law. Generally masculine but feminine in Sutherland and Badenoch (DMu). 2 Order, method. 3 Act of Parliament. 4 Stretch or bend of a bow. Lagh na dùthcha, the law of the land; bogha air lagh, a bow on the stretch; lagh nan deas-ghnàth, the ceremonial law; lagh a' chòir-cheartais, the judicial law; lagh nam modhan (of modhannan), the moral law; lagh na h-eaglais, the canon law; fo chasan an lagha, under the feet of the law — said of anyone who has committed a crime; air lagh, trimmed, ready for action; chan eil lagh no binn agam dha, I have neither law nor sentence for him — I don't want to have anything to do with him, I despise him.

broilein -e, sm Manyplies in an animal's stomach. [The Gaelic Dictionaries erroneously give "king's hood," which is currachd an rìgh]. 2‡ Pig's snout. —Badenoch.
còmhrag -aig, -an, sf Combat, fight, battle, struggle, strife. Dealan na còmhraig, the lightning of battle; Còmhrag a' Choin Duibh, the Black Dog's Fight — a well known folktale. In Badenoch it is sm.
thu pers pron 2nd pers sing You (sing) Emphatic thusa, yourself; thu fhéin, your own self. Tu, when nominative to a verb is always aspirated (thu), except with is and in the future indicative and the two tenses of the subjunctive active. The unaspirated form is never used with the passive forms of the verb. The accusative form always thu. A tendency to use tu instead of thu after verbs ending in s must be carefully guarded against. 'S e chrùnas tu le coron gràidh, given in some editions of the Scriptures (some are correct) as the equivalent of it is he who will crown thee, in Ps. ciii, really means “it is he whom thou wilt crown”. In the same manner tu is erroneously used in, an Tighearn a slànaich thu, ma ta e ann a fhreagras thu, có a bhrathas thu? &c. “Thusa” ach sibhse dar bhios sibh ann 'ur taigh fhéin, “thou,” but “you” when you have a house of your own — example of the peculiar idiomatic use of thu and sibh —Badenoch.

.......Phew! Sin agaibh e!

Thank you for reading.

Slàn leibh uile,

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