Geàrr-chunntas air Co-labhairt #Alba2030 #gaidhlig

Le Oifigear Gàidhlig

Chùm Fòram Alba air Thòiseach, tanc smaoineachaidh Pàrlamaid na h-Alba co-labhairt mun Ghàidhlg air 6 Dùbhlachd. B’ e ‘Buaidh is piseach – cò ris a bhiodh soirbheas dhan Ghàidhlig coltach’ an t-ainm a bh’ oirre. B’ e amas na co-labhairt coimhead air adhart ri suidheachadh na Gàidhlig ann an 2030 agus nas fhaide air adhart … Leugh an corr de Geàrr-chunntas air Co-labhairt #Alba2030 #gaidhlig

Tadhail air Blog Pàrlamaid na h-Alba

Powered by WPeMatico

Scottish Gaelic’s Journey to Duolingo 

Le Bella Caledonia Editor

Ciaran Iòsaph MacAonghais – a Primary Teacher from Fort William and co-creator of the Scottish Gaelic Duolingo course – takes us through Scottish Gaelic’s journey to Duolingo. [follow Ciaran at @thaseomath ] Scottish Gaelic is the latest language to feature on Duolingo – the world’s largest language learning platform. Over 50,000 people have signed up to […]

Tadhail air Ghetto na Gàidhlig – Bella Caledonia

Powered by WPeMatico

Scottish Gaelic in Scottish Courts

Le basedrones

I’m going to do that thing where I write in English about Gaelic. Three reasons might be offered for this transgression, such as it is, in no particular order.

  1. Gaelic coverage of the issue I am discussing is available elsewhere, notably on the BBC website here and here, on the radio programme Aithris na Maidne (for another 28 days), and (until 19.15 tonight!) on the BBC iPlayer for the BBC Alba programme An Là;
  2. For maximum reach, as there is no denying more people in the world understand English than Gaelic;
  3. For laziness, as my own written (and legal) English is much better than my Gaelic.

Moving to the substance of the blog post, as adverted to in the title and as those who clicked the BBC Naidheachdan link will have gleaned, this post is about usage of the Gaelic language in Scottish courts. The post follows on from a recent criminal court case (on Thursday 31 October), where someone tried to use Gaelic orally at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and was bounced in his attempt to do so.

(For clarity, this case was not directly about Gaelic, but rather it came into play simply as a result of someone involved in the case wishing to speak in the language. As regards the case itself, I will let the person involved speak to that, by linking to his tweet.)

Scots Gaelic and its place in the Scottish legal system is something I have blogged about before (for example, see this post from 2015). This engaged a slightly new issue though: can a Scottish court force a participant to use English rather than Gaelic?

In short: yes, it can.

For this particular case, an interpreter was, it seems, lined up at one stage but for whatever reason was not available on the day. Given there are not many Gaelic speakers in contemporary Scotland who are not also fluent in English (a demographic that is basically only pre-school age children and elderly people who have reverted to their first language), a court can normally be clear that a Gaelic speaker will understand English, and in this case the sheriff was able to press on notwithstanding the lack of an interpreter (something that would surely have not been possible where a Polish or Lithuanian interpreter had not shown up).

This was described by Wilson MacLeod on Twitter as “Tàmailteach“, which might be translated as “a disaster”. I’ll be a bit more guarded here and note that this is all somewhat suboptimal.

Sure, we know that the person involved could have participated in English, but when language rights are involved that is at best an ancillary point. I also of course appreciate that court delays in a busy court system should be avoided wherever possible. The thing is, Gaelic is not exactly in rare health at the moment. Official opportunities to use the language should be provided. It’s all very nice to allow Gaelic to be used in sheriff court proceedings every once in a while, as happened in 2005 before Sheriff Sutherland in Stornoway, but I can’t help but feeling this episode has highlighted that language rights in Scotland are somewhat wanting when compared to somewhere else in the UK, namely Wales. It took Scotland a while to get legislation about Gaelic on the statute books (see for example this Hansard exchange about a proposed bill in the 1980s), but what we have now – the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 – does not enshrine the right to use Gaelic in legal proceedings. That can be contrasted with the right to use Welsh in legal proceedings in Wales (in terms of the Welsh Language Act 1993, and before that the Welsh Language Act 1967).

