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Metadata for text 197
No. words in text93220
Title Saoghal Bana-mharaiche: Cunntas Beul-aithris mu Bheatha Muinntir an Iasgaich ann am Machair Rois
Author N/A
Editor Watson, Seòsamh
Date Of Edition 2007
Date Of Language 1950-1999
Publisher Clann Tuirc
Place Published Brig o’ Turk, Perthshire
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Geographical Origins Easter Ross
Register Literature, Prose
Alternative Author Name Watson, Joseph
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 21cm x 14cm
Short Title Saoghal Bana-mharaiche
Reference Details CM, personal copy
Number Of Pages xlv, 226
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Joseph (Seosamh) Watson is Professor of Modern Irish at University College Dublin (UCD). He studied Classics at King’s College, Cambridge, and studied the Celtic languages at Edinburgh University and at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. He took up a post in the Department of Modern Irish at UCD in 1970, after working for a time in the Irish Civil Service.

This text is a collection of oral accounts from six informants, born between 1882 and c1920, in the Seaboard Villages of Easter Ross (Shandwick, Balintore, and Hilton). Watson began collecting these accounts in 1967, while researching the Gaelic dialect of the Seaboard Villages. On this and subsequent trips to the area (in 1975, 1977, 1979, and 1983) Watson collected stories, proverbs and Gaelic idioms from 6 informants:
Isbeil Anna, (bean Uilleim MhicAonghais), born in Hilton in 1889;
Anndra ’n Chart (a Bhanns), born in Shandwick in 1885;
Isbeil Johndan (a’ Bh.-ph. a Bhanns), born in Shandwick in 1882;
Uilleam Bithean (Sginnearach), born in Shandwick c1890;
Ùistean Bil-dan (Ros), born in Shandwick c1905;
Anndra a Bhanns, born in Shandwick c1920.

Most of the material published in this text was collected from Isbeil Anna.
Contents This volume begins with a Clàr-Innse (pp. vii-xvi) and a Facal-Toisich (pp. xvii-xx) by Séamas Ó Catháin. There follows a short, introductory Ro-Bhriathar (pp. xxi-xxiv) by the author, and a list of Giorrachaidhean is Samhlaidhean (pp. xxv-xxvi).

There is a substantial Ro-Ràdh (pp. xxvii-xlv), in which the editor introduces the Seaboard Villages and his informants. He also introduces the local dialect and the editorial principles employed in this edition, examining in turn features such as consonants, vowels, initial mutations, regular and irregular verbs, adjectives, etc.

The stories (or naidheachean as they are called in the text) are arranged in eight chapters as follows: Na Bana-Mharaichean (pp. 1-21), An t-Iasgach (pp. 21-29), An Seòladh (pp. 29-32), Air Mhuinntireas (pp. 33-37), Am Fearann (pp. 37-42), Saoghal nan Daoine (pp. 42-95), Fearas-chuideachd (pp. 96-108), agus Eachdraidh na Dùthcha (pp. 108-20). There are 151 stories in total. The larger chapters are divided into smaller sections, comprising stories relating to similar topics. The chapter on Saoghal nan Daoine (pp. 42-95) is by far the largest, and it contains stories relating to Na Treabhair: An Tughadh, Na Treabhair: An Teine, Am Biadh, Na Beathaichean, Na Bùthan, An Eaglais, A’ Bhuidseachd, An t-Slàinte, Am Pòsadh, A’ Chlann, Na Seann Daoine, Am Bàs, A’ Ghàidhlig, and Na Ceàirdean.

The eight chapters of stories are followed by Notaichean air na Naidheachdan (pp. 121-41), which explain some of the stories and indicate where the reader can find more information on particular topics. In addition to the stories, Watson collected a large number of Seanfhaclan (pp. 142-59) and Gnàthasan-Cainnt (pp. 159-78), 136 of which are presented in this volume. They are divided up according to subject matter, e.g. An Dàn and Dàimh. Where the meaning of the proverb is not clear, it is explained for us, and we are also given examples of similar proverbs and sayings in English, Irish, and East Sutherland Gaelic.

Only one poem survived from this area, an elegy that was composed by Arthur Ross on the sinking of a ship, the Linnet, off the coast of Hilton (see Text 122). Ross’s poem An Linnet Mhòr (pp. 179-206), is presented in this volume, both as it was published in the mid-nineteenth century and in contemporary Gaelic. Watson also gives us a wealth of information about the sinking of the ship, and the local families who were affected by the disaster.

There are footnotes throughout the text, containing alternative readings and corrections, and additional pieces of information. For example, we are told to read dar bha e an duine òg as dar bha e na dhuine òg (p. 68).

Towards the end of the volume, Liost nan Clàraidhean (pp. 207-08) contains a list of all of the recordings made by Watson, noting which recording each of the stories was taken from, and which recordings are also held by the Linguistic Survey of Scotland. This is followed by Clàr nan Leabhraichean (pp. 209-13), and a handful of useful Làthraichean-Lìn (p. 213).

