1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. Thinking about trying this co…


Thinking about trying this course...

I've been away from Duolingo for a while and was surprised when I came back to see there is now a course for Scottish Gaelic! My grandfather on my mother's side was from Scotland and I've always been curious about trying the language but it seems so difficult (almost impossibly so). Does the course have audio for all the lessons? And tips and notes? I want to try but I find it very daunting lol.

To those who have started the course and have no previous background in the language: is it more or less difficult than you thought it would be? I tried the Irish course a couple of years ago and gave up because I thought it was way too hard and I got so frustrated with it. I expect Gaelic to be similar in difficulty but wondering about others' experiences...

December 17, 2019



The course is really well done, from what I've seen so far of it. There is audio for all sentences and tips and notes are being added (so far, they exist for about half the course).

I'm also doing Irish and the two courses are really different. While Irish is kind of sorted by word groups and doesn't have any qualms with serving you 25+ verbs in a single skill, the Scottish Gaelic course is wonderfully bitesized. I also struggle with Irish, but although Scottish Gaelic has similar grammatical features, it is a lot more accessable. You may scratch your head occasionally, but there'll usually be an explanation available in the tips, the sentence discussion or the forum.

I'd say you should give it a try!


I've been finding it great so far! It takes things at a nice, reasonable pace, and people are happy to help if you post in the sentence discussion, if you ever get stuck :-) Feel free to take a look at some of the sentences and words they teach you if you like :-)


Thanks! The pronunciation looks terrifying lol but if there is reliable audio or at least some resources to somewhere else with pronunciation help I might have a bit of an easier time that with Irish. Or at least it might be more enjoyable and less frustrating hahaha.


The thing to remember is "broad vowel go with broad vowel and slender with slender" meaning "a,o, u" will be on both sides of a consonant/s and "i and e" will do likewise. Also, you will notice when listening to the the examples that there are differences in accents based, I'm assuming on where the speaker is from. Just keep at it. There are some good resources on You tube that are helpful.


I’ve no previous experience- apart from hearing it spoken on a trip to the Outer Hebrides 35 years ago!!I found the Irish course hard too but have found the Scottish Gaelic much easier. Might have helped that I lived in Scotland for a few years so a lot of familiar (in the English) place names etc. But would say the course is well paced in introduction of material. The course notes are a delight, being both funny and informative without overloading you with information and the sound gives a variety of genuine voices (not computer generated like most courses) That can be a drawback in some ways because there’s a variety of accents To adjust to but at least you learn the true sound and they are wonderfully evocative - and they don’t speak too fast for a beginner to follow. As an added bonus the moderators of the forum/course contributers are extremely helpful and active on the forum and will answer your questions and the forum members are friendly and often very knowledgeable. Any language learning involves a learning curve so expect to be confused at first. But give it a few weeks and things should definitely start slotting into place. As long as you ask questions here whenever you start to feel a little confused or frustrated you should be fine and not repeat your previous experience.


Coming from no experience in Celtic languages, the Gaelic course has honestly been much easier than expected. Once you get over the initial confusion over how the language sets up sentences (very different structure from English) it's really not bad at all. The hardest part for me now is spelling, but that will come with time. I love that the audio is all recorded by real native speakers, and people are very helpful in the sentence discussions. It's actually motivated me to try Welsh and Irish after I finish Gaelic.


Yes, it has Tips and Notes (now) and audio.

That said, I would recommend giving it a go, but do be aware that Scottish Gaelic and Irish are quite similar. It's possible the Irish course simply wasn't laid out in a manner that suited you and your learning preferences, but be aware that if you found Irish itself too difficult, well, Scottish Gaelic likely isn't going to be much easier. But, as I said before, do give it a go, because only you will know if you want to learn the language, if you want to learn it with Duolingo, etc. in the end. :)

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


Thank you! I think I will try it either way because if I don't I think I'll always be curious about it. I'm not sure if I found Irish impossible because of the language itself or if it was just the way the material was presented (I really hope it's the latter). I also tried the Welsh course out of curiosity and thought it was quite a bit easier than Irish (though still difficult) but left it on the backburner for now. I realize Irish is more similar to Scottish Gaelic than Welsh but I guess I will never know unless I try. Thanks again for the info!


No problem. :) And I've heard that the Irish course is one of the harder ones on Duolingo, so I wouldn't be surprised if the layout is what makes it seem so hard. From what I've heard, Scottish Gaelic progresses a lot more smoothly.

Happy learning! Best of luck! :D

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.

[deactivated user]

    I can't wait to do this course! I've listened to Scottish Gaelic on YouTube and love the sound of the language!


    I'm loving it so far, I don't know any Irish so can't compare but the grammar is easier than I thought it would be. I recommend web over mobile as it has the best tips section I've used, the writers are really funny and engaging. Pronunciation has been the trickiest part for me but I've been supplementing the course with some videos and I think I'm slowly getting the hang of the sounds.


    I would say as someone else approaching these languages for the first time (for both Irish and Gaelic) the steepest part of the learning curve is definitely the beginning. You are immediately met by unfamiliar sounds, different sentence structure, and seemingly impossible spelling, and it can be really daunting and hard to push through that initial "wow, what is going on?" phase. But it really, really does get easier. The sentence structure is mostly pretty simple, the spelling is fairly consistent (certainly moreso than English). There are actually fewer letters than there are in the English alphabet and tighter constraints on what combinations can be used, which narrows down the possibilities a lot. I'm now at the point where I can hear a brand new word for the first time and make a decent guess how to spell it (and often be right). In some ways the differences from English are very nice because you're forced to abandon that "think in english first, then translate it" attitute much sooner than other languages.

    Overall, I think the most important thing is enthusiasm and effort. I studied French for four years and Gaelic for only a few months, but I already feel like my Gaelic is starting to overtake my French, despite it being much "harder," just because I'm more interested and working much harder at it. I would definitely pick your languages based on how much you want to learn them, not how hard they seem. Remember any language is going to require a large time investment, so it's better to maintain long-term enthusiasm than aim for a quick start.


    I have no direct connection to Scotland or the Celtic world. But I completed the tree uptil Level 1 in less than 2 weeks.

    Now I have started working on Level 2. It is a bit more challenging.

    I am not as active as in the discovery stage or Level 1


    I just started the Scottish Gaelic a couple of weeks ago and I'm having a blast. I had learned a little bit from "learning our language" videos on another platform and was actually able to have a short conversation with a Gaelic speaker on Skye a year ago on a trip to Scotland. Just start and be persistent. Repetition, repetition, repetition. I am lucky to have a Gaelic speaking group in San Diego and am planning on attending to get real experience. Looking forward to returning to Scotland and having a bit more in depth conversations.

    Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.