As Ruairidh Maciver (I declare an interest – he’s a first cousin) noted in his BBC Report, attempts were made to use Gaelic in court proceedings in the 1980s, in connection with the Ceartas campaign. (Anyone wishing to read up on this with access to a law library can find a discussion in this legal comment piece: A C Evans “Use of Gaelic in Court Proceedings” 1982 SLT (News) 286.) It was bounced then as well. Have we moved forward? Are we simply paying lip service to Gaelic?

It is right and proper the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service has a plan in place for British Sign Language, but should it do more in relation to Scots Gaelic? Based on this particular episode, there seems a strong argument it should.

I’ll leave it at that, but in the meantime I should say a quick “tapadh leat” to Marcas Mac an Tuairneir for bringing this to the fore. I’ll be watching carefully to see what happens next. I confess I am not getting my hopes up.

Tadhail air Gaelic – basedrones

Powered by WPeMatico

A Gaelic train of thought

Le basedrones

I have an Opinion piece in The Scotsman today, about Scots Gaelic and signage, available here. This is a (sign)post directing to it and offering a bit more background.

In terms of tags for this blog post, I have filed it under “Gaelic” and “FFS WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE ME STILL NEED TO WRITE ABOUT THIS SHITE”.

The article was written in response to an Opinion piece by a gentleman I have never met and, until last week, had never heard of. He was irked by a bilingual sign that he saw from a train whilst passing through Fife.

My mind has also been known to wander whilst gazing out of a train window, although normally I leave those thoughts when I disembark without writing about them. Wilson decided to channel his thoughts into an Opinion piece. With respect, his article demonstrates the nuance of someone who thought about a topic on a train for five minutes. Perhaps he should have left those thoughts on the train. It is difficult to know where to begin with a critique of it, but I gave it a try.

The Scotsman actually toned down my response, which they were entitled to do. Something like that preceding paragraph was in my first draft. I also wrote that his analogy with Northern Ireland demonstrated a loose understanding of the language issues in two jurisdictions, and noted that his attempt to make an argument out of there being no Gaelic monoglots was “so simplistic, culturally imperialist and ignorant of minority rights it does not even deserve engaging with.” (Only “simplistic” remains in the final version, and I cut the NI point owing to the word limit.)

For background, this is not the first time I have dabbled in the Gaelic signage issue, with all the related law and policy matters that so many people do not event begin to understand before wading into the topic. This is illustrated by way of a Storify story here and another blog post here.

Anyway, that is enough from me. I actually have other things to do, and (as noted at the end of my Storify story) for some people this is not so much about actually wanting to analyse the issue sensibly, rather it is about lobbing a cat amongst the pigeons then smirking as someone else tries to restore some order to the doocot. I really am tired of writing about this cac.

Tadhail air Gaelic – basedrones

Powered by WPeMatico

Mac Bheatha an lighiche & MacIlleEathain

Le Unknown

Àras, Muile far an deachaidh am Peutanach a chéilidh air MacIlleEathainn

Tha Clann Mhic Bheatha, lighiche do Rìghrean Innse Gall agus Rìghrean nan Albannach ainmeil airson sàr-obair léighe thar nam bliadhnaichean. Tha e fìor gu bheil ainmean Mhic Bheatha ri leughadh air clàr nan oileanaich aig feadhainn de na h-oilthighean as motha ann an Roinn Eòrpa anns na Meadhan Aoisean, Salerno, Bologna, Monte Casino agus Montpellier nam measg.

