The Resurgence of Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic: Where did this language go?
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig [‘ka:lik], is a Celtic Language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic Languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Scottish Gaelic has a rich oral (beul-aithris) and written tradition, having been the language of the bardic culture of the Highland clans for many years.
However, the language suffered under centralisation efforts by the Scottish and later British states, especially after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, during the Highland Clearances, and by the exclusion of Scottish Gaelic from the educational system. Even before then, charitable schools operated by the Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge used instructional methods designed to suppress the language in favour of English and corporal punishment against students using Gaelic.
In 1872, the British government introduced compulsory schooling for children in Scotland. This should have been a wonderful and exciting time for Scotland but unfortunately Gaelic speaking children were often belted by teachers and discouraged to even speak the language or face further punishment.
Thankfully, many attitudes changed towards Gaelic in the 20th century but the damage had been done, Gaelic was becoming extinct as a Language. This is why I, and many other people are choosing to learn to speak in this ancient and beautiful language.
Follow along with us as we embark on this wonderful journey into the history and knowledge of Scottish Gaelic. Each month we will bring you an update of our discoveries into this beautiful and almost forgotten language.
Nicole is a guest contributor to Crawford Gifts. Her passion for her Scottish heritage has lead her to learn Scottish Gaelic in Australia and she has spent many years researching her Scottish ancestry.