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Scottish Gaelic is here!!

Thank you Duolingo and the amazing contributors! I have been waiting for this day a long time and it is HERE!


December 1, 2019



Where? Where? Gimme! Gimme!

December 1, 2019


Scottish Gaelic is only spoken in the Highland & Islands. You won't hear it in Edinburgh or Glasgow, nor in Aberdeen, unless you are mixing with Highland & Island communities living there. It is a minority language although the Scottish Government encourage people living in the west to learn it if they can. There is also "Scots" which used to be regarded as a dialect of English, but now recognised as a separate language because of its different grammar and syntax. Many of Robert Burns poems were written in Scots as well as his English poems (cf "To a Mouse" written in Scots). But Burns couldn't speak Gaelic as it wasn't spoken in the south.

There used to be West coast Gaelic (now the main branch) and East Coast - really disappearing/disappeared as a separate dialect.

It is a different branch of Celtic from Welsh. The phonemes aren't the same. It is not mutually intelligible, sadly. There are 2 branches of Gaelic, P & Q. Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic are in one branch; Welsh, Breton and Cornish the other. Brythonic was the ancient language spoken in most of N Britain out of which the 2 forms of the Celtic languages developed.

What has been exciting is that a number of newspapers here in Britain have highlighted that Duo now has Scottish Gaelic. Good advertisement.

Although a Scot, from just outside Glasgow, I have never learned Gaelic. There was no need. Even when you go to the Highlands & Islands people speak English. English is the lingua franca of Scotland.

If you really want to learn Scottish Gaelic, I would say it is necessary to learn something of the culture. It is markedly different from mainland culture and city culture. Don't believe everything you find on the internet about Scotland and Gaelic. Check it is from a reputable source. Wiki is often wrong. Scottish Government sites and Gaelic societies in Scotland are your best bet.

There are festivals of Gaelic culture, music, language called Mods (not unlike the Welsh Eistedfoddau, which are bigger and more popular)

There is a Gaelic news-section on BBC on-line newsfeed - look under BBC News Alba. There is also BBC TV channel Alba which is in Gaelic. So have fun exploring them.

There are courses on Skye (do take a raincoat - Skye is wet - even in the summer) www.smo.uhi.ac.uk. They do Gaelic, dancing, instruments etc. There are short courses of 2 weeks to give you tasters and a full programme so that you can begin to understand the Highland & Island culture as well as the language.

Good luck folks.

December 9, 2019
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