Study Cites Impact Of Migration On Scots Gaelic Heartland

A study which will be of interest to Celtic language activists has been published by Soillse, the Gaelic sociolinguistic research network based in Scotland’s University of the Highlands, the University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow. The study shows that less than 30% of immigrants into the Scots Gaelic language heartlands make an attempt at acquiring Celtic language proficiency.

The full text of the study, authored by Dr. Cassie Smith-Christmas who is based at Lews Castle College and who is a Research Fellow at Soillse, is linked below. Dr. Smith-Christmas received her PhD in Celtic and Gaelic from the University of Glasgow in 2012.  She shows every sign of being a future force in the struggle to preserve, protect and protect Celtic language and culture.  

The Soillse network defines itself on its website as aiming to pool Gaelic language research capacity across the participating academic institutions to develop and establish research capability in an effort to “...revitalise the Gaelic language in Scotland and beyond. “

The study has obvious implications for the future of the Celtic languages and delivers an apparent validation to the concerns at the root of the battle now raging between Welsh Language activists and Cardiff.  Language activists, such as the Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas Yr Iaith) object to the government’s failure to make the impact of property development on the Welsh speaking areas a statutory element of planning permission. Activists cite the damage that immigration, fueled by property development, has on the long term health of the Welsh tongue.


Mission Statement of Soillse, the Gaelic Sociolinguistic Research Network:

1. An international-quality research capability that will support, inform and influence policy at national and local levels in the effort to maintain and revitalise the Gaelic language in Scotland and beyond.

2. A powerful research network across the participating Scottish Higher Education Institutions, linking national researchers with expertise and interest in contemporary Gaelic language matters, with international minority language research institutions.

Objectives for Aim 1:
• To augment and strengthen current research at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
• To augment and strengthen current research at Lews Castle College
• To collaborate with local authorities, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Highlands and Islands Enterprise
• To provide research support from the partnership

Objectives for Aim 2:
• To attract and support new Gaelic-speaking researchers
• To develop research-training for new and current researchers
• To bring in international experts for advice and supervision
• To interact with and influence key national and local bodies

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