Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The new Scottish dictionary - some suggestions...

It is good news that £2million has been promised to the project which will create a new and comprehensive Scottish/ Gàidhlig dictionary. Tocasaid is pleased to offer a few more contributions for the corpus. The sources of these terms cannot be identified - though some were coined air ball out of necessity - but the powers-that-be in the Gaelic community can sleep soundly at night in the knowledge that they are used and understood in at least one household.

Being Scots, it is a given that some whinge about the new dictionary. Even within the Gàidhlig community there are some who think that having a body of academics or professionals (the 'Gaelic establishment') - who are charged with serving speakers of the Scottish tongue or developing it - is A Very Bad Thing. Some think that the money would be better spent on Other Things. 'Hurrah' say the Daily Mail and sinister Tax Payers' Alliance to that.

As if we don't deserve both. Taigh a' Chac to those who think Scots should continue to scrabble for the crumbs that fall from the table. We've been passive for too long and basically need to grow some.

And so, onto the Tocasaid pictorial corpus of household Gàidhlig for the modern era, in no particular order...


sùgh tiugh
bileagan bragail
sguabadair sràide
An Donas

bleideagan blasta
beul nam breug
ceàrnagan caise
am bìoball

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

San Fermin - Acts of Man

All cultures have their detritus. Some of it left over from less civilised times is filed alongside art, poetry and song under the catch-all term 'tradition'. In Scotland, we managed to get rid of fox-hunting but still allow our moorlands and hills to be ravaged so a few rich folk can come here and shoot some tame birds. We even have a golf club that - bizarrely in the year 2013 - doesn't admit women. Worse still, a course like Muirfield is still selected for a major championship.

Another sick 'tradition' that deserves to be binned is the San Fermin bull run. In the traditional Basque city of Pamplona or Iruñea in the indigenous tongue thousands of locals, Spaniards, Australians, Americans and Brits gather to slaughter and get slaughtered.

That's entertainment.

It's not just the bulls that are treated like lumps of flesh.

The tide seems to be turning against this barbarity though, both in Spain and in the Basque Country.

The 'Antitaurinos'

Protests are imaginative, graphic and multilingual.

Donostia/ San Sebastian

And the music which captures the moronism that surfaces here and in most cultures? The words come from the pen and genius of Scott Hutchison and Frightened Rabbit. Acts of Man:

Acts of Man by Frightened Rabbit on Grooveshark

I am that dickhead in the kitchen
Giving wine to your best girl's glass
I am the amateur pornographer
Unpleasant publisher by hand

Not here, not here, heroic acts of man
Not here, not here, heroic acts of man

I see the stumbling pinstriped trouser
Flecks of sick on an office shoe
Part of the fatty British average
Who lives in the houses around you

Not here, not here, heroic acts of man
Not here, not here, heroic acts of man

Let's all crowd 'round the cowering body
Throw stocky fingers, bricks and stones
Let's promise every girl we marry
We'll always love them when we probably won't

While the knight in shitty armour
Rips the drunk out of her dress
One man tears into another
Hides a coward's heart in a lion's chest

Man, he breeds although he shouldn't
He's breeding just because he comes
Acts the father for a minute
Till the worst instincts return

Not here, not here, heroic acts of man
Not here, not here, heroic acts of man

I have never wanted more, to be your man
And build a house around you
I am just like all the rest of them
Sorry, selfish, trying to improve

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kay NicMhathain: clach air a càrn

No pun intended but I'm sure that every clach put on her càrn will be genuine. The story of the Bana-Ghaidheil from Allt Beithe in Wester Ross has been well told elsewhere, most notably in the Gaelic short film An Ceasnachadh.

Coronation of King Alexander III on Moot Hill, Scone on 13 July 1249. He is being greeted by the ollamh rìgh, the royal poet, who is addressing him with the proclamation "Benach De Re Albanne" (= Beannachd Dè Rìgh Alban, "God's Blessing on the King of Scotland"); the poet goes on to recite Alexander's genealogy.

