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Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a
Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages, the other being the Brittonic languages. Goidelic languages historically ...
(in the Celtic branch of the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
language family) native to the
Gaels The Gaels ( ; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group native to Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man in the British Isles. They are associated with the Goidelic languages, Gaelic languages: a branch o ...
of
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
. As a Goidelic language, Scottish Gaelic, as well as both Irish and Manx, developed out of
Old Irish Old Irish, also called Old Gaelic ( sga, Goídelc, Ogham, Ogham script: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann-Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ), is the oldest form of the Goidelic languages, Goidelic/Gaelic language for which ...
. It became a distinct
spoken language A spoken language is a language produced by articulate sounds or (depending on one's definition) manual gestures, as opposed to a written language. An oral language or vocal language is a language produced with the vocal tract in contrast with a si ...
sometime in the 13th century in the
Middle Irish Middle Irish, sometimes called Middle Gaelic ( ga, An Mheán-Ghaeilge, gd, Meadhan-Ghàidhlig), is the Goidelic languages, Goidelic language which was spoken in Ireland, most of Scotland and the Isle of Man from AD; it is therefore a contempora ...
period, although a common
literary language A literary language is the Register (sociolinguistics), form (register) of a language used in written literature, which can be either a nonstandard dialect or a standard language, standardized variety of the language. Literary language sometimes ...
was shared by the
Gaels The Gaels ( ; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group native to Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man in the British Isles. They are associated with the Goidelic languages, Gaelic languages: a branch o ...
of both
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
and Scotland until well into the 17th century. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced especially by Gaelic-language place names. In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population aged over 3 years old) reported being able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001. The highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the
Outer Hebrides The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or or ("islands of the strangers"); sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as the Long Isle/Long Island ( gd, An t-Eilean Fada, links=no), is an island chain off the west coast ...
. Nevertheless, there is a
language revival Language revitalization, also referred to as language revival or reversing language shift, is an attempt to halt or reverse the decline of a language or to revive an extinct one. Those involved can include linguists, cultural or community groups, o ...
, and the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, a dialect known as
Canadian Gaelic Canadian Gaelic or Cape Breton Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig Chanada, or ), often known in Canadian English simply as Gaelic, is a collective term for the dialects of Scottish Gaelic spoken in Atlantic Canada. Scottish Gaels were settled in Nova Scot ...
has been spoken in
eastern Canada Eastern Canada (also the Eastern provinces or the East) is generally considered to be the region of Canada south of the Hudson Bay/Hudson Strait, Strait and east of Manitoba, consisting of the following provinces and territories of Canada, provi ...
and Glengarry County, Ontario since the 18th century. In the 2016 national census, nearly 4,000
Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of ...
residents claimed knowledge of Scottish Gaelic, with a particular concentration in
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia ( ; ; ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is one of the three Maritime Canada, Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic Canada, Atlantic provinces. Nova Scoti ...
. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an
indigenous language An indigenous language, or autochthonous language, is a language that is native to a region and spoken by indigenous peoples. This language is from a linguistically distinct community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) ...
under the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty (CETS 148) adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional language, regional and minority languages in E ...
, which the
UK Government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal Arms , date_es ...
has ratified, and the
Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 ( gd, Achd na Gàidhlig (Alba) 2005) is an Act of the Scottish Parliament passed in 2005. It was the first piece of Scottish Parliament legislation, legislation dedicated to the Scottish Gaelic language an ...
established a language-development body, .


Name

Aside from "Scottish Gaelic", the language may also be referred to simply as "Gaelic", pronounced in English. However, "Gaelic" also refers to the
Irish language Irish (an Caighdeán Oifigiúil, Standard Irish: ), also known as Gaelic, is a Goidelic languages, Goidelic language of the Insular Celtic branch of the Celtic language family, which is a part of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European lang ...
() and the
Manx language Manx ( or , pronounced or ), also known as Manx Gaelic, is a Goidelic language, Gaelic language of the insular Celtic branch of the Celtic language family, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Manx is the historical language ...
(). Scottish Gaelic is distinct from Scots, the
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) is a form of the English language that was spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest of 1066, until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments ...
-derived language which had come to be spoken in most of the Lowlands of Scotland by the early
modern era The term modern period or modern era (sometimes also called modern history or modern times) is the period of history that succeeds the Middle Ages (which ended approximately 1500 AD). This terminology is a historical periodization that is applie ...
. Prior to the 15th century, this language was known as ('English') by its own speakers, with Gaelic being called ('Scottish'). Beginning in the late 15th century, it became increasingly common for such speakers to refer to Scottish Gaelic as ('Irish') and the Lowland vernacular as . Today, Scottish Gaelic is recognised as a separate language from Irish, so the word in reference to Scottish Gaelic is no longer used.


History


Origins

Based on medieval traditional accounts and the apparent evidence from linguistic geography, Gaelic has been commonly believed to have been brought to Scotland, in the 4th–5th centuries CE, by settlers from Ireland who founded the Gaelic kingdom of on Scotland's west coast in present-day
Argyll Argyll (; archaically Argyle, in Scottish Gaelic language, modern Gaelic, ), sometimes called Argyllshire, is a Counties of Scotland, historic county and registration county of western Scotland. Argyll is of ancient origin, and corresponds t ...
. An alternative view has been voiced by archaeologist Dr Ewan Campbell, who has argued that the putative migration or takeover is not reflected in archaeological or placename data (as pointed out earlier by
Leslie Alcock Leslie Alcock (24 April 1925 – 6 June 2006) was Professor of Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, and one of the leading archaeologists of Early Medieval Britain. His major excavations included Dinas Powys hill fort in Wales, Cadbury Cast ...
). Campbell has also questioned the age and reliability of the medieval historical sources speaking of a conquest. Instead, he has inferred that Argyll formed part of a common
Q-Celtic The Celtic languages ( usually , but sometimes ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic Proto-Celtic, or Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language of all known Celtic languages, and a descendant of Proto-Indo- ...
-speaking area with Ireland, connected rather than divided by the sea, since the Iron Age. These arguments have been opposed by some scholars defending the early dating of the traditional accounts and arguing for other interpretations of the archaeological evidence. Regardless of how it came to be spoken in the region, Gaelic in Scotland was mostly confined to until the eighth century, when it began expanding into
Pictish Pictish is the extinct language, extinct Brittonic language spoken by the Picts, the people of eastern and northern Scotland from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages. Virtually no direct attestations of Pictish remain, short of a limited num ...
areas north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. During the reign of (Constantine II, 900–943), outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than as the kingdom of the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear suddenly, a process of
Gaelicisation Gaelicisation, or Gaelicization, is the act or process of making something Gaels, Gaelic, or gaining characteristics of the ''Gaels'', a sub-branch of celticisation. The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group, traditionally viewed as having spread fr ...
(which may have begun generations earlier) was clearly under way during the reigns of and his successors. By a certain point, probably during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become fully Gaelicised Scots, and Pictish identity was forgotten. Bilingualism in
Pictish Pictish is the extinct language, extinct Brittonic language spoken by the Picts, the people of eastern and northern Scotland from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages. Virtually no direct attestations of Pictish remain, short of a limited num ...
and Gaelic, prior to the former's extinction, led to the presence of Pictish
loanwords A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word at least partly assimilated from one language (the donor language) into another language. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because the ...
in Gaelic and syntactic influence which could be considered to constitute a Pictish substrate. In 1018, after the conquest of
Lothian Lothian (; sco, Lowden, Loudan, -en, -o(u)n; gd, Lodainn ) is a region of the Scottish Lowlands, lying between the southern shore of the Firth of Forth and the Lammermuir Hills and the Moorfoot Hills. The principal settlement is the Scott ...
by the
Kingdom of Scotland The Kingdom of Scotland (; , ) was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a An ...
, Gaelic reached its social, cultural, political, and geographic zenith. Colloquial speech in Scotland had been developing independently of that in Ireland since the eighth century. For the first time, the entire region of modern-day Scotland was called in Latin, and Gaelic was the . In southern Scotland, Gaelic was strong in
Galloway Galloway ( ; sco, Gallowa; la, Gallovidia) is a region in southwestern Scotland comprising the counties of Scotland, historic counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire. It is administered as part of the council areas of Scotland, counci ...
, adjoining areas to the north and west,
West Lothian West Lothian ( sco, Wast Lowden; gd, Lodainn an Iar) is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, and was one of its shires of Scotland, historic counties. The county was called Linlithgowshire until 1925. The historic county was bounded geogra ...
, and parts of western
Midlothian Midlothian (; gd, Meadhan Lodainn) is a counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county, lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area and one of 32 council areas of Scotland used for local government. Midlothian lies in the eas ...
. It was spoken to a lesser degree in north
Ayrshire Ayrshire ( gd, Siorrachd Inbhir Àir, ) is a historic county and registration county in south-west Scotland, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Its principal towns include Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine and it borders the counties o ...
,
Renfrewshire Renfrewshire () ( sco, Renfrewshire; gd, Siorrachd Rinn Friù) is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. Located in the west central Lowlands, it is one of three council areas contained within the boundaries of the counties of Scotland, his ...
, the
Clyde Valley The River Clyde ( gd, Abhainn Chluaidh, , sco, Clyde Watter, or ) is a river that flows into the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. It is the ninth-longest river in the United Kingdom, and the third-longest in Scotland. It runs through the major ci ...
and eastern
Dumfriesshire Dumfriesshire or the County of Dumfries or Shire of Dumfries (''Siorrachd Dhùn Phris'' in Scottish Gaelic, Gaelic) is a Counties of Scotland, historic county and registration county in southern Scotland. The Dumfries lieutenancy areas of Scotla ...
. In south-eastern Scotland, there is no evidence that Gaelic was ever widely spoken.


