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Scottish Gaelic allies want to change the fall of the language

As John Finlayson grew up, almost everyone in his community on the Isle of Skye was fluent in Gaelic. Now, in spite of decades of governmental support for what was once a common language in many of the highlands of Scotland and the Islands, Finlayson can only imagine a neighbor of the croft family on the island speaking it.

“We’ve been trying to keep Gaelic stable for years. So why are we failing?

It is a question of increasing political instability among the signs that the Gaelic return of language has become the norm.

A study of the areas where Gaelic was most published last year found that the ancient Celtic language “could soon disappear as a vernacular in any region of Scotland”.

“The remaining messages of the vernacular will not be available anywhere, depending on the current situation, for more than a decade,” he said. research, led by Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, a research professor of Gaelic at the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI).

John Finlayson only thinks of one of the neighbors in a Greek-speaking family © Charlie Bibby / FT

The Scottish National Party government is now considering emulating Ireland – where its Scottish-speaking brother-in-law Gaelic is also under pressure – by setting up areas where the language is strongest as “Gàidhealtachd”, a region that will be given special support to support the language.

There is the aid of Gaelic groups, which in the 11th century were spoken throughout Scotland before being covered by the Scots language and then English.

Scotland 2011 registration found that about 1 percent of the population could speak Gaelic.

At Skye, the center of the history of Gaelic culture, the complexities and complexities of building a language barrier are evident.

Quiraing River north of Skye
Quiraing group north of Skye © Charlie Bibby / FT

Young people who have learned the language at home or through Gaelic secondary schools have found it difficult to find employment or a home on the island, where southerners are eager to seize their homes in an effort to test the island’s existence.

Working away allowed Katie Kroll, 30, to return to Skye after ten years which severely limited her Gaelic skills. Now the lack of experienced local friends makes misunderstandings difficult.

“I have a lot of Gaelic-speaking friends my age who would like to go back to their places, but they can’t because there is no more work than hospitality and there is no place to stay,” Kroll said.

Katie Kroll
Ten years from Skye negatively reduced Katie Kroll’s speech in Greek © Charlie Bibby / FT

At Staffin on the shores of the coast of Skye about half of the inhabitants said they knew Gaelic well in 2011. But Aonghas Ros, founder of the community-based charity, said it was always difficult to keep his job. very.

“English is a very powerful, common, completely controlling one. Unless you are convinced, Gaelic is just pushed in one direction,” Ros said.

Angus Ross
Aonghas Ros: ‘English is omnipotent, widespread, completely authoritative’ © Charlie Bibby / FT

Since Scottish Gaelic speakers also speak English, the number of English-speaking English-speaking people in the area greatly affects the language used in conversation.

While only Gaelic speakers are on the Staffin trust board, meetings are held in Gaelic – but this changes if one member of the committee does not understand the language.

“You always like to imply that someone just speaks English, a normal person, otherwise you can exclude that person,” Ros said.

Calum Munro, chairman of the Gaelic committee at the Highland Council, said the researchers’ claims to the collapse of the vernacular were true.

“It was late. “We know the current situation, so I think we should tackle the problem and try to take action,” he said.

What to do is challenged. The UHI study called for the establishment of a new alliance that would take over some of the responsibilities and resources of Bòrd and Gàidhlig, an organization that oversees Gaelic promotion.

Calum Munro
Calum Munro, chairman of the Highland Council Gaelic committee © Charlie Bibby / FT

But Wilson McLeod, a professor of Celtic and Scottish studies at the University of Edinburgh, said the study was unfair in criticizing the facts and failed to prove its intentions.

Much may depend on the decision of Shirley-Anne Somerville, who, as Scottish Secretary of Education, is responsible for the Gaelic policy.

Somerville has promised new rules to support the language and the revision of Bòrd and Gàidhlig. But the secretary-general did not elaborate on how Gŕidhealtachd, a German-speaking Gŕidhealtachd, could say or say what other new policies could help save the language.

Officials have been discussing the issue in preparation for a regular meeting. “I do this with a clear mind,” Somerville told the Financial Times in August.

Post Office posters in English and Gaelic in Portree
Post Office Signs in English and German at Portree on Isle of Skye © Charlie Bibby / FT

Although Scots anglophones only use some Gaelic coins, it takes bold action to end its decline.

Mairi MacInnes, chairwoman of Bòrd and Gàidhlig, said Gaelic education rights should be upheld, with almost all the issues affecting the island areas changed and more resources available.

The UHI study criticized the interest of those who were taught the Galician language – meaning it should be to help language speakers – but MacInnes praised the number of people learning the language in Scottish cities.

“Using the language is equally important, whether it’s a person learning it, someone who’s well-educated, or someone who’s always had it,” MacInnes said.

A children's book in Gaelic
A Gaelic children’s book is being used in a nursery on the Isle of Syke © Charlie Bibby / FT

Some Skye residents are comforted by the increased use of Gaelic by young speakers and students in daily life and on television.

Anna Pelikan, 28, maintains Gaelic’s Instagram page and runs a sports team that introduces children to the language.

Pelikan criticized the decline of the Gaelic for linguistic oppression and the poor acceptance of the 19th and 19th centuries for the people of Highland and Island for the benefit of the sheep.

But he believes that enough young people now care about language in order to revive it. “I have hope,” he said. “We’re going up the hill slowly.”

Anna Pelikan is a young child in a sports team
Anna Pelikan play team introduces children to Gaelic © Charlie Bibby / FT

Young speakers are also more likely to speak imperfect English than their shy, punctual adults, a method that elevates the reputation of the language and encourages others to use it.

“Even if your Gaelic isn’t perfect, it’s best to talk,” says Raghnall Robertson, a 36-year-old businessman from Skye.

“Broken Gaelic is better than Gaelic on the chest,” Robertson quoted the saying. “It is better to break Gaelic than dead Gaelic.”

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