Community Languages


Community Languages

University explores benefits of speaking Gaelic in business

14 November 2017 (The Scotsman)

A university is to discuss whether speaking one of Scotland’s mother tongues could offer an advantage to businesses. 

International business expert Seonaidh MacDonald will talk about his experiences of using Gaelic in a global business context at a lunchtime seminar offered by the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Read more...

First book in Harry Potter series translated into Scots

10 November 2017 (The Scotsman)

The first book in the Harry Potter series has been translated into Scots. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane marks the 20th anniversary of the first publication of the boy wizard’s adventures. 

The first book in the series introduces Harry as he discovers that he is a wizard and leaves his family to go to Hogwarts and study magic. 

Matthew Fitt, who translated the novel, said: “I wanted tae dae this for a lang time but kent I wanted tae get it richt. I’m that honoured tae be the Scots translator o this warld-famous Harry Potter buik and chuffed tae ma bitts that Scots speakers, baith young and no sae young, can noo read the novel again, this time in oor gallus braw Mither Tongue.”

Read more...

Languages Lost and Found Saturday 18 November

6 November 2017 (SCILT/UCMLS)

As part of the UK’s annual Being Human Festival the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS) has organised Languages Lost and Found, a series of events where local workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations make visible the often hidden richness and diversity of languages and cultures in Scottish society. There are seven participating venues in Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Inverness, Kilbirnie and Oban. Check out the full details through the link below – hope to see you at one of the events!

UCMLS gratefully acknowledges the support from Scotland's National Centre for Languages and British Council Scotland. Special thanks go to the AHRC Modern Languages Leadership Fellow, Professor Janice Carruthers, who funded some of the administrative costs.

Read more...

Dundee Dialect is ‘as good as second language’, say researchers

3 November 2017 (The Scotsman)

To those from outside Dundee, the bakery order “twa pehs, a plehn bridie an’ an inyin in an’ a” (Two pies, a plain bridie and an onion one as well) might be mistaken for a foreign language. Now, international research shows that the human brain treats the distinctive Dundonian brogue - and regional dialects in Britain and abroad - in exactly the same way as a second language.

The study at Abertay University in Dundee, and by researchers in Germany, suggests that while people from the city who converse in dialect may not be regarded generally as bilingual, cognitively there is little difference.

Read more...

Dual language police van hits the road in Dumfries and Galloway

1 November 2017 (BBC)

The first new police vehicle carrying the logo in both English and Gaelic has hit the road in Dumfries and Galloway. Police Scotland introduced the new branding earlier this year.

The change is being made as part of the force's commitment to its five-year Gaelic Language Plan.
It said it was keen to ensure that Gaelic-speaking communities across the country were "well served and ably represented" by the national police service.

Read more...

'I fell in love with these words, and despite my efforts to move on and let go of the past, Gaelic would not let me do it'

22 October 2017 (The Herald)

“Dad, I’m going to tell it to you straight,” I said at the dinner table, aged 17 and ready to jump into the big wide world. My parents put down their cutlery in preparation for whatever was to come. “I’m not going to do Celtic Studies,” I blurted out, and I remember their faces still, choking on their sprouts in their efforts to hide their amusement.

Celtic Studies was my father’s all-consuming passion, and 16 years after his early retirement from Edinburgh University, it still is. We have no family connections to the Highlands and Islands – growing up in a house in Glasgow full of French, English and Italian (and a smattering of Arabic), my father took an interest in the Gaelic he heard about him in the trams and streets and classrooms of the city.

Read more...

Gaelic school rejected after council shuns parents' bid

7 October 2017 (The Herald)

A bid by parents for Gaelic primary school education has been rejected despite new laws which were supposed to encourage the spread of the language.

A group of 49 families from East Renfrewshire contacted the council asking them to explore the possibility of a Gaelic primary unit or school in the area.

However, East Renfrewshire Council sent letters to all those involved warning families children would no longer be able to attend their local catchment area school if a Gaelic facility was set up.

“Instead, your child would attend another establishment in a location yet to be decided,” the letter said.

The council also highlighted the importance of parents learning Gaelic stating: “It is considered that it is crucial prospective parents ... who are not already Gaelic speakers are committed to learning Gaelic.”

Read more...

Edinburgh Council publish Gaelic language plan ahead of consultation

2 October 2017 (The Scotsman)

Edinburgh Council have released their Gaelic language plan to support and promote the language and culture ahead of consultation. The plan aims to promote a city that develops and supports more fluent and  confident Gaelic speakers as well as promoting thriving Gaelic communities and cultures.

The ‘Draft Gaelic Language Plan’ was published by the City of Edinburgh Council today and is open for consultation until December 15. It is part of the Council’s commitment to work in partnership with Gaelic communities, organisations who deliver Gaelic services, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government to support the language and culture.

