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Rannsachadh digiteach air a' Ghàidhlig ~ Goireasan digiteach airson nan Gàidheal

Category: Beachdan – Opinions

Writing Prompts

At our recent steering group meeting our Chair, Prof Melissa Terras, noted that the index cards I shared in the post on Alan Bruford’s Tale Types make great writing prompts. This immediately cast me back to my Am-Dram days, when our director would ask us to pick a number and assign us whichever ATU tale type that corresponded, to create a short play with. This is a really useful tool for creativity and I thought I would share some Tale types and a few examples from the card index, which you may wish to explore.

These index cards summaries one part of a recording, or a manuscript in the SSSA collections. Often they are just the most brief description of the tale and other cards go into more detail.

ATU 1696

“What Should I have Said…?”

Card reads The lad seeking a wife. A widow tried to advise her stupid son on what to say to a chosen girl. Each time he visited the girl he misinterpreted his mother's instructions"

You can read this above version of this tale type in our Maclagan collection, via the OpenBooks platform (page 11, MML2389).


ATU 470a

The Offended Skull

The card reads " Skull asked to wedding. Young man going to church to arrange wedding sees opened grave, skull on ground, invites it to wedding; it says a verse. That night called to door from party, taken around corner and never seen again. When his house is in ruins 100 years later he calls on the old woman next door. Takes whisky before tea and crumbles to dust on the floor"

This tale is also available to listen to online and there is a much clearer summary of the tale on Tobar an Dualchais:

Tom Robertson told Alan Bruford that this tale was his grandmother’s story.


ATU 510

Cinderella , Cap of Rushes

card reads "Rashie Coat, from Fife. Heroine leave home to avoid unwanted suitor, not father, self or stepmother; gets wonderful clothes as pre-condition for accepting him"

This is not from recording or a manuscript in SSSA, but I have to say that the way that the summary is written made it stand out to me. There are thousands of variants of Cinderella and many examples in the Tale Archive, including Essie Pattle, the Shetland variant. You can listen to T A Robertson read the story of Essie Pattle (SA1972.238.B1) in Shetland dialect here:


Supernatural Witch Tales

Bewitched Dancing

card reads: Alasdair nan cleas asked woman for drink of milk. She refused. He made her dance an endless dance. Still dancing when husband came home. He told her to send for Alasdair, offer him a drink of oatmeal and water and apologise. when finished drinking, woman's dance finally came to an end

This is one of the tale types devised by Alan Bruford for classifying Witch Tales. This tale appears in Calum MacLean’s notebooks, collected from Roy Bridge, and is a story of Alasdair nan Cleas – Alasdair of the Tricks – who was Keppoch Clan Chief and thought to be a sorcerer. There is a great blog about this tale over on the Calum MacLean Project blog:


ATU 1137

Tales of the Stupid Ogre / Self Did It

card reads "Fairy suitor scalded with pot of black puddings"

These types of tales have origins in the story of Odysseus and the Cyclops.

ATU 1452 

Choosing a Wife

card reads "choosing a wife" Rich man with 2 sweethearts  - to choose one he would marry asked both to make porridge from basket of shavings. Rich one threw all the shavings in at once and they caught light. Poor girl put shavings in little by little and got the rich man for her husband"

The above tale, told by Lucy Stewart (SA1960.167.A12). is a variant of a type of bride tests tale which includes stories which feature the selection of a wife on how she cuts cheese! You can listen to this recording via the SSSA material on Tobar an Dualchais:



ATU 1408

The Foolish Husband & His Wife / The The man who does his wife’s work

card reads "The man who thinks he can di his wife's work is less time finds he cannot

Angus MacLellan told the story of a crofter who thought his wife was useless, until she asked him to swap places with him. The recording is on Tobar an Dualchais, with a summary in English.

We also have a version of this in Maclagan, from Islay, MML 2386


Romantic Tales: The Lad and his Dream

card reads "the lad and his dream" Young man from Skye when in search of the beautiful girl he had seen and married in a dream. When he found her she had the same dream but was arranged to marry another. They made a plan to marry with the girl veiled and were married one hour before her intended wedding

Ending with a take from the Romantic Tales Index here at SSSA – two strangers dream of one another and set off to find the other!


