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Modern Scotland is a multi-lingual country. Gaelic, Scots and English, along with newer introductions from Europe and beyond, all influence the way Scotland's people now speak to each other and to the rest of the world. Created with the positive encouragement of Brd na Gidhlig and with support from BBC Alba, this free course, Gaelic in modern Scotland, is available in both Gaelic and English. The course has been designed to provide a resource for people with a personal or professional interest in increasing their knowledge and understanding of the development and impact of Scottish Gaelic and its culture. It aims to surprise and challenge where necessary; to provide links and ideas for further research; and, for some, to kick-start a journey into learning a language which is integral to Scotland's national identity.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand how Gaelic sits alongside Scots and English as one of Scotland’s national languages
- understand the origins and Celtic roots of Gaelic and its close linguistic relations, including Irish and Manx, and the Gaelic Diaspora
- understand who is speaking Gaelic now, the decline in Gaelic speakers in the twentieth century and the work currently being done by government, educational institutions and independent agencies to support and grow Gaelic language acquisition the value of bi-lingualism/multi-lingualism to individuals and society, and the efforts made by countries like New Zealand to protect and celebrate the contribution of indigenous minority languages
- understand how Gaelic is spoken
- understand how Gaelic language and culture continue to make a significant contribution to Scotland’s literature, visual arts, music, dance and sporting life.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Gaelic as a national language of Scotland
- 2 Celtic roots and international reach
- 3 Gaelic in the modern era
- 4 Gaelic – the rationale
- 4.1 Bilingualism
- 4.2 Why learn Gaelic?
- 4.3 The rights of linguistic minorities
- 4.4 Home and abroad: examples of bilingualism
- 5 How the Gaelic language works
- 5.1 How do I say…?
- 5.2 Gaelic: some basics
- 5.3 New words: and evolving language
- 5.4 How to learn Gaelic
- 5.5 Options for children
- 6 Gaelic culture: a national asset
- 7 FAQs
- Keep on learning
- Further reading
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Gaelic in modern Scotland
Modern Scotland is a multi-lingual country. Gaelic, Scots and English, along with newer introductions from Europe and beyond, all influence the way Scotland’s people now speak to each other and to the rest of the world.
Created with the positive encouragement of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and with support from BBC Alba, this course – available in both Gaelic and English – has been designed to provide a resource for people with a personal or professional interest in increasing their knowledge and understanding of the development and impact of Scottish Gaelic and its culture. It aims to surprise and challenge where necessary; to provide links and ideas for further research; and, for some, to kick-start a journey into learning a language which is integral to Scotland’s national identity.
The course is made up of seven sections which can be studied in sequence or individually. This course is also available on ourwebsite, where you can download and customise these materials to use in your own teaching or staff development.
Gaelic as a
national language of Scotland
- Here you will learn how Gaelic sits alongside Scots and English as one of Scotland’s national languages. For example, by exploring the origin of place-names, you will learn about the influence of Gaelic right across Scotland.
and international reach
- This section provides an introduction to the origins and Celtic roots of Gaelic and its close linguistic relations including Irish and Manx. You will also hear and see how emigration from Scotland took Gaelic to the Americas and how there are now learners of Gaelic across the world.
Gaelic in the
- Provides an up to date picture of who is speaking Gaelic now. It will help you understand the reasons for the decline in the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland in the 20th century and the work currently being done by government, educational institutions and independent agencies to support and grow Gaelic language acquisition. There are links here to where to go if you decide you want to take your study of Gaelic further.
Gaelic – the
- Asks you to consider the value of bi-lingualism/multi-lingualism to individuals and society. It draws on the example of New Zealand to explore how other countries have sought to protect and celebrate the contribution of their indigenous minority languages.
How the Gaelic
- Hear Gaelic spoken and practice for yourself. Audio resources will give you an insight into how Gaelic spelling, grammar and pronunciation work.
a national asset
- Lots of pictures, clips and links to people, places and events will help you learn how Gaelic language and culture continue to make a significant contribution to Scotland’s literature, visual arts, music, dance and sporting life.
- A list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for people who need quick and easy access to the facts and figures concerning Gaelic
Find out more about studying with The Open University by visiting our online prospectus
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 10th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 10th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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