Aig aon àm, ri linn sàr-obair Chlann Mhic Bheatha, bha a’ Ghàidhlig, aon de na trì cànanan eile, Laideann, Greugais agus Arabais a bhiodhte ga h-ùisneachadh airson sgrìobhainnean léighe.

Bhiodh Clann Mhic Bheatha a’ measgachadh sàr ionnsachadh léigh nam Meadhan Aoisean agus seann eòlas Gàidhealach nan luibhean. Ach a-réir coltais, cha chuireadh dòighean-obrach neo-ghnàthach dragh air feadhainn den Chlann, cho fhad ’s a thoireadh iad toraidhean.

Latha a bha seo, latha a bha siud, bha bodach MacIlleEathain na leabhaidh fo bhuaidh tinneis. Thigheadh càirdean, companaich agus coimhearsnaichean a chéilidh air. 

Roimhe cheann fhada, dh’fhàs e seach searbh sgìth den tinneas agus an uiread de dhaoine a bhitheadh a’ tighinn a-staigh. “Cà’ bheil am Peutanach? Cuir fios air Mac Bheatha agus innis dha gu bheil mi nam leabaidh fo bhuaidh tinneas na galla seo!” Ars’ MacIlleEathain.

Sin na rinn iad. B’ ann á Àras ann am Muile a bha m bodach a bha seo agus le sin, b’ e Seumas Mac Bheatha, an leighiche a tháinig fhaicinn. Dar a chaidh an lighiche don leabaidh thubhairt MacIlleEathain “O Mhic Bheatha, Mhic Bheatha an léighe! Tha pian mhór nam bhrù. Nach leighis sibh mi ma tha sibh comasach ri dhèanadh?”

Ceann tacain, dh’innse Mac Bheatha do MhacIlleEathainn gun robh fhios aige na bha ceàrr air. Bha othras na bhrù. Thubhairt Mac Bheatha gum biodh e comasach a leighis, ach bhitheadh aige ri falbh agus tilleadh ceann beagan làithean.

“O Mhic Bheatha, Mhic Bheatha, leis a’ phian mhór seo nam bhrù agus sluagh aig cois mo leapa, chan faigh mi cadal samhach. Feumaidh gu bheil thu comasach rudeigin a dhèanamh?” Arsa MacIlleEathain.

“Nist.” Arsa Mac Bheatha. “Tha aona rud ann, ach bhitheadh agam ri tilleadh ceann beagan làithean fhathast.” “Ceart” Arsa MacIlleEathain. “Dèanaibh na dh’fheumas sibh” Agus sin na rinn Mac Bheatha.

Sheas Mac Bheatha air beulaibh an teine agus chuir a chùl ris a’ ghealbhan mhór agus rinn e cac. Theas Mac Bheatha an cac anns an teine gus nach robh ann ach pùdar dubh. Chruinnich an lighiche am pùdar agus chuir e ann am measair dubh e agus chroch e e air leabaidh MhicIlleEathain.

“Ceart” Ars’ am Peutanach. “Tillidh mi ceann beagan làithean agus fhad ’s a chrochas am measair seo air bhur leabaidh, théid bhur leighis, agus fàsaidh sibh nas làidir.” Agus dh’fhàg an lighiche.

An ath latha, mar as àbhaist, tháin’ an sluagh, tháin’ na càirdean, caraidean agus coimhearsnaichean a chéilidh air a’ bhodach bhochd. Dh’iarr fear dhiuch air a’ bhodach “Dé am pùdar dubh anns a’ mheasair dhubh seo a tha a’ crochadh air bhur leabhaidh MhicIlleEathain?”

“O” Arsa MacIlleEathain “Chan e ach leighis a th’ ann. Thug Seumas Mac Bheatha, an lighiche, e dhomh agus thubhairt e gun téid mo leighis agus gum fàs mi nas làidir.” Dh’aithnich am fear an t-ainm Seumas Mac Bheatha, leis cho ainmeil ’s a bha comas an teaghlaich. Bha annas aige den ‘léigh’ a bha seo cho làidir, ghabh e blasad dheth. 