It's also very fitting that another tribute to her and her friends' exploits in retrieving the Lia Fàil is also composed in the indigenous Scottish tongue that Kay fought to keep alive in her own corner of Scotland. Oran na Cloiche was written by Dòmhnall Mac an t-Saoir (Bàrd Phàislig).

'S gur coma leam i 'n Cearrara,
no Colbhasa no 'n Calbhaidh,
Cho fad 's a tha i 'n Albainn
nan garbhlaichean casa;
'S i iù ro bha hò ro hill i em bo hà.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lipmugi Etxarri. Art of Crass.

From the Basque Country, a famous tune is plagiarised and young and old celebrate their Basque culture, old and new. Members of Hesian and other Euskal artists included. No cringing here!

From MocaTV, an insight into the art of Crass. It's maybe worth mentioning that Gee Vaucher's role in the collective and considerable contributions to Crass' output isn't covered in sufficient depth. Go here for more. Now you know where Banksy got his ideas.

And back home in Dùn Eideann:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When is a tongue not a tongue?

While it's always sad when a language passes, and every effort should be made to preserve our linguistic diversity, sometimes it may right to view the apparent 'birth' of a new tongue with some suspicion. I say 'birth' as I, and most folk it seems, had never heard of Ulster-Scots or 'Ullans' until recent years.

There are some who feel that it is the latest figment of the Ulster Unionist imagination. After all, the 'Ulster Scots' in the north of Ireland were very happy being Irish when Queen Victoria visited in the 19th Century. Indeed, the good Protestants hung banners that read 'Céad Míle Fáilte'.

Certainly, I'd always understood that many of the Protestant 'settlers' to Ireland came from parts of Scotland - such as Galloway - that were Scottish (Gàidhlig) speaking at the time. Protestant church services in Irish continued on the east coast of Ulster until the 1920s. Further:

With their Scottish Gaelic links, the Ulster Presbyterians were in a position to evangelise
the Irish from an early date. Scottish Gaelic-speaking ministers arrived to minister to
communities of Presbyterians who spoke the language; for example, two came to
minister to the Gaelic communities on Inishowen in the seventeenth century. Others came as army chaplains in the 1640s. Some Presbyterian ministers found Ireland more
attractive that remote parts of Scotland, and some ministers who fell out of favour in
Scotland made their way to Ireland. Gaelic-speaking Scottish ministers also came to
Ireland as they were suspected of being Jacobites in Scotland.
A History of Protestant Irish Speakers

Wiki also give us this:
There are at least two Orange Lodges in Northern Ireland which represent the heritage and religious ethos of Saint Patrick. The best known is the Cross of Saint Patrick LOL (Loyal Orange lodge) 688,[69] instituted in 1968 for the purpose of (re)claiming Saint Patrick. The lodge has had several well known members, including Rev Robert Bradford MP who was the lodge chaplain who himself was killed by the Provisional IRA, the late Ernest Baird. Today Nelson McCausland MLA and Gordon Lucy, Director of the Ulster Society are the more prominent members within the lodge membership. In the 1970s there was also a Belfast lodge called Oidhreacht Éireann (Ireland's Heritage) LOL 1303, which argued that the Irish language and Gaelic culture were not the exclusive property of Catholics or republicans.[70]
Personally, I can remember songs from both 'sides' at football matches in 1980s Scotland and ugly as they were, English was the medium.

And so, we have this from An Sionnach Fionn:
The Ulster-Scots Agency or Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch was set up as part of the negotiations surrounding the Irish Peace Process of the late 1990s. Its purpose was to assuage the “ethno-nationalist” demands of the most militantly separatist political leaders of the British Unionist minority in the north-east of Ireland by giving them an official body to promote the dialect of English known as Irish-Scots which they claimed as their own. Representing a hybrid mix of Scots-English, Hiberno-English and Anglicised Irish this regional patois was supposedly spoken by several thousand people at the time of the Belfast Agreement of 1998 (though in fact when the EU sent an investigative team of academics to chart the language they were unable to find a single native speaker). The Agency’s purpose was to serve, protect and promote the language with joint funding from the nation-states of Ireland and Britain.
It could've been worse I guess. The Anglo-Saxon tongue could've adopted 'Irish' as a name and then identity crisis really would have ensued.