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The Gaelic language is a language used in the United Kingdom. It can be classified as Indo-European, Celtic, Insular and Goidelic.
Regions Spoken: Gaelic (Scottish) is spoken in North and Central counties of Ross, islands of Hebrides and Skye, Glasgow, Australia, Canada and the USA.
Population: There are about 58,000 people who speak Gaelic (Scottish) in the United Kingdom, as of 2003. The total population of people who speak Gaelic (Scottish) in all of the countries is about 62,000 (this means that 3,500 people speak Gaelic-Scottish outside of the United Kingdom).
Alternate Names: Gaelic (Scottish) is also called Gàidhlig, Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Albannach Gaidhlig, and Erse.
Dialects: Here are 3 dialects of Gaelic (Scottish); East Sutherlandshire, Church Gaelic and Perthshire. Church Gaelic is like the Perthshire dialect, 200 years ago, and is different from the spoken dialects. Also East Sitherlandshire dialect is very different from any spoken dialect that it creates a communication barrier.
Brief History: In the 1990s there was a boost of interest in Scottish Gaelic due to the establishment of Scotland’s own Parliament for the first time in 300 years. In communities Scottish Gaelic is used in homes, churches, and for social purposes. In the bilingual areas, Gaelic is the first language for the instruction of most primary subjects. Gaelic is taught in primary schools and the literacy rate for Gaelic, as a first language, is 50%, as of 1971. It was also used in the Bible from 1801-1992.
Scottish Gaelic spelling can initially seem complicated. However, it is more regular than English, so you can often tell how a word should be pronounced once you are familiar with the spelling system.
There are eighteen letters in the Gaelic alphabet; the letters j, k, q, v, w, x, y, and z are not used, except in recent words "loaned" from other languages. Acute and grave accents are used to indicate short and long vowels. For example, é is pronounced like 'ay' in 'say', while è is pronounced like 'ai' in 'fair'. The acute accent é is used far less frequently than the grave accent.
Lenition is an important aspect of Scottish Gaelic. This arecertain consonants (b, c, d, f, g, m, p, s and t) that can be made 'softer' by adding an 'h' after them. For example, lenition changes p to an f sound that is spelt ph. Lenition is usually caused by a preceding word.
Scottish Gaelic is best learnt in both spoken and written form at the same time. Whilst there are a large variety of books available, when used on their own, these have the disadvantage that learners cannot hear the pronunciation. It is far easier to learn accurate pronunciation of words and phrases if you listen to a genuine Gaelic speaker.