Demand For Scottish Medium Education Outstrips Supply

From Glasgow’s Evening Times newspaper: “Christine and Iain Agnew are keen to support Scotland’s language and so sent son Archie to a Gaelic nursery school in Anniesland. But the four-year-old has now been denied a place at Glasgow Gaelic School. Christine, 39, said: “My son has been going to a Gaelic nursery for the past … Continue reading

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Linguicism And Linguistic Imperialism

Thanks to @MisneachNYC for a heads-up on this video from Angelica Galante of Niagara College in Canada. It makes some interesting points.

Learn A Language In Six Months?

Since this is generating some internet buzz I thought I’d post it: How to learn any language in six months, Chris Lonsdale at TEDxLingnanUniversity. I’m always suspicious about “fast-track” learning. Most are gimmicks and as I know from experience learning a new language when in adulthood is as much about a person’s intuitive abilities as anything … Continue reading

The Ghettoization Of The Irish Language

That perennial red herring, the manner in which the official national language of the nation-state of Ireland is taught in its education system, is raised yet again in the Irish Times newspaper: “Why, with 13 or 14 years of instruction and learning in Irish, does research show standards continue to fall? A 2006 report by … Continue reading

The Not So Royal Gaels

Here is a story on the Scottish language (Scottish Gaelic) that has been rumbling away for the last couple of weeks in Nova Scotia (Albain Nua) but which has now erupted into a major row that is encompassing academics, language activists and politicians in the easternmost Canadian province. From the Globe and Mail: “In a controversy … Continue reading

Big Investment For Local Education Through Scottish Language

Some very good news for the Scottish-speaking community and citizens of Skye who are to see a substantial investment in local education by the government in Edinburgh. From the Scotsman newspaper: “Highland Council is to receive £3 million over two years to build a new Gaelic school in Portree, on the isle of Skye. Minister … Continue reading

The Anglophone Machine – The Systemic Failure To Teach Irish

The Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn has launched the Chief Inspector’s Report on quality and standards in primary and post-primary schools for 2010-12 and on the issue of Irish language teaching in the English-medium education system it makes for depressing reading. “How good is the teaching and learning of Irish in primary schools? … Continue reading

The English Disease, Or Anti-Gaelic Racism

Today saw the opening in Edinburgh of Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce, a new Scottish-medium primary school, in yet another sign of the resurgence of Scottish Gaelic as a community language in Scotland’s capital city. From STV: “Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce has 30 Gaelic speaking staff teaching 213 pupils – 53 of them who started school … Continue reading

Scottish Medium Education In Edinburgh

Some further news on Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce, the new Scottish medium school for Edinburgh, via the website Premier Construction News: “A new school dedicated to keeping Gaelic education alive is currently being built in Edinburgh. The £3.5 million scheme is currently being conducted on the site of the old Bonnington Primary School in Leith, … Continue reading

Second Scottish-Medium School For Glasgow

Big news for the Scottish-speaking community of Glasgow as the establishment of a second school teaching through the medium of the Scottish language is announced. From the BBC: “A second Gaelic school is to open in Glasgow to meet spiralling demand for bilingual education. The £800,000 facility, which will house up to 200 pupils, will be located … Continue reading

Foclóir, The New Online English-Irish Dictionary

After a long wait the first phase of the new online English-Irish dictionary, Foclóir, is now up and running. The current platform contains 30% of the planned content but this matches 80% of expected general English usage (though a number of my searches did draw a blank). As someone who works in the IT industry I have to say that I am seriously impressed … Continue reading


Two stories highlighting good news for our fellow Gaels in Scotland as the declining population of Scottish speakers begins to stabilise and we start to see signs of a small resurgence, in part attributable to the official recognition and promotion of Scotland’s native tongue by the SNP government in Edinburgh. From the Scotsman newspaper: “A … Continue reading

Ulster-Scots – Full Marks For Invention

The Belfast Telegraph has got into the polling gimmick in a big way recently (blame it’s “sister” paper, the Oirish Independent, which positively thrives on them). The results have been mixed to say the least, and there is a lot of criticism both of the methodologies and the interpretations made of the results derived from … Continue reading

Minding Your Language In Derry

A new survey of local secondary students by Derry City Council has found a fair degree of both use and support amongst pupils from both communities for the Irish language while providing scant evidence for the existence of the so-called Scots-Ulster language (the dialect of English invented by certain fringe elements from the British ethnic minority in Ireland which has contributed, amongst other things, this gem as the official term for children with … Continue reading

Gaelic North America

I’ve discussed the popularity of the Irish language in North America before but it’s not the only Gaelic tongue enjoying a renaissance there. In Canada they take their Gaelic heritage, Irish and Scottish, very seriously and in recent years it is the Scottish language that has seen substantial investment by the regional government in the easternmost province of Nova Scotia. Halifax … Continue reading

Scotland Moves Forward – While Ireland Goes Into Reverse

In Ireland a significant number of government departments and other public bodies, along with many public officials, have spent much of the last decade actively opposing the nation’s Official Languages Act of 2003, a piece of legislation introduced eighty years after independence with the objective of ensuring some form of limited equality for Irish-speaking citizens … Continue reading