Decline

Many historians mark the reign of King Malcolm Canmore ( Malcolm III) between 1058 and 1093 as the beginning of Gaelic's eclipse in Scotland. His wife
Margaret of Wessex Saint Margaret of Scotland ( gd, Naomh Maighréad; sco, Saunt Marget, ), also known as Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess and a Scottish queen. Margaret was sometimes called "The Pearl of Scotland". Born in the Kingdom of Hungary ...
spoke no Gaelic, gave her children Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic names, and brought many English bishops, priests, and monastics to Scotland. When Malcolm and Margaret died in 1093, the Gaelic aristocracy rejected their anglicised sons and instead backed Malcolm's brother Donald Bàn (
Donald III Donald III (Middle Irish language, Medieval Gaelic: Domnall mac Donnchada; Scottish Gaelic language, Modern Gaelic: ''Dòmhnall mac Dhonnchaidh''), and nicknamed "Donald the Fair" or "Donald the White" (Medieval Gaelic:"Domnall Bán", anglicised ...
). Donald had spent 17 years in Gaelic Ireland and his power base was in the thoroughly Gaelic west of Scotland. He was the last Scottish monarch to be buried on
Iona Iona (; gd, Ì Chaluim Chille (IPA: iːˈxaɫ̪ɯimˈçiʎə, sometimes simply ''Ì''; sco, Iona) is a small island in the Inner Hebrides, off the Ross of Mull on the western coast of Scotland. It is mainly known for Iona Abbey, though the ...
, the traditional burial place of the Gaelic Kings of and the Kingdom of Alba. However, during the reigns of Malcolm Canmore's sons, Edgar, Alexander I and David I (their successive reigns lasting 1097–1153), Anglo-Norman names and practices spread throughout Scotland south of the Forth–Clyde line and along the northeastern coastal plain as far north as Moray. Norman French completely displaced Gaelic at court. The establishment of royal burghs throughout the same area, particularly under
David I David I may refer to: * David I, List of Caucasian Albanian Catholicoi, Caucasian Albanian Catholicos c. 399 * David I of Armenia, Catholicos of Armenia (728–741) * David I Kuropalates of Georgia (died 881) * David I Anhoghin, king of Lori (ruled ...
, attracted large numbers of foreigners speaking Old English. This was the beginning of Gaelic's status as a predominantly rural language in Scotland. Clan chiefs in the northern and western parts of Scotland continued to support Gaelic bards who remained a central feature of court life there. The semi-independent Lordship of the Isles in the Hebrides and western coastal mainland remained thoroughly Gaelic since the language's recovery there in the 12th century, providing a political foundation for cultural prestige down to the end of the 15th century. By the mid-14th century what eventually came to be called Scots (at that time termed Inglis) emerged as the official language of government and law. Scotland's emergent nationalism in the era following the conclusion of the
Wars of Scottish Independence The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The First War of Scottish Independence, First War (1296–1328) ...
was organized using Scots as well. For example, the nation's great patriotic literature including John Barbour's '' The Brus'' (1375) and Blind Harry's '' The Wallace'' (before 1488) was written in Scots, not Gaelic. By the end of the 15th century, English/Scots speakers referred to Gaelic instead as 'Yrisch' or 'Erse', i.e. Irish and their own language as 'Scottis'.


