Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Benefits of Bilingualism

I came home from school that day
Raw from the teacher’s ruler.
“A Dhonnchaidh,” my mother asked me,
What did you do to deserve such a punishment?
I replied, “Bha mi disobedient,”
The word strange and meaningless on my tongue.
She explained I had been mi-mhodhail
And I was no further in knowing
What my crime had been.

We were not encouraged to speak Gaelic
After that.
Gone was the aran, the taigh and the eaglais.
Instead we ate bread, lived in a house and went to church.

And now they tell me:
Two languages a day
Keeps the Alzheimer’s away.
I can still hear my mother’s soft singing,
But there are some memories
I would quite like to forget.

© Christine Laennec

Feb. 18, 2011, “Speaking Two Languages May Delay Getting Alzheimers”

Check out my blog 'Writing from Scotland' at

I live in Aberdeen, Scotland, and am a Gaelic enthusiast – amongst other things!