If Old Macdonald was down on Macaulay Farm during World Gaelic Week, he would have heard plenty of gog-gàg here and gnost gnost there – and probably plupadaich everywhere!
Seachdain na Gàidhlig gave students a chance to spend three days with freelance design workshopper Freya Nicleòid, listening carefully to the sounds of the farm and making sure they were recorded in audio and in print.
Freya told welovestornoway.com: “We went out and about recording the noises we could hear around the farm and trying to match them to Gaelic onomatopoeia (soundalike) words, before making a woodblock printed word-map out of the sounds.
“It was a wet week, so one of the first words we spotted was plupadaich – dripping or bubbling – as we experimented with puddles and drips.”
Before long, though, the farm’s animals had supplied gog-gàg (the chickens), memè (the sheep) and the obvious nèhhhh of the donkey and ponies.
Development worker Jo-Ann McConnachie said: “It was an amazing activity and it was really wonderful that students were all the most engaged with a project they have been for ages.
“Everybody took part and they enjoyed every bit of it, a lot of fun and a lot of engagement. Freya pitched it really well.”
Freya said not all of the students had Gaelic at home, but those who did chipped in with the sounds they remembered.
She said: “We used symbols and pictures at first before going out and recording sounds. It was very much a learner situation, exploring the connection between sound, print-making and the senses through the indigenous language of the islands.”
The word-map and students’ print work is now proudly on display in one of the communal work areas on the farm.
The pictures show Freya and the students working hard on animal interviews and print-making, and with their Gaelic word-map at the end of the project (Macaulay College CIC).