Words Of Wisdom

Just a quick post to note and recommend the wonderful, informative and always entertaining Irish Blog at Transparent Language. Its idiosyncratic nature is its joy. There are more Irish language online resources here and here. If you like languages (and just plain wisdom) then also have a look at the Omniglot Blog, which is part of the Omniglot website. Related articles Institutional … Continue reading

Speak English! Or Else…

On Tuesday I discussed the slow but steady linguistic change currently taking place in Wales, with increasing numbers of Welsh people returning to their native language, largely due to a positive political environment in which equality legislation and clearly defined language policies have shaped the cultural landscape of the nation. Over the last two decades … Continue reading

A Pluralist Ireland? Does That Include The 1.7 Million Irish-Speakers?

A new report on the administration of primary schools in Ireland and the teaching of religious studies has been published by the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector, a state advisory group on education. Among its recommendations is the recognition of the high demand for teaching through the Irish language, both in dedicated schools and within the broader educational system. … Continue reading

The Empire Strike Back!

The results from the 2011 Census of Ireland published last week revealed continued growth in the Irish-speaking communities of the nation and the raised social standing and acceptance of our indigenous language and culture. 1,777,437 million people or 41.4% of the population stated in the census that they were able to speak Irish, an increase of 7.1% since the 2006 results. Of that number 801,063 … Continue reading

More Irish Than The Irish?

Following on from my post looking at the growing popularity of the Irish language in the United States and Canada, the BBC also examines the growing interest in Irish in North America: “At a dimly-lit bar in Washington DC, a smattering of professionals gathered around a table to drink beer and speak Irish, with levels of varying success. They all … Continue reading

Boost For Scottish Medium Education In Glasgow

Scottish and Irish minsters have attended an event at Glasgow’s Scottish medium school, Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu, where it was announed that new funding is to be made available for the popular institute. Several hundred students attend the school at nursery, primary and secondary levels in a continuous education stream and all through the medium of the Scottish language (Scots Gaelic). In recent … Continue reading

Irish In America

I’ve written several times about the potential of the Irish language for cultural tourism in Ireland, particularly with visitors from the United States, Canada and Australia. Now here is some more evidence of the interest in our native language by people living in North America, via the Washington Post: “Fifteen students gathered inside a basement classroom at Catholic University on a recent evening to ponder a laminated vocabulary list that … Continue reading

Language Revival – Getting It Right

Fascinating article in the Washington Post featuring the Sami people of Scandinavia and the many lessons to be learned from the nation of Israel on language protection and revival. Lessons that we in Ireland need to take to heart. “Norway’s Sami people, an indigenous community with roots as reindeer herders in the northern reaches of … Continue reading

Get Your Gael On!

There’s an interesting site with some fun games for Irish language learners at Digital Dialects. The vocabulary seems correct and so far I’ve not seen any mistakes. It’s all very simple but something for some enterprising gaelgoir to build upon…? For more online Irish lessons I’d highly recommend the award-winning Talk Irish, a popular new kid on … Continue reading

Ivan Yates – No Irish For Your Children. But Plenty Of Irish For Mine!

Scratch a Blueshirt, even an ex-Blueshirt, and it doesn’t take long for the Inner Anglo to come out. Ivan Yates, former Fine Gael politico and (recently bankrupt) businessman turned radio presenter, has pin-pointed the cause of Ireland’s economic woes. No, it’s not the euro, or a global economic depression, or (god forbid) unregulated free market capitalism gone … Continue reading

Discrimination Dressed As Reasonableness… Isn’t It Always?

An article in the Irish Times decries the alleged “preferential” treatment given to Irish-speaking children in the education system because some students receive higher grades for successfully completing their study and examinations solely through the medium of the Irish language. No matter that Irish-speaking children are otherwise discriminated against in Ireland through the lack of Irish-medium schools, education services … Continue reading

A Little Less Ireland, A Little More Éire

A few days ago I pointed to the criticisms made of Ireland by many experts in the field of international tourism due to the country’s failure to build upon our huge potential for overseas tourism and education based upon the Irish language and culture. If more evidence of that surge in interest relating to the Irish language in the United States and Canada was needed in can be found in this article … Continue reading

The Real World Value Of Ireland’s Indigenous Language And Culture

Numerous experts in the area of language tourism have pointed to the failure of the Irish state to promote and exploit Ireland’s indigenous language and culture to encourage would-be Irish learners from Europe, North America and elsewhere to visit the country. Instead it has been left to a host of ad hoc, mostly voluntary groups … Continue reading

A Second-Class Education For Second-Class Pupils

The recent announcements by the FG-Lab coalition government that is to “re-adjust” teacher-to-pupil numbers in classrooms acroos the country has drawn a groundswell of condemnation, not least in the Irish speaking communities where (surprise, surprise) the cuts are set to fall the hardest. The Irish Times carries the latest report on the reactions to the ministerial diktat: “PARENTS OF children in small Gaeltacht schools have called on the Minister … Continue reading

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014