Defunct Blogs - A Memorandum

Blog: Whitabootery
Categories: 4-minute read

Bushido Dreams

A logo I made in my parent’s house, whilst incredibly bored awaiting my year in Okayama to begin.

Bushido Dreams Logo

Bushido Dreams was my first real blog, the first which actually attracted readers (albeit in small numbers) from all around the world.

I started it in advance of moving to Japan for the exchange year of my Japanese undergraduate degree. I was a mature student, starting the degree at 30 years old and it gave me a chance to write a little about my experiences, practice some Japanese and as it turns out gain the attention of an amateur photographer in Okayama who would offer me a loan of the camera I had hoped to buy before the trip! (which I lost along with an iPhone I had won, one drunken day in Yoyogi park in Tokyo).

Unfortunately due to a database corruption I lost a lot of the blog posts (including ALL of the Japanese ones) and what remains has been imported into this site from the soon to be retired

Kilted Scot

When the .scot TLD went live I went a little crazy and booked a handful of domains, primarily for my own future use but also with a thought that maybe, just maybe someone might be interested in purchasing one from me.. it almost happened too with a domain I’m also about to give up ( when I was approached by a craft brewery in the Borders of Scotland.. I was keen to do a deal, maybe for a case of beer or something like that.. but I never heard back from them..

Anyway, I decided that seemed fitting for the home of my journal recording my experience of learning Gaelic (or Gàidhlig) and so started an unfortunately short-lived and infrequently updated blog. Sadly, after a very interesting first year of night classes the second year moved to a day of the week which was at the time impossible for me to attend and as such, the blog ceased to be.

Kilted Scot Logo

I only managed 16 blog posts (actually a couple more that I didn’t think needed importing to here) but this turned out to be a really good educational tool for me, I re-realised that an important process in language learning is regurgitation of what you’ve learned and whilst I wasn’t able to speak to anyone at home or in my social circles in Gàidhlig, the blog gave me a way of committing what I’d learned to memory.

Farewell - you served me well.

Sovereign Scot

This was another .scot domain that I booked early without any real notion of how to use it.. but then my political awakening happened in around 2011 when the SNP were elected by majority, breaking the system and we knew an independence referendum was on the cards.

Sovereign Scot Logo

In the build up to the independence referendum an abundance of excellent digital resources popped up in order to inform the populace on our choices, however due largely to disparagement from the “Scottish” media many of the sources were deemed untrustworthy through the eyes of an unsure and confused majority. I had briefly thought that in my social circles (which were already largely YES confirmed or heavily leaning) that I might be able to help some NO-leaning or undecided friends to vote YES if I researched and presented my research in my words on a blog, intended purely for the audience of my own social circles.

As it transpires, I spent most of my time researching and not enough time presenting and when I did share or post on Facebook, it seemed (surprisingly) that no-one was seeing or acknowledging my posts.. (I suspected foul play at a very early stage - fucking algorithms!).. A mixture of lack of spare time, rescusitating Bushido Dreams and creating Kilted Scot, a concern about over-sharing of my blog to folks outwith my social circle and a lack of confidence in myself, that I was presenting something that hadn’t been said more succinctly than others.. all contributed to the site never really being populated or published.. but for posterity, I’ve imported those posts to this blog.

The lights were never switched on for

Going Forward

I intend to transfer this blog into a self-hosted federated blogging site at some point in the future, when I’m happy with the progress and suitability of the available options. In the meantime I hope to semi-frequently compose new posts covering a wider range of topics than the three blogs above. There is a fairly good chance given our desire to move to rural Japan in the future that the ethos of Bushido Dreams will spill into nipponalba, but otherwise I’ll likely post about all manner of diverse topics and hope some of you will find them interesting!

The Fediverse

Blog: Whitabootery
Categories: 6-minute read

Back in April last year I posted a long update on facebook describing my rookie understanding of distributed and federated networks and my opinions on the options that I had tried at the time. Of course, chances are no-one actually saw the post due to Facebook’s algorithms but there we are, the original post has been reproduced here .

Since then I’ve built and destroyed multiple instances of various flavours of federated social media:

In addition I’ve built a nextcloud server and an xmpp server, as well as self-hosting all of my email accounts.

