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.

2.8 Learners and enthusiasts worldwide

There are significant numbers of Gaelic learners outside Scotland, many of them utilising the opportunities for learning provided by internet resources, or engaging in distance learning courses like the Cùrsa Inntrigidh [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Some of these are in countries which were traditional recipients of emigrant Gaels, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Argentina, as well as England, Wales and Ireland.

Download this video clip.Video player: Blogging in Gaelic from Los Angeles in the United States
Blogging in Gaelic from Los Angeles in the United States
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

But Gaelic learners, some of whom have achieved moderate or total fluency, are also to be found in countries as diverse as Brazil, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Poland, Austria and Switzerland. Most of these are not descendants of emigrant Gaels, but people of varied cultural backgrounds who have taken an interest in Gaelic as individuals, having been attracted to the language in a variety of ways, such as through music, storytelling, an interest in Celtic heritage or history, or falling in love with the landscape and/or people of the Gàidhealtachd.

The most numerous of this latter group are to be found in Germany. Michael Klevenhaus is a fluent Gaelic-speaking German who has written a handbook in German for students of Gaelic (Schottisch-Gälisch: Wort für Wort), and who teaches the language to students at the University of Bonn. A considerable number of Germans have learned Gaelic to fluency and some are now making a living within the Gaelic economy in Scotland.

Figure 16 A collection of modern short stories written and published in Gaelic (above) then translated into German (below)

Gaelic learners are an important addition to the modern world of Gaelic, demonstrating (to native Scots among others!) that the language can not only be learned to fluency as an adult without too much difficulty, but that it possesses a powerful attractiveness to people outside its traditional community, who will bring with them new energy and vision.

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