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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Community Playlists

Le Gordon Wells

Community Projects ImageA sharpening of focus on the vernacular Hebridean communities has become evident in some Gaelic sociolinguistic research in recent years. In this period, Island Voices has partnered with various related projects, and helped to spread news and discussion of findings and issues.

At the same time, a parallel interest in wider international comparators for the Gaelic context has also been broadcast through Island Voices channels.

Projects with close community links will be on display at the Stornoway conference on Rooting Minority Language Policy in the Speaker Community at the end of August. Series of videos will be viewable in Island Voices playlists, including “Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal”, “Saoghal Thormoid”, “Island Voices Series 1&2” and “International MOOT”.

And the playlists can be viewed remotely as well, with live links embedded in this PDF poster. This also includes additional information about the links between Soillse and Island Voices, and other collaborative research work with other universities in Scotland and internationally.


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Stòras Beò: Coinneach & Maighread

Le Gordon Wells

CandMmontageHere’s a new departure with some well-known and well-loved faces. Comann Eachdraidh Sgìre a’ Bhac (Back historical society) have been producing home-grown videos for YouTube for a while now, many of them fronted by Coinneach MacÌomhair, recently retired after decades of sterling service with BBC Radio nan Gàidheal. In the video below, he’s joined by renowned singer Maighread Stiùbhart as they take viewers on a walking tour of Col Uarach.

It’s a remarkable film, in which the presenters’ deep knowledge and love of their home turf shine through, beautifully expressed in Gàidhlig Sgìre a’ Bhac. The video has been online for a few months now, but there’s been a new development – the addition of CC subtitles (which you can switch on or off, according to taste). This has been made possible following meticulous extra work by Maighread to transcribe the entire video so that it can be added to the Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal collection. And as followers of Guthan nan Eilean know, once the Gaelic subtitles are up, YouTube settings will also offer you auto-translation into many other languages – English included!

Plus, the “Stòras Beò” treatment means you can also access the full wordlinked transcript online through this Clilstore unit: https://clilstore.eu/cs/10540

Naturally, we’re delighted at Island Voices to be able to work with another local history society in the Western Isles. We hope such partnerships will continue to blossom and grow!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Taisce Bheo: Aodán Ó Cearbhaill

Le Gordon Wells

AodanAodán Ó Cearbhaill from Gaoth Dobhair speaks to Colm Mac Giolla Easpaig.

In the first part Aodán describes his family background and his teaching career to date.

He goes on to detail the career break he took to teach Irish in Nova Scotia. In preparation for this role, Aodán describes how he learnt Scottish Gàidhlig and this leads him and Colm to discuss the similarities and differences between the Donegal dialect and Gàidhlig.

Finally, Aodán describes his affinity with Tory Island, the birthplace of his father, and recites a famous folklore story about how Colm Cille came to bring Christianity to the Island.

A wordlinked transcript alongside the embedded video is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/10578

In the second part of the conversation, Aodán describes some customs and superstitions from Tory Island, most notably the story behind the Tory soil that keeps rats at bay. They discuss the musical heritage of the island before Aodán sings “An Buachaill Deas Óg”, and they chat about how Aodán is newly married and living in the area.

This leads them to discuss the fate of this rural area. Aodán explains his fear about the future of the language but also his hopes for tourism in the area. Planning issues are discussed before Aodán details the polytunnel he had installed in his new home. They end the conversation with Aodán describing the unique manner in which he would spend a win on the National Lottery, and he finishes with a rendition of the renowned Tory Island song “Amhrán na Scadán”.

A wordlinked transcript alongside the embedded video is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/10580

This is the third set of Irish recordings in the Taisce Bheo na nGael project in which the UHI Language Sciences Institute with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Soillse, together with Irish partners, record the natural speech of Irish and Scottish Gaelic speakers in their own communities with user-friendly equipment and techniques. We are again indebted to Dr Gearóid Ó Domagáin of Ulster University for his meticulous work on the transcriptions.


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Aire Air Sunnd: Staing na Gàidhlig

Le Gordon Wells

Following on from the May launch of the Aire air Sunnd project with Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath, the first online session of the Gaelic-focussed strand was held on 17th June. As planned, the “hybrid” session was open to participation by Zoom as well as physical attendance at Sgoil Chàirinis, with Ùisdean Robertson taking the chair. The session started with a presentation by members of the research team behind the publication of “The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community“, principally Iain Caimbeul with support from Conchúr Ó Giollagáin. This presentation was recorded and has now been placed on the Island Voices YouTube channel. You can view it here:

The session was held entirely in Gaelic. YouTube subtitling will also allow viewers to read as they listen, and offers auto-translation into other languages, including English, using the settings wheel.

