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©C. Dunbar 2008 – prepared for Pobal an Chaistil

Samples of Rathlin Gaelic from conversation of Bella McKenna (nee McCurdy)
with Liam Mac Carráin (Belfast) and from Bob Mac Cormaic (Rathlin).

1. [tá] brón orm anois
[tá] brón orm anois
I [am] sorry now


2. An bhfeil a fhios aghad1 caidé tá mé a’ rá?
An bhfuil a fhios agat cad é tá mé ag rá?
Do you know what I am saying?

3. An bhfeil a fhios aghadsa? 2
An bhfuil a fhios agatsa?
Do you know?

4. Bhá bachaill3 eileag4 anseo
Bhí buachaill eile anseo
There was another boy here

5. Bhá ceann ruadh5, ceann ruadh … dearg ar m’athair
Bhí ceann rua, ceann rua …. dearg ar m’athair
My father had a red (ginger) head [of hair] a red head ….red.

6. Bhá6 mé ar mire
Bhí mé ar mire
I was mad

7. Bhá sean-saighdiúir ansin
Bhí sean-saighdiúir ansin
There was an old soldier there

8. ‘Bhfeil7 mé deas?89

1 This ‘g’ is always aspirated in Rathlin. i.e agham (pron. a’m) aghad (pron. a’d)
2 See footnote 1.
3 This word appears to be a confusion of the Scottish Gaelic word word ‘bachlach’and
the Standard Irish ‘buachaill’. Holmer records Bachlach as the Rathlin form
(HOLMER, N.M., The Irish language in Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim, (Royal Irish
Academy [Hodges Figgis], Dublin 1942) whilst Wagner records ‘bachaill’.
(WAGNER, H., Ó BAOILL C., Linguistic Atlas and Survey of Irish Dialects IV,
(Royal Irish Academy Dublin 1969) p16)
4 This form was also recorded by Holmer ibid p190.
5 ‘dh’ at the end of a word normally pronounced like a ‘g’ in Late Rathlin Irish.
6 ‘bhá’ is always the word used in Rathlin where standard Irish has ‘bhí’. ‘bhá’ also
occurred in Irish of the Glens along side ‘bhí’. ‘bhá’ is considered Scottish Gaelic.
7 Where standard Irish has ‘bhfuil’, East Ulster (including Rathlin), Scottish Gaelic
and Manx have ‘Bhfeil’.
8 Literal meaning is ‘am I nice?’
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