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Little by Little Beag air Bheag

Beginners (A1)- Unit 12 - Eating and drinking
Luchd-tòiseachaidh (A1) - Aonad 12 - Eating and drinking


Dh’ ith mi cus!

I ate too much

This unit deals with some useful phrases in relation to eating and drinking. To start with, here is some vocabulary which might be used at breakfast:

bracaist breakfast
bainne milk
siùcar sugar
cofaidh coffee
spàin spoon, spoonful
tost toast
ìm butter
silidh jam
hama bacon
ugh egg
marag dhubh black pudding
sgian knife
cupa cup
bobhla bowl
truinnsear plate

Would you like something to eat?

Dh’ ith mi cus!

I ate too much

Are you hungry?

When we ask somebody if they would like something to eat, we would generally say an gabh sibh…? (literally, will you take?) or, in the informal mode, an gabh thu …? although, as you will see in the following conversation, there are at least two other common ways of saying the same thing.

An gabh sibh?

(lit.) Will you take?

An gabh thu?

(lit.) Will you take? (informal)

The other phrases to look out for here are the ways of asking if somebody is hungry - a bheil an t-acras oirbh/ort? (literally, is hunger on you?) and a bheil am pathadh oirbh/ort? (is thirst on you?).

Note also that we don't tend to say 'please' (ma 's e ur toil e/ma 's e do thoil e) as much in Gaelic as it is said in English. Politeness is conveyed by the mode of language usage, and the employment of the plural/formal form where appropriate, rather than the obligatory use of a particular phrase.

A bheil an t-acras oirbh?

Are you hungry? (formal)
(lit), Is hunger on you?

a bheil an t-acras ort

Are you hungry? (informal)
(lit), is hunger on you? (informal)

a bheil am pathadh oirbh?

Are you thirsty? (formal)
(lit), is thirst on you?

a bheil am pathadh ort?

Are you thirsty?(informal)
(lit), is thirst on you? (informal)

ma 's e ur toil e

please (formal)

ma 's e do thoil e

please (informal)

Conversation 1

Now listen to the conversation in conversation 1 where Iain and Eilidh decide what to have for breakfast.

Conversation 1

Listen to the conversation:

A bheil an t-acras ort, Eilidh?
Are you hungry, Helen?
Tha gu dearbh. Tha an t-acras mòr orm.
Yes indeed. I am very hungry.
An gabh thu bracaist?
Will you have some breakfast?
An gabh thu lite?
Will you take porridge?
Gabhaidh, le bainne agus siùcar.
Yes, with milk and sugar.
Am bu toigh leat cupa tì cuideachd?
Would you like a cup of tea as well?
Bu toigh l'. Tha am pathadh orm.
Yes. I am thirsty.
Tha is ormsa. Ach tha mise ag iarraidh cofaidh.
So am I. But I want coffee.
An gabh thu bainne is siùcar anns a' chofaidh?
Will you take milk and sugar in the coffee?
Gabhaidh. Bainne agus dà spàin siùcair.
Yes. Milk and two spoonfuls of sugar.
Càite a bheil do chupa?
Where is your cup?
An seo air a' bhòrd.
Here on the table.
An gabh thu tost cuideachd? Le ìm agus silidh?
Will you also take toast? With butter and jam?
Cha ghabh. Tha mi ag iarraidh lite, hama, ugh agus marag dhubh an àite tost.
No. I want porridge, bacon, egg and black pudding instead of toast.
Mo chreach! 'S e bracaist mhòr a tha thu ag iarraidh.
My goodness! It's a big breakfast you want.
Bobhla lite agus truinnsear le hama, ugh agus marag dhubh. Sin bracaist mhath!
A bowl of porridge and a plate of bacon, egg and black pudding. That's a good breakfast!

Everyday foods

Of course, eating occurs throughout the day, so we need to expand our vocabulary a bit. Here are some more useful words:

biadh food
deoch drink
aran bread
ceapaire sandwich
càise cheese
feòil meat
buntàta potato
glasraich vegetables
briosgaid biscuit
cèic cake
measan fruit

What will you eat?

In the next conversation you will see how some of these words may be employed. Note that much of the conversation uses the future tense of verbs. In Gaelic this may stand for things actually occurring in the future, but it may also refer to habitual occurrences in the present. For example, 'an gabh thu càise?' may mean 'will you have some cheese?' (i.e. right now), but 'an gabh thu càise a h-uile h-oidhche?', literally 'will you take cheese every night?' would refer to a habitual activity i.e. 'do you always (or regularly) eat cheese at night?'

An gabh thu càise?

Will you have some cheese?

An gabh thu càise a h-uile h-oidhche?

Will you take cheese every night?

