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Info on Scots Gaelic accents
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Broadly speaking there are three major Gaelic dialects. One includes the
Western Isles (except Lewis), Skye, Glenelg, Moidart and Western
Lochaber "The Central Western Area". The next area lies around this area
and includes Rossshire, Inverness, Badenoch, Fort Augustus, Laggan,
North Argyll and Mull. The third area includes Lewis, Sutherland,
Deeside, Perthshire, Mid-Argyll, Jura, Mull, Islay and Kintyre. There
are of course variations within this, such as Islay's "go robh math
agad", peculiar to there.
In Uist and Barra, deanamh and words ending in mh are pronounced with a "oo" sound at the end, whereas in many other places it's a "v". Lewis Gaelic is noticeably different in pronounciation and I know native Argyll and Sutherland Gaelic speakers who have trouble understanding Lewis Gaelic (however, the other way around is probably also true). In Lewis they have their own words, such as "bųrn" for drinking water. Elsewhere it is uisge. The variation between Lewis and Harris Gaelic is very noticable. As has been pointed out, the Scandanavian influence is very strong and it seems to me as if Lewis Gaelic speakers speak it with a Scandinavian accent - completely different to the rest of Scotland. Whilst it's true that Lewis Gaelic has its own vocabularly, the same is also true of many other areas.
However, there are similarities between Harris and Sutherland Gaelic (but
both different to the rest of the Outer Isles). For instance, they both
pronounce "adhart" as "ugurst" whereas the dh almost drops out in most
other areas. This is despite Harris and Sutherland falling within different
For more information on this, see Anthony Dilworth's essay "Central
Western and Peripheral Gaelic". Tony Dilworth was a linguistic
researcher (now retired) with the School of Scottish Studies. For
thorough research on Gaelic and Scots dialects contact the school.
The School is on-line at:
See Cothrom 6, published by the Gaelic Learners Association
P29-33. mailto: email@example.com
Roy Wentworth, 25 Eārradal a Deas, Gairloch, Ross-shire IV21 2AU
More info in
Companion to Gaelic Scotland, edited by Derick S. Thomson
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