Gaelic in modern Scotland
Gaelic in modern Scotland

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1 Gaelic as a national language of Scotland

1.1 Introduction

Modern Scotland, like most nations of the world, is a multilingual entity with a complex linguistic history. In many people’s eyes, Gaelic belongs predominantly to the Highlands and (west coast) Islands, but the linguistic division of Scotland along the Highland/Lowland line reflects only the latter part of the country’s long history.

Indeed, of recorded Scottish languages, Gaelic defers solely to English with regard to its maximum geographical extent. The only modern administrative regions which have no significant Gaelic heritage are the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland, which remained outside the Scottish kingdom (and the later ‘Gàidhealtachd’) at the time of Gaelic pre-eminence and whose inhabitants view themselves as belonging largely to the Norse sphere of influence. In this section, we will explore the links between Gaelic and Scotland, both Highland and Lowland.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371