The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community: A comprehensive sociolinguistic survey of Scottish Gaelic


By Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Gòrdan Camshron, Pàdruig Moireach, Brian Ó Curnáin, Iain Caimbeul, Brian MacDonald, Tamás Péterváry

‘This comprehensive and detailed study of contemporary data provides valuables statistical analyses and findings on identity, language abilities and attitudes. The stark conclusions reached are balanced by recommendations that offer the basis for language policy interventions through community empowerment. This thought-provoking and impressive book…is of central importance for Gaels, the Scottish people and anyone interested in European and global ethnolinguistic diversity’ – Prof. Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Professor of Gaelic and Vice Principal and Head of the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow

Paperback: 480 pages

Publisher: Aberdeen University Press, 2020

Language: English

Out of stock

SKU: 9781857520804 Categories: ,

The most comprehensive sociolinguistic survey of the state of Gaelic in the vernacular communities ever conducted, carried out by the Islands Gaelic Research Project (IGRP). The IGRP, 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.

It is clear from our findings that the Gaels, as a viable language community, are in crisis, especially since the early 1980s. The loss of dominance in the intergenerational transfer of Gaelic for over a generation has been pivotal. Various sociopolitical realities have driven the historical erasure of Gaelic communities, but Gaelic now attracts more favourable political and academic attention than most minority languages. Nevertheless, the inadequate levels of relevant policy response in governmental and academic circles, which prioritise the institutional position and symbolic status of Gaelic, do not address the urgency of language loss in the islands.

The final chapters of the book address the mismatch in existing Gaelic policies and the level of crisis among the speaker group. The stark conclusions, indicating the risks of language erasure, are balanced by recommendations that offer the basis for language policy interventions through community empowerment. If there is to be any hope of success in vernacular community revitalisation, a dynamic new language planning model is required. If the book’s proposed language-in-society model is successfully implemented it may provide a helpful example to other struggling language minorities.

Additional information

Dimensions 15.6 × 2.9 × 23.5 cm

You may also like…

  • Sale!

    Kilmuir & Kilmaluag, North Skye: Echoes from the Past

  • Sale!

    A Very Civil People: Hebridean Folk, History and Tradition

  • Duthchas nan Gaidheal: Selected Essays of John MacInnes

  • Highland Herald: Reporting the News from the North