Dedicated to the Gaelic Language of the Isle of Man
Lessoonyn Meanagh

Intermediate Lessons

lesson 8: Vel Gaelg ayd - Do you speak Manx?

In Manx, as in the other Gaelic languages, there's no verb for 'to have', but there's an idiom that's used in Manx English.
To say, I have a son, we say, There's a son at me. It's still fairly common to hear some of the older people in the Island say that there's something or other at them - that's a fine horse at yer, there's a big dog at him, there's a slogh o'money arrem, or whatever it might be, and this construction is straight from Manx Gaelic. We use this sentence construction to ask someone if they speak Manx.

Vel Gaelg ayd? [Vel Gaelg ayd?] ---------- Vel Gaelg ayd? This translates word-for-word in English as, Is there Manx at you? To which the reply, we hope, is -

Ta, ta Gaelg aym. There is, there's Manx at me. Vel Gaelg ayd?

Ta, ta Gaelg aym. So the word for 'at me' is 'aym' [aym] ---------- aym.

For 'at you', we say 'ayd' [ayd] ---------- ayd. The word for a house is 'thie'. Vel thie ayd? Is there a house at yer? Do have a house? [Vel thie ayd?] ---------- Vel thie ayd?

Ta, ta thie aym. Vel thie ayd?
Ta, ta thie aym.

But what if there's not? The answer then would be Cha nel, cha nel thie aym. The word for a dog is moddey [moddey] ---------- moddey. I'll ask Maralyn if she has a dog, moddey.

Vel moddey ayd?
Ta, ta moddey aym. Vel moddey ayd?

Cha nel, cha nel moddey aym. Vel Gaelg ayd?

Ta, ta Gaelg aym.

If you spoke a little Manx you could say:

Beggan, which means a little.

But I hope you'd say, Beggan, agh ta mee gynsaghey, a little, but I'm learning. Ta mee gynsaghey, I'm learning. [Ta mee gynsaghey.] ---------- Ta mee gynsaghey.

Vel Gaelg ayd?
Beggan, agh ta mee gynsaghey.

If we ask about our imaginary friends, Juan and Mary, we need to know that echey means 'at him': Ta moddey echey, He has a dog, [Ta moddey echey.] ---------- Ta moddey echey.

'At her' is eck: Ta thie eck, she has a house. [Ta thie eck.] ---------- Ta thie eck.

Quoi eshyn?
She Juan eshyn. Ta moddey echey.

Vel Gaelg echey?
Beggan, agh t'eh gynsaghey. Quoi ish?

Ta'n ennym urree Mary. Ta thie eck.
Vel Gaelg eck?

Ta, ta Gaelg eck. Quoi eshyn? Vel Gaelg echey?

Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg echey.

Scammyltagh, that's scandalous! Scammyltagh!

Vel eh gynsaghey.
Ta, t'eh gynsaghey.

Yindyssagh! Wonderful! Yindyssagh! Vel Gaelg eck?

Ta, ta Gaelg eck.
Yindyssagh! Vel ram Gaelg eck? Is there a lot of Manx at her? Vel ram Gaelg eck?

Ta, ta ram Gaelg eck.

We could also ask: Vel Gaelg ec Mary? Does Mary speak Manx? The answer could possibly be either, Ta, ta Gaelg ec Mary or Ta, ta Gaelg eck, or it might be Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg ec Mary, or Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg eck.

In the case of Juan, we could ask, Vel Gaelg ec Juan? and get the answer Ta, ta Gaelg echey, or Ta, ta Gaelg ec Juan, or on the other hand, Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg ec Juan, or Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg echey.

As shen eh voish lessoon hoght.

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