Còmhradh air crìonadh nan cladaichean

Le Gordon Wells

TeaandScones

In our second community recording for Aire air Sunnd there are two new features. Firstly we’re very grateful to the Tobar an Dualchais project, and of course to the next-of-kin, for making a recording of Ruairidh na Càrnaich available for discussion in the same manner we used for “Còmhradh air Blàr Chàirinis“. This was a suggestion and request that came from the Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath Gaelic group themselves, to which Flòraidh Forrest at Tobar an Dualchais responded immediately and most helpfully, going the “extra mile” to additionally commission a transcription of the recording, which has also been a great help in creating a Clilstore unit for the full YouTube clip. It was Ùisdean’s idea to pick this particular clip, in which Ruairidh talks about historical coastal erosion in North Uist, in a recording made in 1958. With climate change now such a “hot topic” it makes particularly interesting listening to hear how it was thought about and discussed in times gone by.

Secondly, we also experimented with a “hybrid” format for the meeting, with most of the participants meeting together in Sgoil Chàirinis, while a couple of others joined in on Zoom. Obviously, it’s easier to hold a conversation with people all in the same room together, though that does pose recording challenges, particularly when folk are quite naturally more likely to all talk at once, and you’re trying to use the ordinary everyday recording equipment we all now have to hand in our phones or laptop computers. So it was interesting to see how that would work with some people also joining in remotely. We’ve done some editing with the final recording to select “best bits” where the recorded conversation is clearest. So we have missed some parts out, but hopefully viewers will still get a good idea of how the discussion went, after listening to Ruairidh’s high quality audio recording in full.

We have again added Closed Caption subtitles as an optional extra, and these can be auto-translated into a wide range of languages, including English, from the original Gaelic, using the YouTube settings wheel. It may be worth bringing to the attention of Gaelic learners that you can also slow down the playback speed of the clip (without altering the pitch!) if there are any parts that you struggle to follow in real time.

Members and supporters of Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath, the North Uist Historical Society, listen to and talk about Ruairidh na Càrnaich’s Gaelic discussion of Uist coastal erosion with John MacInnes, as presented on the Tobar an Dualchais website. Part of the Ideas Fund “Aire air Sunnd” project, in which the Universities of Aberdeen, St Andrews, and the Highlands and Islands team up with Island Voices to provide research support for well-being initiatives on the island.

The full details of the recording of Ruairidh na Càrnaich are as follows: Cunntas Air Crionadh Nan Cladaichean Ann An Uibhist A Tuath, Roderick MacDonald, (contributor), John MacInnes, (fieldworker), ref: SA1958.171.B4, the School of Scottish Studies Archives, the University of Edinburgh. Permission, which is gratefully acknowledged, has been granted for this use only.

The full transcript is also available as a Wordlinked Clilstore unit here – http://multidict.net/cs/11280 – and here – https://clilstore.eu/cs/11280.


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Aire air Sunnd: Artefacts & Stories

Le Gordon Wells

ArtefactsVidPic

The Aire air Sunnd Digital Fèis was a celebration of community heritage spread over two days in September 2022, held at the old Carinish School, now headquarters for Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath, the North Uist Historical Society. Digital activities involved digitising artefacts from the community, recording stories, listening to Gaelic voices, and exploring heritage places through virtual reality. A cèilidh was also held with music and drama from young people of North Uist.

The fèis was held as part of the Ideas Fund “Aire air Sunnd” project, in which the Universities of Aberdeen, St Andrews, and the Highlands and Islands team up with Island Voices to provide research support for well-being initiatives on the island. The recordings in the video below were made by the St Andrews digitisation team, and can be viewed as separate items alongside several clips in English on the CEUT site.

This selection of Gaelic videos has been brought together in a single clip on the Island Voices YouTube channel to enable optional auto-translatable subtitling. This means that even if you have little or no Gaelic you can still listen to the original spoken descriptions while reading the subtitles – whether in Gaelic, or English, or another language – at the same time.

