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> Scots Gaelic: On The Way Out?
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CelticRadio 
Posted: 21-Aug-2003, 11:43 AM
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I ran across this interesting article about languages survival and how thousands of the world's languages are vanishing at an alarming rate, with 90 percent of them being expected to disappear with the current generation. It pays particular close attention to Scots Gaelic.

Kinda sad to read, perhaps the real experts here on the board can weigh in!

Read the Article


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Catriona 
Posted: 21-Aug-2003, 05:02 PM
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As some will know, I am not a Gaelic speaker, beyond the few phrases we all grew up with.... and I am not interested in learning the language. There are now very few thousands of native Gaelic speakers left in Scotland (I posted the latest estimate of speakers on one of the other threads about Gaelic in Scotland!). The first language in my father's home when he was growing up was Gaelic - and although he spoke and read the language, he considered English his 'first' language, unlike his parents smile.gif

It may be of interest that one of the most passionate supporters of Scots Gaelic on these boards is FotW - a German, with a deep and abiding love for the language. And it is good to see that the Gaelic is still spoken in areas of the Highlands and Islands. (FotW lives on Skye).

It is interesting that Gaelic was not the language of the lowlands of Scotland - and, in fact, laws etc were written in Auld Scots, which has largely been replaced by Lallans and the Doric. I am just as passionate that we do not lose the speech patterns that were/are prevalent in the central belt - or the area around Aberdeen and their 'language', the Doric. More people speak Lallans or Doric than speak Gaelic.... even if there is dispute about whether they are 'real' languages, or just dialects of English.... cool.gif

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CelticRadio 
Posted: 21-Aug-2003, 07:27 PM
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I agree with you Catriona. We should not lose these spoken languages and I believe more needs to be done to preserve these languages. The schools/government, in particular, should take some of the blame for not acknowledging the benefits of learning different languages. What a shame it would be to lose these languages.

I do take issue with the photogragh of the lone piper playing in a field - well perhaps a good representation of what the author is trying to communicate - I just don't like the comparision.


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Athair 
Posted: 21-Aug-2003, 08:41 PM
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I am recently back from a 10 day trip to Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island to be exact. You will be happy to know that Scottish Gaelic is alive and well on the whole island. They actually teach it in alot of the schools. There are classes being given all of the time and Ceilidhs almost every night with Gaelic singing and lessons etc...We stayed on the Ceilidh Trail which is on the north western side of the island and even at our campground there were lessons every Saturday night. The largest town in the area was called "Inverness" and there was a big article in the local paper about how they were going to start teaching Gaelic in the Inverness schools again. It was such an awesome experience that we have actually been thinking about moving there sometime. So rest assured, Nova Scotia is doing their part to continue their heritage.
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Catriona 
Posted: 22-Aug-2003, 02:49 AM
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I understand about NS being a Gaelic speaking area of Canada.... but I think the point that is being made is that there is a danger of languages dying out in the native country, and this is the reality of Scotland and Gaelic. There are sterling efforts being made to preserve the language - but I think that the biggest problem Scotland needs to overcome re Gaelic is the indifference of so many of the 'natives' wink.gif

As I said, my grandparents were native speakers - my Dad chose to use English as his first language because the Gaelic was being replaced by English by most of his peers whilst at school..... In fact, very few of my Dad's friends can even remember much Gaelic, although many of THEIR parents were native speakers, too!

I have read (but don't know how true it is - because I am not a Gaelic speaker) that the Gaelic as spoken in NS is quite anachronistic - and that they have added words to their Gaelic dictionary that are not known in Scotland.... And that the Gaelic spoken in Scotland has done the same - so....... it would appear that they are becoming 'dialects' of the original language wink.gif A bit like Americans saying they speak 'English' and the British saying THEY speak English... As has been said in the past 'two peoples divided by a common language'... biggrin.gif

Give me Lallans and Doric, anyday! wink.gif biggrin.gif
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Athair 
Posted: 22-Aug-2003, 08:40 AM
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What they have done is "modernized" it a bit. I spoke with several teachers while there, with about one quarter being recently from Scotland. In order to continue using an ancient language in todays world, they have no choice but to add words for items that were not around, such as a "gas pump" or a "television". I asked the teachers from Nova Scotia and Scotland several questions,including, whether the languages were different due to the distance and was the language as popular today as it was 10 years ago, and they all insisted that the only difference was, when there was a creation of a name of some thing or place that is found only in Scotland and not Nova Scotia or the other way around, and that of course there were slightly different dialects from village to village just like there has been for hundreds of years. The teachers from Nova Scotia stated that there has been a large increase over the last 10 years and the Scottish teacher stated that over the last few years, she too has seen a resurgence in popularity and interest in Scotland. One teacher from Scotland told me she was surprised when she arrived because there were so many people speaking gaelic and that it was just like being in her parents village when she was growing up. Another stated that some highland step dance instructors from Cape Breton had recently traveled to Scotland and reintroduced the art of step dancing since it had all but died out. They did so because of an abundance of requests from younger Scots taking an interest in the old ways.
My father also spoke gaelic as a child along with both of his parents and my grandparents on my mothers side. At the time, I had absolutely no interest in learning. Now that I have four children of my own and have learned over the years how important our heritage is, I want to learn. Luckily my wife and kids share an interest in learning and have all been sitting with me each night while we take lessons. I have also kept in touch with one of the teachers from N.S. who has been helping out.

