Gaelic Alive and Well in Scotland's Largest City - Glasgow is Home to 10% of Scotland's Gaelic Speakers

In September 2013 Glasgow City Council announced a "Four Year Gaelic Language Plan". That plan, in compliance with the Gaelic Language Act of 2005 under which local Councils are required to prepare a plan for promoting and preserving the tongue, seems to be having an impact.

The number of Scots Gaelic speakers in Glasgow has reached a critical mass to the point that there is developing a Scots Gaelic Glaswegian dialect. Glaswegians have introduced their own distinctive style of pronunciation described “Gaelic with a Glasgow Accent”, giving proof that Gaelic is a growing modern living language.  Recent estimates put the number of Gaelic speakers in Glasgow at about 7,000 or roughly 10% of Scotland’s Celtic speakers.

Meanwhile last month, the Bòrd na Gàidhlig (Scottish Language Board) welcomed the opening of the third Gaelic Medium Primary School in Glasgow; The Bòrd’s announcement stated: “The opening of the new Gaelic School, Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghleann Dail, is a significant milestone in the development of Gaelic-medium education (GME) in Glasgow. We congratulate Glasgow City Council on its ongoing commitment to the language. Working with Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government, Bòrd na Gàidhlig would like to see a city wide review of GME, age 3 – 18, to help plan for the medium and long term needs of those with aspirations for Gaelic education.”  Glasgow is also home to Scotland’s only Gaelic Medium Secondary Scool.

In December of last year Transceltic’s Douglas MacQueen reported that the Scottish government's support for the Gaelic language has seen a big rise in speakers in Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. The increase in the number of Gaelic speakers in Glasgow reflects the trend throughout Scotland which has witnessed a significant rise in the number of children whose entire school day is spent talking in Gaelic. 

Herald Scotland in an article entitled "Research Claims New Gaelic Speakers Are Developing a Glasgow Accent" reports on the findings of the linguist Dr. Claire Nance.  Nance holds a Doctorate in Gaelic and is a lecturer at Lancaster University. The findings of the four-year study documented shifts in vowel usage and intonation between Gaelic speakers in the Hebrides and Glasgow. Nance observed: " I interpreted my findings in a positive way in that Gaelic is being adapted and used for different purposes and for different reasons and in different places. And the world has changed - the future of Scotland is multilingual rather than monolingual so Gaelic is changing and adapting to reflect this.”

The Bòrd na Gàidhlig mission under the 2005 legislation is summarized as follows from the organisation’s web site: "The Bòrd na Gàidhlig, works to promote Gaelic in Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Government, the people of Scotland and Gaelic organisations to improve the status of the Gaelic tongue throughout Scotland."   Interestingly the 2005 law extends the Bòrd’s brief beyond Scotland giving the Bòrd stewardship for Scots Gaelic beyond the borders of Scotland as has been recently shown in its support for the Scots Gaelic revival now underway in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

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