There are four indices: Clàr nan Ainm (pp. 213-16), Clàr nan Ainmean-Àite (pp. 216-18), Clàr nan Cuspairean (pp. 218-21), and Clàr nam Facal (pp. 221-26), a glossary of terms belonging to the Easter Ross dialect.
Sources The stories, proverbs, and idioms presented here were collected by Seosamh Watson from six informants in Hilton and Shandwick, between 1967 and 1983 (see Social Context above). See Text 122 for more information on An Linnet Mhòr.
Language This text is a good source of information relating to way of life in the Seaboard Villages of Easter Ross from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, with each short story providing a snapshot of life in the fishing villages. In the first chapter, Isbeil Anna explains how the fish were prepared by the bana-mharaichean: Ò, dh’fhimireadh tu thoirt na cinn is an guts às an t-iasg is a spealltadh is a ghlanadh is a shailleadh agus, rèist, chur anns am bothan, làn am bothan (p. 2). In Fearas-chuideachd (pp. 96-108), Anndra ’n Chart explains to us how the men used to make pipes out of crabs’ claws. In Eachdraidh na Dùthcha (pp. 108-20), we are are given an insight into life during WW2, for the women who were working at home.

The stories vary in length, and range from the factual to the humorous. There are a number of humorous stories about An Deoch. The first of these reads as follows: Bha Ùistean dol dachaigh aon oidhche, làn liquor. Shuidh e anns an ditch is bha smeòrach seinn. Bha an smeòrach ràdh is seinn, ‘Òl uile e, òl uile e, òl uile e!’ ‘Chan eil mise amaideach! [thuirt Ùistean.] Tha thusa ag iarraidh mi òl uile e, ach chan òl! Tha mi cumail glainneag airson am madainn.’ (p. 102). English words tend to be italicised in the text.

The Seanfhaclan (pp. 142-59) and Gnàthasan-Cainnt (pp. 159-78) provide us with an insight into the mindset of the people, e.g. Dar as fhaisge an fheòil air a’ chnàimh, ’s fhaisge na sin an smior (p. 150), Cha tig an còta fada gu h-uile neach (p. 158), and Tha an doras agad ri baile (p. 165). The section on Beannachaidhean provides us with greetings and exclamations such as Beannachd Dhè air an fhàrdaich! (p. 165), Dia gun ullaich dhomh! (p. 167), Tì nam ais (p. 168), and Itheadh e mo chac! (p. 170).
Orthography This text contains good examples of the Seaboard Villages’ dialect. There is an extensive discussion of the dialect in the Ro-Ràdh (pp. xxvii-xlv), where we learn, for example, that dialectal forms include eise (esan), a-bhàn (sìos), nìos (, future tense of dèan), and airson dhèanamh an job (airson an job a dhèanamh).

Unfortunately, the editing process resulted in a number of dialectal forms being lost. The editor notes in the Ro-Ràdh: ’S e prìomh amas a bha agam ... gun ruigeadh an leabhar so leughadaireachd cho fada farsaing is a ghabhadh. Uime sin, cha do ghabhadh ri modh-litreachaidh a thaisbeineadh dualchainnt an àite gu h-iomlann. An àite sin, ’s ann a rinn mi an litreachadh a leasachadh cho fada is a b’ urrainn ach am biodh e ag aontachadh ris na nòsan a tha gan craobh-sgaoileadh an-diugh (p. xxxiii). The types of changes he has made to the dialect and orthography are noted in the Ro-Ràdh. Thus, for example, while dialectal forms such as òcrach (òtrach) and reumh (freumh) have been retained, forms such as creiseag, ciomag, ur’n, and lormach have been changed to greiseag, criomag, urrainn, and lomnochd. Don an duin’, unnain-as, sinn-as, and beil thu, have been changed to don duine, ionnainnsa (= annainne), sinnsa (= sinne), and a bheil thu.
Edition The 151 stories in this volume were first published, in Gaelic and English, in two parts, in Béaloideas 71 (2003) and 72 (2004). The orthography was modified (sometimes substantially) for this 2007 edition. Editors should read the Ro-Ràdh carefully to determine the editorial principles through which dialectal forms have been changed or retained.
Other Sources
Further Reading Watson, Seosamh, ‘’N Linnet Mór: a 19th century Gaelic poem: a window on the language of an Easter Ross community’, Scottish Language 21, 2002.
Watson, Seosamh, ‘Saoghal Bana-Mharaiche: Oral Accounts of Life in an Easter Ross Fisher Community (Part 1)’, Béaloideas 71, 2003, pp. 75-215.
Watson, Seosamh, ‘Saoghal Bana-Mharaiche: Oral Accounts of Life in an Easter Ross Fisher Community (Part 2)’, Béaloideas 72, 2004, pp. 99-218.
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