Outlander: Twitter Q&A with Adhamh O’Broin!

Continuing in STARZ Outlander’s series of great  Twitter Q&As, today’s session was with Adhamh O’Broin (@An_Comhghallach), Outlander’s Gaelic expert! As she has done before, author Diana Gabaldon visited during the Q&A – her comments are highlighted. A big thanks goes out to Mandy Tidwell, who writes, for transcribing this – it would have taken me FOREVER  to manage the Gaelic! Mandy is an Outlander fan since 1998, has a passion for technology, and is developing a Twitter addiction!

Q         When did you first start to learn Gaelic, and why?

A          I had the desire to delve deeper into what it means to be Scottish and into the soul of this country. I was not disappointed in what I found. I think the story and production capture so much of that 🙂

Q           What is your favorite Gaelic expression or phrase that you tend to “overuse”?

A          Gasta! (great!) pronounced just as it looks 🙂  

Q           How frequently is Gaelic spoken by the general population in Scotland today?

A           Infrequently I’m afraid to say! But I think we’re going a long way to raising the profile of the language with OL 🙂

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Q         How’s Sam doing? Is he a quick learner?

A          An incredibly quick learner with a sharp mind and a passion for learning about the language. He’s fantastic!

Q          What do you hope the series will communicate to the world about Scotland?

A           The producers have gone to great lengths to portray my beloved nation in the best possible light. I’m a proud man 🙂

Q          Have you worked on film or TV production before? What’s it like getting started with the team?

A            Ha-ha, not really, actually! Little bits and pieces here & there but nothing like this! Took a while to get my head around it but everyone’s been so patient!! 🙂

Q         What’s your favorite Gaelic lullaby?

A          “Thug mi ‘n Oidhche ‘Raoir san Àirigh” (I spent last night at the sheiling)   the lyrics were originally pretty racy! 😛

Q         what’s the most difficult aspect of Gaelic to pick up?

A          The “blas” (taste, ie accent). You have to sing while you speak with this language! 🙂 Spelling once used 2it easy!

Q         How much do the Gaelic languages differ? Like Scots vs. Irish vs. Welsh?

A          Welsh, Cornish, Breton = sisters; Scottish, Irish, Manx = sisters | each group = cousins of the other 🙂

Q         Are you around when filming to correct pronunciation or do you just coach them beforehand?

A          Yes! I’m there every time there’s any Scottish Gaelic at all, so get to be around all the sets which is magic 🙂

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Q         What’s sexier…French, Italian or Gaelic???

A          Oh really! There is no contest! Scottish Gaelic all the way 🙂 x

Outlander_Starz: Let’s make this even more fun! Send me some of your names and I’ll translate them as close as I can into Gaelic. Ready… go!

Adham: OK, my name first, then everyone else! 😛 Àdhamh /AHgiv/ there ye go té na gàire briagh! x 

Q         Gina

A          Is that short for anything? 🙂

Q           no, just Gina 🙂 middle name is Rochelle

A          Ròisin /ROsheen/

Q         Angie.

A          Aingeal /ANyel/ 🙂

Q         Jeanne Marie

A          Sìne Màiri /sheene* MAAri/ *like the last ‘e’ in ‘the’

Diana Gabaldon: Diana?

A          Let’s keep it the same spelling and sound it Gaelic! Diana /JEEana/ how does that grab ye, a ghràidh? 🙂 x

Diana: Perfect! Especially like keeping the spelling part.

Q            Btw, my name, Poolak is Farsi and it means “sequins”   (Sam…) “say it wi’ me,” Poolak!

A          No translation, but goes into Gaelic orthography beautifully: “Pulag” even has fem suffix ‘ag’! 🙂

Q         My name is FERNANDA , is it hard to translate?

A          no equivalent, but let’s Gaelicise it! Fearnànda -pron the same 🙂

Q         We’re 4 girls here, curious to know our names in Gaelic: Monica, Francesca, Lilly & Tania!

