Where’s Your Gaelic-Learning Community?

Where can we find Gaelic-learning communities? Help us map them.
Where can we find Gaelic-learning communities? Help us map them.

In recent months, ACGA has been taking a closer look at what we’re calling “Gaelic-Learning Communities.” There may not be many Gaelic-speaking communities in North America, outside Eastern Canada, but Gaelic-learning communities may be found everywhere. Do you belong to one of these communities?

It’s good to first recognize what they are. To date, “Gaelic-learning community” has principally been used to refer to Gaelic learners as a whole, i.e. “the Gaelic-learning community of Scotland,” the overall number of people learning Gaelic in Scotland.

We’ve got a new definition:

  1. A community of Scottish Gaelic learners living in a particular place or region, such as New York, Toronto, Seattle or Dallas.
  2. An online or virtual community of Gaelic learners, connected via the Internet.

A Gaelic-learning community is not an official class, though it may include a study group and formal classes. It may be focused on other activities involving the language, from social evenings to group outings. It may consist of people living close to each other who take an online course and meet only occasionally. In short, the Gaelic-learning community is a network of people who want to learn Scottish Gaelic.

Gaelic learners need interaction with other learners and speakers. Many ACGA members have expressed a strong desire to join a “community” of Gaelic learners and speakers, both local, national and international. That’s often why they come to ACGA, seeking that a doorway to that community.

 There’s obviously a need to better connect local Gaelic Learning Communities and individuals throughout North America. ACGA’s Membership and Outreach Committee was tasked by the Board of Directors with surveying teachers and study groups known to ACGA as a first step in identifying Gaelic-Learning Communities or “GLCs” and determining how ACGA could assist them. The initial survey will soon be available on this website. We’ve already followed up with surveys sent to individual Gaelic learners.

Eventually, the survey results will help ACGA create and publish a new list of Gaelic-Learning Communities. The first step though, is identifying where those communities are. Some major metropolitan areas, naturally, have stronger GLCs – New York, Toronto, Seattle, Washington DC, Baltimore, Denver. But we’ve heard from people who want to start communities in Oklahoma City, rural North Carolina and the Southwest.

How can you help? You can help us “map” the Gaelic Learning Communities of North America. If you belong to such a group, or would like to form one, let us know. We will eventually change our Classes and Distance Learning page to a Gaelic Learning Communities page, with more information where to find a GLC, what they do, and how to start one, if you’ve got a couple of people and the required misneachd!

Write to ACGA Board Member Liam Cassidy with questions or information at willbcassidy@gmail.com.

 

 

“Criomagan” from “Fear na Céilidh,” 1928

“‘S i an droch-sgeul a’s luaithe ruigeas sinn.”

The Scottish Gaelic periodicals published in Nova Scotia in the early 20th Century contained many short stories and news bulletins that are interesting, information and often amusing, opening a window into the world of the Gaelic reader in times past.

We’ll be publishing occasional selections of these bits or “criomagan” of news for visitors to our website both as a learning exercise and for fun. Try your hand at translating them!

This first criomag is from the first issue of Fear na Céilidh, March 1928, Vol, 1, No. 1. The sentiment rings true today:

“Leis gach gnìomh oillteil air am faighear fios anns na pàipeirean, tha daoine buailteach air bhi smaoineachadh gu’m bheil an saoghal a’ sìor dhol dh’ionnsaidh an uilc.  Ach feumar a chuimhneachadh gu’m bheil cùisean air atharrachadh gu mòr o chionn dà fhichead no leth-cheud bliadhna. Aig an am sin cha bhiodh de naidheachdan aig an t-sluagh ach na thigeadh à earainn bhig de’n dùthaich fhèin: bhiodh mort (ag)us reubainn a’ dol air adhart an dùthchannan eile air nach faigheadh iad forfhais ri’m beò. An-diugh, bithear a’ faighinn brath a h-uile latha as gach cearna de’n t-saoghal, agus ‘s i an droch-sgeul a’s luaithe ruigeas sinn.”

We’ll post a translation with our next criomag.

If you want to send us your translation, or want translation help, e-mail Liam at willbcassidy@gmail.com.

Gaelic Periodicals from the Nova Scotia Archives

Teachdaire

To those always looking for new reading material in Gaelic, especially from North America, we recommend a visit to the website of the Nova Scotia Archives. There, in a section on historical newspapers, you’ll find four Scottish Gaelic periodicals, all published in Sydney, Cape Breton, in the first half of the 20th century: Teachdaire nan Gaidheal (1924-1934), Fear na Céilidh (1928-1930), Mosgladh (1922-1933) and An Solus Iùil (1925-1927).

These newspapers followed Mac-Talla, a biweekly newspaper published by Jonathan MacKinnon from Sydney between 1892 and 1904. The entire corpus of Mac-Talla is available online through Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Scottish Gaelic university on the Isle of Skye. Some issues are also available through the Nova Scotia archives.

The periodicals are only part of the records preserved by the Nova Scotia Archives that document the province’s rich Gaelic roots and continuing Gaelic-language culture, heritage, and traditions. Some additional links to resources are collected under the archive’s Gaelic Resources: Goireasan Gàidhlig page.

The archives presented these four Gaelic newspapers in partnership with the Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University, and Nova Scotia’s Office of Gaelic Affairs.

 

Baltimore-DC area Gaelic Learning Groups plan June 5 Picnic

CarderockTwo East Coast Gaelic Learning Communities plan to meet up on Sunday, June 4, from 1-5 pm, for a picnic and Gaelic hike at Carderock Recreation Area just outside Washington, D.C.

Gàidhlig Photomac, a group of Gaelic learners in the DC-Northern Virginia-Southern Maryland area, will join with Sgoil Ghàidhlig Bhaile an Taigh Mhòir, the Baltimore Gaelic School, for càirdeas, ceòl, cluichean agus coiseachd (fun, music, games and walking).

The outing will start at 1 pm (try to get there a bit early), with a short class and a game, followed by the hike (which should be an easy one). We’ll learn appropriate Gaelic phrases and vocabulary on the way, and return for our picnic by about 3 pm.

This is the first joint event sponsored by the two groups, and a sign of growing interest in linking Gaelic Learning Communities throughout North America in social activities as well as language learning.

ACGA recently completed an initial survey on Gaelic Learning Communities and is looking for ways to actively support and encourage them and connect them.

For information on the picnic, visit Sgoil Ghàidhlig Bhaile an Taigh Mhòir’s Facebook page, or the Meetup page of Gàidhlig Photomac.

— Liam Ó Caiside

Gaelic Psalmody

Christian Focus Publications Ltd of Tain, Scotland is offering their new Gaelic Psalmody, the first new printing in many years, to ACGA members (and others who may be interested) at 50% off the regular price.

You can find out more about this publication at http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1636/-/sr_1. The books would be shipped by their US-based distributer.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this generous offer, then please contact Donnie Morrison at CFP, Ltd.