Mhothaich am bodach na rinn e agus rinn e fìor ghaire mhór ris an duine. Bha e a’ ghàire cho làidir, bhrist am bodach othras na bronn agus dh’fhalbh a’ phian mhór. 

Roimhe cheann tacain, mar a gheall e dha, thill Mac Bheatha. Dar dh’innse am bodach dha na thachair cha tubhairt an lighiche ach “Nach b’ i an fhìrinn a dh’innis mi dhuibh?” agus dh’fhalbh e.

Tadhail air Air an Dara Làimh

Powered by WPeMatico

An Tuirc agus Canan na Cruinne

Le Costello

‘S ann amharasach a bha mi ‘smi deanamh mo slighe don Tuirc. Chan ann mu chultar an duthaich fhein ach mu nadur na fir. Gu ruige sin, cha robh eolas agam air Mic an Tuirc ach ann an da dhoigh. Bha mo charaid, Serhat, leis an robh mi a siubhail air bhith fuireach leam an Lunnainn fad am bliadhna ud agus se daoine gasda da rireabh a bh’ann. Thilleadh aireasan s’ann trobhn’ iomhaigh a bha am Bocsa Telebhisean a dearsadh nam shuilean am sam bith a bha sgioba ball-coise Breatannach mi-fhortunach gu leor thighinn an aird an aghaidh sgioba Turcach – agus gu h-araidh Galatasaray an Istanbul – a bha mi eolach air sluagh na duthcha. Ar-a-mach agus sabaisd agus muirt. “Failte do dh’Ifrinn” a bhiodh na brataich ag radh nuair a bhiodh luchd-taic a cuir failte air sgioba choigreach ’siad a deanamh an t-slighe bhon port-adhar a-steach dom baile.

Mu bha iad cho mi-chaoimhneal ri balaich bhoigheach am Premiership Sasannach de an seorsa naimhdeas diabhailte a dh’fhairicheadh iad dhomhsa – fear mor, reamhar le feusag agus droch haircut o na h-Eileain!
Ach, mur thachair, cha robh aca nan nadurr ach cairdeas agus gaire mar is tric air naodainn. Agus gu dearbh nach ann feumail a bha am began foghlam a th’agam mu eachdraidh ball-coise san duthaich ud. S’iomadach turas a bha deagh chomhradh agam le Tuirceach – agus iad gun facal Beurla agus mi fhein gun facal Turcais – ’s sinn a deanamh a chuis le 9 facail abhainn: Graeme Souness, Glasgow, Celtic, Rangers, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Scotland agus cora-uair ‘Nakamura’.

Gu dearbha cha bu choir dhomh bhith air iongnadh sam bith fhairacainn mu’n cuis seo – dh’ionnsaich mi thairis air na bliadhnachan chuir mi seachad an Lunnainn gur e ball-coise, seach Beurla, am fior chanain eadar-naiseanta. Suigh sios aig boird le cuid bho duthchanan cho sgaipte ri Paraguay, Canada, Iapan, an Eiphit, na Frainge, an Eadailt agus Kenya agus gun teagamh cho luath sa tha sibh air faighneachd agus freagairt “De an t-ainm a thoirt?” agus “Co as a tha sibh?” tionndaidhidh an comhradh gu ball-coise. “Co bhios tu leanntainn?” “Seadh, nach truagh mar a thachair ri metatarsal Beckham?” “Bheil sibh am beachd gun dean sgioba sam bith a chuis air Barcelona am bliadhna?” agus mar sin air adhart.

Ged nach biodh moran cliu aig cluchaidear na bhaile fhein an duthaich bheag gun ainm faodar bhith cinnteach, mu theid e a chluich thall-thairis, gun tig an t-am nuair a bhios deagh chairdeas steidhichte air ainm nuair choinneachas fear san rioghachd aige fhein ri fear bhon duthaich gu na ghluais e.

