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A voice for Scotland or an irrelevance of history?: Why Gaelic interest is on the rise in Fife…

21 May 2019 (The Courier)

Michael Alexander hears about efforts to promote the Gaelic language in Fife. 

[..] According to the last major census of Scotland in 2011, only 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population) speak Gaelic including just 0.3% of Dundee’s population (474 people out of 148,000) with some of its lowest use recorded in Angus and Fife where just 0.7% of residents were familiar with the language.

But more than 1500 years after the ancient language of the Scots first entered Argyll via the Gaels, more than 900 years after it reached its zenith as the language spoken the length and breadth of the country, and almost 300 years after the routing of the Jacobites at Culloden made the Scots tongue illegal before the Highland Clearances almost wiped it out completely, are centuries of Gaelic decline finally being halted?

Debate about the relevance of Gaelic in the modern world has reignited in Fife – formerly the Pictish kingdom of Fib – after figures revealed that one in every 30 speakers of Scottish Gaelic is now living in the Kingdom.

Fife Council’s Gaelic development officer Kirsty Strachan highlighted the statistic while outlining the region’s Gaelic Language Plan to councillors.

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