Another alternative for conscious learners of Gaelic who don’t want to use subtitles is to try this Clilstore unit, where video and scrollable transcript are available on the same page, with one-click access to dictionary translation of individual words: http://multidict.net/cs/11235 or https://clilstore.eu/cs/11235.


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Edits, Updates, Additions, Improvements

Le Gordon Wells

New Island Voices compositePNGcropBliadhn’ Ùr Mhath and Happy New Year to Island Voices followers wherever you are!

The changeover from 2022 to 2023 coincides with a number of changes to the WordPress site.

We’ve updated the Research/Reports page by including the talk on ‘Guth Thormoid: the “Island Voice” of Norman Maclean’ for the University of Arizona Celtic Linguistics group.

We’ve updated and improved the Other Tongues page by adding Di Nyuuzpiepa to the Jamaican selection, prompting us to also de-clutter the page by creating subsections for languages with multiple films (Basque, Hindi, Jamaican, Urdu).

We’ve added a new page for the Aire air Sunnd project so you can find all related posts in one place – with more to come in 2023…

And we’ve re-edited and updated the About page to reflect latest developments.

We’re still pretty comfortable in our overall somewhat retro skin, but have indulged in one further cosmetic improvement – no more adverts!

Simply refreshed, we look forward to 2023, hoping for all good things for us all!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Còmhradh air Blàr Chàirinis

Le Gordon Wells

AntamagadcroppedProbably most people in North Uist recognise the importance of the Gaelic language to the local culture, even if not all speak it themselves. But in the interests of “inclusion” there is an often-felt pressure on Gaelic-speakers to use English more and more, and Gaelic less and less. This can be true, perhaps even particularly so, in community groups with a mission to bring people together around a common interest – such as local history, for example.

This is one of the issues that Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath are attempting to address in new ways through the Ideas Fund “Aire air Sunnd” project, in which the Universities of Aberdeen, St Andrews, and the Highlands and Islands team up to provide research support for well-being initiatives on the island.

Part of the Island Voices contribution is to enable the viewing of selected extracts from the Guthan nan Eilean collection in order to stimulate Gaelic discussion, reminiscence, and ideas, and perhaps the airing of questions and concerns, so creating a contemporary and accessible record of speakers’ thoughts, memories, and opinions. Recordings of these discussions can then be transcribed for wider dissemination to enable any and all interested community members to gain increased knowledge and understanding of local stories, customs, practices, and issues, without first requiring them to be voiced in English.

That’s the theory, at least. Now for the practice! Here’s a first attempt. What do you think?

Members and supporters of Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath, the North Uist Historical Society, view and discuss Norman Maclean’s telling of the Battle of Carinish. YouTube CC subtitles offer multilingual automatic translation options from the original Gaelic.

The full transcript is also available as a Wordlinked Clilstore unit here – http://multidict.net/cs/11204 – and here – https://clilstore.eu/cs/11204.


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Jamiekan Vorzhan

Le Gordon Wells

Kadeyne Marshall“Norman luk api pan fiim tuu piej . Di nyuuz bou di wok dem ina Lochboisdale riili gud, an elp buus op kanfidens ina wan komyuuniti we a chrai aksep se nyuu teknaliji a kom bout. Di regila advataisment dem an komyuuniti fiicha mek evribadi memba di sorvis dem we de bout an mek dem tankful se dem liv de.” (Jamiekan)

“Gu dearbh, tha coltas toilichte air Tormod air an dà dhuilleag aige. ’S e naidheachd air leth a th’ ann cuideachd mu na h-obraichean ann an Loch Baghasdail, agus cuiridh sin ri misneachd ann an coimhearsnachd a tha airson buannachd fhaighinn a-mach às an teicneòlas ùr. Bidh sanasan agus sgeulachdan bhon choimhearsnachd a’ toirt gu aire a h-uile duine na seirbheisean a tha ri fhaighinn, agus na h-adhbharan eile a th’ aca airson fuireach an seo.” (Gàidhlig)