A          Let’s Gaelicise you girls! Mònag /MAWnak/ Frànca /franka/ Lilidh /lilly/ Tàinia /tania/ ciao! x

Q         Meredith Kristen

A          Kristen = Cairistìona /karisTCHEEona/ 🙂

Q         How about a man’s name? Paul Michael

A          Pàl Mìcheal /PAL MEEchle/ good name! 😉  the ‘le’ in the pronounciation like ‘le’ in “tickle”! 😛

Q         How would you say Adeline in Gaelic? Very interesting chat btw 😉

A          let’s Gaelicise you! Àdailin /AHdaleen/

Diana:   Just finished writing up the Acks for the new book–you feature therein <g>, along w/ the two Cathys. #MoranTaing

Q         Love you in the Speak Outlander videos! Will there be more?!

A           Oh we have a whole bag of fun up our sleeves! Stay tuned 🙂

Diana:   Have you read Michael Newton’s THE NAUGHTY LITTLE BOOK OF GAELIC?

A          I have heard from a reliable source that it’s very good, so u know where to go for some Gaelic nasties! ha-ha 😉

Diana:    Indeed I do; Michael’s generously given permission for me to use one of the more memorable poems In MOBY <g>

Q         I am sure you are very busy with the show,do you still have time for your music?

A          I love being here so much that the sacrifice is worth it, but am definitely hoping to get back to it eventually! 🙂

Q         how were Graham MacTavish and Gary Lewis’ Gaelic before you started ? quick learners ?

A          They didn’t speak it at all, but came on absolute leaps and bounds! I am REALLY proud of those two gents 🙂

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Q         Who is having the most difficulty with the Gaelic?

A          There’s no-one actually who has not been able to get where we need to go, they’ve all come on incredibly well!

Diana:    Can’t tell you how delighted I am that they’re using so much Gaelic in show! _Really_ enjoy all I’ve seen!

Q         Do you dream in English or Gaelic? Or both perhaps?

A          Not having grown up w the language, I don’t dream in G that often, but my kids do as they have had it since birth!

Q         Did you have someone teach you then or are you self taught?

A          Mostly self-taught. Once you touch the vein of Scotland’s soul (G leads straight to it) it eats you up big-time and the rest is history!  

Q         How many languages do you speak?

A          Gaelic, Scots, English fluently, German, Dutch semi-fluently, Spanish, French -get by, Irish, Slovene, Welsh, Finnish -can be polite!

Q         Dang! I’m missing! Can I just say “Hi” then? (or “Feasgar math” 😉 and Mòran taing for all you share with us!

A          ‘S e do bheatha! /shay do VAYha/ you’re welcome. Feasgar math dhut fhéin! (good evening to you!) 🙂 x

Q         How would you say “Jesus H Roosevelt Christ” in Gaelic?

A          Ìosa H Rùsabhailt Crìost!

Q          what’s the difference between Scottish gaelic and Irish?

A          about 500 words, some different spelling conventions and lots of quite different accents from regional dialects

Q         Do you have Gaelic class or work individually with each actor?

A          Individual sessions for the most part. Every1 has their own way of learning, their brains all work differently!

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Q         Adhamh, what is the biggest surprise to date that’s come from working on Outlander?

A          How willing producers / writers r  to take the culture seriously. They give the utmost respect to it. So humbled

Q            What do you do when not working on Outlander? Still Gaelic related?

A          Translation, singing, fieldwork, as am working hard to revive the dialect of my homeland which is almost dead. My children all speak it though, so all is not lost, but we are in need of support wherever we can find it 🙂


Taing dhuibh uile! Thank you all so much 4tonight’s chat! Feel free to say “hi”   Oidhche mhath leibh! Goodnight!


That’s a wrap! Thanks to all the Outlander  fans for joining and of course a BIG thank you to our wonderful Gaelic host, Àdhamh!

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