There are other types of federated services such as Prismo and GetTogether that I haven’t even had a chance to properly explore and I am perpetually on the lookout for a federated photo album application which can replace my koken photo website (even briefly considered writing it myself!).

Why bother doing any of this, when most of the services are already provided by Google, Facebook or Twitter?


I am done with being harvested for marketing data or for national election\referenda manipulation.. I don’t want an algorithm to decide what content (that has been shared with me) I am or am not permitted to see.. I am sick and tired of opening an app on my phone and being presented with ads for products and services that the app should not know are suitable (or not) for me.. and I don’t want my daughter and any future kids to be no more than a cog in a data machine, inadvertently being harvested by corrupt mega corporations for profit or indeed, worse.

As such, I’ve decided to provide alternative services for those of my family and close friends who wish to use them as privacy focussed, decentralised alternatives. It may well be that they have little to no interest and that’s fine, but should they be curious or change their mind then I have their back - and if they don’t trust me with their data more than they do Facebook then, I will happily help them set up their own self-hosted services.

So why have I chosen the services I am currently hosting?

  1. They are privacy and security focused by default and being self-hosted, hardened where possible by myself.
  2. They are federated services built on the ActivityPub protocol. This means that the different sites speak the same language and therefore can communicate with each other despite providing different services. So a pleroma user can follow a friendica user or a mastodon user, a pixelfed user or a writefreely user etc.
  3. They are distributed services. Rather than being in one global corporations’ data centre(s) the network is comprised of thousands of smaller, often self-hosted installations. This makes them less vulnerable to attacks, and much harder to censor.
  4. They are open-source applications. The source code is available for anyone to verify it, report bugs/flaws and strengthen the application on a community basis.
  5. They can be self-hosted, which means I am in complete control of my content.
  6. They are free - though buying the developers, moderators, hosts and contributors a coffee would be appreciated.
  7. There are no ads, no algorithms and complete transparency.

The services which I currently host

  1. Pleroma - this is my main social media site, it is a micro-blogging site (think twitter) with several front end options. It is light enough to run on a raspberry pi on a home network (mine now runs on a RockPro64 from Pine64 alongside my matrix and xmpp servers). The devs are very approachable and are very active.
  2. Pixelfed - an instagram replacement, it is still under development though basically functional, the next beta update (due very soon) should bring a lot more functionality and the following update will bring instagram & tumblr import functionality. I wrote a bit more about why I like pixelfed here .
  3. Matrix - It can provide audio, video and text chat as well as conferencing.. rooms can be bridged to other services such as RSS feeds, IRC etc. It could be a replacement for WhatsApp, LINE and Telegram but has a little more work to do for multi-user encryption.
  4. XMPP - A simple enough FB messenger replacement, a chat service with file sharing capabilities, fully end-to-end encrypted.
  5. Nextcloud - this is a home cloud system with a huge amount of customisation and applications including text, audio, video chat, social media (via ActivityPub ), distributed filesharing and collaboration, phone tracking, email client, phone backups, rss reader, calendar, audio player etc. This is just for us in our house but potentially in the future I may re-create a shared talk/social media nextcloud server with limited storage quotas.
  6. Funkwhale - a music site soon to be podcast capable. I host my music collection here privately so that I can lien remotely (replaces spotify for me). It can be used to host and share creative commons music but I’m a novice in finding CC music (that I like) so I haven’t yet explored this.

The website has a lot more information about different alternatives to centralised srvices, written in plain, non-techy language, however here are some of the main alternatives (disclaimer: in various states of active development)

Good Guys Wank
pleroma, mastodon, zap, friendica, diaspora facebook, twitter
pixelfed instagram
peertube youtube
writefreely, plume medium, blogger
nextcloud dropbox, google drive, onedrive, box
xmpp, matrix messenger, whatsapp, LINE, telegram

I recently saw a post via pleroma:

Friend: Are you OK? You haven’t posted on Instagram in ages

Me: I quit FB, Instagram, and Twitter.

Friend: Why’d you quit the internet?

Me: Actually I’ve rejoined the Internet.