Read more...

Related Links

Gaelic learning to be expanded in Edinburgh (The Herald, 2 October 2017)

Only bampots will girn about BBC’s poetic delight

1 October 2017 (The Guardian)

It won’t be long now before BBC Scotland is assailed by the sentinels of right thinking over the content of Thursday’s morning radio news show. What on earth was the national broadcaster thinking of? To mark National Poetry Day the station asked its new poet-in-residence, Stuart A Paterson, to read a poem he had written for the occasion.

It is called Here’s the Weather, an appropriate topic at this time of the year, as the seasons prepare to turn one last time and Scotland looks at its best in copper and gold.

Paterson’s poem is written mainly in the Scots tongue and so we were treated to a joyous cascade of words and images half-remembered from a childhood untroubled by the conventions of the classroom. “Forfochen” and “scunnert” were in there, as well as “girn” and “haiver”. And I was delighted to see one of my favourites, “molocate”, which, roughly translated, can mean to interact with someone or something with a degree of physical belligerence. I was also hoping to see the word “chib” in there, one of my other favourites; perhaps the next time.

Read more...

Related Links

Here's the Weather by Stuart A Paterson (BBC Scotland, 28 September 2017)

Virtual Gaelic school commended for helping to cover teacher shortages and supporting professional development

29 September 2017 (Holyrood Magazine)

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s virtual Gaelic school has been praised in an independent evaluation for helping to cover teacher shortages and supporting professional development.

A report of the e-Sgoil’s virtual school’s first year commended the council’s leadership team for its desire to help other local authorities and said the “energy and commitment” of those involved in the project had been “most impressive”.

The independent report by former Highland Council director of education Bruce Robertson and Martin Finnigan of consultants Caledonian Economics was presented to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services earlier this week.

It also praised the use of e-Sgoil for professional development in education and suggested the e-Sgoil approach could be rolled out across Scotland.

Read more...

Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition 2017-18

22 September 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

Today sees the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and we're delighted to announce the addition of a category for students in further and higher education, enabling all Scottish educational establishments to participate.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, college or university, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category. Even if you've taken part in the competition before, please note and read the new rules and criteria as only original work will be considered.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! Closing date for registrations is 27 October 2017.

Read more...

How relevant is Gaelic to modern Scotland today?

2 September 2017 (The Press and Journal)

Chan eil aon chànan gu leòr.

How many readers can understand this sentiment or indeed recognise the Gaelic phrase which aptly translates as one language is never enough?

Sadly, or depending in the light in which one views Gaelic, it would seem one language in Scotland is indeed enough with just 1.1% of the population speaking Gaelic.

It is no secret that Gaelic has been in decline for many years despite road signs in the Highlands and islands and even in the north-east including the Gaelic place name.

Classed as an indigenous language, it is believed Gaelic was brought to Scotland around the fourth or fifth century by settlers from Ireland, reaching its peak in 1018.

Some historians pinpoint its decline to the reign of King Malcom Canmore, although his brother re-introduced the language when he inherited the throne.

History aside, how relevant is Gaelic to modern Scotland today on both a social and economic level?

Read more...

Speaking with Smaller Tongues

7 July 2017 (BBC Radio 4)

Penzance-born Rory McGrath writes and performs a Cornish song at the SUNS International Festival - a multilingual alternative to the Eurovision song contest, where English is banned.

Rory talks with fellow performers, and to academics, about how the internet and the spread of English as a lingua franca is threatening to smother small languages. The United Nations predicts that 90% of Europe's 200 minority languages will have ceased to exist by the end of the 21st century.

Read more...

Transnationalizing Languages: Heritage and languages in education

24 May 2017 (Transnationalizing Modern Languages )

Transnationalizing Modern Languages (TML) is research partnership project involving the University of Bristol, Cardiff University, the University of Namibia (UNAM), the University of St Andrews (Scotland) and Warwick University, which explores the place, value and development of languages and multilingualism in Scotland, Wales and in Namibia. As part of the educational research, a survey is being carried out of schools across Scotland to gather views on multilingualism and heritage languages in education. This research will be replicated in Namibia and will feed into a final paper looking at the parallels, findings, solutions and support resources.

If you could take 5 minutes of your time to complete this survey, it would be much appreciated – the more feedback, the better! Please also feel free to share with colleagues from across different stages and subject areas.

Read more...

Belfast council unveils policy to promote Irish and Ulster-Scots

23 May 2017 (Belfast Telegraph)

Belfast City Council is to transform how it treats minority languages, with a major promotion of both Irish and Ulster-Scots.
 
In a new policy, which was revealed on Tuesday, May 22 as a public consultation was launched into the proposals, the council will create micro-sites on its website in the languages, as well as responding to correspondence in both.

Read more...

