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Metadata for text 289
No. words in text20099
Title Para piobaire, agus Sgeulachdan Eile
Author Whyte, John
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1925
Date Of Language 1900-1949
Publisher A. MacLaren (A. Mac Labhruinn)
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National, academic, and local libraries
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Argyll
Register Literature, Prose
Alternative Author Name Iain Bàn Òg
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 18.1cm x 13cm
Short Title Para Piobaire
Reference Details NLS: 21/1925
Number Of Pages 40
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context John Whyte (1842-1913), who wrote under the pen-names Iain Bàn Òg (I.B.O.) and ‘MacMharcuis’ was a prolific Gaelic prose writer. He was a journalist, translator and librarian, and also edited the periodical An Gaidheal. His younger brother was Henry Whyte (1852-1913), ‘Fionn’, who was also a prolific Gaelic writer of stories, songs and essays as well as a translator and editor (see Text 77). John Whyte’s father, also called John Whyte, was manager of the Easdale slate quarries. Moving at an early age to Glasgow from Easdale, Whyte took up employment as a clerk, becoming later an editor of The Gael, a monthly bi-lingual production issued in Glasgow. He contributed to this publication some of the finest pieces in the Gaelic language, as well as numerous translations into that language. Whyte came to the attention of John Murdoch, around 1873, who offered him the job as sub-editor of The Highlander. On The Highlander’s discontinuance, he was then appointed librarian of Inverness Public Library, a position for which he was eminently suited. Having received a post on the staff of the Scottish Leader, he moved to Edinburgh, where he remained for a number of years, returning afterwards to Inverness as editor of The Highland Times. Whyte later joined the staff of The Highland News.
 
Whyte was best known for his works in the Gaelic field, and as the author of a popular and witty series of articles known as Lachie’s Letters, printed on a regular basis in The Highland News and eventually printed as a volume entitled Lachie’s Letters and the Smiddy Parliament (1911). As a Gaelic scholar he stood high, being an authority of Gaelic orthography. He took a leading part in the production of MacEachen’s Gaelic Dictionary, and collaborated with Alexander MacBain in the production off How to Read Gaelic. Whyte also collaborated with Mary Macpherson (Màiri Mhòr nan Òran) to bring her songs into print, and therefore to a wider public attention. He also rendered assistance on the texts in Reliquiae Celticae (1892-1894). As a translator he had few equals, and gained numerous prizes at Mods of An Comunn Gaidhealach for metrical translations.
 
Whyte was also an authority on Gaelic music, contributing numerous airs to various periodicals. Both he and his brother Henry were awarded civil list pensions for their services to Gaelic literature. After a long illness, Whyte passed away on 1 August 1913 at his residence in Inverness, and was survived by his widow, a daughter of J. Mackintosh, teacher, Culduthel. They had a family of two sons, one of whom died in 1907, the other being Campbell Whyte, M.A., LL.B., an assistant in the office of Messrs W. and G. Burness W.S., Edinburgh. He was interred in Tomnahurich Cemetery.
Contents The contents list appears at the end of the volume (p. 40) and the main text appears after the title page (p. i), divided into the following short chapters: ‘Para Piobaire. Naidheachd Eireannach’ (pp. 1-7); ‘Alnascar’ (pp. 8-9), ‘Am Buachaille-Laogh agus am Ministear’ (pp. 10-11), ‘Blar na Stairsnich’ (pp. 11-15), ‘Mairi agus an t-Admiral’ (pp. 15-17), ‘Turus Pharaig do’n Tigh-Mhor’ (pp. 17-20), ‘Alasdair Sgiobalta, Taillear Lag-an-Droighinn’ (pp. 20-23), ‘An Crannchur. (The Lottery)’ (pp. 23-30), ‘Ciontach—Ach air Mhisg’ (pp. 30-34), ‘Mar Chaidh a Chiad Sionnach do Mhuile’ (pp. 34-36), ‘Damon agus Pitias’ (pp. 37-39).
Language All these short and fairly humorous anecdotes are written with an engaging style and are easy enough to comprehend. Overall the stories are similar to those which would have been once common during ceilidhs, and thus the influence of a story-telling register is easily discernible. At least one of the stories is a migratory legend and contains an animal legend. A moral message (and thus having a didactic influence), appears to inform some of these anecdotes. Two chapters appear to be translations into Gaelic, presumably from unnamed English sources.
 
There appear a number of idiomatic phrases such as oidhche de na h-oichcheannan (p. 1), ach air do bheatha na fosgail an dorus do dhuine beò (p. 1), “O shiorram ’s a rìgh,” (p. 1), Ni-math ga m’ dhìon! (p. 2), facal air an fhacal mar fhuair mise i (p. 15).
 
The copula is realised as follows: ’s e (p. 4), chan ann (p. 6), An e (p. 7), chan e (p. 7), gur e (p. 9), ma ’s e (p. 19). Occasionally the passive voice appears such as chithear (p. 2), togar (p. 4), faicear (p. 4), chualas (p. 8), feumar (p. 11), gabhar (p. 33), faighear (p. 38), chunnacas (p. 38). Occasional use of the second plural imperative, e.g., cumaibh (p. 7), Beiribh (p. 7). There is the occasional appearance of an English word usually italicised, e.g., glebe (p. 10), tea (p. 14), pension (p. 23). Very few loan words appear, e.g., cóbuil (p. 3). The text also contains some rare or unusual words, e.g., lunndaire (p. 8), miadhor (p. 8), a’ bhrionglaid (p. 12), eachan (p. 14), ciobhull (p. 14).

The language reflects the Gaelic dialect of Easdale, Argyll.
Orthography The spelling conforms generally to the orthography of early twentieth century. Acute and grave accents are both retained. Accents do not appear on capital letters.
Edition First edition.
Further Reading Anon., ‘Death of Mr. John Whyte, Inverness, a well known Gaelic scholar’, The Oban Times, no. 3063 (09 August 1913), 3.
Anon., ‘Death of Mr John Whyte: Creator of “Lachie”’, The Highland Times, no. 893 (07 August 1913), 5.
Anon., ‘The Late Henry Whyte: A Noted Celtic Figure’, The Oban Times, no. 3085 (14 January 1914), 3.
M. M. [MacDonald, Murdoch], ‘Henry Whyte: Fionn’, The Celtic Review, vol. 9, no. 36 (Apr., 1914), 332-36.
Watson, Moray, An Introduction to Gaelic Fiction (Edinburgh, 2011: Edinburgh University Press).
Whyte, John, How to Read Gaelic: Orthographical Instructions and Reading Lessons (Inverness, 1897: The Northern Chronicle Office).
Whyte, John, Lachie’s Letters to the Smiddy Parliament (Inverness, 1911: Walter Alexander).
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