This about sums it up for me, I’ve left the data harvesting silos but I’ve re-joined the internet.

One common observation of those on “the fediverse” is that everyone is much friendlier.. that’s because we’re not being manipulated, our timelines are not manufactured and we’re able to have genuine discourse with humans free of corporate interference. There are still asshats and bots but you have the ability to curate your own timeline and have the support of an admin who cares about his instance who will assist if required.. and if you don’t feel that your admin has your back.. then you can just move to another instance or make your own.

As a side note: I have also replaced Google’s android on my phone with LineageOS without any google services and have deleted my google, facebook (including whatsapp & instagram) and twitter accounts. In April, I’ll hopefully take delivery of a Purism Librem 5 phone which is built on a security and privacy focused linux distribution and not android at all.

Edited (February 5, 2020) to update currently hosted apps and mention I’m ill waiting for the fucking Librem 5 phone..

Edited (April 23, 2020) to update currently hosted apps and mention that Purism are on rocky ground, if I don’t get some sort of update about my Librem 5 phone soon then I’ll be requesting a refund and opting for a PinePhone.

Distributed or Federated Social Network

Blog: Whitabootery
Categories: 2-minute read

EDIT: This was written in the early-ish days of my federated social network exploration and posted to facebook, some of the opinions are out of date and a newer, related articled can be found here .

These are decentralised, open source, social networks which are interoperable (they all talk to one another). There is no advertising, no data-mining, no central ownership, but also no censorship. The don’t insist you sign up with your full name and indeed recommend you not doing so.

There are a number of different networks available with the most popular currently being Mastodon, Diaspora*, Hubzilla, Friendica etc. Each flavour offers slightly different services\functions such as chat, RSS feeds, photo albums, interactions with other social networks etc.

However, they are not owned by corporations and as such are generally not as feature-rich as those centralised, closed-source social networks such as facebook, google+ and twitter etc.

Each has a learning curve though not unsurmountable, I’d imagine pretty easy to overcome if you join one of the bigger population public servers. I’ve set up my own server so it was a slightly more complex process for me.

I tried diaspora*, friendica and briefly mastodon..

I loved the simplicity of diaspora* but it lacked some functionality that I was looking for (such as photo albums).

Mastodon is very twitter like and the server that I joined was overwhelmingly full of Japanese anime otaku so it wasn’t a great experience. So I don’t have much info to share on that one.

So I have settled (I think) on Friendica, it has an integrated RSS feed so I can see news articles etc. that I was accustomed to seeing in FB. It can integrate with other non-federated social networks. You can have multiple profiles, so for example a work profile and one for more personal relationships. I’ve integrated a FB like chat. The bigger public servers will have these features and more.

Friendica also has the greatest connectivity to other networks with in the two entities that are the federation and the fediverse (free network link below)

More info:

A quick guide to the free network

Popular public sites for diaspora*, friendica and mastodon:




Freagair - Lesson 2 (Term 3)

Blog: Kilted Scot
Categories: 4-minute read

Hàlo! Wow, I haven’t updated this blog since November last year! Apologies to anyone who visits but life got in the way as it so often does.

Anyhow, I am still studying Gàidhlig and whilst my attendance for term 2 was unfortunately only about 40-50% I’m still holding my own :)

At this stage there is a similar pattern to my Gaelic studying experience as there was (is) to my Japanese experience and in both I think that patchy attendance is most likely the cause.. that is that I am managing to understand the grammar concepts, I can read and write (obviously with many dictionary references) and I’m slowly getting my tongue around some of the pronunciation.. but my comprehension of spoken Gaelic is still very weak.

Hopefully I’ll manage a sustained run of attendance to classes this term and start to improve upon this (2/2 so far!).

So, I thought I’d share my homework for this week whilst I work on it. We are learning about past tense and present tense verb conjugation/construction and in class we answered the following Ceistean with positive responses, the homework is to construct the negative responses to the questions.

I missed the class in term two where this was discussed and as such don’t have explanatory handout so will have to actually work through this one on my tenuous understanding of the grammar rules.