Tadhail air Costello

Powered by WPeMatico

Dè tha dol? What’s going on?

Le gaelicatculloden

’Nuair a chaidh a ghairm an-toiseach, chuir gach uile neach fàilte air a’ cho-dhùnadh gum biodh ionad-tadhail Bhlàr Chùil Lodair air ath-ùrachadh agus ath-leasachadh. Bha seo air fear de na pàirtean bu chudromaiche ann am Bliadhna Cultar na Gàidhealtachd 2007, cothrom ris an robh dùil o chionn fhada gus aithne agus tuigse dhaoine a bhrosnachadh, gu nàiseanta agus gu h-eadar-nàiseanta, mu cho cudromach ’s a bha Blàr Chùil Lodair do dh’ eachdraidh, cànan agus cultar na Gàidhlig agus na Gàidhealtachd, agus gu dearbh do dh’ eachdraidh na h-Alba air fad.

Bha an tabhartas de £3.75 muillean a thug Riaghaltas na h-Alba seachad do dh’ Urras Nàiseanta na h-Alba gus an leasachadh seo a mhaoineachadh ’na mheadhan air aithneachadh cho deatamach ’s a bha an taobh seo den phròiseact. Bha e ’na uallach air an Urras dèanamh cinnteach gum biodh an taisbeanadh anns an ionad ùr a’ dèanamh feum air leth den Ghàidhlig mar chànan lèirsinneach eadar-mhìneachaidh. As dèidh chòmhraidhean agus aontaichean le muinntir na sgìre, tràth ann an 2006 dh’ aontaich an t-Urras gum biodh a’ Ghàidhlig air a cleachdadh aig an aon ìre ris a’ Bheurla air feadh an taisbeanaidh. Fhuair iad £200,000 a bharrachd bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig gus na cosgaisean eile a bha coicheangailte ri bhith a’ cruthachadh eadar-mhìneachaidhean agus fhoillseachaidhean làn dà-chànanach a phàigheadh.

A-nis, agus an t-ionad gu bhith crìochnaichte a’s t-fhoghar 2007, mean air mhean tha e a’ fàs soilleir nach bi Urras Nàiseanta na h-Alba a’ coilionadh nan dleasdanas aca, agus gu dearbh na dh’ aontaich iad mun eadar-mhìneachadh dhà-chànanach. Gu dearbh, tha e air a bhith gu math duilich dèanamh a-mach dìreach dè seòrsa ròl a bhios aig a’ Ghàidhlig anns an taisbeanadh ùr, air sgàth’s nach eil an t-Urras a’ freagairt cheisteannan mu mhion-fhiosrachaidh – ’s ann a tha iad direach ’gan leigeil seachad. A dh’ aindeoin iomairt dhàimh-phoblaich bhuapa a tha a’ cumail a-mach gum bi an t-ionad ùr ’na shùileachan air mar a thèid a’ Ghàidhlig ùisneachadh agus a chur air adhart mar phàirt chudromaich air leth de dhualchas na h-Alba’, tha e coltach nach bi an dòigh anns an tèid a’ Ghàidhlig ùisneachadh idir co-ionnan ri ùisneachadh na Beurla. Cha bhi ann den Ghàidhlig am broinn an taisbeanaidh ach aithrisean beaga ‘lèirsinneach’, beagan bhriathran-beòil, agus corra comharra dà-chànanach. Air an raon fhèin bidh eadar-theangachaidhean air na carraighean-cuimhne. Cha bhi an teacs eadar-mhìneachaidh anns an taisbeanadh – ’s e sin, na facail a bhios a’ toirt seachad an fhiosrachaidh as cudromaiche mun eachdraidh agus mun dualchas, na facail a bhios ag ìnnse agus a’ mìneachadh sgeulachd Chùil Lodair fhèin – ach sgrìobhte anns a’ Bheurla a-mhàin.