Modern era

A steady shift away from Scottish Gaelic continued into and through the modern era. Some of this was driven by policy decisions by government or other organisations, some originated from social changes. In the last quarter of the 20th century, efforts began to encourage use of the language. The
Statutes of Iona The Statutes of Iona, passed in Scotland in 1609, required that Scottish Highlands, Highland Scottish clan Scottish clan chief, chiefs send their heirs to Lowland Scotland to be educated in English-speaking Protestant schools. As a result, some cl ...
, enacted by
James VI James is a common English language surname and given name: *James (name), the typically masculine first name James * James (surname), various people with the last name James James or James City may also refer to: People * King James (disambiguati ...
in 1609, was one piece of legislation that addressed, among other things, the Gaelic language. It compelled the heirs of clan chiefs to be educated in lowland, Protestant, English-speaking schools. James VI took several such measures to impose his rule on the Highland and Island region. In 1616 the
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advice (constitutional), advises the head of state of a State (polity), state, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchy, monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a pr ...
proclaimed that schools teaching in English should be established. Gaelic was seen, at this time, as one of the causes of the instability of the region. It was also associated with Catholicism. The Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) was founded in 1709. They met in 1716, immediately after the failed Jacobite rebellion of 1715, to consider the reform and civilisation of the Highlands, which they sought to achieve by teaching English and the Protestant religion. Initially their teaching was entirely in English, but soon the impracticality of educating Gaelic-speaking children in this way gave rise to a modest concession: in 1723 teachers were allowed to translate English words in the Bible into Gaelic to aid comprehension, but there was no further permitted use. Other less prominent schools worked in the Highlands at the same time, also teaching in English. This process of anglicisation paused when evangelical preachers arrived in the Highlands, convinced that people should be able to read religious texts in their own language. The first well-known translation of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
into Scottish Gaelic was made in 1767 when Dr James Stuart of Killin and Dugald Buchanan of Rannoch produced a translation of the New Testament. In 1798 4 tracts in Gaelic were published by the Society for Propagating the Gospel at Home. 5,000 copies of each were printed. Other publications followed, with a full Gaelic Bible in 1801. The influential and effective Gaelic Schools Society was founded in 1811. Their purpose was to teach Gaels to read the Bible in their own language. In the first quarter of the 19th century, the SSPCK (despite their anti-Gaelic attitude in prior years) and the British and Foreign Bible Society distributed 60,000 Gaelic Bibles and 80,000 New Testaments. It is estimated that this overall schooling and publishing effort gave some 300,000 people in the Highlands some basic literacy. Very few European languages have made the transition to a modern literary language without an early modern translation of the Bible; the lack of a well-known translation may have contributed to the decline of Scottish Gaelic. Counterintuitively, access to schooling in Gaelic increased knowledge of English. In 1829 the Gaelic Schools Society reported that parents were unconcerned about their children learning Gaelic, but were anxious to have them taught English. The SSPCK also found Highlanders to have significant prejudice against Gaelic. T. M. Devine attributes this to an association between English and the prosperity of employment: the Highland economy relied greatly on seasonal migrant workers travelling outside the . In 1863, an observer sympathetic to Gaelic stated that "knowledge of English is indispensable to any poor islander who wishes to learn a trade or to earn his bread beyond the limits of his native Isle". Generally, rather than Gaelic speakers, it was Celtic societies in the cities and professors of Celtic from universities who sought to preserve the language. The
Education (Scotland) Act 1872 The Education (Scotland) Act 1872 (35 & 36 Queen Victoria, Vict. c. 62) made primary education , elementary education for all children between the ages of 5 and 13 mandatory in Scotland. The Act achieved a more thorough transfer of existing scho ...
provided universal education in Scotland, but completely ignored Gaelic in its plans. The mechanism for supporting Gaelic through the Education Codes issued by the Scottish Education Department were steadily used to overcome this omission, with many concessions in place by 1918. However, the members of Highland school boards tended to have anti-Gaelic attitudes and served as an obstacle to Gaelic education in the late 19th and early 20th century. Loss of life due to
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
and the 1919 sinking of the HMY combined with emigration to mean the 1910s saw unprecedented damage to the use of Scottish Gaelic, with a 46% fall in monolingual speakers and a 19% fall in
bilingual Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, either by an individual speaker or by a group of speakers. It is believed that multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. More than half of all E ...
speakers between the
1911 A notable ongoing event was the Comparison of the Amundsen and Scott Expeditions, race for the South Pole. Events January * January 1 – A decade after federation, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory ...
and
1921 Events January * January 2 ** The Association football club Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, from Belo Horizonte, is founded as the multi-sports club Palestra Italia by Italian expatriates in First Brazilian Republic, Brazil. ** The Spanish lin ...
Censuses. Michelle MacLeod of
Aberdeen University The University of Aberdeen ( sco, University o' 'Aiberdeen; abbreviated as ''Aberd.'' in List of post-nominal letters (United Kingdom), post-nominals; gd, Oilthigh Obar Dheathain) is a public university, public research university in Aberdeen, Sc ...
, has said there was no other period with such a high fall in the number of monolingual Gaelic speakers: "Gaelic speakers became increasingly the exception from that point forward with bilingualism replacing monolingualism as the norm for Gaelic speakers." The Linguistic Survey of Scotland (1949–1997) surveyed both the dialect of the Scottish Gaelic language, and also mixed use of English and Gaelic across the Highlands and Islands.


Defunct dialects

Dialects of Lowland Gaelic have been defunct since the 18th century. Gaelic in the Eastern and Southern Scottish Highlands, although alive until the mid-20th century, is now largely defunct. Although modern Scottish Gaelic is dominated by the dialects of the Outer Hebrides and Isle of Skye, there remain some speakers of the Inner Hebridean dialects of Tiree and Islay, and even a few native speakers from Western Highland areas including Wester Ross, northwest
Sutherland Sutherland ( gd, Cataibh) is a Counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county and lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area in the Scottish Highlands, Highlands of Scotland. Its county town is Dornoch. Sutherland borders Caith ...
,
Lochaber Lochaber ( ; gd, Loch Abar) is a name applied to a part of the Scottish Highlands. Historically, it was a provincial lordship consisting of the parishes of Kilmallie and Kilmonivaig, as they were before being reduced in extent by the creation ...
and
Argyll Argyll (; archaically Argyle, in Scottish Gaelic language, modern Gaelic, ), sometimes called Argyllshire, is a Counties of Scotland, historic county and registration county of western Scotland. Argyll is of ancient origin, and corresponds t ...
. Dialects on both sides of the Straits of Moyle (the North Channel) linking Scottish Gaelic with Irish are now extinct, though native speakers were still to be found on the Mull of Kintyre, on Rathlin and in North East Ireland as late as the mid-20th century. Records of their speech show that Irish and Scottish Gaelic existed in a dialect chain with no clear language boundary. Some features of moribund dialects have been preserved in Nova Scotia, including the pronunciation of the broad or velarised l () as , as in the
Lochaber Lochaber ( ; gd, Loch Abar) is a name applied to a part of the Scottish Highlands. Historically, it was a provincial lordship consisting of the parishes of Kilmallie and Kilmonivaig, as they were before being reduced in extent by the creation ...
dialect.


Status

The Endangered Languages Project lists Gaelic's status as "threatened", with "20,000 to 30,000 active users". UNESCO classifies Gaelic as "definitely endangered".


Number of speakers

The 1755–2001 figures are census data quoted by MacAulay. The 2011 Gaelic speakers figures come from table KS206SC of the 2011 Census. The 2011 total population figure comes from table KS101SC. Note that the numbers of Gaelic speakers relate to the numbers aged 3 and over, and the percentages are calculated using those and the number of the total population aged 3 and over.