“Norman is indeed looking happy in his two-page spread. The news about the jobs in Lochboisdale is excellent, and helps to boost confidence in a community wishing to embrace the potential of new technology. Regular advertisements and community features remind everyone of the services that are available and why they appreciate living here.” (English)

Kadeyne Marshall’s narration last year of Di Nyuuzpiepa was the third Jamaican version of an Island Voices film, and complements Hugh Campbell’s Gaelic Jorni and Dijitaizieshan Senta, all provided through the Jamaican Language Unit of the University of the West Indies, thanks to Audrey West‘s inspired introduction. Following the 2022 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of the Highlands and Islands, we hope to see further collaborative work developing out of these small but concrete initial steps with the Jamaican Language Unit and their media channel Braadkyaas Jamiekan.

Followers of Island Voices who have sampled our Talking Points page will also be familiar with the voice of Dr Joseph Farquharson, the Jamaican Language Unit co-ordinator, discussing – in English – various sociolinguistic points arising from the Normal Maclean Saoghal Thormoid recordings with academic and community partners. As part of the JLU 20th anniversary celebrations, you can hear him here – in Jamaican – explain more about the work of the unit. It’s a fascinating story of language study and linguistically-informed language activism from another island context.

Island Voices co-ordinator Gordon Wells was particularly interested to hear to the name of Robert Le Page mentioned – a relatively unsung but key sociolinguistic pioneer who headed the department at York University where Gordon’s own linguistic career began. Saoghal beag…

 


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Maltese Seatrek to “Santa Kilda”

Le Gordon Wells

SantaKildaWe’re deeply indebted to Sharon Pisani, our Maltese “Island Voice”, for the latest addition to our “Other Tongues” collection! This takes up to 22 the number of languages in which we have Island Voices films. Abair ioma-chànanas!

We first came into contact with Sharon through Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath, the North Uist Historical Society, for whom she’s doing great work in supporting the “Aire air Sunnd” project.

Based at St Andrews University, where she’s doing doctoral research on augmented reality, she’s somehow also found the time to translate and record a Maltese version of our Series Two Enterprise “Seatrek to St Kilda” film. Apparently, the island theme struck a chord!

And for anyone learning Maltese, or who perhaps just wants to see what it looks like written down, we’ve also created one of our trademark Clilstore units – http://multidict.net/cs/11181 – which combines the video with an online transcript wordlinked to online dictionaries.


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Talk on Tormod

Le Gordon Wells

1 Title - Guth Thormoid

Island Voices Co-ordinator Gordon Wells was delighted to be invited to speak to the University of Arizona Celtic Linguistics Group recently (14th October) about Island Voices, with specific reference to Norman Maclean’s notable contribution to the project. Gordon’s presentation is available online, and includes lots of Island Voices screenshots with live embedded links so that anyone interested can explore the site further.

Here’s the abstract for the talk:

“Gordon’s presentation samples and contextualises some of the multi-faceted mainly Gaelic contributions by the multi-talented creative icon, Norman Maclean, to the “Guthan nan Eilean/Island Voices” online language capture and curation project. These include Norman’s final “Saoghal Thormoid” (“Norman’s World”) series of videoed conversations, recorded in April 2016, in which Norman spoke reflectively of his memories and impressions of bilingual life in Glasgow and the Hebrides from the middle of the Twentieth Century onwards. In addition to offering a vivid first-person voiced and experiential account of Gaelic life over a tumultuous period for the language, the Island Voices adherence to basic linguistic principles also pays dividends in relation to some initially unpredicted spin-off applications. These are discussed in conclusion.”

And here’s the recording of the talk on YouTube, including follow-up comments and questions from the group. Many thanks to the Celtic Linguists of Arizona!

And in a new departure for Island Voices, if you can’t find the time to watch the video, there is a Twitter thread which you can follow to get a quick slide-by-slide commentary on the main points. These also link back to the online PDF, and so to all the embedded webpages referenced if you want to dig deeper into the material at any point.


