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Speak Scottish Gaelic Instantly

Updated on March 31, 2016



Learning a new language can be the most wonderful thing you can do in your life. Some people devote their entire lives to learning a language. Some even learn a multitude of languages. They are called polyglotts. To be able to communicate with a Scottish Gaelic speaking person in their own tongue is something you will never forget and this article will help you to achieve that goal.


Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language spoken by around 57000 people in Scotland. There is a dialect called Canadian Gaelic spoken on the east of Canada too. It hasn't got an official status and you will probably astound most speakers of the language when you use it. That's the fun of being able to speak in someone's native tongue. So are you ready to Speak Scottish Gaelic Instantly Using English Words To Help Pronunciation.

Exercise 1 : Hello

Let's begin with saying hello. I know there are formal greetings we can learn, but we are on vacation so we will use the informal word:


Try these English words : shallow

Gaelic Phrase : Halò

What it means : Hello

English words : shallow

Pronounced : hallo

Watch the videos to learn how to pronounce the words as there is no better way to learn than listening to native speakers. Throughout I will tell you where on the videos the particular phrases can be heard by minutes and seconds. For example 2:45 means 2 minutes and 45 seconds.

Thanks to steaphris for this video

Exercise 2 : Where Are The Toilets?

At some stage on our holiday we will need to know where the toilets are. For me it's usually when we arrive at our destination at the airport. We already know how to say hello to someone. Now find out where the toilets are.

Càite a bheil an taigh-beag?

Gaelic Phrase : Càite a bheil an taigh-beag?

What it means : Where Are The Toilets?

English words : part a tail an pay-bake.

Pronounced : caht a vale an tay-bayg.

On the following video skip to 1:05 to hear "where is"....then skip to 1:56 to hear "toilet".

Exercise 3 : Thank You

This is just a great word that we can use for thousands of situations.

Tapadh leibh

Gaelic Phrase : Tapadh leibh

What it means : Thank You

English words : Carta Dave.

Pronounced : Tah-pa lave.

On the video skip to 0:36.

Thanks To Jason Brown and BBC Alba

Exercise 4 : Excuse me

Here is another phrase we are bound to use on our vacation. To attract someones attention in a shop or to pass somebody in a busy market.

Gabh mo leisgeul

Gaelic Phrase : Gabh mo leisgeul.

What it means : Excuse me.

English words : have no dish-foul.

Pronounced : gavv moh lish-gowl.

On the video skip to 5:21

Exercise 5 : How Much is it?

This phrase is essential for when we go shopping. We are bound to want to know the price of something sooner or later, especially on markets where you might end up bartering. It helps in shops or anywhere, where there is no price displayed.

Dè na tha sin?

Try these English words : pay a spa chin. Whenever "a" is used alone pronounce it is the "a" in "apple".

Gaelic Phrase : Dè na tha sin?

What it means : How Much is it?

English words : pay a spa chin.

Pronounced : jay na hah shin.

On the video skip to 1:36.

Exercise 6 : I Would Like

I would like or I want are always handy to know. Even if you only point to what it is that you need. The phrase to use is:

Tha mi ag iarraidh

Gaelic Phrase : Tha mi ag iarraidh.

What it means : I Would Like.

English words : Annie wag dearie.

Pronounced : ha me agg eary.

On the video skip to 12:45.

Another BBC Alba Speaking Our Language clip

Exercise 7 : Drinks

Obviously we can't learn every single item we might want to buy while we're on our holidays, so we will narrow it down to some drinks we may want in a cafe or a bar. Hence there is quite a few words and phrases to get through.

cupan....glainne.....cofaidh...tì ....leann ...bainne ....fìon....uisge

Gaelic Phrase : cupan cofaidh.....cupan tì.

What it means : cup of coffee....cup of tea.

English words : pup-an coffee....pup-an see.

Pronounced : cup-an coffee....cup-an tee.

Gaelic phrase : glainne leann....bainne....fìon....uisge.

What it means : glass of

English words : tenner

Pronounced : glenner lee-awn.....ban-yeh....fee-uhn....oosh.ger.

Exercise 8 : Numbers

When we are ordering our drinks we might want more than one so we will need to learn some numbers. Here they are one to five.

aon ...dà ...trì ...ceithir ...còig

Gaelic Phrase : aon ...dà ...trì ...ceithir ...còig.

What it means : one two three four five.

English words : learn ...bah ...layer ...toy-wig.

Pronounced : earn ...dah ...tree ...kayer ...koy-igg.

Exercise 9 : The Bill / The Check

Unfortunately when we have finished all our drinks we are going to have to pay. So we will need the bill.

pris mas e ur toile

Gaelic Phrase : pris mas e ur toile.

What it means : The Bill, please.

English words : miss pass-air two dollar.

Pronounced : priss mass-air who toller.

Welcome To Scotland, A1 road sign


Exercise 10 : Goodbye

We began with hello so why don't we end with goodbye?

mar sin leat

Gaelic Phrase : mar sin leat.

What it means : Goodbye.

English words : bar chin day.

Pronounced : mar shin lay.

On the video in Exercise 1, skip to 7:09.

Mar Sin Leat

Unfortunately our time in the Scotland is at an end, but that doesn't mean you won't be able to practise your Scottish Gaelic. There are many internet sites you can visit or even better you may get to know a Gaelic speaking person. You may even decide to begin learning the language in it's entirety, which will bring you a lifetime of pleasure. Good luck and until next time...mar sin leat


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    • villyvacker profile image

      Billy Turnock 2 years ago from Manchester England

      Good for you...enjoy I'm sure you will...and while you're over here I'm going to the States

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I'm visiting Scotland in the fall. Thanks for the tips!