Welcome to the Scottish Gaelic wikibook! The Scottish Gaelic language, which has been spoken in Scotland for several centuries, boasts a considerable body of literature, including poetry, plays, song and associated styles of music. The music of the bagpipes, the harp and the fiddle are closely associated with Gaelic as are many of the distinctive traditions of Scotland and Nova Scotia. The Gaelic language and its literature give a unique insight into the nature of a people, their history and culture. The Scottish Gaelic language is also sometimes referred to as "Scots Gaelic", but this usage is a little ambiguous and can lead to it being confused with Lowland Scots.
In recent centuries the Gaelic language has been in general decline, both in terms of the number of people able to use the language proficiently and in the degree to which it is used. It is only recently that voluntary groups and government bodies have made serious attempts to arrest and reverse this decline (although An Comunn Gaidhealach has been working on behalf of Gaelic for over a century). The authors hope that this book can provide a useful insight for those who are interested in knowing more about Gaelic and assist those who wish to learn to speak, read or write Gaelic.
It can be difficult to learn Gaelic to fluency without making frequent contact with other Gaelic speakers and learners of Gaelic, and it is recommended that the learner seek out people who are able and willing to help them with their efforts to learn Gaelic - and to persevere with their efforts. Good connectivity with other Gaelic speakers and learners can be very helpful, provided they lead to opportunities to practice speaking (or writing) in Gaelic. Social occasions and cultural events (as well as workshops and courses, parent-and-toddler groups, Gaelic fora and local drop-in centres) can also be helpful, provided they can give and maintain an atmosphere of encouragement to those who wish opportunities to practice speaking Gaelic. In Scotland, many local authorities offer free evening classes in Scottish Gaelic through their Community Education programmes. Above all, however, there is no substitute for perseverance.
- http://www.cli.org.uk - a society for learners of Gaelic which provides its members with a quarterly newsletter (written in Gaelic and English) and notifies members of forthcoming Gaelic courses
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba - Gaelic radio and television
- http://www.gaelic4parents.com - A website with some audio visual resources for parents wishing to learn the kind of Gaelic suitable for everyday family life
- http://www.learn-gaelic.info - A website for learners of Gaelic