Comparison of Scottish and Irish Gaelic

     English         Gàidhlig        Gaeilge
     -------         --------        -------

     I am            Tha mi          Tá mé
     You are         Tha thu         Tá tú
     He (or it) is   Tha e           Tá sé
     She (or it) is  Tha i           Tá sí
     We are          Tha sinn        Tá muid (or Táimid) (or Tá sinn)
     You are         Tha sibh        Tá sibh
     They are        Tha iad         Tá siad

     I am not        Chan eil mi     Níl mé
     Are you?        A' bheil thu?   An bhfuil tú?
     Aren't you?     Nach eil thu?   Nach bhfuil tú?
     I am (habitual) Bidh mi         Bím
     You are (hab.)  Bidh thu        Bíonn tú

     I will be       Bidh mi         Beidh mé
     I won't be      Cha bhi mi      Ní bheidh mé
     Will you be?    Am bi thu?      An mbeidh tú?
     Won't you be?   Nach bi thu?    Nach mbeidh tú?

     I was           Bha mi          Bhí mé
     I was not       Cha robh mi     Ní raibh mé
     Were you?       An robh thu?    An raibh tú?
     Weren't you?    Nach robh thu?  Nach raibh tú?

     I would be      Bhithinn        Bheinn
     You would be    Bhiodh tu       Bheadh tú

     I am drinking   Tha mi ag òl    Tá mé ag ól
     I drink (hab.)  Bidh mi ag òl   Ólaim
     He drinks (hab.)Bidh e ag òl    Ólann sé

     I am going      Tha mi a' dol   Tá mé ag dul
     I go (hab.)     Bidh mi a' dol  Téim
     You go (hab.)   Bidh thu a' dol Téann tú

Eclipsis: Impossible looking combinations of consonants at the beginning of Irish Gaelic words (mb, gc, nd, bhf, ng, bp, dt) strike terror in Scottish Gaelic speakers, but they are really very simple. They just mean that the preceding word historically used to end in an n or m, which often survives in the Scottish Gaelic spelling, but in Irish Gaelic only only survives as a modified pronounciation of the first letter of the following word. To get at the basic dictionary headword, just strip off the initial consonant. e.g.:

Latha nam pàisteanLá na bpáistí (look up "páiste")
Tha fhios agam gum bi e ann.Tá fhios agam go mbeidh sé ann.
Pàirc nan caoraichPáirc na gcaorach (look up "caorach")
nam biodh airgead agamdá mbeadh airgead agam

The spelling revision in Irish Gaelic about 40 years ago did away with a lot of letters in the middle or at the ends of words which were no longer pronounced. They may or may not be still pronounced in Scottish Gaelic. e.g.:


If you can't find an Irish Gaelic word in a Scottish Gaelic dictionary, try changing unvoiced consonants (c p t) to the corresponding voiced consonant g b d (which may actually be pronounced unvoiced in Scottish Gaelic too), and try changing unstressed a or o to u. e.g.:


Here is a Scottish Gaelic - Irish Gaelic phrase list.

2001-04-19 CPD