Category Archives: Gaelic

Ceol is Creideamh

 Well, guys, I don’t know how many folks are going to be in the tiniest bit interested in this, but I thought I’d let you know anyway that airing today is a new radio series I’ve done called “Ceol is Creideamh” (Music & Faith) for BBC Radio nan Gaidheal.

It charts the changes in christian music over the last 50 years, covering artists like Larry Norman, Delirious, Johnny Cash, David Crowder, 2ndChapter of Acts, Tree 63 and many more. Today’s program covers the 50s and 60s and the birth of christian rock.

It’s all in Gaelic, but the music is pretty cool even if you don’t understand a word I’m saying! It airs on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal today (Wednesday) at 11.30am and again at 10.00pm GMT. You can listen live or, after the program airs use the Listen Again (Eist a-Rithist) feature and select “Ceol is Creideamh”. Let me know what you think!


Thou, Thee, Thy and Y’all

I just had the most bizarre conversation in the staff room. We somehow got onto the subject of the words ‘Thou’, ‘Thee’, ‘Thy’ and ‘Thine’; and specifically their use in prayer and ecclesiastical situations in this part of the world. Within certain denominations, these words are used consistently every time someone prays. I find it fascinating on a whole raft of different levels, mostly because I don’t often hear it in my own denomination, but heard my Uncle saying grace with ‘Thou’ and ‘Thy’ pronouns the other day and I was taken aback by how weird it sounded, despite having grown up with it.

In our Hebridean church culture it is often perceived as being an honorific term, hence why it is used when speaking to God: to give Him due respect. Interestingly, ‘Thou’ (2nd person sing.) comes from the Proto-Indo-European word ‘tu’ (as does the Gaelic equivalent ‘Thu’) and was originally used as a term of familiarity, whereas ‘You’ (2nd person pl.) was used to indicate deference to one’s superior. As ‘Thou’ fell out of fashion in everyday speech, this pattern inverted, probably DUE to the fact that the ‘Thou’ usage was retained in church settings, in particular its inclusion in the King James Bible.

So that’s why I still hear people in particular denominations retaining ‘Thou’, ‘Thy, and ‘Thine’ in prayer. It’s perceived as being honorific. Strangely, though, if I hear those exact same people praying in Gaelic (which HAS retained ‘Sibh’ as an honorific instead of the familial ‘Thu’), they don’t actually use the honorific! It’s ‘Thu’ (2nd person sing.) every time!

‘Thou’ and ‘Ye’ etc are linguistically nifty words. The 2nd person singular and plural are now blurred into the slightly inferior ‘You’ which loses a touch of the meaning, as in the following example…

Luke 5:24, “But that YE may know…I say unto THEE…take up THY couch, and go into THINE house.”

“Ye” = the crowd, but “Thee/Thy/Thine” = the man.

Ultimately, this doesn’t make a hoot of a difference, except that we can’t know specifically how many people are being referred to, and personally I would rather lose that and not have to worry about convoluted and archaic verb forms like ‘canst’ and ‘wouldest’. Some people are happy with their 17th Century pronouns, and that’s fine for them too.

And “Y’all”, for my North Carolina people, is the Southern Way of filling the gap left by the second person singular/plural distinction.

Now y’all know why y’all say it!

Niall Iain MacDonald – Home Safe!

I am delighted to report that Niall Iain is back home again safe and sound. Apparently he came home again on Saturday night and has apologised for any worry he may have caused.

Don’t worry about that, mate. We’re just glad you’re OK and that you’re back again. Tha sinn toilichte gun thill thu ‘s gum bi sinn a cluinntinn do ghuth air an aidhear a-rithist! Failte air ais, a’ charaid!

Niall Iain MacDonald

Well-known Gaelic broadcaster, and a friend of mine, Niall Iain MacDonald has been missing since the 17th of May. He was seen in Stornoway around 10.30pm, and apart from a sighting the next day on the Stornoway to Ullapool ferry, has not been seen or heard from since.

His disappearace was first noted when he failed to turn up for his BBC Radio show ‘Rapal’ last Monday.

He’s a keen outdoorsman and loves spending time in the wilds, but his disappearance this time, missing work and not saying where he is are very out of character. Police are appealing for anyone who has seen him to get in touch. Needless to say, all of us who know him are worried and praying he comes home soon, safe and sound.

Mo Chiad Blog Gàidhlig!

Bha làn thìd agam smuaineachadh air, ach ‘ se seo a chiad uair a-riamh a sgrìobh mi blog ann an Gàidhlig! Bu chaomh leum tòrr mòr a bharrachd sgrìobhadh Gàidhlig a dheanamh, ach mar is tric, chan eil càil gam ghluasad gu leòr airson fiu’s feuchainn air.

Thòisich mi a’ sgrìobhadh leabhar chloinne ann an Gàidhlig nuair a bha mi ag obaor ann an Uig, ach cha deach mi faisg air airson bliadhna neo dhà. Tha làn thìd agam tilleadh thuige. Leugh mi troimhe an latha eile agus chòrd e rium, agus chòrd e ri daoine eile ris an do sheall mi e cuideachd. Na smuaineachainn air dòigh airson crìoch a chuir air an donas rud, ‘s dòch’ gun gabhainn orm a thogail an àrd air ais.

Tha cus agam ri dhèanamh an drasd, ‘s mi gus a dhol as mo chiall le deanamh deiseil airson a’ Mhòd ionadail. Agus mar as àbhaist, tha mi seachd searbh sgith dha na h-òrain a chaidh a thaghadh, gu sonraichte ‘Griog Shuil’. Luiginn sgal a thoirt dha. Cò a riamh a tha a’ taghadh na h-òrain a tha sin? Chan iad a dh’fhèumas èisteachd riutha a h-uile latha airson còrr air trì miosan…