By Paul Kearns MCIL CL
On Saturday 17 November, members of the Scottish Society were delighted to meet to hear a presentation on ‘Gaelic Education and Language Planning’ by Andrew O’Halloran, a modern languages teacher with more than twenty years’ experience and author of the Dumfries and Galloway Gaelic Language Plan. The presentation started by explaining the extent to which Gaelic was spoken in different areas of Scotland having arrived from Ireland before Christianity.
The speaker highlighted factors that sustained Gaelic as a national language, which existed alongside Scots, such as the political structures at the time, crofting and fishing as well as the church. However, political, economic and demographic changes eventually meant that the influence of Gaelic was slowly undermined.
Despite this, the Gaelic language was embedded in Scottish society in a unique way - it was interesting to learn that you could effectively travel across Scotland without a map but navigate the country’s geographical features just by knowing the origin of place names, which are often a mixture of different linguistic roots describing the country’s topography. Some examples included ‘Inverness’ from Inbhir Nis (Confluence of the River Ness); ‘Dundee’ from Dùn Dèagh (Dùn meaning a fort and there you have the Law Hill); ‘Drumchapel’ from Druim a’ Chapaill (Ridge of the Horse) and many of us in attendance could easily recognise some of these features.
The presentation will explain the background to Gaelic Medium Education and discuss some of the current topics and questions surrounding Gaelic education that are of interest. It will also explore some of the academic research and practical difficulties that have been encountered while implementing a Gaelic Language Plan.
The Scottish Society AGM will be held after the presentation and all CIOL members living and working in Scotland are welcome to attend.
Scottish Society committee members will be meeting for lunch before the talk and attendees are welcome to join. Please select ‘Optional 2 course lunch at Elia Restaurant’ if you wish to attend the lunch. You will be asked to choose your first and second course during the registration process.
24 George Square
Glasgow G2 1EG
12:45 Lunch at Elia Restaurant
14:00 ‘Gaelic Education and Language Planning’ by Andrew O’Halloran
Once the event has concluded, Scottish Society committee members usually go for a drink at a nearby café or pub. Please feel free to join us if you have some time available as this is a great opportunity for networking with students and fellow linguists.
Andrew O’Halloran has been a modern languages teacher for twenty years and works at Annan Academy in Dumfries and Galloway. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Gaelic Medium Education. He is the author of the Dumfries and Galloway Gaelic Language Plan, for which he has day to day responsibility.
201 Ingram Street
Glasgow, G1 1DQ