Saturday, June 15, 2019

Support the campaign to get a Gaelic course added to Duolingo

Duolingo is the best-known and most effective free language-learning site on the internet.  I mentioned a few hours ago on Twitter how frustrating it is that it's possible to learn two fictional languages on the site (Klingon from Star Trek and High Valyrian from Game of Thrones) but it's not yet possible to learn Scottish Gaelic.  Just to rub salt into the wound, both Welsh and Irish are on the list of available languages, so once again Gaelic has ended up as the poor relation among the Celtic tongues.  Admittedly, there are plenty of other places where you can already learn some Gaelic online for free (this site is particularly good), but being added to Duolingo would really turbocharge the language's prospects.  It's like getting a prominent place in the shop window.  You would get people from Scotland, or people of Scottish descent in other countries, who would go on to Duolingo to learn French or Spanish, would see that one of the indigenous languages of their own country is also available, and would take the plunge out of curiosity.

Would they end up as fluent speakers?  Probably 99% wouldn't, but the position of Gaelic is precarious enough that the other 1% could make a hell of a lot of difference.  And the majority who would only learn a few words and phrases wouldn't be wasting their time by any means.  About fifteen years ago, I forced myself to learn some very basic Gaelic - I didn't get very far with it, but I've noticed that if I watch BBC Alba now, I can still pick out quite a number of the most common words and understand what they mean.  That's nowhere near enough to comprehend entire sentences without resorting to the subtitles, but it does mean that the language no longer sounds as alien to me as it did when I was growing up.  And one of the biggest battles that Gaelic faces is that too many people in its own country regard it as totally alien.

I suggested on Twitter that one of the most cost-effective ways in which the Scottish Government could promote Gaelic is by offering a grant to Duolingo to develop a Gaelic course.  A few people replied to point out that there is currently a spirited campaign on social media to get Gaelic included, and that I could maybe give it a small boost by mentioning it on this blog.  You can follow the campaign on Twitter HERE, and there's also a thread on the Duolingo forums where hundreds of people have expressed an interest in learning the language.  But from what I can gather, what is really needed to get some traction is for fluent Gaelic speakers to volunteer to actually build the course.  I'm sure there must be at least a few Scot Goes Pop readers who speak Gaelic fluently, so if you'd like to do something truly wonderful and game-changing for Scotland and its linguistic heritage, you can register your interest by filling in this form.  (Gaelic isn't one of the options in the drop-down menu, but if you scroll down to the bottom, you can select "Enter Other".  Might be best to say "Scottish Gaelic" in case they wrongly assume you're talking about Irish.)

*  *  *

2019 Scot Goes Pop Fundraiser: This is Day 16 of the fundraiser, and so far £6846 has been raised. That's 81% of the way towards the target figure of £8500. A million thanks to everyone who has donated so far, and I'm also extremely grateful to all the people who have left a kind comment with their donation. You can visit the fundraising page HERE.

18 comments:

  1. Well that looks like a well thought out and worthy cause.

    Cue the naysayers.

    Tic toc....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry but how different are Irish gaelic and Scottish?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The comparison some people make is that it's like the difference between Spanish and Portuguese.

      Delete
    2. The basic vocabulary is much the same, although with semantic drift over the centuries. The verb system is different. Aspiration is much stronger in Scottish Gaelic under the influence of Norwegian. Basic grammar rules and orthography are much the same.

      Delete
    3. Irish has two more letter to their alphabet than the Scots Gaelic that is if memory serves me well.

      Delete
    4. 18 letters in both, but Irish also allows initial V in foreign words.

      Delete
  3. "Aspiration is much stronger in Scottish Gaelic under the influence of Norwegian."

    I think there's a metaphor there. Can't quite put my finger on it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Now I feel like I am watching a Brit mystery show on PBS...I am with the Idiot trainee who doesn't get the joke. Busy now, remind me later to drum up some support on dua lingo...I will try and find some people interested..it will go better from this end.. maybe I will get some Scottish groups involved. I am not, but my wife's family is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent advice James. Sharing. Taing Dhut.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We need to keep our culture alive and learning the Gaelic would be a great help.That is instead of the false culture allowed by the Britnat oppressors of course some find it easier just to roll over like a pet puppy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You can learn Scottish Gaelic with Glossika, much better than Duolingo IMHO, and as an endangered language it's free! https://ai.glossika.com/language/learn-scottish-gaelic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. learngaelic.net has a vast array of online teaching materials.

      Try Sabhal Mòr Ostaig website and click on Gàidhlig air an Lìon

      Delete
  8. I was in a Gaelic class all day today and I'll be there tomorrow too.
    We each have a subject to speak about. How come mine is Brexit???

    ReplyDelete
  9. Aye, it wad be guid tae see the Gaelic treatit fairly. We aw ken Gaelic wis tairgitit by the British state efter Culloden as seditious an tartan an the pipes wur declared as a danger tae British sensibilities.
    Efter 1746 Scotland wis under military occupation an onybody wha daured tae openly support the Jacobites wis pit tin his ain jaiket on a shoogly peg.
    Forby thon the last Census gied numbers o fowk wha spoke Scots at 30%.
    Time tae support the Scots leid tae or will the Scots Govt. Wait tae thare is juist 5% o us left afore they gie
    Scots mair than juist token support.
    I winna haud my braith mind.
    Meanwhile Gaelic deserves aw the support we can gie it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what happens when you support the Vatican sponsored proxy, Charlie. What a waste of life for this idiot.

      Delete
    2. Robin of LocksleyJune 17, 2019 at 11:14 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  10. Fit haeppint tae, 'Butcher' Cummerbatch ?

    ReplyDelete