Scottish Gaelic is one of six Celtic languages, and one of the languages indigenous to Scotland. It is a living, contemporary language, and although it is not spoken by a large number of people, it is very important to the culture and history of Scotland.
There are more than 57,000 people in Scotland who are able to speak Scottish Gaelic and about 30,000 other people who have some Gaelic ability. Scottish Gaelic is also spoken by a community in Nova Scotia, Canada.
In Scotland, there are about 20,000 people, children, and adults, learning Gaelic, according to Bòrd na Gàidhlig. The number of Gaelic-medium preschools and schools has been rising throughout the country. In 2018, there were more than 4,300 students enrolled in Gaelic-medium schools in Scotland.
And there are more than 300,000 people throughout the world learning Scottish Gaelic through the learning app Duolingo.
One will find Scottish Gaelic in many places throughout the world — from Halifax to Vancouver, Canada, and between New York and Los Angeles, in Australia and New Zealand: Every place where Scottish Gaels settled. And many people are interested in Gaelic who don’t have any roots in the Highlands or even in Scotland. They like the language for its own sake and have a great interest in Gaelic music and poetry.
Gaelic was established in Scotland before the 6th century A.D. when immigrants from Ireland came to Argyll and the islands along the west coast of Scotland.
At one time, Gaelic was spoken the length and breadth of Scotland except for Orkney and Shetland, probably. One finds place names with Gaelic roots throughout Scotland. There are still strong links between Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) and Irish (Gaeilge) and Manx (Gaelg).
In 2005, the Scottish Parliament gave Scottish Gaelic standing as an official language of Scotland. More information is available through these links:
- Bòrd na Gàidhlig (Scotland)
- Office of Gaelic Affairs (Nova Scotia)
- An Comunn Gàidhealach (Scotland)
- An Drochaid Eadarainn (Nova Scotia)
- Learn Gaelic (Scotland)
- Pàrlamaid na h-Alba (Scotland)