Stepping back from the brink: A sociolinguistic perspective on the decline of Scottish Gaelic

This talk presents evidence from the recently published sociolinguistic survey of the vernacular Gaelic communities in the Scottish islands: The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community. The findings of this study indicate that the social continuity of Gaelic in the Western Isles has been lost, as a result of the societal weakness of the Gaelic-speaking group in its remaining vernacular habitat. Under current circumstances, the remaining communal use of Gaelic will not survive beyond this decade. The concluding chapter of the book sets out in detail a model for the revival of the Gaelic community. The proposed new model for community-led Gaelic revitalisation in the islands, termed the Participatory Minority Language Cooperative, is based on a comprehensive language-in-society approach. The various facets of this approach will be explored in the talk.


Prof. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin

Prof. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin is the Gaelic Research Professor in the University of the Highlands and Islands and the director of the UHI Language Sciences Institute. He is also the academic director of Soillse, a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research project, led by the UHI. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin is a prominent scholar in language planning and minority language culture and sociology. He has written extensively on issues concerning the sustainability of minority cultures, especially the Gaeltacht/Gàidhealtachd communities in Ireland and Scotland. Conchúr previously lectured in the School of Political Science and Sociology in the National University of Ireland Galway on the sociology of language. His teaching and research interests include language planning, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. He is the primary author of the most comprehensive sociolinguistic survey of the state of Gaelic in the vernacular communities ever conducted, The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community. The study, undertaken at the University of the Highlands and Islands, provides in-depth analysis of the use and transmission of Scottish Gaelic as a communal language in the Western Isles, in Staffin in the Isle of Skye and in the Isle of Tiree in Argyll and Bute.

November 21st, 2020 2:00 PM   to   3:30 PM
Online event (Zoom)
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Category Scottish Society
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Scottish Society