Chlanna nan con thigibh a so's gheibh sibh feoil

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by River Ape, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    Can any Scot advise me on the pronunciation of
    Chlanna nan con thigibh a so's gheibh sibh feoil ?

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  3. pilpaX Registered Senior Member

    what language is it?
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Gaelic. Obvious from the context of the question but the spelling (BH, EOI) gives it away.

    Check out for the pronunciation of Irish Gaelic.

    I know we have at least one member who has some knowledge of Irish Gaelic, which still has a sizeable speaker community. Scots Gaelic is somewhat rarer as a living language and I'm not sure if anyone on SciForums is familiar with it.

    I have no idea how far Irish and Scots Gaelic have differentiated from each other over the centuries. Perhaps what you learn from the Irish website will be helpful.
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  7. phonetic stroking my banjo Registered Senior Member

    I was speaking to an Irish girl about this a few days ago. Apparently Irish and Scots Gaelic are still quite similar. If you knew one it would be a lot easier to understand the other, so she said. Obviously you'd still have some trouble, though.

    She used 'welcome' as an example of how many words are the same in both. It's 'Fàilte' in Irish and Scots.

    Further than my talk with a drunken Irish girl, I don't have much to contribute.

    She found it strange that I called it Gaelic. The Irish just call it 'Irish', apparently. She expected me to call our version 'Scots'.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    From what I've read I gather that they haven't diverged very far. They're still two dialects of a single language. A student of one might be thwarted by the differences, but two native speakers should be able to understand each other with a little practice. I think the extreme dialects of English, just within England itself, may stand as the reference standard for the definition of "dialects." I think they're more different from each other than Spanish is from Catalan, Czech from Slovak, Danish from Norwegian.
    Language naming conventions have a lot of politics in them. The people of Flanders call their language Flemish to help make the case for a national identity separate from Belgium, but linguists call it a dialect of Dutch.

    Gaelic is the name of the indigenous language originally spoken by the Irish and Scottish people before they were colonized linguistically by the English. Ireland got its independence and its national identity back, so they call their resurgent indigenous tongue Irish. To call it Gaelic would be to acknowledge their close historical ties to the modern Scots, descendants of Irish adventurers who displaced the Pict inhabitants of Scotland when the Roman empire fell. Those ties are not reflected in a close sense of kinship and community between the two peoples. So they call it Irish.

    The Scots took a different route and are now part of a United English-speaking Kingdom. When most anglophones say "Scots" they mean the dialect of English spoken as the official language of Scotland. The indigenous language is Gaelic, and if it's necessary to distinguish it from the dialect spoken in Ireland it's just called Scots Gaelic.
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Years ago, living in a mid-sized town in Minnesota, I was assigned to assist two visiting craftsmen from the core of the south side of Chicago in building some machinery for a local business.

    They were middle-aged black men, I was a teenage white boy. Despite the limited field of interaction and the common task, we were forced into a combination of hand signals and repetition. It got comical, occasionally - the factory was noisy, as well - but it got easier after a couple of days. In a week we were just talking.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Well yes. The fact that 140 years after the Civil War, America is the only country in the Western Hemisphere (besides Haiti) still sundered into separate "black" and "white" communities, each with its own music, social customs, dialect and other culture is, IMO, a legacy of being the only country in the Western Hemisphere (besides Haiti) which ended slavery through violence rather than economic attrition. I have written on this subject at length in other subforums. I have also offered my optimistic prediction that the new influx of immigrants from Africa who don't share that legacy will help break down that division, despite the irony of being genuine first-generation foreigners to our language and the rest of our culture.
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    According to the translation is:
    Just Google the three long words in that sentence (spelling them carefully) and you'll get many pages of hits. It appears to be the rallying cry of an old Scottish clan. It's also the title of at least one song on at least one CD. Buy the CD and let us know how they pronounce it.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  12. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    Yes, Fraggle, but I want to get the pronunciation right next time I meet the Leader of the Opposition without the expense of buying the CD! I think he needs to be encouraged to take some daily exercise with his Lochaber axe to help shed his image as a southern smoothie.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
  13. Seamus45 Registered Member


    a charaid,

    I am happy to inform you that Gaidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) is still alive. Fraggle came closest to explaining the issues raised, but to clarify further:

    All Gaelic dialects are a member of the Celtic family of the Indo-European language community.