If you feel inclined to use any of these prompts, we would love to see your work!


Hoire, Lady Evelyn

Dealbh de dh’fhalaire

Falaire sna meadhan-aoisean

(English Synopsis: How working on a nearly illegible word in a story taken down by Lady Evelyn over a hundred years ago helped solve the mystery of what exactly the term alaire means and whether it has a long or short vowel in Gaelic)

Seadh, ’s Lady Evelyn Stiùbhart Mhoireach à Siorrachd Pheairt a tha mi a-mach air. Bha mi riamh dèidheil oirre ach tha mi air leth taingeil dhi an t-seachdain-sa, oir dh’fhuasgail i snaidhm cànain dhomh a bha a’ cur dragh orm o chionn fhada.

Tha facal car annasach sa Ghàidhlig aig a bheil dà chiall gu gur eadar-dhealaichte a-rèir coltais: falaire. Anns a’ chiad dol a-mach, tha e a’ ciallachadh am biadh a gheibhear aig tìodhlacadh (o shean, b’ e sin aran-coirce, càise agus drama) air neo nàdar de dh’each. Nuair a bha mi ag obair air na h-innteartan seo san Fhaclair Bheag,  chùm mi fa leth iad. Ged nach robh mi buileach cinnteach dè am freumh a th’ aig a’ bhiadh tìodhlacaidh, ar leam gur e dà fhreumh eadar-dhealaichte a bha seo ach air an robh, an dèidh linntean, an aon chruth air co-thuiteamas. Gu fortanach, bha co-dhiù am biadh furasta a gu leòr a thaobh cèill is litreachaidh. Ach abair snaidhm a bh’ anns an dàrna facal…

Anns a’ chiad dol a-mach, cha robh e cho furasta fiosrachadh dè dìreach a’ chiall a th’ aige. Lorg mi rudan mar na leanas:

  • Dwelly:
    alaire, s.f. ‡Brood mare. 2 see falair.
    falair, -e, -ean, s.m. Ambler, pacer (of a horse)
    falaireach, †† a. Prancing
    –d, s.f.ind. Ambling, pacing, curvetting, stately motions of a war-horse, prancing. 2 Canter.
    falairich, v.a. Amble
  • Edward Lhuyd:
    56A. Galloping, pacing. Fâlereachd, A[rgyll].
  • Am faclair aig an Urr. Tormod MacLeòid:
    FÀLAIRE, -EAN, s.m. (Fàl, turf) An ambler, pacer, (of a horse,) a mare
  • Am faclair aig Athair Ailean MacDhòmhnaill:
    FÀLADAIR, 24. a swift rider as if riding a fairy steed or fàlairidh. [Fàlairidh. Heard it used by old men to mean a horse. J.M.]
    FÀLAIREACHD, 26, galloping.
  • DASG
    fàlaireachd, another word for ‘marcach’. [NOTES: note added – riding.]
  • Faclair an Duinnínigh:
    FALAIRE, g. id., pl., -RÍ, m., an ambler, a pacing horse.
    FALAIREACHT, -A, f., an ambling pace; act of ambling, pacing; American handgallop; the flaw in horses of moving both legs on each side alternately; the gait of a spancelled goat, etc.
  • MacGilleBhàin:
    fàlaire, an ambler, mare, Ir. falaire, ambling horse; seemingly founded on Eng. palfrey. The form àlaire exists, in the sense of “brood mare” (McDougalls’s Folk and Hero Tales), leaning upon àl, brood, for meaning. Ir. falaradh, to amble.

Mo ghaol air Dineen A bharrachd air sin, bha e a’ nochdadh an-siud ’s an-seo ann an seann sgeulachdan mar Buachaille Caora Caomhaig:

“Am bàs os do chionn, a bhéist,” ars esan, “gu dé d’ éirig?” ars esan.
“Ó ’s iomadh rud sin,” ars am fuamhaire, ars esan, “ach chan eil sìon a th’ agam nach fhaigh thu,” ars esan, “ach leig leam mo bheatha,” ars esan.
“Dé,” ars esan, “a bheil agad?”
“Tha,” ars esan, “a h-uile seòrsa agam,” ars esan, “as urrainn duine ainmeachadh,” ars esan. “Tha,” ars esan, “tha fàlairidh agam,” ars esan, “nach do … nach do mharcaich duine riamh a leithid,” ars esan.