Distribution in Scotland

The
2011 UK Census A census of the population of the United Kingdom is taken every ten years. The 2011 census was held in all countries of the UK on 27 March 2011. It was the first UK census which could be completed online via the Internet The Internet ( ...
showed a total of 57,375 Gaelic speakers in
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
(1.1% of population over three years old), of whom only 32,400 could also read and write the language. Compared with the 2001 Census, there has been a diminution of about 1300 people. This is the smallest drop between censuses since the Gaelic-language question was first asked in 1881. The Scottish government's language minister and took this as evidence that Gaelic's long decline has slowed. The main stronghold of the language continues to be the
Outer Hebrides The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or or ("islands of the strangers"); sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as the Long Isle/Long Island ( gd, An t-Eilean Fada, links=no), is an island chain off the west coast ...
(), where the overall proportion of speakers is 52.2%. Important pockets of the language also exist in the Highlands (5.4%) and in
Argyll and Bute Argyll and Bute ( sco, Argyll an Buit; gd, Earra-Ghàidheal agus Bòd, ) is one of 32 unitary authority council areas in Scotland and a lieutenancy area. The current lord-lieutenant for Argyll and Bute is Jane Margaret MacLeod (14 July 202 ...
(4.0%) and
Inverness Inverness (; from the gd, Inbhir Nis , meaning "Mouth of the River Ness"; sco, Innerness) is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for The Highland Council and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands. Histo ...
(4.9%). The locality with the largest absolute number is
Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesca or ; gd, Glaschu ) is the most populous city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ' ...
with 5,878 such persons, who make up over 10% of all of Scotland's Gaelic speakers. left, Cumbernauld Gaelic Choir in 2021 Gaelic continues to decline in its traditional heartland. Between 2001 and 2011, the absolute number of Gaelic speakers fell sharply in the Western Isles (−1,745), Argyll & Bute (−694), and Highland (−634). The drop in
Stornoway Stornoway (; gd, Steòrnabhagh; sco, Stornowa) is the main town of the Western Isles and the capital of Lewis and Harris in Scotland. The town's population is around 6,953, making it by far the largest town in the Outer Hebrides, as well a ...
, the largest parish in the Western Isles by population, was especially acute, from 57.5% of the population in 1991 to 43.4% in 2011. The only parish outside the Western Isles over 40% Gaelic-speaking is Kilmuir in Northern
Skye The Isle of Skye, or simply Skye (; gd, An t-Eilean Sgitheanach or ; sco, Isle o Skye), is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous hub dominated b ...
at 46%. The islands in the
Inner Hebrides The Inner Hebrides (; Scottish Gaelic: ''Na h-Eileanan a-staigh'', "the inner isles") is an archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland, to the south east of the Outer Hebrides. Together these two island chains form the Hebrides, whic ...
with significant percentages of Gaelic speakers are
Tiree Tiree (; gd, Tiriodh, ) is the most westerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The low-lying island, southwest of Coll, has an area of and a population of around 650. The land is highly fertile, and crofting, alongside tourism, and ...
(38.3%),
Raasay Raasay (; gd, Ratharsair) or the Isle of Raasay is an island between the Isle of Skye and the mainland of Scotland. It is separated from Skye by the Sound of Raasay and from Applecross by the Inner Sound, Scotland, Inner Sound. It is fam ...
(30.4%),
Skye The Isle of Skye, or simply Skye (; gd, An t-Eilean Sgitheanach or ; sco, Isle o Skye), is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous hub dominated b ...
(29.4%), Lismore (26.9%),
Colonsay Colonsay (; gd, Colbhasa; sco, Colonsay) is an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, located north of Islay and south of Isle of Mull, Mull. The ancestral home of Clan Macfie and the Colonsay branch of Clan MacNeil, it is in the council a ...
(20.2%), and
Islay Islay ( ; gd, Ìle, sco, Ila) is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides The Inner Hebrides (; Scottish Gaelic: ''Na h-Eileanan a-staigh'', "the inner isles") is an archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland, to the sout ...
(19.0%). Today, no
civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of Parish (administrative division), administrative parish used for Local government in England, local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below district ...
in Scotland has a proportion of Gaelic speakers greater than 65% (the highest value is in Barvas,
Lewis Lewis may refer to: Names * Lewis (given name), including a list of people with the given name * Lewis (surname), including a list of people with the surname Music * Lewis (musician), Canadian singer * "Lewis (Mistreated)", a song by Radiohead ...
, with 64.1%). In addition, no civil parish on mainland Scotland has a proportion of Gaelic speakers greater than 20% (the highest is in
Ardnamurchan Ardnamurchan (, gd, Àird nam Murchan: headland of the great seas) is a peninsula A peninsula (; ) is a landform that extends from a mainland and is surrounded by water on most, but not all of its borders. A peninsula is also sometimes d ...
,
Highland Highlands or uplands are areas of high elevation such as a mountainous region, elevated mountainous plateau or high hills. Generally speaking, upland (or uplands) refers to ranges of hills, typically from up to while highland (or highlands) is ...
, with 19.3%). Out of a total of 871 civil parishes in Scotland, the proportion of Gaelic speakers exceeds 50% in seven parishes, 25% in 14 parishes, and 10% in 35 parishes. Decline in traditional areas has recently been balanced by growth in the
Scottish Lowlands The Lowlands ( sco, Lallans or ; gd, a' Ghalldachd, , place of the foreigners, ) is a cultural and historical region of Scotland. Culturally, the Lowlands and the Scottish Highlands, Highlands diverged from the Late Middle Ages into the moder ...
. Between the 2001 and 2011 censuses, the number of Gaelic speakers rose in nineteen of the country's 32 council areas. The largest absolute gains were in
Aberdeenshire Aberdeenshire ( sco, Aiberdeenshire; gd, Siorrachd Obar Dheathain) is one of the 32 Subdivisions of Scotland#council areas of Scotland, council areas of Scotland. It takes its name from the County of Aberdeen which has substantially differe ...
(+526),
North Lanarkshire North Lanarkshire ( sco, North Lanrikshire; gd, Siorrachd Lannraig a Tuath) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the northeast of the City of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's suburbs and commuter towns and villages. It also ...
(+305), Aberdeen City (+216), and
East Ayrshire East Ayrshire ( sco, Aest Ayrshire; gd, Siorrachd Àir an Ear) is one of thirty-two Subdivisions of Scotland, council areas of Scotland. It shares borders with Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and South ...
(+208). The largest relative gains were in Aberdeenshire (+0.19%), East Ayrshire (+0.18%),
Moray Moray () gd, Moireibh or ') is one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland. It lies in the north-east of the country, with a coastline on the Moray Firth, and borders the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Highland (council area), ...
(+0.16%), and
Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) north ...
(+0.13%). In 2018, the census of pupils in Scotland showed 520 students in publicly funded schools had Gaelic as the main language at home, an increase of 5% from 497 in 2014. During the same period,
Gaelic medium education in Scotland Gaelic-medium education (G.M.E. or GME; gd, Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gàidhlig) is a form of education in Scotland that allows pupils to be taught primarily through the medium of Scottish Gaelic, with English being taught as the secondary langua ...
has grown, with 4,343 pupils (6.3 per 1000) being educated in a Gaelic-immersion environment in 2018, up from 3,583 pupils (5.3 per 1000) in 2014. Data collected in 2007–2008 indicated that even among pupils enrolled in Gaelic medium schools, 81% of primary students and 74% of secondary students report using English more often than Gaelic when speaking with their mothers at home. The effect on this of the significant increase in pupils in Gaelic-medium education since that time is unknown.


Preservation and Revitalization

Gaelic Medium Education is one of the primary ways that the Scottish Government is addressing Gaelic language shift. Along with the Bòrd na Gàidhlig policies, preschool and daycare environments are also being used to create more opportunities for intergenerational language transmission in the Outer Hebrides.  However, revitalization efforts are not unified within Scotland or Nova Scotia, Canada. One can attend Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a national centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, based in Sleat, on the
Isle of Skye The Isle of Skye, or simply Skye (; gd, An t-Eilean Sgitheanach or ; sco, Isle o Skye), is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous hub dominated b ...
. This institution is the only source for higher education which is conducted entirely in Scottish Gaelic. They offer courses for Gaelic learners from beginners into fluency. They also offer regular bachelors and graduate programs delivered entirely in Gaelic. Concerns have been raised around the fluency achieved by learners within these language programs because they are disconnected from vernacular speech communities. In regard to language revitalization planning efforts, many feel that the initiatives must come from within Gaelic speaking communities, be led by Gaelic speakers, and be designed to serve and increase fluency within the vernacular communities as the first and most viable resistance to total language shift from Gaelic to English. Currently, language policies are focused on creating new language speakers through education, instead of focused on how to strengthen intergenerational transmission within existing Gaelic speaking communities.


Challenges to Preservation and Revitalization

In the
Outer Hebrides The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or or ("islands of the strangers"); sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as the Long Isle/Long Island ( gd, An t-Eilean Fada, links=no), is an island chain off the west coast ...
, accommodation ethics exist amongst native or local Gaelic speakers when engaging with new learners or non-locals. Accommodation ethics, or ethics of accommodation, is a social practice where local or native speakers of Gaelic shift to speaking English when in the presence of non-Gaelic speakers out of a sense of courtesy or politeness. This accommodation ethic persists even in situations where new learners attempt to speak Gaelic with native speakers. This creates a situation where new learners struggle to find opportunities to speak Gaelic with fluent speakers. Affect is the way people feel about something, or the emotional response to a particular situation or experience. For Gaelic speakers, there is a conditioned and socialized negative affect through a long history of negative Scottish media portrayal and public disrespect, state mandated restrictions on Gaelic usage, and
highland clearances The Highland Clearances ( gd, Fuadaichean nan Gàidheal , the "eviction of the Gaels") were the evictions of a significant number of tenants in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, mostly in two phases from 1750 to 1860. The first phase resulte ...
. This negative affect towards speaking openly with non-native Gaelic speakers has led to a language ideology at odds with revitalization efforts on behalf of new speakers, state policies (such as the Gaelic Language Act), and family members reclaiming their lost mother tongue. New learners of Gaelic often have a positive affective stance to their language learning, and connect this learning journey towards Gaelic language revitalization. The mismatch of these language ideologies, and differences in affective stance, has led to fewer speaking opportunities for adult language learners and therefore a challenge to revitalization efforts which occur outside the home. Positive engagements between language learners and native speakers of Gaelic through mentorship has proven to be productive in socializing new learners into fluency.


