The Gaelic-English Dictionary: A Dictionary of Scottish Gaelic
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Tips For Learning Scottish Gaelic
The main drawback is that Mark is only a unidirectional dictionary, while Watson is bi-directional. As Sutherland notes above, and indeed as the title indicates, Mark only contains entries for Gaelic-English. In other words, you can look up a Gaelic word to find the English equivalent, but not vice versa. One of the Gaelic teachers I polled recommended Mark in preference to the Watson dictionary see below. Nonetheless, another Gaelic teacher offered a warning:.
All of these are published by Birlinn. If you are buying a used copy online, be very careful that you have got either the combined bidirectional volume , or both unidirectional volumes!
Oxford Children's Scottish Gaelic-English Visual Picture Dictionary
The price for the combined volume is more affordable than Mark. Gaelic instructor Davine Sutherland reviewed the two unidirectional volumes, but her description and positive recommendation can apply equally to the combined volume:.
- Dwelly-d - Dwelly's Classic Scottish Gaelic Dictionary.
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Edward Dwelly — was a lexicographer who first published his dictionary as a whole in although he published sections of it starting in The dictionary is a tome over 5cm thick, containing over 70, entries. Dwelly is a unidirectional dictionary with Gaelic-English only, and so like Mark, one can only look up Gaelic words in it.
However, the online version, Dwelly-d , makes it bi-directional see below for further information. At the time of writing, it is still the most comprehensive Gaelic dictionary in existence, and even though it is over years old, it can act as something of a final authority, settling debates even for native speakers who were raised with the language. Gaelic instructor Davine Sutherland treasures hers:.
It may be older but still has as many headwords as all other dictionaries combined. My wife and I have four copies two are almost worn out. We passed one copy on to our minister who lacked one! However, it is not a dictionary but rather a word list, with no context given for the words. It does not contain as much information as Am Faclair Beag, but clicking on the tiny dropdown arrow next to certain words gives information such as the plural, and pronunciation in IPA.
There is also a clickable audio file for many of the words and phrases.
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Apart from the free online resources mentioned above, there are quite a few Gaelic specialty dictionaries and word-lists published in book form. These might be purchased by an advanced Gaelic learner, or one who lives in or whose ancestors are from the particular area in question.
Some of these specialty dictionaries are for words that are unique to regional dialects that were historically spoken in different areas of Scotland, including the following titles:. Campbell, 2nd ed. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, , reprinted [first ed. Other specialty word-lists are not dialect dictionaries, but rather booklets containing lists of the Gaelic placenames of particular areas.
Such traditional placenames are also easily lost when they were only transmitted through oral tradition and not included on printed maps. These include for example:. Place-names of Scarp by John MacLennan, ed. Calum J. Mackay Stornoway Gazette Ltd. Cox Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Others are lists of specialty vocabulary, including for example the names of Gaelic plants which have faded from use as people have ceased to use the plants themselves for nutrition, medicine, and dyes:.
Clark and Ian MacDonald, Did your Gaelic teacher ever try tell you that there were no curse words in Gaelic? My very first teacher did! When I took my first university Gaelic course in , the instructor told us that there was one dictionary we should not buy in our first year, even though it was stocked by the university bookstore in the high street. The edition that I was warned about was published in by Acair and Mercat Press. It came in both hardback and paperback, with a green cover.
That one is out of print, though it still pops up for sale online. It has now been reprinted with a shiny, attractive new cover, but the author and the contents are still the same. On Amazon there are new and used copies for sale, and the listings even feature 4- and 5-star reviews. Why not buy this dictionary as a beginning student of Gaelic? First, if you were learning English as a second language, would you want your main English dictionary to reflect the language as spoken no later than ? Then apply the same logic to Gaelic. Secondly, this dictionary can be very misleading to students.
It lists obscure and archaic terms side by side with words that are still in use, with no indication of which is which. Even worse, my university Gaelic teacher warned me that MacLennan included words that he made up. As far as can be determined, facalair is not, and never has been, a real Gaelic word. I have never even heard it used once in over 25 years.