Gaelic in modern Scotland
Gaelic in modern Scotland

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Gaelic in modern Scotland

5.4 How to learn Gaelic

The most common, and by far the most effective, method of acquiring a language is when it is learned by children in the home and developed in the community. This still happens in Gaelic, although not as much as in the past.

The other methods of learning languages can be divided into two broad categories, although there is a good deal of overlap between them. These are:

  • form-led learning, where the emphasis is on teaching the basic grammar of the language, usually in a school or evening class setting
  • meaning-led learning, where the focus is on using the language for practical purposes while learning it, as happens in immersion education (either in classes or in a less structured way in the community when one moves to a new country).

Experience world-wide has shown that the second of these approaches brings learners more quickly to the level of communicative competence – chiefly because the ‘total immersion’ process creates a powerful incentive to learn the language – but that this can sometimes be at the expense of grammatical correctness.

Form-led learning, often referred to as second-language teaching, can also be effective, especially with students with an aptitude for language, but the proportion achieving communicative competence is usually much lower than for immersion and it tends to take longer.

All the courses described in the sections that follow lie somewhere on this spectrum.


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, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 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 prospectus