Scottish Highlands Councillors Urged To Learn Gaelic

Councillors representing the Scottish Highlands have been publicly urged, at the behest of the Highland Council (Comhairle na Gailhealtachd) to learn Gaelic.  According to a recent article in the Lochaber News, less than 10% of the 80 Councillors representing Highlands’s districts can speak Gaelic. The call for Councillors to receive Gaelic instruction comes in connection with the introduction of a language plan required by statute.  The article quotes Hamish Fraser, Chair of the Highland Council Gaelic Implementation Group, who represents the 11th Ward on the Isle of Skye, as being hopeful that as many of his colleagues as possible would attend the training.

TG4 - Irish language television channel - Teilifis Gaeilge

TG4, the Irish Language TV channel, continues to achieve success. The channel has been praised for its content. TG4 has recently started to broadcast an eight part drama series written by Colin Bateman about an Irish language newspaper  in Belfast. "Scúp" airs on TG4 on Wednesdays, and started on February 27, at 10pm, and on BBC Two from March 3 at 10pm.  There is also a further Irish language drama being filmed called "An Bronntanas". The series is set against the backdrop of a local independent lifeboat crew working off the coast of Connemara. It stars Irish/American actor and Irish language enthusiast John Finn.

This comes after the 2011 census results which recorded a 7.1% increase in those that spoke Irish in Ireland bringing the figure to some 1.77 million. 

International Celtic Congress 2013

The International Celtic Congress is a non-political cultural organisation that promotes the Celtic language in the six nations of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Ireland, Isle of Man and Cornwall. The annual meeting of the Congress in 2013 is being held in Bodmin, Cornwall from 1st to 6th April.

Cornish Language Literature Prize

Agan Tavas announces the new Pewas Perghyryn Lyenyeth Kerneweck award for literature. The award, which was announced at the Agan Tavas AGM in Redruth, is in honour of Michael Palmer, who died in 2005 and who wrote short stories, novels and verse in the Cornish Language.  Agan Tavas is both a society for the protection and promotion of the Cornish language and a support group for the users of the Cornish language.

Agan Tavis Chairman Ray Chubb informed us that 'We are specifically looking for work that is publishable and therefore we want contributions of more than 2000 words.  It could be a piece of original prose e.g. short stories or a novel, or maybe a book of poems.  At the moment we are also considering the translation of literature into Cornish from other languages, a play in Cornish would also be acceptable.'

Manx Language Renaissance

The Manx Language continues to prosper and experience a growing revival. As reported in the on-line BBC News Magazine on 31st January 2013. There is an increased use in the numbers speaking Manx Gaelic, which is closely linked to Irish and Scottish Gaelic. This remarkable growth is also reflected in the road signage, mobile phone apps, broadcasts on Manx Radio and novels. The language declined significantly from the mid-nineteenth century when economic depression resulted in emigration. Many parents thought that just encouraging their children to speak English would help their job chances abroad. This was combined with the prevention of speaking the native tongue in schools at that time.

From The Celtic League - 2012 New Year Review

The Celtic League is an inter Celtic organization that has campaigned for the political, language, cultural and social rights of the Celtic Nations since 1961. The League have posted an article to its January 2013 "Latest News" feature section on the Leagues' website entitled "2012 – New Year Review". This article surveys developments during 2012 that impact the preservation, protection and promotion of Celtic culture in the Six Nations. Below are the highlights of the “2012 – New Year Review”.  The complete text can be found on the Celtic Leagues’ website linked below.

Manx Government tackles Ash Dieback Disease

Ash Dieback Disease (Cholera fraxinus) has been caused major problems in the west of continental Europe where it has killed something like 90% of the trees infected. Unfortunately, it has spread to parts of the United Kingdom and Eire and increasing numbers of trees have been infected.  It is spread by the wind via fungal spores. The spores can travel up to something like 30-40km from area to area. Its spread to Eire and UK seems to have resulted from human spread of trees and plant material.

Scottish Government boost Gaelic School

Scottish Gaelic received a boost when £3 million pounds additional funding was awarded to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig from the Scottish Government. The Sabhal Mòr Ostaig  college on the Isle of Skye is noted for excellence and is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in 2013. This money will be put towards expanding its campus and is part of £205 million pounds in infrastructure development for the college announced by John Swinney, Finance Secretary and Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament.

Fall in Welsh speakers is "Crisis"

In the news recently were the results of the 2011 Welsh census, which indicate an unexpected drop in the number of Welsh speakers.  It is reported that the 2001 census registerd 20.5% as Welsh Speaking whereas the 2011 census reported a drop to 19 %. 

The Celtic Languages are at a crossroads in Canada

Statements by Jason Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, have created a political storm which in turn has provoked a rebuke from the Nova Scotia Assembly.  Several days ago Jason Kenney dismissed what he claimed were "heritage" languages like Scottish and in particular the public funding of these tongues, advocating instead an emphasis on the learning and adoption of English and French. As reported in Canada's The Chronicle Herald: "Nova Scotia in particular now has the Oifis Iomairtean na Gàidhlig (Office of Gaelic Affairs) and the increasingly important Colaisde na Gàidhlig or Gaelic College at Baile Anna (St. Anne's), which links toScotland’s Sabhal Mòr Ostaig". In what must be regarded as a direct rebuke to Kenney, the following Motion was carried unanimously in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, which is the oldest Assembly in Canada dating from 1758: 


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