Chan e a-mhàin gur e fàilinn mhòr a tha seo, ’s iad a’ diùltadh aithneachadh na buannachdan mòra sòisealta agus cultarach a bhiodh ann nan gabhadh iad ris a’ Ghàidhlig le’n uile-chridhe mar chànan conaltraidh don mhòr-shluaigh. Tha e cuideachd calg-dhìreach an aghaidh poileasaidh Urras Nàiseanta na h-Alba fhèin mu chleachdadh na Gàidhlig, poileasaidh a chuireas an cèill: ‘far a bheil e air a mheas freagarrach eachdraidh Ghàidhealtachd na h-Alba eadar-mhìneachadh, thèid a’ Ghàidhlig a chleachdadh mar mheadhan conaltraidh gus àite cothromach a thoirt do shealladh eachdraidheil agus cultarach nan Gàidheal.’ Gu h-iongantach, tha am poileasaidh seo eadhan a’ toirt iomradh air Cùil Lodair fhèin mar fhear de na ‘suidheachaidhean a bha sònraichte cudromach ann an eachdraidh cultar nan Gàidheal’ far am biodh eadar-mhìneachadh dà-chànanach ’ga mheas freagarrach.

Aon de na freagairtean a thathas a’ faighinn bhon Urras, ’s e sin gu bheil iad a’ dèanamh an dleasdanais a-thaobh eadar-mhìneachadh dà-chànanach gun a bhith a’ toirt seachad sìon ach leth-bhreac Ghàidhlig den aithris a chluinnear air na cluaisean-fòn a bhios an luchd-tadhail a’ toirt leo tron taisbeanadh. Tha e follaiseach bhon fhreagairt seo nach eil an t-Urras a’ tuigsinn direach cho mòr ’s a tha an call nach eil iad ag ùisneachadh na Gàidhlig mar chànan-mìneachaidh co-ionnan ris a’ Bheurla, an dà chuid do na Gàidheil fhèin agus do luchd-turais aig nach robh fios roimhe, ’s dòcha, cho cudromach ’s a bha an cànan, no gu dearbh gu robh i idir ann. Cuideachd, chan eil iad a’ gabhail ris cho fìor chudromach ’s a tha a’ Ghàidhlig don taisbeanadh àraidh seo anns an àite àraidh seo. Cha bhi anns a’ Ghàidhlig ach cànan coltach ri cànan coimheach eile: an Fhraingis, no Siapànais, no as bith dè. Tha an t-Urras cuideachd a’ cumail a-mach gum biodh coltas eadar-mhìneachaidh dhà-chànanaich ro dhuilich a thuigsinn. Tha an fhreagairt seo a’ leigeil seachad cho cumanta ’s a tha e ann an dùthchannan eile dòighean-dealbhaidh soifisticeach a chur ri chèile far a bheilear ag ùisneachadh barrachd air aon chànan. An dùil dè chanadh luchd-stiùiridh thaighean-tasgaidh anns a’ Chuimrigh, Cataluinia, no a’ Bheilg nan cluinneadh iad an leithid seo de dh’ àrgamaid?

Nach toir thu taic dhuinn ann a bhith a’ cur ìmpidh air Urras Nàiseanta na h-Alba làn bhrath a ghabhail den chothrom air leth a tha seo gus àite ceart cothromach a thoirt air ais don Ghàidhlig ann a bhith a’ mìneachadh Bhlàr Chùil Lodair agus na thachair as a dhèidh. Tha tìde againn fhathast dèanamh cinnteach gum bi an t-ionad ùr làn dà-chànanach. Ach ’s e cothachadh bhuainne, luchd-tadhail an ama ri teachd, a bhios a’ toirt air an Urras an dleasdanas aca a ghabhail os làimh ann a bhith a’ glèidheadh agus a’ brosnachadh gach uile taobh de chultar agus dualchas na h-Alba – Gàidhealach cho math ri Gallda, a’ Ghàidhlig cho math ris a’ Bheurla, agus a’ Bheurla Ghallda.

