#74 | Tossing the Caber: “An Leabhar Liath”, a pre-introduction to Scots Gaelic

Ireland and Scotland have a lot in common, and this is especially true of Irish and Scots Gaelic. Students of Irish could make a decent stab at the meanings of thousands of Scots Gaelic words and not be far off… left-facing fadas notwithstanding!

However, though the two languages contain much of the same stuff, they were forged in different fires over the centuries- in Scotland, the language was not politicised at the same scale and it was not promoted by the State the same way in the 20th century.

We will be visiting this neighbour language again soon with native speakers, but we thought having a prologue/overture first would be valuable.

In this week’s episode, Motherfoclóir regular Clodagh tells Darach about her experiences studying a bit of Scots Gaelic as part of her degree and they discuss “An Leabhar Liath” – the light blue book. This is a collection of love poems and transgressive verse which gives a hint of the language’s poetic tradition: bawdy and irreverent, but also elegant and tender.

Today’s episode contains adult language and themes throughout.