Gu dè fon ghrèin a bh’ agam an-seo ma-thà? Nàdar de dh’each math, a-rèir nan seann-sgeulachdan, ach dè dìreach? Agus carson a bha an fhuaimreag a’ dol eadar fada ’s goirid, fiù ann an leabhraichean a bha a’ sgrìobhadh nan stràcan gu cunbhalach? Tha cuimhne agam gun dug mi sùil airson falaire ann an eDIL aig an àm, feuch dè an cruth a bh’ air an fhacal seo san t-Seann-Ghaeilge, ach cha d’fhuair mi dad.

Aig a’ cheann thall, an dèidh dhomh cus ùine a chosg air an aon fhacal mar a thachras uaireannan, chuir mi romham am facal a chur ann le fuaimreag fhada, leis gun robh e a’ nochadh ann an uiread a sgeulachdan mar sin. Ach gach turas a chunnaic mi falaire no fàlaire ann an sgeulachd, chuireadh e dragh orm. Unfinished business, mar a chanas iad sa chànan eile.

Feasgar an-diugh, bha mi ag obair air ceartachadh agus thàinig mi gu sgeulachd ùr air an robh Lasair Gheug a chaidh a thogail aig tè NicGilleMhaolain ann an Srath Tatha le Lady Evelyn ann an 1891 nuair a bha Gàidhlig pailt san sgìre fhathast. ’S e làmh-sgrìobhadh car seann-fhasanta a bh’ ann, bachallach bachlagach, agus gu math mì-shoilleir ann an cuid a dh’àitichean, lethbhreac de lethbreac de lethbreac is dòcha, mus deach a sganadh. Ach co-dhiù, stiall mi orm gus an dàinig mi gu leth-bhèarn:

Rudeigin a’ tòiseachadh le à, rudeigin, dà litir le ceann suas, agus rudeigin eile. Ge be ciamar a thionndaidh mi e, cha robh dad a’ bualadh orm. Dh’fheuch mi an uair sin an sgeulachd a lorg ann an tùsan eile, air teans gun deach a chur ann an clò-bhualadh ’s gun robh lethbhreac nas soilleir acasan. Cha d’fhuair mi lorg air an tionndadh Ghàidhlig ach thachair gun deach an tionndadh Beurla fhoillseachadh agus bha sin ’na chuideachadh mòr dhomh. ’S e a’ Bheurla a leanas a chur Alan Bruford air an earrann seo:

We will kill the king’s graceful black palfrey, and leave it on the landing.

Palfrey? Each? Bha mi air na sgrìobh MacGilleBhàin air dhìochuimhneachadh agus cha robh à?ll/bb/bh/tl/th/??? fhathast a’ dèanamh ciall sam bith. Cha robh dad a’ nochdadh sna tùsan àbhaisteach fo palfrey. Nuair nach bi slighe eile agam, feuchaidh mi eDil gu tric, car mar oidhirp dheireannach – agus nochd na leanas air an sgrìn:

falafraigh f. (OF palefrei) a palfrey: falafraigh alafraigh IGT, Decl. § 13 . alafraidh ‘na héruim, ex. 639 . inghean … ┐ falabhraigh uaine fúithe, Each. Iol. 37.26 . g s. Inghean na Falabhrach Uaine, 38.4 . ar édach h’alafraidhe, IGT, Decl. ex. 640 . .xx. falafraidh, Fier. 111 . pl. tuc eich ┐ falafracha [sic leg.] dó, AU 1516 . an ḟalartha ghorm `the blue Ambler’ GJ vii 90 ff .

