Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First post to Oor Alba Blog (by Mike)

This will be a means for our family and friends to share in our journey(s). It took me (Mike) some time to decide on a blogname. I originally thought something in Scottish Gaelic would be clever, but since neither of us can speak Gaelic, with the exception of a few phrases, it seemed a bit pretentious. Because we are equally fond of "Scots" (the language) I chose a combination of Scots and Gaelic.

So, to clarify the origin of our blogname: Oor is Scots for our, Alba is the Gaelic (pronounced Gahlick, not GayLick) name for Scotland , and it's our blog. Hence OorAlbaBlog.

Scots, the language, is not English spoken with a Scottish accent; it's a language of its own. Scottish Gaelic is similar to Irish Gaelic (ironically pronounce Gaylick) but a language of its own. One challenge faced when learning Gaelic is that it has only 18 letters: it lacks the consonants J, K, Q, V, W, X and Y. Additionally, the letters it does share with English are sometimes pronounced differently, especially in combination with other letters. Furthermore some words have letters that are not even sounded. Other words, like Alba, are pronounced with a vowel sound that is not even in the word; Alba is pronounced Alabbuh. Lastly, there are sounds made for which there is no English equivalent.

We are headed to an island called Islay (Eye-luh) that is best known for two things: several working distilleries, and was the site (historically) of the home of the Lord of the Isles. From our faith perspective Islay is also home to a round church (so the devil had no corners in which to hide) and a large, intact Celtic cross.

Here are a few links for those who are interested in learning more about Scots, Gaelic, where we are going, and the festival we will attend. Until the next time ....

Oidhche Mhath !!! (Good Night)


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