Usage


Official


Scotland


=Scottish Parliament

= Gaelic has long suffered from its lack of use in educational and administrative contexts and was long suppressed. The UK government has ratified the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty (CETS 148) adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional language, regional and minority languages in E ...
in respect of Gaelic. Gaelic, along with Irish and Welsh, is designated under Part III of the Charter, which requires the UK Government to take a range of concrete measures in the fields of education, justice, public administration, broadcasting and culture. It has not received the same degree of official recognition from the UK Government as Welsh. With the advent of
devolution Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimat ...
, however, Scottish matters have begun to receive greater attention, and it achieved a degree of official recognition when the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act was enacted by the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...
on 21 April 2005. The key provisions of the Act are: * Establishing the Gaelic development body, (BnG), on a statutory basis with a view to securing the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language and to promote the use and understanding of Gaelic. * Requiring BnG to prepare a National Gaelic Language Plan every five years for approval by Scottish Ministers. * Requiring BnG to produce guidance on Gaelic medium education and Gaelic as a subject for education authorities. * Requiring public bodies in Scotland, both Scottish public bodies and cross-border public bodies insofar as they carry out devolved functions, to develop Gaelic language plans in relation to the services they offer, if requested to do so by BnG. After its creation, Bòrd na Gàidhlig required a Gaelic Language Plan from the Scottish Government. This plan was accepted in 2008, and some of its main commitments were: identity (signs, corporate identity); communications (reception, telephone, mailings, public meetings, complaint procedures); publications (PR and media, websites); staffing (language learning, training, recruitment). Following a consultation period, in which the government received many submissions, the majority of which asked that the bill be strengthened, a revised bill was published; the main alteration was that the guidance of the is now statutory (rather than advisory). In the committee stages in the Scottish Parliament, there was much debate over whether Gaelic should be given 'equal validity' with English. Due to executive concerns about resourcing implications if this wording was used, the Education Committee settled on the concept of 'equal respect'. It is not clear what the legal force of this wording is. The Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament unanimously, with support from all sectors of the Scottish political spectrum, on 21 April 2005. Under the provisions of the Act, it will ultimately fall to BnG to secure the status of the Gaelic language as an
official language An official language is a language given supreme status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciary, ...
of Scotland. Some commentators, such as (2006) argue that the Gaelic Act falls so far short of the status accorded to Welsh that one would be foolish or naïve to believe that any substantial change will occur in the fortunes of the language as a result of 's efforts. On 10 December 2008, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six pr ...
, the Scottish Human Rights Commission had the UDHR translated into Gaelic for the first time. However, given there are no longer any monolingual Gaelic speakers, following an appeal in the court case of ''Taylor v Haughney'' (1982), involving the status of Gaelic in judicial proceedings, the High Court ruled against a general right to use Gaelic in court proceedings.
While the goal of the Gaelic Language Act was to aid in revitalization efforts through government mandated official language status, the outcome of the act is distanced from the actual minority language communities. It helps to create visibility of the minority language in civil structures, but does not impact or address the lived experiences of the Gaelic speaker communities wherein the revitalization efforts may have a higher return of new Gaelic speakers. Efforts are being made to concentrate resources, language planning, and revitalization efforts towards vernacular communities in the Western Isles.


=Qualifications in the language

= The
Scottish Qualifications Authority The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA; Scottish Gaelic, Gaelic: ''Ùghdarras Theisteanas na h-Alba'') is the Scottish public bodies, executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government responsible for accrediting educationa ...
offer two streams of Gaelic examination across all levels of the syllabus: Gaelic for learners (equivalent to the modern foreign languages syllabus) and Gaelic for native speakers (equivalent to the English syllabus). performs assessment of spoken Gaelic, resulting in the issue of a Bronze Card, Silver Card or Gold Card. Syllabus details are available on An Comunn's website. These are not widely recognised as qualifications, but are required for those taking part in certain competitions at the annual .


=European Union

= In October 2009, a new agreement allowed Scottish Gaelic to be formally used between Scottish Government ministers and
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
officials. The deal was signed by Britain's representative to the EU, Sir Kim Darroch, and the Scottish government. This did not give Scottish Gaelic official status in the EU but gave it the right to be a means of formal communications in the EU's institutions. The Scottish government had to pay for the translation from Gaelic to other
European languages Most languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. Out of a demographics of Europe, total European population of 744 million as of 2018, some 94% are native speakers of an Indo-European language. Within Indo-European, the thre ...
. The deal was received positively in Scotland;
Secretary of State for Scotland The secretary of state for Scotland ( gd, Rùnaire Stàite na h-Alba; sco, Secretar o State fir Scotland), also referred to as the Scottish secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the Unit ...
Jim Murphy said the move was a strong sign of the UK government's support for Gaelic. He said; "Allowing Gaelic speakers to communicate with European institutions in their mother tongue is a progressive step forward and one which should be welcomed". Culture Minister Mike Russell said; "this is a significant step forward for the recognition of Gaelic both at home and abroad and I look forward to addressing the council in Gaelic very soon. Seeing Gaelic spoken in such a forum raises the profile of the language as we drive forward our commitment to creating a new generation of Gaelic speakers in Scotland."


=Signage

= Bilingual road signs, street names, business and advertisement signage (in both Gaelic and English) are gradually being introduced throughout Gaelic-speaking regions in the Highlands and Islands, including Argyll. In many cases, this has simply meant re-adopting the traditional spelling of a name (such as or rather than the anglicised forms ''Ratagan'' or ''Lochailort'' respectively). Some monolingual Gaelic road signs, particularly direction signs, are used on the
Outer Hebrides The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or or ("islands of the strangers"); sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as the Long Isle/Long Island ( gd, An t-Eilean Fada, links=no), is an island chain off the west coast ...
, where a majority of the population can have a working knowledge of the language. These omit the English translation entirely. Bilingual railway station signs are now more frequent than they used to be. Practically all the stations in the Highland area use both English and Gaelic, and the use of bilingual station signs has become more frequent in the Lowlands of Scotland, including areas where Gaelic has not been spoken for a long time. This has been welcomed by many supporters of the language as a means of raising its profile as well as securing its future as a 'living language' (i.e. allowing people to use it to navigate from A to B in place of English) and creating a sense of place. However, in some places, such as Caithness, the Highland Council's intention to introduce bilingual signage has incited controversy. The
Ordnance Survey Ordnance Survey (OS) is the national mapping agency for Great Britain. The agency's name indicates its original military purpose (see ordnance and surveying), which was to map Scotland in the wake of the Jacobite rising of 1745 The J ...
has acted in recent years to correct many of the mistakes that appear on maps. They announced in 2004 that they intended to correct them and set up a committee to determine the correct forms of Gaelic place names for their maps. Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba ("Place names in Scotland") is the national advisory partnership for Gaelic place names in Scotland.


Canada

In the nineteenth century, Canadian Gaelic was the third-most widely spoken European language in
British North America British North America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, ...
and Gaelic-speaking immigrant communities could be found throughout what is modern-day Canada. Gaelic poets in Canada produced a significant literary tradition. The number of Gaelic-speaking individuals and communities declined sharply, however, after the First World War.