Agus mar chlach às an adhar, bha an dà chuid fhios agam dè bha san sgeulachd seo (àllaire) agus dè bha am facal fàlaire a’ ciallachadh agus nòisean carson a bha e a’ dol eadar fada agus goirid (a bharrachd air folk etymologies mar fàl). ’S e am badan de chonsain am meadhan an fhacail palfrey a bu choireach. Cha robh -lfr- nàdarra sa Ghaeilge no sa Ghàidhlig agus stob iad fuaimreag eile a-steach an toiseach: falfr– > falafr-. Mar a thachras ann an Gàidhlig an-diugh fhathast ann am faclan aig a bheil fuaimreag-chuideachaidh (mar eisimpleir falmadair /faLamədɪrʲ/). ’S e an rud inntinneach a th’ aig an fhuaimreag-chuideachaidh gu bheil e air leth làidir agus a’ tarraing beum air falbh on chiad lide agus ma dh’fhaighnicheas tu de dhaoine aig a bheil Gàidhlig o thùs, chan urrainn dhaibh a ràdh le cinnt an e fuaimreag fhada, leth-fhada, no ghoirid a th’ ann. Ar leam gun robh làmh aig an -f- ud a bharrachd is e a’ crìonadh air falbh agus dh’fhàg sin facal againn aig an robh fuaimreagan caran às an àbhaist. Tachraidh rudan mar sin uaireannan, mar eisimpleir, tha calpa /kaLabə/ car às an àbhaist oir chan fhaighear an fhuaimreag-chuideachaidh le -lp- a ghnàth ach ’s e colbtha a bh’ ann o shean, le fuaimreag-chuideachaidh ach fo bhuaidh -th- dh’fhàs am b ’na p.

A thaobh na cèille, ’s e each air leth luachmhor a bh’ ann am palfrey o shean. Bha iad comasach air ceum rèidh ris an canar ambling sa Bheurla, falaireachd, agus rachadh na h-eich seo astar fada ’s iad ri falaireachd. Cha chreid mi gun robh e riamh a’ ciallachadh brood mare gu sònraichte ach gun robh luchd nam faclairean a’ dol claon beagan leis gur e facal boireann a th’ ann am falaire. Ach ma dh’fhaoidte gun robhar deònach orra mar brood mares cuideachd… ma bha iad cho luachmhor, ’s e each mar sin a bhiodh tu ag iarraidh airson searraich a thoirt dhut, nach biodh? Co-dhiù no co-dheth, air a’ char as lugha, tha cinnt agam a-nis dè seòrsa each a th’ ann!

Cha chreid mi gu bheil fuasgladh glan ann a thaobh litreachaidh an fhacail seo. ’S ann goirid a tha e san Fhaclair Bheag a-nis oir, mar is trice, glèidhidh a’ Ghàidhlig feadhainn fhada ’s ghoirid sa chiad lide agus ’s ann goirid a tha e ann am palfrey. Ach facal inntinneach gun teagamh, cothrom tràchdais do chuideigin is dòcha a tha dèidheil air eich agus fòn-eòlas – ach a-nochd, òlaidh mi slàinte Lady Evelyn, ’s bochd nach robh na cothroman aice-se a bhiodh aice an-diugh ann an saoghal an rannsachaidh, ach ’s math gun robh i ann!

Mìcheal Bauer, cuidiche rannsachaidh

Rudan dìomhair ann an làn-fhollais

(English Synopsis: Sometimes the most interesting word histories are hiding in plain sight right before our eyes and today we look at a formula which these days is mostly used as a response to “thank you” but has a much more interesting back story, harking back to a much more violent phase in history)

Uaireannan tha rudan gu math annasach ’s àrsaidh am falach fo ar sùilean fhìn ann an làn-fhollais. Mar a’ bheatha. Chan e beatha san t-seagh bhith-eòlach a tha fa-near dhomh ach am facal beatha a tha a’ nochdadh ann an grunn abairtean sa Ghàidhlig.

Na chnuasaich sibh a-riamh dè dìreach a tha abairtean mar ’s e do bheatha air neo do bheatha dhan dùthaich a’ ciallachadh? Bhuail an t-seann-cheist seo orm a-rithist grunn tursan sa phròiseact seo mar eisimpleir san sgeulachd Triùir Mhac Rìgh Éireann:

… nuair a chuala e guth ag éigheach, “Thig a-nuas, còmh rium agus ’s e do bheatha.” “Ó cha téid,” ars esan, “mise ’nad chomhair…

agus Ridire nam Beann ’s nan Gleann ’s nam Bealach:

Bha an doras fosgailte agus teine math air meadhan an ùrlair. Chaidh i a-stigh agus thubhairt bean an tighe, ’s i ’na suidhe aig ceann shuas an teine: “Thig a-nìos, a bhean bhochd. Is e do bheatha an-seo a-nochd. Bha an duine agad ann an-raoir, e fhéin agus a thriùir chloinne.”

