(It’s hard to keep track of all what’s hapening. Yesterday: Widsith‘s, my favourite blogger’s, 32nd birthday; Mike Perham‘s 18th birthday; today: Jockie’s 40th birthday, St Patrick’s Day, 10th anniversary of my 1st shift in any printing house, I met Pinkie who’s still living in this city, my therapist emailed she was beginnig to worry why I haven’t emailed for so long… But I’m going to write about something else.)
More than fifteen years have passed since the Yuletide of ’94 when I received, as a Christmas gift, the Robertson&Taylor (1993) Teach Yourself Gaelic book. Over the following years I began learning from it twice or thrice, but never got as far as the middle of it. In between I was given another, Mackinnon (1971) TYG. Probably in ’03 I began once again, using the format 1st R&T lesson – 1st McK lesson – 2nd R&T – 2nd McK – 3rd R&T – … and persevered until finishing the 23-lesson Robertson&Taylor in ’06 and the 35-lesson Mackinnon in ’08.
This posed the question “What next?” As chance would have it, that same year I got online and one of the first things I discovered were Ruairidh MacIllEathain’s BBC Litrichean. The folowing year’s discovery was Fòram na Gàidhlig, where after some time I became a regular. Sure, there’s also Radio nan Gaidheal, Naidheachdan BBC, Akerbeltz and quite a few others, including dictionaries. But it’s mostly thanks to the Litrichean and FnaG that I finally decided to buy a book in Gaelic.
The initial problem was how to get a suitable one. I knew bugger-all about what had been published in the language and Amazon lacked a Gaelic section. After some time I came across Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, later on got a good reference for it, and eventually decided on this book by Lisa Storey. Two reasons: To be on the safe side, preferring to risk beginning with something too easy to beginning with something too hard (and thus possibly discouraging). And because although I knew the heroes’ trioblaidean would hardly bear any resemblance to mine, the very phrase Always in a Trouble is so much like a brief summary of my life…
I admit that when it arrived I was a bit disappointed. Even for a children’s book it looked too thin, printed with a too large font and containing unnecessarily many pictures. I mean, all right, I’ve always been a bookworm, but not a genius, yet when I was ten I was reading about ten books like Vicke Viking a month. This one looked like a couple of Sunday afternoon hours’ affair even with my handling of the language.
In fact I probably could read it like that, but in the end I preferred to look up every single word I didn’t know in a dictionary as I went along, even if its meaning was quite obvious from the context. I was also checking these words in en-wikt and bookmarking those that were missing there so as to put them in later myself. Thus with about an hour a week spent with the book I was reading it for about a month.
Nevertheless, whatever the details I can claim I’ve read a whole book in Gaelic, and even enjoyed it in a way. Now I’d like to read it again, at one go, and already I’m looking forward to buying and beginning to read another. Currently I’m pondering whether to stay in the Feadhainn òga – younger kids category for one more time, as they’ve got Le Petit Prince, or whether to move one level up to the Deugairean – teenagers section…