The role of SLA research in Scottish Gaelic language revitalisation policy

Carty, N. (2015) The role of SLA research in Scottish Gaelic language revitalisation policy. Bridging Language Acquisition and Language Policy Symposium, Lund, Sweden, 17-18 Jun 2015. (Unpublished)

108307.pdf - Accepted Version


Publisher's URL:


Gaelic is a minority language in Scotland, and is currently the object of a major language revitalisation effort. Adult L2 users of Gaelic have been identified as crucial to this effort (Bòrd na Gàidhlig 2012; MacCaluim 2007), but some weaknesses in Gaelic language acquisition policy are impeding their progress (see e.g. McLeod et al. 2010; Milligan et al. 2011). One such weakness is the absence of an empirically-derived means of assessing and describing Gaelic proficiency. This presentation reports on a project which aims to address this limitation – the Comasan Labhairt ann an Gàidhlig (CLAG) / Gaelic Proficiency (GAP) project - through the development of a framework for the teaching, learning and testing of spoken Gaelic. A data-driven approach to proficiency scale construction is employed. Following this approach, adult L2 Gaelic users of all proficiency levels were asked to engage in several tasks, including an informal interview, a narrative task, and grammar elicitation tasks, in order to build a corpus of spoken L2 Gaelic. Data from the corpus will be analysed within the framework of complexity, accuracy, and fluency as the most important surface representations of L2 proficiency. Obligatory occasion analysis will also be employed, to investigate participants’ control of particular structures which previous research has found to be troublesome for Gaelic learners (e.g. NicLeòid 2014). This presentation reports on the progress to date on CLAG, and outlines the future steps to be taken in developing the framework. It is intended that by developing this means of describing proficiency, improvements can be made in terms of curriculum and methods and materials policies. In so doing, the framework will help to maximise the number of adults reaching high proficiency in spoken Gaelic. I will argue that this will help adult learners to fulfill their role as key agents in Gaelic language revitalisation.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carty, Dr Nicola
Authors: Carty, N.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1501 Scottish Gaelic Language
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Author
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the author

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
668021CLAGRoibeard O MaolalaighBord na Gaidhlig (BNG)BnG-6-1314-02-bHU - CELTIC AND GAELIC
668022CLAGRoibeard O MaolalaighScottish Funding Council (SFC)242652367HU - CELTIC AND GAELIC