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An Litir Bheag (The Little Letter) An Litir Bheag

Ruairidh MacIlleathain Sreath de litrichean a bheir taic do luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig. Bidh iad seo cuideachail do luchd-ionnsachaidh a tha seachad air ìre-tòiseachaidh agus a tha ag iarraidh barrachd Gàidhlig a leughadh. Tha faidhle fuaim, teacsa agus eadar-theangachadh an cois gach litir. Sna tràth-litrichean, tha puingean cànain is abairtean a’ gabhail àite eadar-theangachadh slàn. A series of letters that offer support to Gaelic learners. These will be helpful to learners who are beyond a beginners’ level and want to read more. Audio, text and translation accompany each letter. In the early letters, language points and phrases are provided instead of a full translation.

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Is the word 'siùcar' in the  Bible? (Litir Bheag 627) A bheil am facal ‘siùcar’ anns a’ Bhìoball? (1) (Litir Bheag 627)

Is the word 'siùcar' in the  Bible? A bheil am facal ‘siùcar’ anns a’ Bhìoball? (1)

How old is the word siùcar [sugar] in Gaelic? MacBain tells us in his dictionary – Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language – that it came from the Middle English sugre. You’ll know the word in several European languages – for example, siùcra in Irish Gaelic, zucker in German and sucre in French. All those words are related to each other.

The word siùcar isn’t in the Gaelic Bible, however. Or, if it is, I haven’t found it. Is that a surprise? I’d say not. The people of Europe weren’t familiar with sugar at the time of the writing of the Bible.

Apparently, humans started growing ciulc an t-siùcair in the Pacific Islands. That’s sugar cane – cuilc an t-siùcair. That knowledge went to India, then to Persia and then to the Arab countries. And the word went with the plant. Shakar in Persian, sukkar in Arabic, sucre in French.

It’s thought that sugar reached England in the eleventh century. The knights of the crusades were returning home from the middle east. They took knowledge about sugar with them. At that time sugar was very expensive.

But when did a Gael utter the word ‘siùcar’ for the first time. I don’t know. And, although the people of northern Europe grow sugar beet today, that didn’t start until around ‘the year of Charlie’ (1745-6) in the eighteenth century.

Although the word sugar isn’t in the Bible, some people think that sugar cane is named there. For example, in the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 6, Verse 20 there is this (the Lord is speaking): What use is it should incense come to me from Sheba, and sweet cane from a distant land?

Tùis o Sheba – incense from Sheba. Sheba was famous for trading spices. And the sweet-smelling cane from a distant land. That is translated as ‘sweet cane from a distant land’. Is that sugar cane? More on this subject next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bheil am facal ‘siùcar’ anns a’ Bhìoball? (1) (Litir Bheag 627)

Is the word 'siùcar' in the  Bible?

Dè cho sean ʼs a tha am facal ‘siùcar’ ann an Gàidhlig? Tha MacBheathain ag innse dhuinn anns an fhaclair aige – Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language – gur ann às a’ Bheurla Mheadhanaich sugre a thàinig e. Bidh sibh eòlach air an fhacal ann an grunn chànanan Eòrpach – mar eisimpleir, siùcra ann an Gàidhlig na h-Èireann, zucker ann an Gearmailtis agus sucre ann am Fraingis. Tha na faclan sin uile càirdeach do chèile.

Chan eil am facal siùcar anns a’ Bhìoball Ghàidhlig, ge-tà. No, ma thà, cha d’ fhuair mise lorg air. A bheil sin na iongnadh? Chanainn nach eil. Cha robh muinntir na Roinn Eòrpa eòlach air siùcar ri linn sgrìobhadh a’ Bhìobaill.

A rèir choltais, thòisich mac-an-duine air cuilc an t-siùcair fhàs ann an eileanan a’ Chuain Sèimh. Sin sugar cane – cuilc an t-siùcair. Chaidh an t-eòlas sin chun nan Innseachan, an uair sin gu Persia agus an uair sin do na dùthchannan Arabach. Agus chaidh am facal leis an lus.Shakar ann am Persianais, sukkar ann an Arabais, sucre ann am Fraingis.

Thathar dhen bheachd gun do ràinig siùcar Sasainn anns an aonamh linn deug. Bha ridirean nan cogaidhean-croise a’ tilleadh dhachaigh bhon ear-mheadhanach. Thug iad fios mu shiùcar leotha. Aig an àm sin, bha siùcar gu math daor.

Ach cuin a thuirt Gàidheal am facal ‘siùcar’ airson a’ chiad turais? Chan eil fhios a’m. Agus, ged a tha muinntir ceann a tuath na Roinn Eòrpa a’ fàs biotais siùcair an-diugh, cha do thòisich sin gu timcheall Bliadhna Theàrlaich anns an ochdamh linn deug.

Ged nach eil am facal siùcar anns a’ Bhìoball, tha cuid dhen bheachd gu bheilear ag ainmeachadh cuilc an t-siùcair ann. Mar eisimpleir, ann an Leabhar Ieremiah Caibideil 6, Rann 20 tha seo ann (tha an Tighearna a’ bruidhinn): C’uim an tig tùis o Sheba thugam-sa, agus a’ chuilc chùbhraidh o dhùthaich fad-às?

Tùis o Sheba – incense from Sheba. Bha Seba ainmeil airson malairt spìosraidhean. Agus a’ chuilc chùbhraidh o dhùthaich fad-às. Thathar ag eadar-theangachadh sin mar sweet cane from a distant land. An e sin cuilc an t-siucair? Tuilleadh air a’ chuspair seo an-ath-sheachdain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PDF

Download the text of this week's letter as a PDF: Thoir a-nuas Litir mar PDF: Adobe PDF of this letter

PDF documents are especially suited for printing out. Most computers can open PDF files, but if you have problems viewing them you may need to install reader software such as Tha faidhleachan PDF gu sònraichte math airson clò-bhualadh. Tha e furasta gu leòr do chuid de choimpiutairean faidhleachan PDF fhosgladh, ach ma tha trioblaid agad ‘s dòcha gum biodh e feumail bathar-bog mar Adobe Acrobat Reader. fhaighinn.

Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh

This letter corresponds to Tha an Litir seo a’ buntainn ri Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh 931

Podcast

BBC offers this litir as a podcast – visit the programme page for more info and to download or subscribe. Tha am BBC a’ tabhainn seo mar podcast. Tadhail air an duilleag-phrògraim airson barrachd fiosrachaidh no airson podcast fhaighinn

Other Letters Litrichean eile

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Àireamh / Number

Facal / Word