= Nova Scotia

= At the start of the 21st century, it was estimated that no more than 500 people in Nova Scotia still spoke Scottish Gaelic as a
first language A first language, native tongue, native language, mother tongue or L1 is the first language or dialect that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period hypothesis, critical period. In some countries, the term ''native ...
. In the 2011 census, 300 people claimed to have Gaelic as their
first language A first language, native tongue, native language, mother tongue or L1 is the first language or dialect that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period hypothesis, critical period. In some countries, the term ''native ...
(a figure that may include Irish Gaelic). In the same 2011 census, 1,275 people claimed to speak Gaelic, a figure that not only included all Gaelic languages but also those people who are not first language speakers, of whom 300 claim to have Gaelic as their "mother tongue." The Nova Scotia government maintains the Office of Gaelic Affairs (), which is dedicated to the development of Scottish Gaelic language, culture and tourism in Nova Scotia, and which estimates about 2,000 total Gaelic speakers to be in the province. As in Scotland, areas of North-Eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton have bilingual street signs. Nova Scotia also has (The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia), a non-profit society dedicated to the maintenance and promotion of the Gaelic language and culture in
Maritime Canada The Maritimes, also called the Maritime provinces, is a list of regions of Canada#National regions, region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces and territories of Canada, provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Islan ...
. In 2018, the Nova Scotia government launched a new Gaelic vehicle license plate to raise awareness of the language and help fund Gaelic language and culture initiatives. In September 2021, the first Gaelic-medium primary school outside of Scotland, named , opened in Mabou, Nova Scotia.


= Outside Nova Scotia

= Maxville Public School in Maxville,
Glengarry The Glengarry Bonnet (headgear)#Men, bonnet is a traditional Scots cap made of thick-milled woollen material, decorated with a Pom-pon#Toorie, toorie on top, frequently a rosette cockade on the left side, and ribbons hanging behind. It is normal ...
,
Ontario Ontario ( ; ) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.Ontario is located in the geographic Eastern Canada, eastern half of Canada, but it has historically and politically been considered to be part of Central Canada. Located ...
, offers Scottish Gaelic lessons weekly. In
Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island (PEI; ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is the smallest province in terms of land area and population, but the most densely populated. The island has seve ...
, the Colonel Gray High School now offers both an introductory and an advanced course in Gaelic; both language and history are taught in these classes. This is the first recorded time that Gaelic has ever been taught as an official course on
Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island (PEI; ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is the smallest province in terms of land area and population, but the most densely populated. The island has seve ...
. The province of
British Columbia British Columbia (commonly abbreviated as BC) is the westernmost Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. It has a diverse geography, with rugged landscapes that include ...
is host to the (The Gaelic Society of Vancouver), the Vancouver Gaelic Choir, the Victoria Gaelic Choir, as well as the annual Gaelic festival ''Vancouver''. The city of
Vancouver Vancouver ( ) is a major city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the List of cities in British Columbia, most populous city in the province, the 2021 Canadian census recorded 662,248 people in the ...
's Scottish Cultural Centre also holds seasonal Scottish Gaelic evening classes.


Media

The
BBC #REDIRECT BBC
Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor 2yrs . How has helped and thought all the concept and made my success in the 10th board exam. ...
operates a Gaelic-language radio station as well as a television channel, . Launched on 19 September 2008, BBC Alba is widely available in the UK (on
Freeview Freeview may refer to: * Freeview (Australia), the marketing name for the digital terrestrial television platform in Australia *Freeview (New Zealand) Freeview is New Zealand's free-to-air television platform. It is operated by a joint ven ...
,
Freesat Freesat is a British free-to-air satellite television service, first formed as a joint venture between the BBC #REDIRECT BBC Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor ...
,
Sky The sky is an unobstructed view upward from the surface of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. While large list of largest lakes and seas in the Solar System, volum ...
and
Virgin Media Virgin Media is a British telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using r ...
). It also broadcasts across Europe on the Astra 2 satellites.BBC Reception advice
– BBC Online
The channel is being operated in partnership between BBC Scotland and – an organisation funded by the Scottish Government, which works to promote the Gaelic language in broadcasting.About BBC Alba
, from BBC Online
The ITV franchise in central Scotland, STV Central, has, in the past, produced a number of Scottish Gaelic programmes for both
BBC Alba BBC Alba is a Scottish Gaelic-language free-to-air public broadcast television channel jointly owned by the BBC and MG Alba. The channel was launched on 19 September 2008 and is on-air for up to seven hours a day with BBC Radio nan Gàidheal si ...
and its own main channel. Until BBC Alba was broadcast on Freeview, viewers were able to receive the channel , which broadcast for an hour every evening. Upon BBC Alba's launch on Freeview, it took the channel number that was previously assigned to TeleG. There are also television programmes in the language on other BBC channels and on the independent commercial channels, usually subtitled in English. The ITV franchise in the north of Scotland, STV North (formerly ''Grampian Television'') produces some non-news programming in Scottish Gaelic.


Education


Scotland

The Education (Scotland) Act 1872, which completely ignored Gaelic and led to generations of Gaels being forbidden to speak their native language in the classroom is now recognised as having dealt a major blow to the language. People still living in 2001 could recall being beaten for speaking Gaelic in school. Even later, when these attitudes had changed, little provision was made for Gaelic medium education in Scottish schools. As late as 1958, even in Highland schools, only 20% of primary students were taught Gaelic as a subject, and only 5% were taught other subjects through the Gaelic language. Gaelic-medium playgroups for young children began to appear in Scotland during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Parent enthusiasm may have been a factor in the "establishment of the first Gaelic medium primary school units in Glasgow and Inverness in 1985". The first modern solely Gaelic-medium secondary school, ("Glasgow Gaelic School"), was opened at Woodside in
Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesca or ; gd, Glaschu ) is the most populous city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ' ...
in 2006 (61 partially Gaelic-medium primary schools and approximately a dozen Gaelic-medium secondary schools also exist). According to , a total of 2,092 primary pupils were enrolled in Gaelic-medium primary education in 2008–09, as opposed to 24 in 1985. The Columba Initiative, also known as (formerly ), is a body that seeks to promote links between speakers of Scottish Gaelic and Irish. In November 2019, the language-learning app
Duolingo Duolingo ( ) is an American educational technology Educational technology (commonly abbreviated as edutech, or edtech) is the combined use of computer hardware, software, and Education sciences, educational theory and practice to facilitat ...
opened a
beta Beta (, ; uppercase , lowercase , or cursive Greek, cursive ; grc, βῆτα, bē̂ta or ell, βήτα, víta) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 2. In Modern Greek, it represents th ...
course in Gaelic. Starting from summer 2020, children starting school in the
Western Isles The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or or ("islands of the strangers"); sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as the Long Isle/Long Island ( gd, An t-Eilean Fada, links=no), is an Archipelago, island chain off t ...
will be enrolled in GME (Gaelic-medium education) unless parents request differently. Children will be taught Scottish Gaelic from P1 to P4 and then English will be introduced to give them a bilingual education.


Canada

In May 2004, the Nova Scotia government announced the funding of an initiative to support the language and its culture within the province. Several public schools in Northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton offer Gaelic classes as part of the high-school curriculum. Maxville Public School in Maxville,
Glengarry The Glengarry Bonnet (headgear)#Men, bonnet is a traditional Scots cap made of thick-milled woollen material, decorated with a Pom-pon#Toorie, toorie on top, frequently a rosette cockade on the left side, and ribbons hanging behind. It is normal ...
,
Ontario Ontario ( ; ) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.Ontario is located in the geographic Eastern Canada, eastern half of Canada, but it has historically and politically been considered to be part of Central Canada. Located ...
, offers Scottish Gaelic lessons weekly. In
Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island (PEI; ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is the smallest province in terms of land area and population, but the most densely populated. The island has seve ...
, the Colonel Gray High School offer an introductory and an advanced course in Scottish Gaelic.


