Scottish Gaelic

Nance, C. and Maolalaigh, R. Ó. (2021) Scottish Gaelic. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 51(2), pp. 261-275. (doi: 10.1017/S002510031900015X)

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Scottish Gaelic is a minority language of Scotland spoken by approximately 58,000 people, or 1% of the Scottish population (speaker numbers from the 2011 Census available in National Records of Scotland 2015). Here, we refer to the language as ‘Gaelic’, pronounced in British English as /ɡalɪk/, as is customary within the Gaelic-speaking community. In Gaelic, the language is referred to as Gàidhlig /kaːlɪc/. Gaelic is a Celtic language, closely related to Irish (MacAulay 1992, Ní Chasaide 1999, Gillies 2009). Although Gaelic was widely spoken across much of Scotland in medieval times (Withers 1984, Clancy 2009), the language has recently declined in traditional areas such as the western seaboard and western islands of Scotland and is now considered ‘definitely endangered’ by UNESCO classification (Moseley 2010). Analysis of the location of Gaelic speakers in Scotland and maps from the most recent Census in 2011 can be found in National Records of Scotland (2015). Figure 1 shows the location of Gaelic speakers in Scotland as a percentage of the inhabitants aged over three in each Civil Parish who reported being able to speak Gaelic in the 2011 Census.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:O Maolalaigh, Professor Roibeard
Authors: Nance, C., and Maolalaigh, R. Ó.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Journal Name:Journal of the International Phonetic Association
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1475-3502
Published Online:08 August 2019

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