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.)
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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.