Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gaelic Scrabble agus...

 According to John Angus MacKay of Bord na Gàidhlig, only 'the chattering classes' continue to deride Gaelic with snide comments in the media. Chattering in the Queen's English or Caithness English even, will only get you so far though. Some of those who chatter in Gaelic are now letting their actions do the talking. As the late Iain Noble would say, 'S e am beul a labhras, ach an gnìomh a dhearbhas'.

Yon language activist and ICT-whizz at Akerbeltz has been at it again. Not content with providing the world with Mozilla Firefox in Gaelic, he has now given us online 3D Scottish Scrabble. I've yet to download it and play it but I've got no doubt that this will be a cool way for the Tocasaid offspring to practise their Gaelic phonics. Check it out here, go to the bar on the left entitled program download:

More installation info here on Foram na Gàidhlig:

The most interesting thing is that all this is the work of one committed Gaelic speaker and activist. Unfortunately, the investigative journalism of the Daily Express or Edinburgh Evil News doesn't stretch to finding out about Gaels who don't use tax payers' money.

It was a similar community-minded initiative that gave us Google in Gaelic too:

Gaelic has no 'word' for chili-con-carne nor for karaoke

In a slightly different language domain, I hear that Oi Polloi have finally finished work on another full length recording of several brand new raucous punk rock songs all written in the Scottish language. Again, tax payers' money doesn't seem to have played a part in the band getting together and using their Gaelic. As of yet, they have still to provide a Scottish-language update of their classic singalong anthem, 'Fuck Everybody who Voted Tory'. Perhaps Bord na Gàidhlig could help out here? 'Dùisg!' is due out next year. From Wiki:

Oi Polloi started singing in Scottish Gaelic in 1996, recording the Carson? EP, (released 2003), then recording and releasing the full length LP "Ar Ceòl Ar Cànan Ar-A-Mach" in 2006. They use the language in day-to-day communications. They see the use of Gaelic and other endangered languages as important to maintaining the biocultural diversity of life. They toured Europe with Seattle-based punk band Mill a h-Uile Rud, who sing only in Scottish Gaelic, and Les Ramoneurs de menhirs, who mostly sing in Breton. The band are currently in the process of finishing their second full-length Gaelic LP Duisg!, set to be released on Mayday 2012.
Lastly, it should be stated that I am actually in favour of more of that precious tax-payers' money being spent on our indigenous language. It is refreshing that the powers that be have finally made a commitment to increase the number of pupils entering Gaelic-medium education. There is a mountain of evidence to show that kids not only have the ability to acquire at least 2 or 3 languages from early childhood but that they benefit from it. Plus, its not rocket science to see that educating kids to be literate and conversant in 2 or 3 languages is better value for money than teaching them only one. Linguists will also tell you that there is also no such thing as a 'useless' language even though some tongues are lesser spoken than others. Using that argument, you might as well say that Dutch  is also a 'minority' tongue as it is to some extent as rare as Gaelic on the world stage. Further, if Dutch, Danish and Swedish speakers also speak excellent English why should they bother with their native tongues?

The multi-faceted value of bilingualism has finally been given some time of day in Edinburgh Council's education department who say that Edinburgh's Gaelic school will open in August 2013. There is the small matter of an increased grant from Riaghaltas na h-Alba to cover the alleged damage caused by vandals to the 'mothballed' Bonnington School. This leads me to ask, does Edinburgh Council not insure its properties like ordinary people have to? If you too would like answers to this, why not ask for them at:


Next...the Republican National Mod opens in Stornoway...

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