So I was simply stating in my previous post that there "is" hope. Of course the language will never be what it once was but I believe it is on a come-back both in both Scotland and North America. I was given this impression by the folks that actually do the teaching of the language.


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Catriona 
Posted: 22-Aug-2003, 09:22 AM
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Yes, I realised that you were saying there 'was hope'.... my post was explaining why native Scots ( those who are NOT Gaelic speakers) favour Lallans as something into which we should put our time and energy!!

This is not to say that I want Gaelic to disappear - I wouldn't want Latin to disappear either.... And don't forget, the people you were talking to in NS had a vested interest in telling you how vibrant Gaelic was in Scotland today.... wink.gif

Here is a URL which clearly states that the percentage of Gaelic speakers is still declining....

http://www.olestig.dk/scotland/scottishlanguages.html
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Athair 
Posted: 22-Aug-2003, 10:47 AM
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I am just curious.......do you always base your knowledge on only one source or do you research and dig a little deeper to see how things are in reality. If we based all of our opinions on only one source there would be no God, el nino would be our only weather pattern (which would be putting a serious dent in the theory of global warming), etc.... I believe that we can make different statistics work for how we see things. I choose to look at things on the brighter side and see that yes Gaelic may not be spoken as much as it once was but there is a chance now for it to be brought back to the foreground in different societies. The dialects may not all be the same but THEY NEVER WERE ALL THE SAME. There were, amongst the different villages and regions in Scotland, differing dialects of the language, as you see evident in EVERY LANGUAGE IN THE WORLD. When I was studying German, I was taught a certain dialect and was informed that when I travelled to Germany and went to a certain region my German would be slightly different than that of the Germans that reside in that area. This is also the case in England. They all speak English but if you travel, as I have, you will see that they have different dialects in different areas (which also includes the use of differing phrases). If you will notice, even in each state of the United States, there are varying dialects in each region particular to that state and there usage of the English language. There are many dialects of Gaelic and I for one would be happy just to see the language in its broadest since brought to the foreground along with with rich heritage it represents. There are many people in the United States and in Canada that can say their family hales from Scotland. We should be proud to treasure our heritage and its native language no matter what the dialect and we should look to the future with hope and NOT DWELL on every NEGATIVE statistic we see.
Click here for an article that talks about the Resurgence of the Scottish Gaelic language in Scotland and the Western Isles

Amy Davis
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Athair 
Posted: 22-Aug-2003, 11:08 AM
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Catriona 
Posted: 22-Aug-2003, 05:31 PM
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WOW, Athair

You have certainly taken my comments EXTREMELY personally, haven't you?

You are entitled to your views, as I am to mine, surely? cool.gif

I was a bit put out to see your comments about 'if you travel as I have'.... I wonder, where you have travelled? For your information, I am a native Scot. I have lived in London, in Southampton and in Cornwall - all areas of England...... I have also lived in various European countries and 2 in the middle east... I have visited Australia as well as the USA ... so pardon me if I make what I consider 'informed' statements. I may have only put one source on this thread, but I could certainly dig up plenty more, if you wish!

Listen, be proud of your scots heritage - I certainly wouldn't have it any other way.... but I am posting what the majority of Scottish natives that I know feel about the Gaelic..... if the views of many friends, acquaintances and family are anything to go by.... I'm from Edinburgh.... Edinburgh University has one of the best departments of Celtic and Gaelic Studies - here's the URL.... http://www.arts.ed.ac.uk/celtic/.

Learn Gaelic by all means, and more power tae ye...

Listen, I'm not here to fight with newcomers..... If you look at this forum you will see that I have tried to put a lot of information for the attention of anyone who is interested in Scottish history, culture and language.... Just because I do not speak Gaelic, does not mean that I want the language to disappear - as I think I have consistently stated in this thread.

