A bheil thu a’ coimhead air adhart ri Seachdain na Gàidhlig? Tha sinne! Bidh “tanc-smaoineachaidh” Pàrlamaid na h-Alba, Fòram Alba air Thòiseach no Scotland’s Futures Forum a’ gabhail pàirt le sreath de bhlogaichean Gàidhlig a choimisean iad a dh’aona-ghothach. A’ sealltainn nas fhaide na cuairt nan taghaidhean a h-uile còig bliadhna agus air falbh … Leugh an corr de Pàrlamaid na h-Alba a’ comharrachadh #SeachdainNaGaidhlig
Tha fios againn uile gur e Seachdain na Gàidhlig – ach an robh fios agad gur e Seachdain Cànain Soidhnidh a th’ ann an t-seachdain seo? Seo tionndadh Gàidhlig de bhloga a rinn ar co-obraichean ann an SPICe – Ionad Fiosraichidh na Pàrlamaid. Tar-shealladh Thathar a’ meas gu bheil 151,000 neach san RA a’ cleachdadh … Leugh an corr de Cànan Soidhnidh Bhreatainn ann an Alba
Tha coimhearsnachd na Gàidhlig air ùidh mhòr a nochdadh air na meadhanan sòisealta mu athchuinge co-cheangailte ris a’ Ghàidhlig a chaidh a chur a-steach gu Comataidh Com-pàirteachaidh nan Saoranach agus nan Athchuingean Poblach na bu thràithe am-bliadhna. Seo PE1922: Cancel all Local Authority expenditure on Gaelic expansion – Petitions (parliament.scot) Tha teacsa na h-athchuingean ri … Leugh an corr de Athchuinge mun Ghàidhlig a’ tighinn air beulaibh na Pàrlamaid #gàidhlig #cleachdi
Tha a’ chiad seirbheis rèile le trèana bataraidh san RA gu bhith a’ tòiseachadh ann an Lunnainn a dh’aithghearr.
Bidh trèanaichean bataraidh a’ ruith air meur-loidhne ghoirid Greenford ann an Lunainn an Iar a tha a’ dol bho West Ealing gu Greenford. ’S e pròiseact pìleat a tha seo ach ma bhios e soirbheachail, thèid fheuchainn ann an àiteachan eile.
‘S e naidheachd mhath dha-rìribh a tha seo.
Tha an t-àm ann cùl a chur ri trèanaichean dìosail air adhbharan àrainneachd ach tha e uamhasach daor dealanachadh os-cionn (overhead line electrification) a chur air dòigh agus tha e a’ toirt ùine mhòr cuideachd. Agus ged a bu chòir dhan mhòr-chuid den lìonra a bhith air a dhealanachadh, tha cuid de loidhnichean ann far nach tachair e gu bràth – mar eisimpleir loidhnichean dùthchail fada gun mòran luchd-cleachdaidh.
Mar sin, bidh pàirt chudromach aig trèanaichean bataraidh agus haidridein ann a bhith a’ dì-chàrbonachadh rathaidean-iarainn.
Ged a tha deuchainnean air a bhith ann, a’ gabhail a-staigh deuchainnean ann am Bo’ ness agus ann an Glaschu rè COP26, seo a’ chiad turas a bhios trèanaichean bataraidh a ruith ann an seirbheisean àbhaisteach le luchd-siubhail.
Chaidh meur-loidhne Greenford a thaghadh airson a’ phìleit seo a chionn’s gu bheil i goirid agus a chionn ’s gur e seotal (shuttle) a th’ ann le trèanaichean a’ dol suas agus sìos an loidhne fad an latha is gun a bhith a’ dèanamh ceangal ris a’ chòrr den lionra. Bidh an trèana a’ tèarrdseadh aig an stèisean eadar seirbheisean.
‘S e trèana clas 230 a bhios ann – trèana London Underground bhon District Line a chaidh suas-chuairteachadh (upcycled) agus a tha a-nis a’ ruith air bataraidhean.
Agus a rèir artagal san Scotsman bho chionn ghoirid, thathar an dùil gun òrdaich ScotRail trèanaichean bataraidh ùra ann an ùine nach bi fada.
Mur eil thu a’ tuigsinn cò às a thàinig tiotail a’ bhlog seo, tha e bhon òran Battery le Metallica (anns na làithean nuair a bha iad fhathast math!)
The Gaelic Books Council has announced a support scheme for new authors, and wants to spread the word!
While the Island Voices emphasis is on spoken language, we’re more than happy to help get the message out about a project titled “Ar Guthan”, even if the voices here will be written ones, especially when island communities are listed among the under-represented groups from whom applications are particularly welcomed.
Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, talks about the scheme here:
You can read more about the scheme in Gaelic or English in this press release, which also gives details of how to apply.
Iona’s Namescape: the dynamics of place-names and place-lore
Bu chaomh leinn fàilte a chur oirbh gun ath choinneamh againn san t-sreath. Bidh an Dr Sofia Evemalm-Graham a’ tadhail oirnn air a’ mhìos seo agus bidh i a’ bruidhinn (ann am Beurla) air a’ cheann gu h-àrd. Chithear fios gu h-ìosal mun cheangal gun choinneamh air Zoom. Tha sinn an dòchas gun urrainn dhuibh a bhith an làthair.
We look forward very much to welcoming Dr Sofia Evemalm-Graham to the society this month and hearing about the new research on Iona place-names. This month’s talk will be in English. We hope you can join us on Zoom.