The decision to renew and redevelop the visitor centre at the Culloden battlefield was welcomed across the board at its announcement. One of the key components of 2007’s Year of Highland Culture, it represented a long-awaited opportunity to promote national and international recognition and understanding of the Battle of Culloden’s significance for Gaelic and Highland history, language and culture, as well as for the history of Scotland.

The £3.75 million grant made by the Scottish Executive to the National Trust for Scotland to fund the redevelopment recognised the significance of this aspect of the project by requiring the Trust to ensure that the exhibition at the new centre would make substantial use of Gaelic as a visible language of interpretation. After consultation and agreement with the local community, early in 2006 the Trust committed to the use of Gaelic on an equal basis with English throughout the exhibition, and were granted a further £200,000 from Bòrd na Gàidhlig to defray any additional costs associated with the creation of fully bilingual interpretation and displays.

As the centre moves towards completion in the autumn of 2007, it is becoming increasingly clear that the National Trust for Scotland will not be honouring either their obligations or their own commitment to bilingual interpretation. It has been difficult to establish with certainty the precise rôle that Gaelic will play in the new exhibition, as requests for detailed information from the Trust have been left unanswered or met with stonewalling. Despite a PR campaign presenting the new centre as an ‘exemplar of how Gaelic can be used and promoted as an important and distinctive component of Scotland’s cultural heritage,’ it appears that the use of Gaelic will be substantially less than the use of English, confined to ‘illustrative’ quotations and audio clips within the exhibition, some bilingual signage, and translation of the clan marker stones on the battlefield itself. The interpretative text within the exhibition – the text which communicates the most significant historical and cultural information, the text which tells and explains the story of Culloden itself – will be in English alone.

This situation represents more just than a failure to recognise the enormous social and cultural benefits to be gained from embracing and promoting Gaelic as a language of communication and public expression. It is also in direct contravention of the National Trust for Scotland’s own policy on the use of Gaelic, which states that ‘where it is appropriate to interpret the history of the Scottish Gàidhealtachd, Gaelic will be prominently used as a medium of communication in order to give proper expression to a Gaelic historical and cultural perspective.’ The policy even cites Culloden as one of the ‘settings for events key to the history of Gaelic culture’ for which bilingual interpretation is considered appropriate.

One of the few responses which has been received from the Trust is its claim that the requirement for bilingual interpretation will be met by the provision of a Gaelic version of the commentary available on audio headsets which visitors may use as a guide through the exhibition. This answer fails to acknowledge just how significant the loss of the enormous impact of using Gaelic as a language of interpretation equal to English will be, both for the Gaelic community itself and for visitors who may not previously have been aware of its importance – or indeed its very existence. It also ignores the profound importance of Gaelic to this particular exhibition in this particular location, reducing it to the status of French, Japanese, or any of the other foreign languages in which the audio guides will be made available. Another claim heard more than once from the Trust has been that the provision of bilingual interpretation would be too complicated visually. This disregards the availability of sophisticated layout and design strategies developed in other countries in which more than one language is in common use. One wonders how museum directors in Wales, Catalunya, or Belgium would respond to such an argument?

Please join us in urging the National Trust for Scotland to take full advantage of a unique opportunity to return Gaelic to its rightful place in the interpretation of the events and aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. There is still time to ensure that the exhibition at the new centre is made fully bilingual, but pressure from its future visitors will be vital in convincing the Trust to meet its responsibility to preserve and promote all aspects of Scotland’s culture and heritage – Highland as well as Lowland, Gaelic as well as English and Scots.

Tadhail air Gàidhlig aig Cùil Lodair: Gaelic at Culloden

Powered by WPeMatico