    The present-day Celtic languages are comprised of Irish, Scottish, and Manx (all of the Gaelic group, and identified linguistically as Q-Celtic or "Goidelic"), and Welsh, Cornish, and Breton (identified as P-Celtic or "Brythonic"). The terms P and Q Celtic refer to the initial consonants. (For example, in words like "head" - in the Q-Celtic languages, it would be "ceann" while in the P-Celtic languages, it is "penn.") There were other Celtic languages anciently, but they are extinct.

    Scots Gaelic is considered by some users and scholars as a distinct variant language derived from Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic, aka "Irish"). However, they generally recognize the cultural and linguistic ties to the parent language.

    While generally mutually comprehensible, and sharing many words, aspects of grammar etc., they are still distinct enough in some ways (idiom, some spellings, etc.), that knowing one does not necessarily mean you will automatically understand the other, even if you are a native speaker. (There are exceptions to this - the people of Barra speak a very "Irish-like" Gaidhlig, and the people of the Donegal Gaeltacht speak a dialect closely related in several ways to Gaidhlig.) However, with study and practice, a speaker or student of one can learn the other - whereas Welsh or Breton are dramatically different from Gaelic in sound and appearance.

    As to why Irish people refer to Gaelic as "Irish" - while Fraggle may be on to something in his / her analysis, I find the usage curious, as all Irish Gaelic speakers, whatever word they may use when speaking in English, use the word Gaeilge to refer to the language when speaking in Gaelic. Likewise, Scots Gaels use Gaidhlig. Both words mean literally; "Gaelic" - i.e.; the language of the Gaels. The Gaelic-speaking areas of both countries are called "Ghaeltacht" - which means the Gaelic-speaking areas.

    Inerestingly, "Ireland" and "Irish" are not even Gaelic words - they derive from Norse. The Gaelic name for the country is "Eire" (poetically also known as Eriu, Banba, Fodhla, etc.), and a native thereof is "Eirannach". So why they use Irish to describe Gaelic is a conundrum.

    As Fraggle suggested, it may have to do with Irish nationalism - but this is a late development, and certainly not one instituted by native Gaels, as most Gaels historically did and still do identify themselves as Gaels, rather than by nationality per se, and recognize their mutual linguistic, cultural, historic, and social identity. (Of course, they also identify closely with their family and clan, but when they spoke or wrote of themselves other than as members of their tribe (Donald, Cameron, etc.), it was as "Gaels".)

    The phrase you seek is usually rendered; "Chlanna nan con thigibh a so's gheibh sibh feoil" (though more properly, "a so" should be an seo or anseo). This was the old war cry of the Clan Cameron. It was used to inspirit the clan in battle, and was cried as they rushed down upon the enemy in many battles and desperate actions across the years, including Killicrankie and Prestonpans.
    (I was going to link to an account of these battles, but I find I am unable to link, due to not having 20 posts. However, if you go to the Clan Cameron site, you can find that and much more.)

    The meaning is usually rendered; "Sons (or more properly, children) of the hounds, come here and take flesh" but perhaps a more idiomatic translation might be; "Come here, you sons of dogs and get meat!"

    Acc. to a linguist friend of mine, the first noun is a plural form of the collective noun clann (meaning progeny or offspring, usually translated "children"), and here the phrase would likely mean "Chidren of the dogs", an insult to the opposing clans and a taunt to incite them to combat.

    (Another interpretation could be that it was a call to the Camerons themselves. While this sounds counter-intuitive, consider that US Marine Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daley [twice winner of the Medal of Honor], is reputed to have led his men "over the top" of the trenches in WW I with this phrase; "Come on you S.O.B.s! Do you want to live forever?" Gunny Daley would have doubtless done well among the historic clansmen, who highly admired physical bravery.)

