Gaelic Learning

Gaelic is one of Scotland’s national languages and its historical influence is to be found throughout Scotland. But Gaelic is also a part of modern life in Scotland and recent research has shown strong public support for the retention and revitalisation of Gaelic. 81% of people believe that Scotland should not be allowed to lose its Gaelic traditions, 70% believe there should be more opportunities to learn Gaelic, 65% believe that more should be done to promote Gaelic and 53% want to see Gaelic used more in everyday life.

Scottish Gaelic is a language of the Celtic family – it is a close relative of Welsh, Cornish and Breton, but shares a closer relationship with Irish and Manx Gaelic.

Today, Gaelic speakers are spread throughout Scotland. Just over half live in the Highlands and Islands with just under half in the Lowland areas, and large concentrations in Greater Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen.

There are Gaelic speakers worldwide, mainly through families emigrating for employment and historical reasons such as forced emigration. Gaelic is still spoken in Cape Breton in Canada where there is significant activity in education and the arts; there are also a significant number of people new to the language learning Gaelic in countries such as Germany, Spain, the Eastern European states and North America. Japanese scholars have also shown interest in Gaelic.

The Gaelic Language (Scotland) 2005 Act aspires to equal respect for Gaelic with the English language and Bòrd na Gàidhlig was established to promote Gaelic as a language for all of modern Scotland as well as to invest in, and coordinate, its development. Many young people are educated through Gaelic and there is a vibrant arts scene as well as a dedicated Gaelic service on radio and television through BBC ALBA.

Useful Words

Madainn mhath Good Morning
Feasgar math Good afternoon/evening
Oidhche mhath Good night
Ciamar a tha thu? How are you?
Tha mi gu math I am well
Chan eil mi cho math I’m not so good
Ag èirigh ’s a gearan! Getting there!
Chan eil mi dona I’m not bad
Fàilte ort! Welcome!
Ceud mìle fàilte A hundred thousand welcomes
Fàilte gu Alba Welcome to Scotland
Soraidh slàn Farewell
Mar sin leat Cheerio
Slàinte Mhath! Good Health!
Cò às a tha thu? Where are you from?
Tha am biadh math/blasta The food is good/tasty
Dè tha seo a’ cosg? What is the cost of this?
Turas math dhut! Good journey to you (Bon Voyage)
An toil leat ceòl? Do you like music?
Am bu thoil leat deoch? Would you like a drink
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