Gaelic Word of the Week – election – taghadh


Each week we publish the text of our Gaelic Word of the Week podcast here with added facts, figures and photos for Gaelic learners who want to learn a little about the language and about the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. This week our work is Election – Taghadh.

Next Thursday is an important day for the Scottish Pàrliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba as the Parliamentary election will be taking place.

The Gaelic word for election is taghadh.

Taghadh literally means ‘choice’. This is appropriate as in an election you are – a’ taghadh – choosing – which candidates you’d like to represent you.

Barrachd fios sa Ghàidhlig mu thaghadh Pàrlamaid na h-Alba

In the election – taghadh – voters use the Additional Member System of proportional representation. This system allows people to elect a local constituency Member of Scottish Parliament – Ball Pàrlamaid na h-Alba –  and also to elect regional MSPs, often from lesser represented parties. . One of the intended effects of this is to bring a more diverse range of views into the Scottish Parliament than in a strict first-past-the-post system.  This results in each person having 8 MSPs – BPA – one for their constituency and seven for their larger region.

For instance, if you lived in Oban – an t-Òban – you would have one MSP for the constituency of Argyll and Bute – Earra-Ghàidheal is Bòd – but 7 more for the region of the Highlands and Islands – a’ Ghàidhealtachd is na h-Eileanan.

This means that you will have two ballot papers in the taghadh to Pàrlamaid na h-Alba, one to choose a constituency MSP and another to select which party your regional MSP will be from, that is unless you’re voting for an independent candidate.

Closely related to the word taghadh is the word taghta. This literally means chosen or selected but, in colloquial Gaelic, taghta means fine or excellent and is a very common expression.

Another useful election word is bhòtadh – voting and a ballot paper is a pàipear-bhòtaidh.

This week’s Gaelic word of the week is election – taghadh.

Alasdair MacCaluim

alasdair.maccaluim@parliament.scot