Ceistean “yes” “no” Question
A bheil thu tinn? Tha mi tinn. Chan eil mi tinn. Are you ill?
A bheil thu a’ dol don chèilidh? Tha mi a’ dol don chèilidh. Chan eil mi a’ dol don chèilidh. Are you going to the ceilidh?
An robh thu aig a’ bhùth an-dè? Bha mi aig a’ bhùth an-dè. Cha robh aig a’ bhùth an-dè. Were you at the shop yesterday?
An robh thu aig a’ cheilidh a-raoir? Bha mi aig a’ cheilidh a-raoir. Cha robh aig a’ cheilidh a-raoir. Were you at the ceilidh last night?
Am bi thu a’ tighinn an seo tric? Bidh mi a’ tighinn an seo tric? Cha bhi mi a’ tighinn an seo tric? Do you come here often?
An e saor a th’annad? ‘Se saor a th’annam. Chan e saor a th’annam. Are you a joiner?
An e poileas a th’annad? ‘Se poileas a th’annam. Chan e poileas a th’annam. Are you a police officer?
An toil leat cofaidh? ‘S toil leam cofaidh. Cha toil leam cofaidh. Do you like coffee?
An toil leat iasg? ‘S toil leam iasg. Cha toil leam iasg. Do you like fish?
An do dh’ òl thu an tì? Dh’ òl mi an tì. Cha do dh’ ol mi an tì. Did you drink the tea?
An do dh’ ith thu an fheòil? Dh’ ith mi an fheòil. Cha do dh’ ith mi an fheòil. Did you eat the meat?
An do chuir thu ort do chòta? Chuiridh mi orm mo chòta. Cha do chuiridh mi orm mo chòta. Did wear your coat?
An ith thu iasg? Ithidh mi iasg. Chan ithidh mi iasg. Will you eat fish?
An suidh thu ri taobh Iain? Suidhidh mi ri taobh Iain. Cha suidhidh mi ri taobh Iain. Will you sit beside Iain?
An dèan thu cofaidh?* Ni mi cofaidh. Cha dèan mi cofaidh. Will you make coffee?
An do rinn thu cèic?* Rinn mi cèic. Cha d’ rinn mi cèic. Did you make cake?
An toil leat snàmh? ‘S toil leam snàmh. Cha toil leam sn’amh Do you like swimming?

* dèan is one of ten irregular verbs in Gaelic and doesn’t follow the regular conjugation rules, in this case the past tense form of dèan is rinn and the future tense positive form ni.

Questions in Gaelic appear to frequently be about coffee and cake (possibly more reflective of our tutor) and as I don’t like, make or eat either my, conversations tend to be somewhat shorter than the rest of the classes :).

TTIP – MP response to NHS Bill request

Blog: Sovereign Scot
Categories: 3-minute read

I contacted my constituency MP, Mark Lazarowicz to ask him to participate in the NHS Bill debate and vote today and to vote in favour of the bill, as detailed here.

I received a very prompt reply from Mr Lazarowicz, which was as follows:

Thank you for writing to me regarding the NHS (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill which will be debated in the House of Commons on 21 November. I will be there to support and vote for the Bill.

Along with my Labour colleagues, I am a strong defender of our NHS and this Bill if passed will provide important protections against its privatisation. This aspect of the Bill will not apply directly to Scotland, as the Scottish Parliament and Government have full powers over the NHS in Scotland, but I certainly do not want the NHS to be privatised anywhere else in the UK either.

The Bill also provides important protections against the proposed EU-USA trade treaty (TTIP) leading to the NHS anywhere in the UK being forced to allow private health companies to bid and take over NHS activities. For that reason also I believe the Bill is important and will have my support.

More generally, I can tell you that Labour’s view is that the EU should not agree to the TTIP treaty unless it specifically excludes public health services and other vital public services.

I hope this will reassure as to my position on this issue, and I am grateful to you for taking the time to send me your views.


Mark Lazarowicz

MP for Edinburgh North and Leith

The first point of interest is that Mr Lazarowicz will indeed be attending to support and vote for the Bill, which is good news, I hope he is in the majority of attendees.

The second paragraph is interesting and I am certainly aware that many within Labour do indeed support the NHS, but it is also worth pointing out that some of the words read hollow when it was New Labour who started the NHS privatisation ball rolling .

