Gaelic Literary Criticism

I’ve been working on an extensive anthology of Canadian Scottish Gaelic literature for over five years – ever since I taught a course on the topic and realized that there is no suitable textbook – and my original intention was for all of the text to be in Gaelic: the primary texts, the contextual information, and the analysis of texts as literature. There is a real need for this, especially if Gaelic is to regain its rightful place in education. The language needs much further development in the higher registers of learning and intellectual enquiry.

However, for numerous reasons, I’ve decided that the working language of this volume (which I’m calling Seanchaidh na Coille) will need to be in English. The primary texts will appear in Gaelic, with English translations, but I will be writing the critical apparatus in English. Literary criticism can be a real challenging intellectual exercise in any language, and it is still in its infancy in Gaelic.

As I spent a far amount of time collecting and devising useful terminology for such purposes – terminology that is very specific to the needs of literary criticism –, and actually applied it with the students when they were in my course, I’d like to at least offer what I have to others with similar goals. I will also probably offer dribs and drabs of my Gaelic critical apparatus from the book in the months to come.

Aibhseachadh (f) “Hyperbole.”
Ana-ceist (b) “Dilemma.”
Beul-aithris (b) “Oral tradition.”
Breacanachas (f) “Tartanism.”
Breithneachadh (f) “Criticism.”
Ceann-labhairt (f) “Subject of address.”
Ceathramh (f) “Quatrain.”
Coimeas-cainnte (f) “Simile.”
Corpas (f) “Corpus.”
Co-ruith (f) “Analogy” (lit. “parallel”).
Cuspair (f) “Subject.”
Dealbh-cainnte (f) “Metaphor.”
Dreuchd (b) “Appointment, role.”
Eagraich “Edit.”
Eagran (f) “Edition.”
Foirmle (b) “Formula.”
Frith-bharail (b) “Paradox.”
Gearradh-cainnt (f) “Invective, verbal abuse.”
Gnàthas(-an)-cainnt (f) “Idiom(s).”
Gnàthas(-an)-litreachais (f) “Literary convention(s).”
Gnè-litreachais (b) “Genre.”
Inntreachdainn (f) “Innovation.”
Ìomhaigh (b) “Image.”
Ìomhaigheachd (b) “Imagery.”
Iomradh (f) “Allusion.” Rinn an t-ughdair iomradh air rann le Donnchadh Bàn.
Ionannachd (b) “Identity.”
Ioranail “Ironic.”
Ioranas (f) “Irony.”
Leas-ainm (f) “Kenning.”
Leiteachas (f) “Partiality, bias.”
Litreachail “Literal.”
Litreachas (f) “Literature.”
Litreachasail “Literary.”
Luim(ean)-litreachais (f) “Literary device, pretense.”
Mac-meanmnail “Imaginary.”
Meadrachd (b) “Metre.”
Meatanaim (f) “Metonym.”
Mìr-riochdachadh (f) “Synecdoche.”
Moitif (f) “Motif.”
Nòs (f) “Style.”
Pearsanachadh (f) “Personification.”
Rannaigheachd (b) “Poetry.”
Reataraig (b) “Rhetoric.”
Réim (b) “Register, literary/linguistic.”
Riochdaich “Represent.”
Romànsail “Romantic.”
Rosg (f) “Prose.”
Rosgrann (f) “Paragraph.”
Samhlachail “Symbolic.”
Samhladh (f) “Symbol.”
Saobh-ghaisgeachail “Mock-heroic.”
Saoghalta “Secular.”
Sgaiteachd (b) “Scorn, satire.”
Sgeulachd (b) “Narrative.”
Sgrùdadh (f) “Analysis.”
Suidheachadh (f) “Context.”
Tarraing (f) “Allusion.” a’ toirt tarraing air…
Teags (f) “Text.”
Tèama (b) “Theme.”
Tionndadh (f) “Variant, version.”
Tobar (f) “Source.”
Tuaiream (b) “Conjecture, theory.”
Tùr-bheachd (f) “Theory.”
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7 thoughts on “Gaelic Literary Criticism

  1. Nach eil seo cho feumail! It is always a challenge to find suitable Gaelic vocabulary for academic terms (not that I have to do so all that often, mind you, but it does happen). Try translating “ethnomusicology” into Gaelic! (My best effort: eòlas-ciùil-cinnidheachd — a rather large mouthful.) Tapadh leaf airson na faclan. For “theory,” I’ve seen “teòiric” (although that’s obviously come from the Beurla). ‘S math a chluinntinn mun chruinneachadh a tha thu a’ deasachadh!

  2. Ceud taing airson seo. Tha coimeas-cainnte, co-ruith agus dealbh-cainnte air leth math, an àite catch-all an t-samhlaidh! ‘S e dùbhlan a th’ ann, gun teagamh, agus tha cuimhne agam nuair a bha mi aig ire gu math tràth sa fo-cheum agam a’ faighneachd càite am faighinn ‘literary style guide’ a choireigin sa Ghàidhlig. As dèidh gàire, b’ e a’ chomhairle a fhuair mi gur e an dòigh ionnsachaidh as fhèarr a bhith leughadh obair sgoilearan eile agus a’ gabhail notaichean. Cha robh bookmarks gan cleachdadh cho tric an uairsin, ach bidh seo agam sàbhailte an ceann diog no dhà.

    Bha mi smaoineachadh air seo an-dè agus mi air beagan cuideachaidh a thoirt do chuideigin an Ontario air duilleag Gàidhlig na h-Alba air FB. Chaidh seann chnapan-starra a charachadh le ceanglaichean an fhiosrachaidh, agus is iomadh coimhearsnachd Gàidhlig ùr a th’ againn is a thig fhathast. Chan eil a dhith ach coimpiutair agus tomhas math de dh’oidhirp, air gach taobh.

    Gach Dùrachd,

    Ruairidh

  3. Rinn Rody Gorman liosta fhada briathrachais beagan bhliadhnaichean air ais. Ach chan eil dad ann an Gàidhlig coltach ris an Fhoclóir Litríochta agus Critice a rinneadh an Èirinn (An Gúm, 2007).

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