May I ask.... have you ever visited Scotland?
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Athair 
Posted: 22-Aug-2003, 08:59 PM
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Hmmm, Well let me see. Not that it matters I guess but that was my wife that had replied to you lastly. Now on to where I have visited:
I have indeed been to Scotland, a few times back when my father and grandparents were alive. I will have to call my mother to ask the details but we visited Edinburgh to see a few relatives and spent most of our time in the Inverness area. My grandparents lived in a small town near the ocean called fortress or fortrise or something similar near Inverness. We traveled a fair amount through several of the small northern towns. I can't wait to take my children there someday to see the country. I have also lived in Germany and Denmark, I have traveled to Egypt, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan, Nepal, Australia, Africa, South America, Japan, Antarctica and all 50 states in the U.S.
I have since given up the business that requires all of the travel and work at a much more stationary profession.
I appologize for the rough start on the board but I think what my wife was getting to was that no matter what statistic or study anyone may produce on a certain topic, there is always a statistic or study that states the opposite and we tend to be "glass is half full" type of people and generally tend to look for the positive. I did a simple search this afternoon and came up with 100's of url's to sites stating statistics and "facts" in regards to the resurgence of the Scottish Gaelic language along with Scottish music and dance. So with that information along with statements from the teachers from Nova Scotia and Scotland that are actually involved with the groups responsible for teaching these Gaelic students, we simply came to the conclusion that maybe things are not as bad off as some may say. Kind of a case of the boy that cried "wolf"
So with that said....I vote we move on to the next subject and let this be water under the bridge.
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Catriona 
Posted: 23-Aug-2003, 07:30 AM
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I apologise for misunderstanding that there were two of you posting under a single nickname - I had naturally assumed that the posts were from one person!

As you say, 'not that it matters' but it is disconcerting to be replying to two people at the same time.... cool.gif smile.gif

I, too, am a 'half full glass' kind of person - I have a passionate interest in Scotland - I did Highland Dance until I was an adult - am involved in Scottish music in Scotland - some of my friends are singers and musicians who are well known in Scotland and overseas. In my experience, there has never been a real 'drop' in interest in those areas. Just go into pubs in certain areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh and you would find singers, musicians etc... and that is in the lowland areas! I promote Scottish culture where I can - but abhor the 'shortbread tin', Jacobite-worshipping that I encounter so much of on the web wink.gif laugh.gif

As you say, let's agree to disagree on the subject of Scots Gaelic... as a Central Belter the language holds little interest for me - although, as I have said, I am passionate about preserving Lallans - horses for courses, I suppose you might say!



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CelticRadio 
Posted: 24-Aug-2003, 06:54 PM
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As the media typically does, I think the title "Scots Gaelic: On the Way out?" was a bit extreme.

They should have chosen a different language to make that proclamation. Perhaps in the native Scotland there is the possibility that it might be on the way out, but it is not like it will not be carried on in other places.

I have seen some articles and shows on people that are the last person to speak their native language. They say how lonely it is to be the only person in the world we knows your own language. How sad that must be.



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Faileas 
  Posted: 17-Sep-2003, 01:37 PM
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Hi Catriona, Paul and ye third poster in here! Havenae had a look in for ages , remember my former nick FotW, changed that due to actualization of cds and favourite song, also due to my move down to Sabhal Mor in Teangue, near Armadale. Hopefully I am on my way now to a degree in Gaelic and Culture maybe or Gaelic and North Atlantic studies, not quite sure which. Certainly I do see hope for the Gaelic Language and as far as I can make out interest in the population grows and quite a few numbers have enrolled for the beginners long distance course which i did last year. Our class is also quite big with 20 students with another one from germany on the other years course and the girl from Colorado in ours. Apart from that , they are almost all Scottish , and 4 under 20 years of age. So there is interest in the young generation and an outdoors amphitheatre was opened yesterday with strong support of Bun-Sgoil Sleite (Sleat Primary School) who performed a song and a short drama in gaelic. The whole project was sponsored by a dutch company and Commun na Gaidhlig, as well as the Bord Gaidhlig na h-Alba and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). It is there for the support of both education and community and i think the stunning setting looking across to the Knoydart Peninsula and to Mallaig will strongly support this. Tha Gaidhlig beo fhathast an seo agus tha i a fas nas motha!
Gaelic is still alive and She is getting stronger! biggrin.gif thumbs_up.gif laugh.gif


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Faileas 
  Posted: 09-Oct-2003, 05:11 PM
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Gaidhlig has made a big step forward - finally she made it to official status as national language next to Welsh and English. It`s the eve of the start of the Royal National Mod (Rịghal Ṃd Nàiseanta) and the Executive has managed to keep a promise, must be a first alas rolleyes.gif It will certainly help the language to grow in the mind of land and people , and hopefully in their heart as well. I am more than happy that its gone there and i am here to see it .... wow history is being made yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhh thumbs_up.gif biggrin.gif Suas leis a'Ghaidhlig! note.gif

N.B.: The Portree Gaidhlig Choir will compete next friday . I ' ll travel down Thursday morning and i am looking forward to be able to take part on this occasion. smile.gif
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