Some Good News for Gaelic

More on the #ScottishCensus2022.

Some good news for Gaelic.

The census shows us that:

2.5% of people aged 3+ had some skills in Gaelic in 2022. This is an increase of 43,100 since 2011. The percentage of 3 to 15 year olds with Gaelic skills doubled from 1.3% to 2.9%.

The census also revealed that Gaelic in Edinburgh is growing:

The number of people in Edinburgh who can speak Gaelic rose by 47% between 2011 and 2022 – from 3,157 to 4,628.
The number of people with one or more Gaelic skills (speaking, reading, writing, understanding) rose by 84% – from 5,935 to 10,381.

Small changes sure, but an upwards trajectory. As Cameron Greer noted it’s the: “First census to show an increase in the number of Gaelic speakers since 1971″, and it shows the “Highest percentage of Gaelic speakers since 1931.”

Of course the question is what does ‘have some skills’ actually mean.

Can you imagine what would happen if you actually supported the language and rural highland communities in a meaningful way? Can you imagine what would happen if you delivered the secondary schools promised – and were imaginative about building communities and places where Gaelic could thrive – both in ‘indigenous’ areas and urban ones? Can you imagine what would happen if instead of cutting posts you invested in a Gaelic University, created housing co-ops in the Gàidhealtachd and made GME compulsory in key areas?


Comments (6)

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  1. jim ferguson says:

    This is indeed good news, all our languages need more support.

  2. MacGilleRuadh says:

    We should celebrate any good news of course but the continued decline in the Western Isles is deeply concerning. Gaelic is now a minority language there and Gaelic speaking parents have been ‘voting with their tongues’ by ceasing intergenerational transmission. Incomers with no Gaelic continue to overwhelm local places. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin thinks without urgent intervention Gaelic will cease to be a community language by 2030. A tiny minority emerging from GME in the cities and some adult learners are never going be able to compensate for the loss of Gaelic as a community language. I’ll properly celebrate when we start to see numbers in the Western Isles going up.

    1. Agreed 100% MacGilleRuadh – am writing on this today.

    2. Seonaidh says:

      Gu dearbh. Indeed.

      If, as Forbes, says that education will still be the main focus, then at the very least it should be hastening the transition to 100% Gaelic-medium in na h-Eileanan Siar. Then, more support to address the socio-economic issues in Gàidhealtachd communities.

      1. Agreed. Why there is not 100% Gaelic-medium in na h-Eileanan Siar now is a mystery.

  3. Iain says:

    It would be good if Gaelic and Welsh comments were allowed on the BBC’s websites. Currently they are removed. So much for the British Broadcast Company. You can’t get more British than Cymric.

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