The presentation was followed by a lively and open discussion between CEUT members and the presenters about many of the points raised. This has laid a valuable foundation for further Gaelic activities as part of the Aire air Sunnd project, which will include walks and other events over the summer period, before returning to further online workshops planned for the autumn, which may take a closer look at selected Island Voices recordings.

Iain’s full Powerpoint presentation is available in PDF format here.

Taisbeanadh_CEUTSlide2


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Talking Points: The Teacher

Le Gordon Wells

JanepicThis is one of four linked blogposts, building on the Norman Maclean “Talking Points” series of discussions, which focus on specific contributions from the participants.

Jane NicLeòid was raised speaking Gaelic, and later English as well, on the Isle of Lewis. A trained teacher, she worked on the mainland for some years, before recently returning to her home island, where she continues to teach Gaelic, and is also closely involved in the new pressure group, Guth nan Siarach, to promote the interests of vernacular speakers.

Jane made a thoughtful and challenging early response to the 2020 “Gaelic Crisis” report by the Soillse team led by Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, on the influential Bella Caledonia website, in which she drew on her rooted teaching and community experience. You can read it here.

And in this final extract from the Norman Maclean Language Contact discussion Jane summarises key points of commonality identified in Norman’s thoughts, and underlines her own perception of the disconnect between institutional support for Gaelic, and a grassroots activism and egalitarian sensibility uniting the various interest groups.

Links to the three other blogposts in this short series are given below:

The Scholars (Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Udaya Narayana Singh, Joseph Farquharson)
The Interpreter (Kalyan Das Gupta)
The Poet (Audrey West)


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Island Voices & Aire Air Sunnd

Le Gordon Wells

The Island Voices project has collaborated with Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath (The North Uist Historical Society) on joint work in the past, and we’re delighted to renew the link in the new Wellbeing initiative, “Aire Air Sunnd”, led by the Comann Eachdraidh in a partnership which brings in the Universities of Aberdeen and St Andrews, as well the Highlands and Islands (UHI). It’s funded by the Ideas Fund, with each partner contributing from some of its own strengths and specialisms. This leaflet gives an outline of the overall shape of the project, with an explanation of what the different components are.

The project was launched on Friday 6th May in a hybrid format event, with the various academic partners giving online presentations to a North Uist audience either “Zooming in” from their own homes, or gathering at the Carinish School society headquarters, with the St Andrews “Smart Heritage” team taking care to record the contributions from the various presenters. The Island Voices role will be primarily linguistic, focussing on Gaelic in particular as a key element of local cultural heritage. You can see Gordon Wells’s short (15 minute) presentation here on initial thoughts and plans for the Guthan nan Eilean component of the project.

The eagle-eyed may spot that most of the images after the second slide contain embedded links. If you wish to explore these further, please open this PDF version of the presentation. You can then click/tap any picture or graphic to explore the webpage to which it links.

Cò MiseOrdinarily, Gordon probably wouldn’t start a presentation with the level of personal detail offered here. But the CEUT connection is a close one, as his first picture shows!

The story of a rooted Hebridean family with close connections around the globe, through Australia, Canada, China, Singapore and elsewhere, as well as India (if we were also to go through the histories of Ann’s eight brothers and sisters…) is probably one that many other Hebridean family albums could tell just as well. When it comes to reflection on the links between heritage and wellbeing, and the value of transcending imagined boundaries, bilingual Island Voices may offer special insights!

North Uist residents and relatives! If aspects of this project are of interest to you and you’d like to learn more about it or are interested in taking part, contact details and further information are on the project leaflet. Siuthadaibh!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Talking Points le Tormod et al

Le Gordon Wells

MOOTPicFinalSna seachdainnean mu dheireadh aig a’ phròiseact Mediating Multilingualism aig Institiùd Rannsachaidh Cànain Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd ‘s nan Eilean thàinig na com-pàirtichean eadar-nàiseanta sna h-oilthighean ann an Alba, Diaimeuga, agus sna h-Innseachan còmhla airson cuspairean san robh ùidh aca uile a dheasbad cuide ri luchd-labhairt às an Rìoghachd Aonaichte aig a bheil cànanan coimhearsnachd. Chleachd iad pìosan a-mach à Saoghal Thormoid airson na deasbadan (a chaidh a chumail sa Bheurla) a thòiseachadh. Chaidh na còmhraidhean seo a chlàradh, agus tha iad a-nis ri fhaighinn air sianal YouTube Guthan nan Eilean.

Bheir an clàr shìos ceanglaichean ris na deasbadan gu lèir, cuide ris na bhidiothan le Tormod MacGill-Eain a’ bruidhinn.