Higher and further education

A number of Scottish and some Irish universities offer full-time degrees including a Gaelic language element, usually graduating as Celtic Studies. In
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia ( ; ; ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is one of the three Maritime Canada, Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic Canada, Atlantic provinces. Nova Scoti ...
, Canada, St. Francis Xavier University, the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts and Cape Breton University (formerly known as the "University College of Cape Breton") offer Celtic Studies degrees and/or Gaelic language programs. The government's Office of Gaelic Affairs offers lunch-time lessons to public servants in Halifax. In Russia the
Moscow State University M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU; russian: Московский государственный университет имени М. В. Ломоносова) is a public research university in Moscow, Russia and the most prestigious ...
offers Gaelic language, history and culture courses. The University of the Highlands and Islands offers a range of Gaelic language, history and culture courses at the National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, Bachelor of Arts (ordinary), Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Master of Science levels. It offers opportunities for postgraduate research through the medium of Gaelic. Residential courses at on the Isle of Skye offer adults the chance to become fluent in Gaelic in one year. Many continue to complete degrees, or to follow up as distance learners. A number of other colleges offer a one-year certificate course, which is also available online (pending accreditation). Lews Castle College's Benbecula campus offers an independent 1-year course in Gaelic and Traditional Music (FE, SQF level 5/6).


Church

In the Western Isles, the isles of
Lewis Lewis may refer to: Names * Lewis (given name), including a list of people with the given name * Lewis (surname), including a list of people with the surname Music * Lewis (musician), Canadian singer * "Lewis (Mistreated)", a song by Radiohead ...
,
Harris Harris may refer to: Places Canada * Harris, Ontario * Northland Pyrite Mine (also known as Harris Mine) * Harris, Saskatchewan * Rural Municipality of Harris No. 316, Saskatchewan Scotland * Harris, Outer Hebrides (sometimes called the Isle of ...
and North Uist have a Presbyterianism, Presbyterian majority (largely Church of Scotland – in Gaelic, Free Church of Scotland (post 1900), Free Church of Scotland and Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland). The isles of South Uist and Barra have a Catholic Church, Catholic majority. All these churches have Gaelic-speaking congregations throughout the Western Isles. Notable city congregations with regular services in Gaelic are St Columba Church of Scotland, Glasgow, St Columba's Church, Glasgow and Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, Greyfriars Tolbooth & Highland Kirk, Edinburgh. —a shorter Gaelic version of the English-language Book of Common Order—was published in 1996 by the Church of Scotland. The widespread use of English in worship has often been suggested as one of the historic reasons for the decline of Gaelic. The Church of Scotland is supportive today, but has a shortage of Gaelic-speaking ministers. The Free Church also recently announced plans to abolish Gaelic-language communion services, citing both a lack of ministers and a desire to have their congregations united at communion time.


Literature

From the sixth century to the present day, Scottish Gaelic has been used as a literary language. Two prominent writers of the twentieth century are Anne Frater and Sorley Maclean.


Names


Personal names

Gaelic has its own version of European-wide names which also have English forms, for example: (John), (Alexander), (William), (Catherine), (Robert), (Christina), (Ann), (Mary), (James), (Patrick) and (Thomas). Not all traditional Gaelic names have direct equivalents in English: , which is normally rendered as ''Euphemia'' (Effie) or ''Henrietta'' (Etta) (formerly also as Henny or even as Harriet), or, , which is "matched" with ''Dorothy'', simply on the basis of a certain similarity in spelling. Many of these traditional Gaelic-only names are now regarded as old-fashioned, and hence are rarely or never used. Some names have come into Gaelic from Old Norse; for example, ( < ), (< ), or (< ), (< ), (). These are conventionally rendered in English as ''Sorley'' (or, historically, ''Somerled''), ''Norman'', ''Ronald'' or ''Ranald'', ''Torquil'' and ''Iver'' (or ''Evander''). Some Scottish names are Anglicized forms of Gaelic names: → (Angus), → (Donald), for instance. , and the recently established (pronounced ) come from the Gaelic for, respectively, James, and Mary, but derive from the form of the names as they appear in the vocative case: (James) (nom.) → (voc.) and (Mary) (nom.) → (voc.).


Surnames

The most common class of Gaelic surnames are those beginning with (Gaelic for "son"), such as  /  (MacLean). The female form is (Gaelic for "daughter"), so Catherine MacPhee is properly called in Gaelic, (strictly, is a contraction of the Gaelic phrase , meaning "daughter of the son", thus really means "daughter of MacDonald" rather than "daughter of Donald"). The "of" part actually comes from the genitive form of the patronymic that follows the prefix; in the case of , ("of Donald") is the genitive form of ("Donald"). Several colours give rise to common Scottish surnames: (Bain (surname), Bain – white), (Roy – red), (Dow, Duff (surname), Duff – black), (Dunn (surname), Dunn – brown), (Bowie (surname), Bowie – yellow) although in Gaelic these occur as part of a fuller form such as 'son of the servant of', i.e. .


Phonology

Most varieties of Gaelic show either eight or nine vowel qualities () in their inventory of vowel phonemes, which can be either long or short. There are also two reduced vowels () which occur only in their short versions. Although some vowels are strongly nasal, instances of distinctive nasalized vowel, nasality are rare. There are about nine diphthongs and a few triphthongs. Most consonants have both palatal and non-palatal counterparts, including a very rich system of liquid consonant, liquids, nasal stop, nasals and trill consonant, trills (i.e. three contrasting "l" sounds, three contrasting "n" sounds and three contrasting "r" sounds). The historically voiced stops have lost their voicing, so the phonemic contrast today is between unaspirated and aspirated . In many dialects, these stops may however gain voicing through secondary articulation through a preceding nasal, for examples "door" but "the door" as or . In some fixed phrases, these changes are shown permanently, as the link with the base words has been lost, as in "now", from "this time/period". In medial and final position, the aspirated stops are preaspiration, preaspirated rather than postaspirated.


Grammar

Scottish Gaelic is an Indo-European languages, Indo-European language with an fusional language, inflecting morphology (linguistics), morphology, verb–subject–object, verb–subject–object word order and grammatical gender, two grammatical genders.


Noun inflection

Gaelic nouns inflect for four cases (nominative/accusative, vocative, genitive and dative) and three numbers (singular, dual and plural). They are also normally classed as either masculine or feminine. A small number of words that used to belong to the neuter class show some degree of gender confusion. For example, in some dialects "the sea" behaves as a masculine noun in the nominative case, but as a feminine noun in the genitive (). Nouns are marked for case in a number of ways, most commonly involving various combinations of lenition, palatalization (phonetics), palatalisation and suffixation.


Verb inflection

There are 12 irregular verbs. Most other verbs follow a fully predictable paradigm, although polysyllabic verbs ending in Lateral consonant, laterals can deviate from this paradigm as they show Syncope (phonetics), syncopation. There are: * Three Grammatical person, persons: 1st, 2nd and 3rd * Two Grammatical number, numbers: singular and plural * Two Voice (grammar), voices: traditionally called active and passive, but actually personal and impersonal * Three non-composed combined TAM forms expressing grammatical tense, tense, grammatical aspect, aspect and grammatical mood, mood, i.e. non-past (future-habitual), conditional (future of the past), and past (preterite); several composed TAM forms, such as pluperfect, future perfect, present perfect, present continuous, past continuous, conditional perfect, etc. Two verbs, , used to attribute a notionally temporary state, action, or quality to the subject, and (a defective verb that has only two forms), used to show a notional permanent identity or quality, have non-composed present and non-past tense forms: () [perfective present], / [imperfective non-past] and all other especeted verb forms, though the verb adjective ("past participle") is lacking; () , past and conditional. * Four moods: independent (used in affirmative main clause verbs), relative (used in verbs in affirmative relative clauses), dependent (used in subordinate clauses, anti-affirmative relative clauses, and anti-affirmative main clauses), and subjunctive.


