8 Far Am Bi Sinn Fhìn Is Ann a Bhios na h-Òrain

Robert Pringle

 

Activity Summary

This activity uses the well-known puirt-à-beul “Far Am Bi Mi Fhìn” as a starting point to develop a variety of language skills, including rhyming in Gaelic, the future tense, and different tenses of “to be,” as well as enunciation. Students start by swapping out a few words and gradually create whole new lines and verses for the song. These exercises will take creativity, courage, and above all a sense of fun.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:  

  • Practice singing and songwriting in Gaelic;
  • Identify rhyming words in Gaelic;
  • Develop facility with the future tense;
  • Develop facility with different tenses of “to be.”

Gaelic Level

This exercise is best for advanced students with the required vocabulary to riff off the familiar song. It can be used with intermediate students if some advanced students are available to support the class.

Preparation for Lesson

  1. Choose an online recording of the song to familiarize the students with the melody and words.
  2. Provide this recording a week before meeting for the lesson so that the students have a chance to become familiar with the song and rhythm.
  3. Ask the students to start by listening to the song a few times without looking at the words; ask them to identify words or parts of words that are familiar to them.
  4. Next encourage students to become familiar with the song by using the lyrics and the recording together.

 

A’ siubhal air na cladaichean,” le Rob Pringle

Resources Required

Required resources:

Optional Resources:

  • Paper and pen for jotting down ideas

Lesson Structure (1.5 – 2 hrs)

Time Activity Resources
20

Provide the lyrics. Introduce some of the ideas around Gaelic rhyme such as matching long vowel sounds and initial and final stress.

To learn more about puirt-à-beul:
20-30 Spend time singing the song together. Work through verse by verse going through pronunciation and emphasis. Start with switching out a single word, e.g., brògan for dòchas.

Switch out other words as confidence grows. Students will remain challenged as they repeat the familiar song with new words. For example:

(Original)
Far am bi mi fhìn is ann a bhios mo dhòchas
Far am bi mi fhìn is ann a bhios mo dhòchas
Far am bi mi fhìn is ann a bhios mo dhòchas
Far am bi mi fhìn bidh mo dhòchas ann

(Example 1)
Far am bi mi fhìn is ann a bhios mo bhrògan
Far am bi mi fhìn is ann a bhios mo bhrògan
Far am bi mi fhìn is ann a bhios mo bhrògan
Far am bi mi fhìn bidh mo bhrògan ann

(Example 2)
Far am bi ’n t-ìm is ann a bhios na bòcain
Far am bi ’n t-ìm  is ann a bhios na bòcain
Far am bi ’n t-ìm  is ann a bhios na bòcain
Far am bi ’n t-ìm bidh na bòcain ann.

20

Improve knowledge of the future tense by substituting the song’s verbs, e.g.:

  • Gheobh thu èisg a-màireach far am faic thu tuinn.
  • Chì thu fèidh a-màireach far am faigh thu craobhan.
30-60 Improve knowledge of different forms of “to be” by changing the verbs from the future to the past, or even into the conditional, for example:
  • Far an robh mi fhìn, is ann a bha mo dhòchas
  • Far am biodh Sìne, etc.

Variations

  • The activity can be as a virtual activity in real-time by using a shared Google document;
  • When singing, increase the speed of the verses as they become repeated. This exercise is fun, develops enunciation, and is a great way to end the class.
  • Invite the students to each take a verse and try their own variations upon it (individually, in pairs, or in small groups), and collect them all at the end to have a huge, rollicking version. 

Preparing for Challenges

Seinn co-dhiubh! Sing anyway! There are many reasons why a student or instructor might feel hesitant to actually sing out the song, from shyness to hesitation around ideas of “competence” as a singer. It is important to emphasize the communal nature of Gaelic singing, and that music is sung for its own sake and not necessarily as a performance, and to approach the exercise with a light-hearted and fun attitude.

 

Lyrics

Sèist:

Far am bi mi fhìn is ann a bhios mo dhòchas (x3)
Far am bi mi fhìn bidh mo dhòchas ann

Théid mi fhìn is Sìne null gu taigh a’ phìobair (x3)
‘S nì sinn brod an ruidhle leinn fhìn air an làr 

’S mur toir am pìobair port dhuinn airson ruidhle (x3)
’S ann a bheir sinn sgrìob chun an fhìdhlear bhàn

 Siubhal air na cladaichean ’s a’ coiseachd air a’ ghainmhich (x3)
Far am bi mi fhìn bidh mo dhòchas ann

 

English Translation

Chorus:

Wherever I will be tis there lies my hope, (x3)
Wherever I will be my hope is therein.

Sheena and I will go yon to the piper’s house, (x3)
We’ll dance the best part of the reel ourselves on the floor. 

And if the piper doesn’t give a tune for a reel, (x3)
Then we’ll take a jaunt to the fair fiddler’s.

Traveling on the shores and walking on the sand, (x3)
Wherever I will be my hope is therein.


About the Author

Robert Pringle is an electrician from Cape Breton whose grandmother sang Gaelic songs to him at bedtime. He is currently teaching Gaelic part time for Daily Gaelic and is also a researcher for Cree8ive Advisory. He graduated from StFX in 2005 with a joint major in Celtic Studies, and then left to teach English in Korea. In 2011 he moved to Alberta and was there until 2021 when he moved back to Cape Breton. 

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Cànan tro Òrain by Robert Pringle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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