Gaelic word of the Week blog – Mun Cuairt mun cuairt! #gaidhlig

Each week we record our Gaelic Word of the Week podcast and post the text 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 word is – Mun cuairt mun cuairt!

If you are a Gaelic speaker, one of the first things people ask is often “what does mun cuairt, mun cuairt mean?”

This expression even made its way into the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba recently!

In a Members’ Business Debate led by Murdo Fraser MSP on the Royal National Mòd – Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail – Scotland’s largest Gaelic event, Clare Baker MSP mentioned that she had learnt the expression from TV.

Clare Baker MSP, speaking in the debate on the Royal National Mòd

So where does this mysterious expression come from and why do so many people know it?

As Clare Baker pointed out, it comes from the introduction to the Gaelic children’s television programme Dòtaman which starts with the words “Mun cuairt mun cuairt a dhòtamain bhig, mun cuairt mun cuairt, saoil de thig?”. This means “around and around wee spinning top, around and around, I wonder what will come?”.

“Dòtaman” means “spinning top” and “mun cuairt” means “around”.

Dòtaman ran from 1985 to 2000  and was a staple show for young Gaelic speakers. But because it aired on BBC 2, it was also seen by many non-Gaelic speakers and became a cult TV favourite..

The show’s presenter Donnie MacLeòd – Donnie Dòtaman – is famous for singing songs and for wearing amazing hats relating to subjects he was singing about – ranging from a koala bear to castles and a seagull and much more.

We wonder if Dòtaman was still running if Donnie Dotaman would consider making a hat of the Scottish Parliament building?

The word cuairt  is useful to know on its own. It means a cycle, circuit or rotation. It can also be translated as a wee walk or trip.

If you want to read all that was said in the debate about the National Mòd in Perth, read the Official Report.

Left: Murdo Fraser MSP, who introduced the motion; right: Emma Roddick MSP who delivered her first ever speech in Gaelic at the debate.

This week’s Gaelic Word of the Week has been written and read by Alasdair MacCaluim, Gaelic Development Officer who has spent many happy hours watching Gaelic children’s programmes, Murdaidh being his all time favourite!

Murdaidh is a chàirdean!

Alasdair MacCaluim

Gaelic Words of the Week – Constituency and Region

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 words are Sgìre – constituency and Roinn – region.

Yesterday saw the Scottish Parliament election – taghadh.

The results are currently being counted so while we’re waiting to see who all our new MSPs – Buill Pàrlamaid na h-Alba – are going to be, we’re going to look at two important words – constituency and region.

The Gaelic for constituency is sgìre. And region is roinn.

In the election – taghadh, there were two ballot papers – pàipearan bhòtaidh, one to choose a MSP for the constituency – sgìre and another to select which party your MSP for the region – roinn will be from, that is unless you’re voting for an independent candidate.

This is because elections – taghaidhean – use something called the Additional Member System of proportional representation. This system allows people to elect a Member for their constituency – sgìre and also extra MSPs for their region – roinn. 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 – sgìre and seven for their larger region – roinn.

For instance, if you lived in Greenock, – you would have one MSP for the constituency of Greenock and Inverclyde – Grianag and Inbhir Chluaidh – but 7 more for the region of the West of Scotland – Alba an Iar. Incidentally if you are a placenames fan, Greenock comes from the Gaelic Grianaig, meaning the sunny place, and Inverclyde – Inbhir Chluaidh – which means the mouth of the Clyde.

Grianaig – Greenock. Photo by ClydeCoast from Wikimedia commons.

If you want to raise an issue, you can contact any of your MSPs, whether they represent your sgìre – constituency or your larger roinn – region. Though technically you don’t have any MSPs until the count is announced over the next few days!

This week’s Gaelic words of the week are sgìre – constituency and roinn – region.

Alasdair MacCaluim