10 Years Left
This is a rambly blog post. I want to try and write my thoughts down more regularly, so here's attempt #1.
I read this news article this morning: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-53262715
It talks about how Gàidhlig is going to disappear from Island communities, the last stronghold of language use within communities itself.
I agree with the article and wanted to add my perspective to this.
In my experience, re-learning this language as an adult and seeing how others view the language, primarily via social media and secondarily in person, I can see the difficulty with keeping it thriving.
Simply put, there is little-to-nothing outside of the classroom that keeps the language living. There's Gàidhlig twitter, there's Duolingo, there're heritage sites that place Gàidhlig first. Nothing that lets you use it with other people in day-to-day life.
Why would someone use Gàidhlig in a public place? I've heard derisory comments about it's use, the classic “no-one speaks it” to speakers of the language. It being a political plot to somehow promote nationalism. Even heard comments that view it with suspicion in an “Are they speaking about me?!” fashion, this is primarily by monoglots. If they've friends who only speak English, which is by far the norm, why would someone speak another language to their friends who do not understand? Of course they'll default to English.
When it comes to media, there's very very little to go on. Radio Nan Gàidheal...hardly a Gàidhlig Radio 1. BBC Alba, great if you want to watch low-cost programming and that's you're lot: 1 radio station & 1 TBh channel.
What needs to change is that Gàidhlig needs to be promoted and, most importantly, used in public places. Scotland is a multi-lingual nation; Scots, Gàidhlig and English. It needs to be start behaving like that.
I will continue to use Gàidhlig as and when possible. Teach and guide people whomever want to learn it or about it. I am working on making it clear to people, in public, I can speak it so that they can, in-turn, speak it if they want.