July 9, 2009

Generally speaking there are three main Gaelic dialects in Scotland with slight variations withing each dialect. They exist in:
“The Western Isles (except for Lewis) This area includes the Isle of Skye, Glenelg, Moidart and Western Lochaber.
“The Central Western Area” Rosshire. Inverness, Badenoch, Fort Augustus, Laggan, North Argyll and Mull
The Third area includes: Lewis, Sutherland, Deeside, Perthshire, Mid Argyll, Jura, Islay and Kintyre

The Gaelic spoken in Lewis is very different from gaelic spoken in other parts of Scotland. It is thought their pronunciation was greatly influenced from Scandanavia. Gaelic speakers from other parts of the Highlands have trouble understanding the Lewis pronunciation. Add to that the fact that in Lewis they have their own words. One example of this is the word for water “uisge” being the word in all areas except for Lewis where the word used there for water is ‘BURN’. However, there are some simularities between Lewis and Sutherland Gaelic. They in turn differ from the Gaelic spoken in Harris and the Outer Isles. The difference is most noticable between Lewis and Harris. Harris having a very beautiful soft sound. In Uist and Barra words ending in mh are pronounced with a “oo” sound whereas in many other areas it is spoken with a “v” sound.

Information: Anthony Dilworth in his essay “Central Western and Peripheral Gaelic.


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