Word order

Word order is strictly verb–subject–object, including questions, negative questions and negatives. Only a restricted set of preverb particles may occur before the verb.


Lexicon

The majority of the vocabulary of Scottish Gaelic is of Celtic origin. However, Gaelic contains substantially more words of non-Goidelic extraction than Irish. The main sources of loanwords into Gaelic are the Germanic languages, Germanic languages English, Scots and Norse. Other sources include Latin, French language, French and the Brittonic languages, Brittonic languages. Many direct Latin loanwords in Scottish Gaelic were adopted during the Old Irish, Old and
Middle Irish Middle Irish, sometimes called Middle Gaelic ( ga, An Mheán-Ghaeilge, gd, Meadhan-Ghàidhlig), is the Goidelic languages, Goidelic language which was spoken in Ireland, most of Scotland and the Isle of Man from AD; it is therefore a contempora ...
(600 AD-1200 AD) stages of the language and are often terms related to Christianity. Latin is also the source of the days of the week ("Monday"), (Tuesday), ("Saturday") and ("Sunday").


Brittonic

The Brittonic languages Cumbric and Pictish were spoken in Scotland during the Early to High Middle Ages, and Scottish Gaelic has many Brittonic influences. Scottish Gaelic contains a number of apparently P-Celtic loanwords, but it is not always possible to disentangle P and Q Celtic words. However, some common words such as ("legacy"), (; "mountain") and (; "bush") are transparently Brittonic in origin. Scottish Gaelic contains a number of words, principally toponymic elements, that are more closely aligned in their usage and sense with their Brittonic cognates than their Irish. This is indicative of the operation of a Brittonic substrate influence. Such items include:


Neologisms

In common with other Indo-European languages, the neologisms coined for modern concepts are typically based on Greek language, Greek or Latin, although often coming through English; ''television'', for instance, becomes and ''computer'' becomes . Some speakers use an English word even if there is a Gaelic equivalent, applying the rules of Gaelic grammar. With verbs, for instance, they will simply add the verbal suffix (, or, in
Lewis Lewis may refer to: Names * Lewis (given name), including a list of people with the given name * Lewis (surname), including a list of people with the surname Music * Lewis (musician), Canadian singer * "Lewis (Mistreated)", a song by Radiohead ...
, , as in, " watch (Lewis, "watch ") telly" (I am watching the television), instead of "". This phenomenon was described over 170 years ago, by the minister who compiled the account covering the parish of
Stornoway Stornoway (; gd, Steòrnabhagh; sco, Stornowa) is the main town of the Western Isles and the capital of Lewis and Harris in Scotland. The town's population is around 6,953, making it by far the largest town in the Outer Hebrides, as well a ...
in the ''New Statistical Account of Scotland'', and examples can be found dating to the eighteenth century. However, as Gaelic medium education grows in popularity, a newer generation of literate Gaels has become more familiar with modern Gaelic vocabulary.


Loanwords into other languages

Scottish Gaelic has also influenced the Scots language and English (language), English, particularly Scottish Standard English. Loanwords include: whisky, slogan, brogue, jilt, clan, galore trousers, gob, as well as familiar elements of Scottish geography like ben (), glen () and . Irish has also influenced Lowland Scots and English in Scotland, but it is not always easy to distinguish its influence from that of Scottish Gaelic.


Orthography

Scottish Gaelic orthography is very regular; its standard was set by the 1767 New Testament. The 1981 Scottish Examination Board recommendations for Scottish Gaelic, the Gaelic Orthographic Conventions, were adopted by most publishers and agencies, although they remain controversial among some academics, most notably Ronald Black. The quality of consonants (broad or slender) is indicated by the vowel, vowels surrounding them. Slender (palatalization (phonetics), palatalised) consonants are surrounded by slender vowels (), while broad (neutral or velarization, velarised) consonants are surrounded by broad vowels (). The spelling rule known as ("slender to slender and broad to broad") requires that a word-medial consonant or consonant group followed by is preceded by and similarly, if followed by is preceded by . This rule sometimes leads to the insertion of a Silent letter, silent written vowel. For example, plurals in Gaelic are often formed with the suffix , for example, ("shoe") / ("shoes"). But because of the spelling rule, the suffix is spelled (but pronounced the same, ) after a slender consonant, as in ("[a] people") / ("peoples") where is purely a graphic vowel inserted to conform with the spelling rule because precedes the . Lexical stress, Unstressed vowels omitted in speech can be omitted in informal writing, e.g. ("I hope.") > Scots English orthographic rules have also been used at various times in Gaelic writing. Notable examples of Gaelic verse composed in this manner are the Book of the Dean of Lismore and the Fernaig manuscript, manuscript.


Alphabet

The modern Scottish Gaelic alphabet has 18 letter (alphabet), letters: . is mostly used to indicate lenition of a consonant, it was not used in older writings, since lenition was indicated by an Dot (diacritic)#Overdot, overdot. The letters of the alphabet were traditionally Bríatharogam, named after trees, but this custom has fallen out of use. Long vowels are marked with a grave accent (), indicated through digraph (orthography), digraphs (e.g. for ) or conditioned by certain consonant environments (e.g. preceding a non-intervocalic is ). Traditionally the acute accent was used on to represent long close-mid vowels, but the Spelling reform, spelling reforms replaced it with the grave accent. Certain 18th century sources used only an acute accent along the Irish orthography, lines of Irish, such as in the writings of Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair (1741–51) and the earliest editions (1768–90) of Duncan Ban MacIntyre.


Example text

Article 1 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six pr ...
in Scottish Gaelic: : Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English: :All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Common words and phrases with Irish and Manx equivalents

Note: Items in brackets denote archaic, dialectal or regional variant forms


References


Explanatory notes


Citations


Further reading

* Gillies, H. Cameron. (1896). ''Elements of Gaelic Grammar''. Vancouver: Global Language Press (reprint 2006), (hardcover), (paperback) * Gillies, William. (1993). "Scottish Gaelic", in Ball, Martin J. and Fife, James (eds). ''The Celtic Languages (Routledge Language Family Descriptions)''. London: Routledge. (paperback), pp. 145–227 * Lamb, William. (2001).
Scottish Gaelic
'. Munich: Lincom Europa, * . (2007). '' – A Gaelic Thesaurus''. Lulu Enterprises, North Carolina * McLeod, Wilson (ed.). (2006). ''Revitalising Gaelic in Scotland: Policy, Planning and Public Discourse''. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press, * Robertson, Charles M. (1906–07). "s:Scottish Gaelic Dialects, Scottish Gaelic Dialects", ''The Celtic Review'', vol. 3 pp. 97–113, 223–39, 319–32.


External links

* – Scottish Gaelic language, music and news
"Gaelic in Medieval Scotland: Advent and Expansion"
by Thomas Owen Clancy, Sir John Rhys Memorial Lecture, 4 March 2009
''Gaelic Resource Database''
– founded by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Scottish Gaelic Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words
(from Wiktionary'
Swadesh-list appendix
* – Dwelly's Gaelic dictionary online * – 's links to pages in and about Scottish Gaelic
DASG
– The Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic
An Comunn's website

Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs
{{Authority control Scottish Gaelic language, Articles containing video clips Endangered Celtic languages Fusional languages Languages of Canada Languages of the United Kingdom Verb–subject–object languages