MTOT 2016-17 celebration event webpage now live

5 May 2017 (SCILT)

We're pleased to announce the SCILT website has been updated and details of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition award celebration held at the SEC, Glasgow in March are now available.

Here you can see photos of our winning performers, read the anthology of winning entries, access press articles and see feedback from pupils, teachers and parents.

Read more...

Language Futures – opportunities for Scottish schools

25 April 2017 (Association for Language Learning)

Language Futures aims to broaden languages provision and promote linguistic diversity. It is currently being used by schools in England to develop a second or third language both within the curriculum and during after school clubs. The programme has been trialled at a variety of levels at secondary as well as at primary across England and the Association for Language Learning (ALL) are looking to expand the scheme into Scotland.

Language Futures sees pupils choose the language they wish to study. There may be a number of languages being studied in any one classroom, with the teacher as facilitator: the teacher sets up the learning, but will not necessarily know all of the languages studied in the classroom. Pupils are supported in their language learning by mentors who are language proficient individuals from the community. The school is the base camp – it is not seen as the sole place of learning – and pupils are encouraged to learn at home and in a variety of different places. Finally, pupils design, plan and carry out extended projects which aim to build knowledge and develop skills, to incorporate language learning and inter-cultural understanding and to connect learning to the real world.

ALL would be very interested to hear from primary and secondary schools interested in piloting the approach in Scotland. Schools can sign up at no cost. ALL have created resources and guidelines to support schools and these are open access on the ALL website. If an individual school is interested, the Language Futures Project Manager would be very happy to talk them through the approach by phone, Skype etc. in the first instance. If a small group of schools was interested, ALL could explore support from a dedicated Schools Adviser who would visit schools to offer targeted support.

For further information, please contact the Language Futures Project Manager Clodagh Cooney.

Language Futures is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and has been managed by the Association for Language Learning since summer 2015.

Read more...

Emotional celebration of Perth Polish Saturday School's 10th year in the Fair City

10 March 2017 (Daily Record)

A school in Perth has been hailed for keeping Polish children and those with connections to the eastern European community in touch with their history and culture.

The Perth Polish Saturday School celebrated its 10th anniversary and a special ‘Jubilee’ reception was held at North Inch Community Campus on March 4.

On Saturdays the school based at St John’s Academy teaches Polish history, geography, culture and language from 10.30am to 1.30pm.

Many children from Polish families have been born in the Fair City and the school provides them with a link to their family’s origins.

They learn nursery rhymes, songs and poems which keep their culture alive, as well as mastering the notoriously difficult Polish spellings and grammar.

Read more...

Maurice Smith: Brexit threatens Gaelic as a living language

25 February 2017 (The Herald)

There is a hoary myth going round about a wilful Scottish Government wasting taxpayers’ money on the flagrant imposition of bilingual signs at every Scottish road and railway station, presumably as part of a dark conspiracy to make us all speak Gaelic and unwittingly vote en masse for independence.

It is one of many misunderstandings, and occasional slurs, perpetuated by some who resent any money being spent on Gaelic.

Read more...

Ian Cowley: Language is a cultural treasure we must covet

25 February 2017 (The Scotsman)

The level at which the languages of Scotland – with the exception of English – have been ignored and often despised in recent years is something that has always surprised and saddened me. 

The reaction by some to MSP Christina McKelvie’s use of the word ‘thae’ in Holyrood during the recent Article 50 debate shows that prejudice and ignorance still surround the use of Scots in daily life.

Language is a cultural treasure and some might say the maximum expression of who we are and where we’re from.

Read more...

Doric could be taught in all north-east schools

11 February 2017 (The Press and Journal)

Aberdeenshire Council has unveiled ambitious plans to start teaching youngsters the Doric dialect.

The local authority has drawn-up proposals to give primary and secondary pupils lessons in the “valued language”.

Councillors will be asked next week to back the scheme aimed at promoting the Doric and north-east culture across the region.

Traditionally spoken by residents of Aberdeenshire, the dialect – one of many across Scotland – is identified as the native tongue in many rural and fishing communities.

Read more...

Related Links

Doric could be good fit for pupils in Aberdeenshire (STV News, 16 February 2017)

MTOT 2016-17 winners announced!

10 February 2017 (SCILT)

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland. We had a wonderful variety of entries and appreciated the creative effort that went into the submissions.

Selecting the finalists for this year's anthology was incredibly difficult for the judges. However, after considerable deliberation, we're pleased to now be able to announce the winners in each category along with highly commended entries which will also feature in the MTOT anthology of poems.