This might also be expressed with the future tense of the verb 'to be' and the verbal noun of gabh i.e. 'am bi thu a' gabhail càise a h-uile h-oidhche?' ('will you be taking cheese every night?'). As you gain familiarity with the language, it will be obvious what is meant and how to express it.

Am bi thu a' gabhail càise a h-uile h-oidhche?

Will you be taking cheese every night?

Conversation 2

Listen to Iain and Eilidh as they use the future tense in asking will you have…?

Conversation 2

Listen to the conversation:

Am bu toigh leat deoch, Iain?
Would you like a drink, John?
Cha bu toigh l'. Bu toigh leam biadh.
No. I would like food.
A bheil an t-acras ort, ma-thà?
Are you hungry, then?
Tha. Ithidh mi gu leòr!
Yes. I will eat a lot!
An gabh thu aran?
Will you take bread?
Gabhaidh, gu dearbh. Aran le càise.
Yes, indeed. Bread with cheese.
'S e ceapaire a tha thu ag iarraidh ma-thà.
It's a sandwich you want then.
'S e. Ceapaire-càise.
Yes. A cheese sandwich.
An gabh thu feòil air a' cheapaire?
Will you take meat on the sandwich?
Cha ghabh. Cha ghabh mi feòil idir.
No. I don't take meat at all.
Nach ith thu feòil idir?
Don't you eat meat at all?
Chan ith uair sam bith. Cha toigh leam feòil.
Never. I don't like meat.
Dè ghabhas tu a-nochd, ma-thà?
What will you take tonight, then?
Gabhaidh mi buntàta agus glasraich.
I will take potatoes and vegetables.
Agus às dèidh sin?
And after that?
Gabhaidh mi measan is briosgaidean no cèic.
I will take fruit and biscuits or cake.
Agus cupa cofaidh cuideachd?
And a cup of coffee also?
Gu dearbha fhèin!
Most certainly!

What will you have to drink?

The next conversation takes place in a social situation in which you may hear Gaelic spoken or in which you might feel confident enough to try some of your own - a pub. Note that some of the verbs in this unit are in the past tense e.g. ghabh mi deoch làidir a-raoir (I drank alcohol last night). The verb gabh is here lenited, the initial g being softened, as is indicated by the h.

Ghabh mi deoch làidir a-raoir.

I drank alcohol last night.
(lit), I drank strong drink last night.

The question form is an do ghabh thu…? (did you take?) and the negative form is cha do ghabh mi… (I didn't take…). A verb commencing with a vowel like òl (drink) is often preceded in the past tense with a dh' - which sounds like a soft g.

An do ghabh thu…?

Did you take…?

Cha do ghabh mi…

I didn't take…

Dh'òl mi

I drank

Conversation 3

Now listen to the conversation in conversation 3. Pàdraig starts by asking Anna what she will have to drink.

This is the end of Unit 12. Why not test yourself to see how much you've learnt?

If you would like to learn some useful conversation about visiting the Callanish Stones, a famous archaeological and cultural site on the Isle of Lewis, go on to Unit 13 - Tursachan Chalanais.

Beannachd leibh!

Conversation 3

Listen to the conversation:

Dè ghabhas tu, Anna?
What will you have, Ann?
Gabhaidh mi sùgh-orainds. Tapadh leat.
I'll have an orange juice. Thanks.
Nach gabh thu deoch làidir?
Will you not take an alcoholic drink?
Cha ghabh, tapadh leat. Ghabh mi cus a-raoir.
No thanks. I took too much last night.
An do ghabh, gu dearbh? Càite an robh thu?
Did you indeed? Where were you?
Bha mi ann an taigh-seinnse. Dh'òl mi cus.
I was in a pub. I drank too much.
Cha robh sin glic. Ciamar a tha thu an-diugh?
That wasn't wise. How are you today?
Tha mi ceart gu lèor. Ach chan eil mi ag iarraidh deoch làidir.
I'm okay. But I don't want an alcoholic drink.
Ceart gu leòr.
Agus thu fhèin? Dè ghabhas tusa?
And you? What will you have?
Gabhaidh mise uisge-beatha.
I'll take a whisky.
Cha toigh leam fhìn uisge-beatha.
I don't like whisky.
Dè dh'òl thu a-raoir, ma-thà?
What did you drink last night, then?
Cha do dh'òl mi uisge-beatha. Dh'òl mi fìon.
I didn't drink whisky. I drank wine.
Is toigh leamsa fìon cuideachd.
I like wine also.
Is toigh leam fìon geal. Cha toigh leam fìon dearg.
I like white wine. I don't like red wine.
Geal no dearg, tha mi coma!
White or red, I don't care!