The Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic

Research notes from oral interviews with Scottish-speakers in Nova Scotia, 1960s-’80s

The first phase of Dachaigh airson Stòras na Gàidhlig or the Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic has been completed by Glasgow University with the launch of an online database featuring digitised versions of texts dating from the 12th to 21st centuries. It is planned that the finished project will include literary and vernacular examples of the language not just in Scotland itself but also from North America. The research and technology website Phys.Org features a good report on the event:

“Researchers have completed the first phase of the world’s most extensive digital archive of Scottish Gaelic texts as part of a landmark project to revolutionise access and understanding of the language to public around the world.

The Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG) project is already the most comprehensive publicly accessible reference point for the Gaelic language and culture, having been worked on by researchers from Celtic and Gaelic at the University of Glasgow for the past eight years.

The DASG project has two main outputs:

Corpas na Gàidhlig is a searchable online database bringing together full texts dating from the Twelfth Century to the present day. Together they make up a corpus of almost 10 million Gaelic words, which is expected to grow to up to 30 million words over the course of the project.

The Fieldwork Archive contains over 22,000 headwords taken from speech recorded in Gaelic-speaking Scotland and Nova-Scotia during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. It uniquely describes traditional Gaelic life and society and many of the headwords are accompanied by magnificent hand-drawn illustrations.

Together, these two resources will provide fingertip access to the riches of Gaelic language and culture and make it much more accessible to a world-wide audience.

Corpas na Gàidhlig will also provide the textual basis for a linked project involving five universities around Scotland. Faclair na Gàidhlig will produce a historical dictionary of Gaelic, a resource for Gaelic comparable to the Oxford English Dictionary and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, both of which provide a historical lexical reference for their respective languages. Partners in the Faclair na Gàidhlig project are the universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI.”

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