Mr Lazarowicz also mentions that the aspect of the bill relating to protections against its privatisation will not apply directly to Scotland and this is indeed true. However, it would have indirect implications on Scotland as currently the Scottish Government’s block grant (Barnett consequentials) from Westminister is calculated using the Barnett Formula which is directly linked to spending on public services in England, so the more the NHS is privatised, the less the Barnett consequentials become as a direct consequence.

I am warmed by Mr Lazarowicz’s third paragraph and it reflects the viewpoint that I was hoping for and though I hesitate to unconditionally accept that the position described in paragraph four is an accurate reflection of his party, if this is indeed the case then I am glad to see they have managed to dig up a shred of integrity from somewhere.

I am reassured Mark and I thank you for your response!

TTIP – MP request to vote for NHS exemption

Blog: Sovereign Scot
Categories: 3-minute read

The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a bilateral trade treaty which is being negotiated currently between the US and EU. The purpose is to allow America access to the EU single market and allow American companies to compete for private contracts whilst also enabling American companies to sue EU member country governments.

As Lee Williams explained it in The Independent, “TTIP is about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations.”

This is not a good situation, however it is made exponentially worse by the current lack of exemption for privatised or part-privatised services such as the NHS. So far as I understand it, each member state has the right to one veto, that they can use to remove a fundamental service from the grasp of big American commerce. In our case, there is pressure on the UK government to remove the NHS from the agreement which despite the wishes of the Conservative party to sell it of bit by bit has resulted in a bill being put to the vote today.

Whilst the NHS in Scotland is and has always been independent of the NHS in England, the rules of TTIP apply at member state level and so there would be no exemption for the Scottish NHS should this bill not pass. That means that regardless of how much the people and ministers of Scotland treasure a ‘free at the point of need’ NHS, contracts would legally have to be put up to tender to private companies. If this didn’t happen then these companies could sue the Scottish or UK governments for substantial vats of cash.

As such, I have sent another email (typed up by the lovely people at 38 Degrees ) to my local MP, Mark Lazarowicz (Scottish Labour) asking him to vote in favour of the NHS Bill.

Here is the text that I sent him:

Dear Mark Lazarowicz (cc Iain McGill)

I’m writing to ask you to go to Friday’s debate on the NHS, and vote in favour of the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill.

Please can you tell me whether you plan to attend the debate, and how you’ll vote?

As my MP, I’d like you to support this Bill because I think this is a vital opportunity to protect the NHS from privatisation. By scrapping the worst parts of the Health and Social Care Act, it would make sure that our health service puts patients’ needs before profit. It’d also protect the NHS from the threat of the dangerous TTIP trade deal.

Where the other candidates in my constituency have been announced, I’ve copied them into this email. The NHS is an important election issue for me, and I’d like to understand where each candidate stands.

I look forward to hearing from you

I will post his response in a follow up

Full Lee Williams Article

え ず い Exploring Tosa-ben 4

Blog: Bushido Dreams
Categories: 2-minute read

Following on from Tosa-ben Card Game (龍馬・土佐弁かるた) I thought it may be interesting for some people if I were to do a series of short posts relating to the vocabulary that I learn from the game.

Even if not, I’m learning that maintaining a Gaelic blog is helping me learn the language so hopefully this will help me with Tosa-ben.

Fourth in the series is えずい which is pronounced ezui, the meaning is ‘cruel, awful or atrocious’.

The common Japanese equivalent for えずい in normal use is probably ひどい(hidoi) but the example on the card uses むごたらしい(mugotarashii) which conveys a meaning more like ‘incredibly brutal, gory or gruesome’.

The example sentence on the card is:


えずいことよのー  __はんぺいた__は  __とうごく__の__あ__げ__く せっぷく__の__ごさた__じゃと

ezui koto yono- hanpeita wa tougoku no ageku seppuku no gosata ja to

共通語:むごたらしいね (武市)半平太は 投獄された挙げ句に 切腹を申しつけられたそうだ

むごたらしいね (たけち)__はんぺいた__は __とうごく__された__あ__げ__く__に __せっぷく__を__もう__しつけられたそうだ

common Japanese: mugotarashii ne (Takechi)Hanpeita wa tougokusareta agekuni seppuku wo moushitsukerareta sou da

Now for the part of the post which is likely to go through various transformations as I’m corrected by my はちきん(hachikin) wife or family and friends from Kochi!

