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: the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture ‘AN UNILINGUAL MINORITY LANGUAGE COLLEGE IN A MULTILINGUAL.

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Presentation on theme: ": the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture ‘AN UNILINGUAL MINORITY LANGUAGE COLLEGE IN A MULTILINGUAL."— Presentation transcript:

1 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture ‘AN UNILINGUAL MINORITY LANGUAGE COLLEGE IN A MULTILINGUAL UNIVERSITY: SABHAL MÒR OSTAIG’ EUNoM Symposium on Multilingualism Ljouwert 19 An t-Samhain November 2010 Prof. Robert Dunbar – Senior Research Professor and Soillse Project Director, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig/UHIMI

2 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO) SMO founded in 1973 for explicit language revitalisation purposes; F-T courses started in 1983 ‘Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is committed to being a centre of excellence for the development and enhancement of the Gaelic language, culture and heritage, by providing quality educational, training and research opportunities through the medium of Scottish Gaelic; and by interacting innovatively with individuals, communities and businesses, to contribute to social, cultural and economic development.’ Degrees: BA (Hons) Gaelic Language and Culture; BA (Hons) Gaelic and Development; BA (Hons) Gaelic and Media Studies; MA (Hons) Gaelic with Education; BA Gaelic and Traditional Music; Diploma in Gaelic Media; MA Material Culture and the Environment; Doctoral studies Enrolment: 75 F-T, 111 P-T; 182 Distance Learning; approx. 750 on short courses (Summer, Easter)

3 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture SMO Àrainn Chaluim Chille

4 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute (UHIMI) The project started in 1993, with strong support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Highland Council; Higher Education Institution Status in 2001; taught degree awarding powers in 2008; full University status in 2011? A confederation of 11 colleges, 2 research institutes No particular Gaelic rationale, but its central mission is contributing to the economic, social development of the Highlands and Islands, something reflected in the degree programmes Lews Castle College (LCC) is the other college based in a Gaelic-speaking area, but aside from Gaelic studies courses, it operates through English

5 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture UHIMI Campuses

6 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture The Linguistic Context Gaelic is a seriously minoritised language: in 2001, about 58,000 speakers (1.2%) (a further 27,000 could understand it; and about 95,000 in total with some Gaelic competences) Significant and ongoing decline since at least late 19 th century Heartlands now limited mainly to the Hebrides; significant shift now occurring there Almost half of all Gaelic-speakers live in the Lowlands, and 3/4s live outside majority Gaelic- speaking areas; however, they are a tiny share of local populations, present in few domains

7 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture Gaelic in Scotland (2001)

8 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture The Linguistic Context: Education Gaelic generally excluded from Scottish schools after Education Act 1872 From 1919 until 1985, teaching of Gaelic as a subject at some secondary schools Gaelic-medium primary education starts at 2 schools in 1985; presently, about 2,200 students at 2 schools, 58 units, but little provision at secondary. Gaelic taught at University level: Edinburgh (1882), Glasgow (1904), Aberdeen (1916); almost no teaching through medium of Gaelic in any other subjects (except at SMO)

9 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture Higher Education Policy Context Increasing reliance on revenue from: (1) ‘Export’ of higher education services (2) Core research funding based on assessment of research excellence (3) Commercial exploitation of research, other commercial activities In all three cases, heavy bias towards English; minority languages a burden?

10 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture Role of Higher Education in Gaelic Language Revitalisation Acquisition planning: Language instruction, teacher training, support for education through creation of materials Status Planning and Use Planning: Symbolic presence in public space—corporate identity, signage, etc; provision of services through medium of the language; presence in new domains, support for domain extension via training in key subject areas through medium of Gaelic Corpus Planning: Lexical development, standardisation, extension; development of literature; use of Gaelic as a medium of research Research: in addition to literary, linguistic, historical research, research relevant to language policy

11 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture The Language Policy Context Historical absence of any policy for Gaelic Significant initiatives only since the mid-1980s Support for SMO from the beginning, both from Gaelic development organisations and the British, then Scottish Governments Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005; Bòrd na Gàidhlig; National Gaelic Language Plans and the first plan (2007); statutory Gaelic language plans and statutory Guidance (2007) on such plans; Ginealach Ùr na Gàidhlig (2010) Support for UHIMI—possible University status 2011

12 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture SMO Gaelic Language Policy All teaching through Gaelic only; commitment to develop and extend necessary terminology Only Gaelic used in all other communications with students; contracts with students re: full Gaelic use Only Gaelic used in internal communication (written and oral) Advertising through Gaelic only Working towards HR policy of only Gaelic-speaking staff (with training where necessary) A fully Gaelic environment (visual and aural); Gaelic-only signage Gaelic Policy Officer, and annual assessment and reporting

13 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture UHIMI Gaelic Language Plan (2010) Gaelic policy, 1999, 2005; Gaelic Committee, Manager of Gaelic Strategy Development, 2005 Statutory Gaelic Language Plan, 2010, but for UHIMI administration only Fully bilingual corporate identity, signage Bilingual greeting at reception, switchboard Initial response to written communication in Gaelic Many forms (including all application forms) bilingual Corporate publications generally in bilingual format Promotional materials for G-M courses in Gaelic only or bilingually Some G-M curriculum development (e.g. Translation, writing skills)

14 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture Broader Contribution of SMO, UHIMI to Gaelic Policy Adult language acquisition Infrastructure support for media (Ionad Fàs: Cànan (multimedia), Sealladh (film), TV and recording studio Corpus development: Pròiseact Tobar an Dualchais, Faclair na Gàidhlig, Ainmean Àite na h-Alba Research: Lèirsinn (especially broadcasting, educational research); Soillse--£5.29m over 6 years, UHIMI, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh; 6 academic posts, 9 doctoral scholarships; Gaelic in the Family, Community, Gaelic in Education, Gaelic Policies Local economic, cultural, linguistic development in South Skye: population (452 (1971) to 775 (2001); school roll (27 (‘72-3) to 63 (‘07-8), and in GME (7 (‘87) to 40 (‘10)); increase in Gaelic- speaking population

15 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture Remaining Gaps Virtually no instruction through medium of Gaelic in most disciplines, including key ones for policy implementation (health care, law, business and public administration) Huge materials deficiencies: SMO library collection overwhelmingly English-based (except for Gaelic, Celtic literature) Limited publishing infrastructure, tiny market for G-M materials Uncertain future for funding (together with challenges re: funding listed above)

16 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture A Multilingual (and broader European) Aspect? No opportunity for third language acquisition at UHIMI (though some possibility of joint degrees at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow) International student exchanges with Nova Scotian Universities (St. Francis Xavier, Cape Breton University); Ireland International research linkages (e.g. via Soillse), but much could be done, including with European networks, Universities and Research Centres Linkages with other institutions operating through minority languages?

17 : the national network for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture Website: (from early December)www.soillse.ac.uk Main contact: Iain Campbell, Senior Project Manager T: ~ E: Director: Rob Dunbar ~ E:


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