Nise, ma chuireas sibh ceist air cuideigin beagan nas òige an-diugh a thaobh mar a chleachdas iadsan an abairt ’s e do bheatha, tha mi cha mhòr cinnteach gur e “mar fhreagairt air mòran taing/tapadh leat” an fhreagairt a gheibh sibh. Agus chan eil sin ceàrr idir. Ach chan e a’ chiall seo a th’ againn sna sgeulachdan idir, chan eil duine sam bith a’ toirt seachad taing. Agus ma nì sibh cnuasachadh beagan nas fhaide, ’s cinnteach gum buail an abairt do bheatha dhan dùthaich oirbh cuideachd, abairt eile air an aon alt ach gun luaidh air taing ’ga thoirt seachad.

Ma tha Gaeilge agaibh, bidh fios agaibh gun can iad tá fáilte romhat gu tric ach gu bheil an aon abairt, is e do bheatha, a’ nochdadh an-siud ’s an-seo cuideachd mar fhreagairt agus cuideachd san t-seagh eile, mar eisimpleir san òran ainmeil Óró sé do bheatha abhaile is e a’ cur fàilte air a’ Phrionnsa air ais san dùthaich. Tha an t-òran seo a’ nochdadh co-dhiù cho fad air ais ris a’ bhliadhna 1855 san leabhar Complete Collection of Irish Music aig George Petrie agus ’s e welcome home Prince Charley an t-eadar-theangachadh ann.

Ann an Gàidhlig sgrìobhte, ’s ann san t-Seann-Bhìoball (sna h-Apocrypha Gàidhlig, 1806) a lorg mi an tionndadh as sine gu ruige seo is cuideigin a’ cur fàilte air Raphael gu àite:

Tobit 5:13
An-sin thubhairt Tobit,
’S e do beatha, a bhràthair

Saoil an e rud gallta a th’ ann a thàinig on Bheurla no Lochlannais? Chan eil coltas gur e oir ma bheir sinn sùil air na seann-sgrìobhainnean, tha abairtean gu math coltach ris a’ nochdadh meadhanach tric. Mar eisimpleir, ann an sgeulachd mu dhèidhinn ChùChulainn agus Conchar tha CùChulainn ag ràgh día do bethu. Saoil a bheil ceangal ri Dia ann? Ma dh’fhaoidte ach bhiodh sin neònach oir cha robh ceangal eadar an Fhiann agus Crìosdaidheachd.

Ma chumas sinn oirnn leis an rannsachadh, chì sinn gun robh abairtean mar rotbia-su fáilte “bidh fàilte romhaibh” agus rotbia in failti sunda againni “bidh fàilte romhaibh againn an-seo” a’ nochdadh ann an sgrìobhainnean far a bheil daoine a’ cur fàilte air daoine eile gu àite. Agus gu h-annasach, tha an abairt a leanas againn cuideachd ann an sgrìobhainn às an 15mh linn: rotfia do betha.

Nise, chan eil coltas dia, Día no ’s e air rotfia ach ma dh’fhaighnicheas sinn de dh’eòlaiche na Seann-Ghaeilge dè tha rotfia a’ ciallachadh, gheibh sinn freagairt gu math inntinneach. Innsidh iad dhuinn gur e ro-t·bia an litreachadh ceart anns a’ chiad dol a-mach agus

  • gur e ro-leasachan a bh’ ann an ro a nochdadh air beulaibh ghnìomhairean agus a bha a’ ciallachadh rudeigin mar a dh’ionnsaigh
  • gun robh -t- ’na chomharradh air an dàrna pearsa (thu), an aon -t a th’ againn aig deireadh dhut no bhuat
  • gum b’ e gnìomhair san treas phearsa san àm ri teachd a bh’ ann am -bia, car mar bidh e ann an Gàidhlig an-diugh
  • gu bheil do a’ ciallachadh an aon rud fhathast, ’s e sin rud a th’ agad, do mhàthair, do chù is msaa
  • agus gu bheil betha a’ ciallachadh an aon rud fhathast, beatha.