English : It’s gruesome, its seems that at the end of his imprisonment Takechi Hanpeita was instructed to commit seppuku (suicide by disemboweling).

*Takechi Hanpeita was a major proponent of 大政奉還 (たいせいほうかんtaisei houkan) and associate of Sakamoto Ryoma, he wished for the Tosa domain to be a major player in returning control of the country to the Emperor. Whilst later playing that major role, the feudal lord Yamauchi Yōdō imprisoned Hanpeita and eventually instructed him to commit suicide, though this may seem cruel, to Samurai it was a way of dying with honour.

So, now to the rest of the sentence and a look at other Tosa-ben (if any) at play in this example.

  • よのー (yo no-)– I’ve not seen this form before but it seems to be loosely equivalent to ね but perhaps with a little additional emphasis.
  • じゃと (ja to) – only the じゃ is strictly Tosa-ben and it is the Tosa form of the copula です (desu) the と indicates that the action (seppuku) was the result of instruction.

Tha mi trang gach latha! – Notes on Lesson 8

Blog: Kilted Scot
Categories: 5-minute read

This was a tough week, I missed a lot having been absent from class for a fortnight but even for those who had been in attendance previously this was a tough week.

In this week’s notes I am going to type out the reading for our homework assignment in whole and will underline points of interest for discussion afterwards.

If you’ve read my previous posts you will probably understand the reaction of shock and awe that I experienced when I opened the document, with my handy abaìr! dictionary in tow though I went to work translating it.

I made a number of mistakes but I’ll try and explain why as I go along. I’m not going to provide a translation for the whole piece (because I’m a bit evil) as no-one wants to read a blog post of that length!

Is mise Ann agus tha mi à Leodhas ach a’fuireach ann am Musselburgh. Tha flat ùr agam an sin agus tha e bun os cionn an drasda! Rugadh agus thogadh mi ann an Garrabost ann an Leodhas. Cha robh ach timcheall air fichead taigh ann nuair a bha mi òg.

Bha mi a’fuireach ann an taigh criot comhla rì m’athair, mo mhàthair, agus dithis pheathraichean. ‘Se Alison agus Doreen a th’orra. Tha iadsan a’fuireach ann an Leodhas fhathast, agus tha Alison a’fuireach ann an Garrabost fhathast! Tha iad posda agus tha nighean aig Doreen agus dithis nighean aig Alison – chan eil balaich idir anns an teaghlach – tha dithis nighean agamsa cuideachd!

Nuair a bha mi seachd deug bha mi a’dol gu Obar Dheathain gu an Oiltigh… ach, obh, obh ‘s beag orm Obar Dheathain!! Bha mi a’dol dhachaidh an dèidh trì seachdainean!

Aig ochd deug bha mi a’dol gu Glaschu agus ‘s mòr orm Glaschu! Tha mo nighean, Rebecca a nis a’fuireach ann an Glaschu!

Tha m’athair a nis ceithir fichead ‘sa còig agus mo mhàthair tri fichead ‘sa còig deug. Bidh iad trang gach latha agus tha iad gu math! Bidh mi a’dol gu Leodhas anns an Dubhlachd airson ceilidh air an teaghlach!

Nueair a bha mo chlann nighean òg bha iad toilichte ann an Leodhas ag obair air an criot comhla rì m’athair!

Tha aon nighean agam a’fuireach ann am Musselburgh agus an nighean eile ann an Glaschu!

This is the story of Ann’s family and there are a few tricky phrases in there if you haven’t heard them explained or had any context supplied.

For example, when I tried to translate ‘s beag orm and ‘s mòr orm all I knew was that beag means ‘small’ and mòr means ‘big’ so since they were in relation to places (Aberdeen and Glasgow) I figured that they would perhaps relate to either the size of the city or the duration of time there.. so I guessed at either ‘Aberdeen is too small’ or ‘I stayed in Aberdeen briefly’ and the opposite for Glasgow.

