Scots Gaelic facing crisis

Menu on Isle of Skye partly written in Gaelic.

I last reported on the Gaelic language in Scotland per post of Nov 28th 2019.

Events have moved on. The following summary has been sourced from a report in today's Times newspaper.

  • The language is in crisis with only 11,000 people actually using the medium in its core heartlands.
  • Gaelic is no longer being passed down through the generations.
  • Most of the Gaelic speakers are now aged 50 years plus.
  • About 58,000 Scots (1.1 pct of the population) can actually speak the language which has been in decline since the early 1980s notwithstanding millions of pounds in taxpayer-funded initiatives.
  • Most of the Gaelic speaking communities can be found in the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides), Isle of Skye and on Tiree.
  • Although Gaelic is taught in primary schools (age 5 yrs-11 yrs) in Gaelic speaking areas overarching revitalisation initiatives in communities will be required to stem the decline.
By way of a quick recap, Gaelic was brought to Scotland from Ireland as a function of people movements around the 5th/6th centuries AD. Because the Irish consolidated in the west of Scotland first this has always been the 'heartland' for Gaelic speakers. Gaelic is an official language in Scotland.

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