Agus ma chuireas sinn còmhla gach mìr dhen dealbh seo, tha abairt againn a tha a’ ciallachadh rud mar “bidh do bheatha agad” agus leis cho borb ’s cho cunnartach ’s a bha na linntean ud, bhiodh fàilte air gun teagamh, “thig an-seo agus cha chuir sinn bàs ort”…

Thairis air na linntean, dh’fhalbh an ro- agus chrìon tbia mean air mhean gu dia, agus an uair sin agus mu dheireadh thall, ’s e. Bidh bolgan-solais os cionn feadhainn dhibh a-nis agus sibh a’ smaoineachadh air an fhacal annasach di a tha a’ nochdadh ann an abairtean mar tha thu di-beathte agus làn di do bheatha – sin an tbia ud agus chan eil ceangal ris an roimhear de idir.

Lorg mi fiù aon sgeulachd far a bheil an abairt ’ga chleachdadh sa chaochladh, ag innse do chuid-eigin nach eil fàilte romhpa ann an àite. Anns an sgeulachd, tha Séadanda dìreach air a’ chù aig Culainn a mharbhadh agus tha Culainn a’ faighneachd dheth cò esan agus nuair a chluinneas e cò esan, tha e a’ freagairt ’S e do bheatha air sgàth d’ athar is do mhàthar ach chan e do bheatha air do sgàth fhéin.

Tha coltas, an dèidh sin ’s ’na dhèidh, gun robhar a’ cur fàilte air daoine gu àite, a’ gealltainn dhaibh nach cailleadh iad am beatha an-seo, leis an abairt seo an toiseach agus gun do thòisich daoine air a chleachdadh a bharrachd air sin mar fhreagairt dha mòran taing is tapadh leat uaireigin.

Nise, eadar an eachdraidh seo ’s fonn drama a tha a’ tighinn orm, saoil an e facal Gàidhlig a th’ ann an uisge-beatha an da-rìribh? Tillidh mi chun na ceist chonnspaideach seo an ath-thuras a nochdas uisge-beatha ann an sgeulachd agus chì sinn!

Mìcheal Bauer, cuidiche rannsachaidh

Am fear-mara

(English Synopsis: Mermaids and selkies are a recurring theme in Gaelic stories but especially in the age of #MeToo, many of these stories jar somewhat and are perhaps due for a critical re-evaluation. As a thought experiment, I decided to see what would happen if I re-told a selkie story and swapped the genders. As it turns out, it’s surprisingly difficult and leaves you with a story that makes you wonder about our perceived gender roles.

Bha ban-tuathanaich ann bho chionn fhada agus bha i a’ falbh air a’ chladach latha agus chunnaic i seachd ròin a’ tighinn gu cladach. Chaidh i am falach agus chunnaic i iad a’ tighinn gu tìr is a’ cur dhiubh nan cochall-èisg aca. Dè bh’ annta ach fir-mhara bhrèagha. Nuair a dh’fhalbh iad ’gan nighe fèin sa mhuir, chaidh i ann is ghoid i leatha an aon a bu mhotha dhe na cochaill is chuir i am falach e. Nuair a thàinig na fir-mhara air ais a dh’ionnsaigh nan cochall aca, fhuair gach aon dhiubh a chochall fhèin ach am fear a bu mhotha dhiubh. Lorg e a chochall fhèin gus an robh e sgìth. Dh’fhalbh càch a-mach air a’ chuan is dh’fhuirich esan leis fhèin ’s e a’ caoineadh ’s a’ caoidh, na shuidhe air aon dhe na clachan air a’ chladach ’s e rùisgte. Thàinig i far an robh e ’s chuir i  cleòca mu thimcheall agus thug i leis dhachaigh e. Fhuair i aodach dha ’s dh’ionnsaich e obair a dhèanamh ’s bha e glè ghnìomhach. Phòs i e agus dh’fhàs i trom aige.

dealbh de ròn

Thud, carson a phòsainn mèirleach mar thusa?