I was mistaken, though in fairness I wasn’t far off. As it happens ‘s beag orm is a colloqualism meaning ‘I hate it’ and conversely ‘s mòr orm means ‘I love it’ so Ann hates Aberdeen and loves Glasgow. Not sure what there is to hate about Aberdeen but then I only lived there for seven years not the three weeks that Ann managed :P.

Another clause I found interesting and I think would have struggled to translate if I wasn’t Scottish is chan eil ach which means (in this context) ‘There wasn’t but (20 houses when I lived there)’ this is perhaps seldom used nowadays but is a standard Scottish turn of phrase.

Otherwise the rest of the underlined words are just new vocabulary:

Gàidhlig English
an sin / ann there
an drasda now (with immediacy as in ‘right now, this moment’)
a nis now (more general, as in ‘these days’)
nuair when
_fhathast*_ still
comhla rì along with
_‘se … a th’orra**_ Their names are ..
trang gach latha lit: ‘busy every day’
Dubhlachd December (lit: The Black Month)
eile other

* We learned before that to ask someone their name you would say Cò thusa? which literally means ‘who are you?’ however there is an alternate way which means ‘what is your name?’ and this is dè an t-ainm a th’ort? The response to this question is ‘se <name> (an t-ainm) a tha orm (abbreviated to a th’orm). The form of orm is changed dependant on the personal pronoun, so in this case th’orra is used for ‘they’.

** I find the pronunciation of this word fairly amusing, it is a good example of how complicated Gaelic spelling can be compared to its pronunciation, though often the reverse is true too. Fhathast is basically pronounced ‘haast’ as the ‘f’ isn’t pronounced when lenited and ‘th’ is also not pronounced mid-word.

We also touched upon dithis again which is the counter for two people and just like it’s relative (two) it’s a fickle creature. Dithis means ‘twosome’ which is a noun and therefore when followed by a second noun (as it always would be) the second noun doesn’t take a plural. This is due to the second noun taking the genitive case and reverting back to the singular form. That’s what I wrote down, I do not claim to understand it!

Finally, when talking about a dead person in Gaelic, much like other languages such as Japanese you generally aren’t as direct as referring to them as dead. Rather you tend to say they are not alive, chan eil iad beò. Alternatively, if you are prone to religion you might use caochail which means expired (specifically relating to people). If you are talking about animals or plants you would use marbh.

Dè an t-ainm a th-ort? – Lesson 8

Blog: Kilted Scot
Categories: 4-minute read

As I was being a good citizen and attending jury duty in high court and that case being of a mentally and emotionally draining nature, I missed week’s 6 and 7 and as such we’re jumping straight into week 8 and all of the joyful complexities that it contained!

This week’s lesson was focussed around a homework piece which the class had discussed during the previous week’s lesson and been utterly confused. I was sent the piece to attempt as homework however, without any of the context they had discussed and boy did I make a lot of mistakes!

I’ll discuss the homework in my follow up notes article and it as it related to family and counters for people I’ll write about that here. I presume that this was the content of much of week 7 and possibly even week 6 anyway so it will bridge the lesson gap somewhat for me.

An teaghlach – The Family

The crux of the lesson was on the use of different possessive pronouns and how they change the reference to members of a family, but first a vocabulary list of said family members:

Gàidhlig English
Màthair Mother
Màthair-chèile Mother-in-law
Athair Father
Athair-cèile Father-in-law
Bràthair / Braithrean Brother / Brothers
Brathair-cèile Brother-in-law
Piuthar / Peathraichean Sister / Sisters
Piuthar-chèile Sister-in-law
Seanmhair Grandmother
Seanair Grandfather
Antaidh Auntie
Uncail Uncle
Mac Son
Balach / Gille / Balaich Boy / Boy / Boys
Caileag Girl
Pàisde Child
Leanabh Baby
Nighean / Clann Nighean Daughter / Daughters
Bantrach Widow / Widower

Note that with regards to the in-laws, male family members don’t lenite cèile but female family members do lenite chèile.