Each week we publish the text of our Gaelic Word of the Week podcast here with added facts, figures and photos for Gaelic learners who want to learn a little about the language and about the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. This week our word is Census – Cunntas sluaigh. You may recently have received … Leugh an corr de Gaelic Word of the Week – Census #cleachdi #gàidlhig
Gaelic is not dying. Commentators have been predicting Gaelic’s death for some time, but Gaelic is nowhere near going out of use as a spoken language in Scotland. Gaelic will be spoken by learners, new speakers, and native speakers alike long after everyone reading this post is dead and buried. Gaelic communities are, however, rapidly changing, and that change is a cause for deep anguish for many. The political scientist William W. Bostock (1997) has called this sort of distress ‘language grief’, the collective despair that communities can feel when they perceive that their language is falling out of use.
As in any situation where a community is grieving, it can be natural to try to assign blame. We can see this happening in current debates about the future of Gaelic, with claims and counter claims that different groups are to blame for Gaelic’s ‘demise’: academics, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the government, learners, native speakers, Gaelic-medium educators, and so on, but the truth is that no living group of Gaelic speakers or supporters is to blame. The current state of Gaelic speaking communities is the result of political, economic, and social forces acting over centuries. Assigning blame is understandable but thoroughly counterproductive if we want to build the kind of social movement that can actually help to increase Gaelic-language acquisition and use in Scotland.
No one disagrees about the numbers, but there is substantive disagreement about the best course of action. We now have reliable data from several research teams suggesting that the last traditional Gaelic communities in the Western Isles arrived at a kind of tipping point sometime in the late 1960s and 1970s when community-level transmission of the language to children born in those years started to break down. (cf. Smith-Christmas & Smakman 2009; Mac an Tàilleir et al. 2010; Ó Giollagáin et al. 2020)
While many families in these communities still raise their children in Gaelic and/or send their children to Gaelic-medium units, that ‘tipping-point’ generation is now in its 50s and 60s, and for generations below this age, the default community language is overwhelmingly English. Gaelic has not died, but it has changed from a community-transmitted language to a network language everywhere in Scotland now. That is the reality. The question is what to do about it.
There is no reason to believe that in the long-term Gaelic could not be revived as a community-transmitted language in many places in the Highlands and Islands, but this will require years of grassroots language activism in these areas, and anyone who argues that we can build the kind of sustained community-wide support required for such a huge effort in the short-term, or even in the medium-term, is very much underestimating the enormity of the task.
It is also important to recognize that rural communities today are fundamentally different from Gaelic communities fifty or a hundred years ago, and not just in terms of language use. In general, UK society is becoming ever more cosmopolitan, mobile, and atomized, and communities in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland are no exception. Discussions around the Scottish Gaelic revival often suffer from a great deal of romanticism about traditionally Gaelic-speaking communities, but the reality is that both the relative isolation and the intensely communal way of life that once sustained the language in the Northwest of Scotland are now long gone. We cannot go back in time, and in many respects, we wouldn’t want to.
Instead, the work now is to build on our successes over the last fifty years of Gaelic-revival activism and strengthen Gaelic networks throughout Scotland, anywhere Gaelic speakers can be found, from Edinburgh to Shawbost. Sleat in Skye can be seen as one model of what can be accomplished in terms of strengthening a dense rural network of Gaelic speakers. Gaelic in Sleat is not a community-transmitted language, yet, but it is also very much not dead, and there is no reason to believe that we could not replicate many elements this model throughout the Highlands and Islands.
We need to build a broad movement across Scotland to revive Gaelic, and to do that, we need to build solidarity between Gaelic speakers of all kinds, and neither finger pointing nor proclaiming Gaelic’s imminent demise will help us at all in this effort. Of course we have to be realistic about the state of Gaelic, but we also have lots of reasons to be optimistic.
People cannot be scared or shamed into saving a language. Rather, the future of Gaelic can only be built on a foundation of solidarity and optimism.
More on some of the concepts I used above:
Living language — What makes a ‘living’ language is a question of ideology, not demographics. There is no objective linguistic or sociological measure that we can use to say definitively that a language is living or dead. It really is just an opinion. Any language that is in some way still used and passed on could be considered ‘living’ depending on your criteria. The key factor is not speaker density, but language loyalty. If speakers are zealous about using their language and passing it on, that language community will persist and possibly even grow, but if speakers are shifting to using and passing on a new language, it doesn’t really matter how closely they live together; their language will sooner or later pass out of use.
Community-transmitted language — A language can said to be transmitted to the next generation by the whole community when (almost) everyone in a given place speaks a particular language, and that language is used as the common means of social interaction between all generations in most or all situations. Is such a case, children not only acquire the language from their parents and teachers, but also from extended family members, from neighbours, and also critically, after a certain age, from other children. For some, community language transmission is what makes a language ’really’ living, but as above, this is just an opinion rather than some linguistic fact. The best current data strongly suggests that it has been several generations since Gaelic was a fully community-transmitted language anywhere in Scotland.
Network language — A network language would be one that is spoken by a network of speakers spread out more or less densely in any given area and linked by a variety of sites of language use. In the case of Gaelic, such sites might include GME units and schools, Gaelic higher education, Gaelic-language workplaces, Gaelic-language church services, Gaelic events like the Mòdan and the Fèisean, Gaelic activist and special-interest groups, formal and informal Gaelic social centres (such as the proposed Cultarlann in Inverness or the Park Bar in Glasgow), and Gaelic-speaking homes. Gaelic’s future as a network language in Scotland is far from certain, but there is no reason to believe that Gaelic-speaker networks throughout the country couldn’t persist and even grow in the future.