Cuspair Còmhradh Clàraichte Earrann à Saoghal Thormoid
Cànanan ann an Cunnart Talking Points 1 Saoghal Thormoid 1
Cànanan air an Rangachadh Talking Points 2 Saoghal Thormoid 2
Cànanan Taobh ri Taobh Talking Points 3 Saoghal Thormoid 3

Faodar criomagan às na h-earrannan ann an Saoghal Thormoid fhaicinn an seo, airson blasad fhaighinn dhe na beachdan aig Tormod fhèin.

1. Gaelic Trajectory? 2. English Ascendancy?
3a. Bilingual Balance? 3b. Homecoming Postscript

Agus ma tha ceistean agad, no ma tha thu airson puingean a thogail air-loidhne sna deasbadan seo, faodaidh tu pàirt a ghabhail sna còmhraidhean a bhios a’ dol ann am MOOT Guthan nan Eilean! Rud nach bi a’ tachairt a h-uile latha… Siuthad! Carpe diem!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Invitation to Unmute

Le Gordon Wells

MOOTPicFinal

Who remembers we once mooted a MOOT?

Well, the idea of an Island Voices “Multilingual Open Online Teach-in” is now no longer, um, moot – for want of a better word. “Chan ann a h-uile latha a bhios mòd aig Mac an Tòisich”, mar a chanas iad, (“It’s not every day Mackintosh throws a party” – loosely) but its time has come.

“Talking Points” with Tormod

We’ve recently placed a whole series of “Talking Points with Norman Maclean” recordings on our YouTube channel, built on a merging of materials and ideas from the Soillse/UHI Language Sciences Institute projects Mediating Multilingualism and Saoghal Thormoid. In the last few weeks of the funded period for Mediating Multilingualism, linguists in universities in Scotland, India, and Jamaica discussed topics of common interest with UK-based community language speakers, stimulated by brief extracts from the final session of Saoghal Thormoid. And these discussions are now available to view.

It’s an experimental format, mixing subtitled Gaelic recordings with live English debate. The topics are sociolinguistic, covering Language Endangerment (Gaelic Trajectory?), Language Hierarchies (English Ascendancy?), and Language Contact (Bilingual Balance?). And they may raise just as many questions as answers, if not more. Just the thing then for the enquiring mind, and quite in the spirit of the “Teach-in” philosophy described in our 2019 post! In the end, we didn’t set up a separate online forum then, and we won’t now. There are perfectly good comment and reply functions on YouTube and here on WordPress for any questions readers or listeners may have.

YouTube Playlist

But to help provide a degree of focus or sense of direction – without closing down the options for diverging lines of thought and enquiry – we’ve put together a special “box set” International Island Voices MOOT playlist on YouTube that brings together the Talking Points material with some other key videos from our overall body of work which underpin and exemplify our multilingual approach.

Previews

By the way, we knitted some 2-minute Norman Maclean “highlights” into the recorded discussions, as an aide memoire for the longer extracts that were being discussed. If you want a quick taste of a topic, we’ve extracted them here, and you can take a quick look at any of them now, before choosing which full discussion to dive into for the wider treatment.

1. Gaelic Trajectory? 2. English Ascendancy?
3a. Bilingual Balance? 3b. Homecoming Postscript

Taking Part

There’s no start or stop date on this. The “Talking Points” participants are separated by up to ten and a half hours difference in time zones between India and Jamaica, so a simultaneous “launch” has not been feasible. And our geographical catchment is worldwide, so the approach is deliberately asynchronous – completely independent of any timetable. View the videos, ask questions, and make comments (which will be moderated) as and when you can and wish. Please be polite, and be prepared to be patient if waiting for responses.

Choosing where to comment is up to you. Specific queries about particular videos may be best posted under the relevant YouTube clip. But if your point or question is more general, then a comment here under this WordPress post may be the best place.

Binge-watching the whole playlist in one go is probably doable, if challenging, but perhaps not the best way of giving yourself time to think through issues that arise and about which you may have questions. A better approach might actually be to split up the longer discussion videos into smaller chunks – for which the “chapters” function in YouTube may well come in handy. If you take a look at the video description for any of these long clips you’ll find timed listings for each of the speakers, which you can click on to go straight to that particular point in the film.

And any time you catch yourself wondering which one’s Treebeard, it’s probably time for a break…

We’re pleased to have a receptive and supportive audience and readership, of course, but comments, questions and other feedback are always very welcome. Wikipedia tells us “Teach-ins are meant to be practical, participatory, and oriented toward action. While they include experts lecturing on their area of expertise, discussion and questions from the audience are welcome…”

Dear readers, whether you have questions or suggestions, the MOOT is open. We invite you to “unmute”!

International Island Voices MOOT: the YouTube Playlist


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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