Fada na dhèidh sin, an àm an earraich, bha i a-muigh a’ treabhadh agus bha an duine aice a-muigh a’ coimhead mun cuair air gnothaichean agus nuair a thàinig e a-steach, thuirt e ri mhac, “Nach iongnadh leat nach eil do mhàthair a’ cur mu dhèidhinn a’ mhulain-arbhair sin a bhualadh is feum aice air sìol gu goirid?” Agus thuirt a mhac, “Tha rud bòidheach aig mo mhàthair ’ga glèidheadh sa mhulan sin is chan fhaca mi riamh rud cho bòidheach ris.” Agus dh’fhaighnich esan gu dè an cruth a bh’ air is dè an dath a bh’ air. Agus dh’innis am balach an cruth mar a b’ fheàrr a b’ urrainn dha is gun robh dath uaine air. Chaidh esan dhan ghàrradh far an robh am mulan agus sgap e e às a chèile. Ruith am balach is dh’innis e dha màthair mar a thachair is thàinig i gu luath a dh’fhaicinn an duine aice mu ’m fàgadh e i. Ach bha an cochall-èisg air mun dàinig i. Dh’iarr i air fuireach leatha ach chan fhuiricheadh.

Tha maighdeannan-mara a’ nochdadh gu math tric ann an sgeulachdan Gàidhlig, eadar maighdeannan-ròin is maighdeannan-mara agus tha iad cumanta cuideachd ann an dùthchannan eile eadar Inis Tìle ’s Lochlann. Ged nach robh maighdean-ròin sna sgeulachdan a bha romhan sa phròiseact seo, tha iomadh maighdean-mhara air nochdadh, can ann an Iain Mac an Iasgair.

Feumaidh mi aideachadh gu bheil mi car amharasach mu na sgeulachdan seo an-diugh, ged a bha mi gu math dèidheil orra nuair a bha mi òg. Gu sònraichte ann an linn na h-iomairt #MeToo, tha iad a’ fàgail blas car searbh ’nam bheul oir aig a’ cheann thall, chan eil annta ach sgeulachdan èigneachadh bhoireannach agus cha chreid mi gun innsinn iad dha mo chlann fhìn nam biodh clann agam. Chan ann san dreach tradaiseanta co-dhiù.

Cha robh a leithid ann nuair a leugh mo sheanmhair na sgeulachdan seo dhomh ach chuala mi gu bheil diofar dhaoine air na sgeulachdan tradaiseanta seo ath-innse air dòigh a tha nas cothromaiche, can na Gender-swapped Fairly Tales. Chan e eòlaiche sgeulachdan a th’ annam agus is mathaid gun deach seo a dheasbad am measg nan eòlaichean mu thràth ach bhuail e orm gum biodh e inntinneach an aon rud fheuchainn. Sgeulachd na maighdinn-mara, boireannach an àite an fhireannaich is a chaochladh, dìreach mar dheuchainn.

Tha an sgeulachd gu h-àrd ann am More West Highland Tales agus rinn mi dìreach sin.  Agus abair iongnadh a bh’ orm nuair a mhothaich mi dè cho doirbh ’s a bha sin. Tha an toiseach ag obair ceart gu leòr ach tha rudan a’ fàs car neònach an uair sin. Gabhaidh a chreidsinn fhathast gun rachadh boireannach am falach is sia fireannaich a’ nochdadh air a’ chladach às a’ mhuir. Ach an uair sin a’ goid a’ chochaill is a’ sparradh air fireannach a pòsadh agus an uair sin clann a bhith aca? Tha e a’ fàgail na sgeulachd air fad car do-chreidsinneach ma chuireas sinn boireannach an àite fireannaich is a chaochladh agus tha sin sin, saoilidh mi, a’ togail ceistean mòra a thaobh cò a’ ghnè aig a tha làmh an uachdar ann an seann sgeulachdan agus am bu chòir dhuinn an innse do chlann an-diugh mar a bha iad o shean.

Mìcheal Bauer, cuidiche rannsachaidh

Scottish Gaelic and its representation in language tech tools

This thoughtful article in the Guardian got me thinking about the fact that the choices we make about representation of Scottish Gaelic in new language tech tools are far from trivial. The balance of ages, genders and dialects, for instance, on a tool like Duolingo can impact the future of the language in ways that are hard to anticipate.

Developing something like an artificial voice is a resource-intensive endeavour, especially for a small language like Scottish Gaelic. How do we decide which dialects – which voices – survive digitally in the years to come? When a project is funded via public monies (unlike Duolingo), whose choice should it be?


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