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Aire air Sunnd – by Ear and Eye

Le Gordon Wells

Here’s a refreshing change! We’ve been banging on about the “Primacy of Speech” since Island Voices first started, as part of the mission to positively acknowledge the communication skills we all possess in whichever languages we speak – irrespective of any additional literacy we may or may not also have. The title “Progress Report” perhaps brings something rather dry and dusty to mind, and doesn’t necessarily scream “Read me!” at everyone, but this one offers something different. Co-ordinated by Sharon Pisani, Aire air Sunnd project officer, it’s a collection of unscripted video recordings offered by participating university and other partners, all introduced by CEUT chair Ùisdean Robertson. The contributions are mostly in English, but the mix of accents may reveal (or perhaps conceal?) a linguistically diverse competence in more than one of the speakers! And, of course, apart from regional accents, there are various other features unique to natural speech. Tone of voice, rhythm stress and intonation patterns, facial expressions, physical gestures and other accompanying body language – all these are additional expressive elements that elude capture in the printed word.

Have a look and listen here:

We may hope that the variety of voices will keep the listener interested from beginning to end, by presenting the information – or “telling the story” indeed – in a different, perhaps more engaging, way than pages of written text. (Okay, “skimreading” may not be an option for the spoken word if time is short, but YouTube’s “Chapters” function is an alternative if you want to skip forwards at any point – or backwards – to focus on a particular speaker…)

Plus, there’s more – appealing to the eye as well as to the ear!

Poster2PNGPoster1PNG

The Aberdeen team put together these two eye-catching posters for the Digital Fèis to explain in more detail how their Wellbeing strand is developing. Packed with information, they also contain images of artefacts and photographs from the Gaelic walks with Archie.

You can click on the images of these posters to enlarge them and examine the detail more closely.

And you can see more images and explanations of the artefacts on CEUT’s project page for the Wellbeing workshops.

And finally, as the pictures below show, the St Andrews digitisers were kept busy throughout the same event. Again, you can click on the image to enlarge it, and will then be able to click through one more time on individual pictures to go straight to the 3D or video exhibit on the project’s Digital Fèis page.

DigiImages


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Island Voices at the Conference

Le Gordon Wells

conference pictures

Participants at the Soillse conference on Rooting Minority Language Policy in the Speaker Community have come from across Europe and North America, from across Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, and from across the Hebridean islands that were the focus of the “Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community” publication in 2020. The programme is challenging for those with an interest in generating and maintaining effective policy to address the declining use of the language in the heartland communities where it has survived until now.

In addition to these key policy questions on the formal programme, samples of the video recording work in which Island Voices has been engaged, frequently in association with the Soillse network, are also available to view on the conference “fringe”. Nach math gu bheil Guthan nan Eilean rin cluinntinn aig co-labhairt mu dheidhinn cànan nan Eilean!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Gaelic voices on a roll

Le Gordon Wells

Gaelic Cafe composite croppedLooped Island Voices playlists will again be on display in Sgoil Chàirinis, North Uist, at the Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath Digital Fèis for the “Aire air Sunnd” well-being project at the beginning of September.

As part of the event, there is a drop-in café where people can stop by for a chat, or simply sample some of the many local Gaelic voices that have been recorded over the years. Gordon Wells will be in attendance, ready to talk to anyone interested in how the collections were made, or who might like to add to the ever-growing archive of recordings.

And on the Saturday morning, Archie Campbell, who has been leading a series of Gaelic walks over the summer, will also be on hand for anyone who likes to chat over a cup of tea. Agus ‘s e a tha math gu bruidhinn! You can view the full programme for the fèis here.

It’s a digital event, so virtual attendance is also possible for those reluctant or unable to attend in person. You can find the event on Facebook. Likewise, the playlists are all accessible online. Use the live links in this bilingual poster, and you can start watching right away!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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