    As to pronunciation - the Camerons anciently spoke a dialect known as Lochaber, once common from the Isles up through the Great Glen. It is now growing rare in Scotland, but an antique version survives to a degree in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada.

    One of the characteristics of the Lochaber dialect is that the letter L has a W sound when used in conjunction with a broad vowel (A, O, U). Thus, the name Calum (usually pron. "Kuh-luhm") would be pronounced "Kuh-wuhm." I have never learned when or why this occurred.

    I can't write (and most people cannot read) the specialist linguistic script that would probably be most accurate in rendering the phrase, and Gaelic is very difficult to render phonetically, but I will do my best. However, it would pay to try to get a native speaker or advanced learner to help, if you can find one near you, to get the finer nuances. I might be able to help if I know your geographic region. (If you want to get in touch directly, send a personal message.) Anyway, here it goes:

    " Kwownnah nahn kon, heegeev ahn-shoh iss yayv sheev fee-yohl "

    (I tried to insert diacritical marks, but this site doesn't recognize them. However; "ow"as in "clown"; "on" and "ah" are short sounds, "ee" and "oh" are long, all as in American English.)

    A Gaelic speaking friend from Cape Breton agreed with this rendering. However, my linguistic friend (PhD) who is a learned but very fluent speaker of Irish and Scots dialects of Gaelic wrote:

    "As to the phonology, I'll take the common denominator approach to dialectal differences and amend your phonetic script to the God-awful phonetic renderings familiar to English learners of Irish and Scottish Gaelic":

    "Khwownnah (as in Eng. "clown") nahn kuhn (as in Eng. "sun"), higiv uhn-show iss yayv shiv fyoly" (The last ly represents an "l" pronounced with the tip of the tongue.)

    Take your pick - but nothing beats hearing it from a native speaker.


  14. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    We don't have an official language called "Scots". Our official lNaguage is English. Scots is a dialect/ some other fancy linguistic term, that has no legal standing that I am aware of.
    ya bass
  15. Seamus45 Registered Member

    Status of Scots

    Re: the status and use of "Scots":

    "guthrie" is not quite on target in stating that Scots has no legal standing. The UK government and Scottish Executive accept Scots as a regional language and have formally recognised it as such under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. I quote;

    "Notwithstanding the UK government’s and the Scottish Executive’s obligations under part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Scottish Executive recognises and respects Scots (in all its forms) as a distinct language, and does not consider the use of Scots to be an indication of poor competence in English."

    Broad Scots (aka Lallans, Doric, etc.), is an old and widely recognized language or dialect (and I am not going to discuss that debate here) that has been in existence and was spoken widely in Scotland for hundreds of years. It was the language of the court and all ranks for centuries, with its own literature (which includes some of the great works of world literature).

    Its status began to slip somewhat after the Union of the Crowns and more so after the Union of the Parliaments, as many of the gentry moved to England to be near the new center of power, went to English schools, etc. However, Scots lived on (albeit in a tenuous fashion) into the 20th century. There were still people speaking the various sub-dialects in many areas until fairly recent times.

    Therefore, while one might say that Scots has not yet achieved full "official" status, it has many supporters who are agitating for that status, promote it, use it, and have published dictionaries and books on learning it. If guthrie is a native Scot, I am sure he knows people who are supporters and/or users of Scots.

    For those looking for a more complete discussion of both Gaelic and Scots, see the Wikipedia entries, which are quite comprehensive.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2007
  16. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Typical, the EU has something on it hidden amongst all the bumf.

    I am a native Scot, yes.
  17. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    Do you mean the International Phonetic Alphabet? This link might help you:

    Here's my best attempt to transliterate that into IPA (with absolutely no knowledge of Gaelic phonology):

    /kʰwaʊnːɑ nɑːn kʌn ‖ hiɡiv ʌn ʃaʊ ɪs jaɪv ʃiv fjol/

    Let me know if it doesn't display correctly. I'm preparing an image right now, which I will post if this is the case.

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