This is relatively simple, well pronunciation aside at least.

Next we’ll look at the different personal pronouns:

Gàidhlig English
mo my
do your
a his
a her
ar our
ur your (pl)
an their

Immediately you should spot an issue, the pronouns for both his and her are the same! However, possessive pronouns mo (my) do (your) and a (his) are followed by lenition. All others are not, thus allowing us to distinguish between a masculine and a feminine pronoun.

Gàidhlig English
mo mhàthair my mother
do mhàthair your mother
a mhàthair his mother
a màthair her mother

In the case of Athair (father) the pronoun is abbreviated as the word starts with a vowel so mo athair becomes m’athair, do athair becomes d’athair etc. In order to avoid confusion between his and her father, her father becomes a h-àthair.

Next, let’s look at counters for people (only applied to people) which cover between two and ten people, I believe that any greater then you just use the normal number (happy to be corrected!).

Gàidhlig English
Dithis Two
Triùir Three
Ceathrar Four
Còignear Five
Sianar Six
Seachdnar Seven
Ochdnar Eight
Naoinear Naoi
Deichnear Ten

Finally, we looked over numbers again by way of a rest!

As mentioned before, Gaels count in units of twenty which isn’t overly tricky but tired minds find even the simplest tasks difficult so again this was a point of confusion.

On top of the numbers we previously heard we learned ceud (hundred), mìle (thousand) and millean (million), the first two being very familiar from the phrase ceud mìle fàilte meaning ‘a hundred thousand welcomes.’

We were told that you can either say numbers following an English style of just reading out the number as you see it.. so one hundred and fifty eight could be read as ceud dà fichead ‘sa ochd deug (one hundred two twenties and eighteen) or full-fat Gaelic which would be seachd fichead ‘sa ochd deug.

Reading years was slightly different as you read the first part as hundreds and the second as it is, so 1919 would be naoi deug ceud ‘sa naoi deug although that looks far simpler than the extensive discussion that was had around it in class.

As always, we finished with a song though thankfully we didn’t have to sing along as I would have objected to doing so. It was a Gaelic salm (psalm) and I would have been silent on the grounds of atheism.

However, unbeknownst to me this is a famous style of singing in Gaelic and would have been .. difficult.. for us to replicate.

This style of singing has a presenter sing the lyrics then the rest of the choir jump in to repeat, using whatever tune they fancy.

I’ll apologise now as it just sounds like a bunch of drunks trying to sing along at karaoke in an echo chamber as far as I’m concerned but each to their own :).

Salm 72

Tha eagal orm bho am fiaclair! – Notes on Lesson 5

Blog: Kilted Scot
Categories: 2-minute read

Just for a matter of record, the title of this post tha eagal orm bho am fiaclair! means (hopefully) I am afraid of the dentist!.. I’m not but growing up on Lewis my tutor was as the dentist in question was a mobile dentist and he liked a drink.. so the later in the day you got to him, the more tipples he would have had and the scarier the experience became! :)

This won’t be a sizeable post as the majority of what we covered in lesson 5 was directly related to time and is covered in the full lesson post but there were a few vocabulary and grammar points that I noted during the class.

The Gaelic word for ‘and’ is agus as we all know, but once you start studying the language you’ll notice lots of abbreviations and in this case when you see ‘s in a sentence it is the shortened form for agus.

We’ve seen before when describing what we did that verbs, or more accurately verbal nouns, such as ag’ ol (to drink) or a’ sgrìobhadh (to write) are preceded by ag’ or a’ which unsurprisingly has an associated rule which thankfully in this case is very simple: if the verbal noun starts with a vowel you use ag’ and if it starts with a consonant you use a’.

Other than those few grammar points, we learned some more vocabulary:

Gàidhlig English
air as .. back ..
air as gu .. back to ..
ag aontachadh le .. agreeing with/at one with ..
crosda bad(ly behaved) or cross
bun sgoil primary school
ard sgoil high school
aig at
fiaclair dentist
tha eagal orm i’m afraid
tha eagal orm bho .. i’m afraid of ..

That’s all folks, short and sweet this week. Even shorter and sweeter for the next two weeks as I missed those classes due to jury duty!