Mother Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Jan Piwowarczyk (Polish)

St Benedict’s Primary

 

Highly commended

Kacper Jodelka (Polish)

St John Ogilvie Primary

P4 – P6

Winner

Laith Kabour (Arabic)

St John Ogilvie Primary

 

Highly commended

Ashley Li (Mandarin)

St James’ Primary

 

Highly commended

Amira Shaaban and Aidah Abubaker (Swahili)

St Rose of Lima Primary

 

Highly commended

Caroline Rotimi and Joolade Adekoya (Yoruba)

St Maria Goretti Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Miriam Espinosa (Catalan)

St James’ Renfrew

 

 

Highly commended

Lemuel Pascual (Filipino)

 

St James’ Renfrew

 

Highly commended

Noemi Dzurjanikova (Slovak)

St Rose of Lima

S2 – S3

Winner

Stefan Benyak (Hungarian)

Castlehead High

 

Highly commended

Éva Tallaron (French)

Royal High

Senior Phase

Winner

Boglarka Balla (Hungarian)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ayesha Mujeb (Urdu)

George Heriot’s

 

Highly commended

Nadya Clarkson (Russian)

George Heriot’s

 

Other Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Julia Gawel (Scots)

Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary

P4 – P6

Winner(s)

Nathan Watson and Aiden Wardrop (French)

Johnshaven Primary

 

 

Highly commended

Jack Shaw (German)

Gartcosh Primary

 

 

Eva Campbell (German)

Gartcosh Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Rosalind Turnbull (French)

Doune Primary

 

Highly commended

Samuel Kassm, Theo Wilson, Emma Cullen and Darren Campbell (French, Spanish, Italian, Urdu, Scots)

Battlefield  Primary

S2 – S3

Winner

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ciara Wilkie (French)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior Phase

Winner

Jordanna Bashir (French)

Shawlands Academy

 

Highly commended

Holly Mincher (Spanish)

St Andrew’s

 

Highly commended

Rachel Cairns (French)

Graeme High

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited in due course to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 11 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

Gaelic pupils outperforming their peers in literacy skills

4 February 2017 (The Herald)

Primary pupils taught in Gaelic are outperforming children in mainstream Scottish schools, according to new figures.

Scottish Government statistics show pupils in Gaelic primary schools are doing better at reading, writing, listening and talking at nearly every stage of primary.

Gaelic medium education - where pupils are taught most or all of their lessons in Gaelic as well as studying English - is increasingly popular in Scotland with more than 3,500 children taught in 2014.

Read more...

Britons 'should learn Polish, Punjabi and Urdu to boost social cohesion'

18 January 2017 (The Guardian)

The government is being urged to create more opportunities for British people to learn languages such as Polish, Urdu and Punjabi as a means of improving social cohesion in local communities.

Recent inquiries looking into obstacles to social integration in the UK have highlighted the importance of immigrants learning English to enable them to integrate and engage fully in society.

Now Cambridge professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett is calling for British people to be encouraged to learn community languages, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of residents who speak these languages, to build on social cohesion.

Ayres-Bennett, who is a professor of French philology and linguistics and is a lead investigator in a major project looking at multilingualism, said rather than putting the onus solely on newcomers, social integration should be seen as a two-way street.

“Considering the issue from the point of view of language learning, we rightly expect immigrants to learn English but, as a nation, we often don’t see the need ourselves to learn another language, and consider it to be something difficult and only for the intellectual elite.

“I would like to see more opportunities for British people to learn some of the community languages of the UK, such as Polish, Punjabi and Urdu, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of those speakers, so that there is some mutual effort in understanding the others’ language and culture.”

Read more...

Meet the world’s first Gaelic rapper

15 January 2017 (The Herald)

You might expect renowned bagpiper, guitarist and traditional Gaelic singer Griogair Labhruidh to be appearing at the upcoming Celtic Connections Festival. Instead, he's at home in Ballachulish working on a very different type of project – the world’s first Gaelic hip hop record.

“Well, first hip hop record in the Gaelic tradition, anyway,” says the highlander, who raps under the pseudonym Eólas – meaning ‘knowledge’.

Read more...

Meet The Refugees Taking On The UK’s Language Skills Deficit

1 January 2017 (Huffington Post)

What do a dentist, a human rights lawyer and a maths teacher have in common?

Certainly, they’re all qualified professionals. What you might not guess - blog title aside - is that they have all sought, and found, refuge in the UK in the last few years. They fled from Syria, Sudan and North Korea respectively. None of them have (yet) been able to practise their professions here, but that hasn’t stopped them helping the Brits in need of their skills. They all now work for a new tech for good startup, through which they share their native language and culture - online and in person - with people in the UK.

The startup is called Chatterbox. By training and employing refugees ​as language tutors, the venture catalyses refugee integration into the UK labour market whilst tackling the country’s language skills deficit.

Read more...

Related Links

Want to learn Arabic, Korean or Swahili? Refugee language tutors can help (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 16 January 2017)

Uist Gaelic culture project Cnoc Soilleir secures funds

16 December 2016 (BBC News)

A project to establish a centre for Gaelic music, dance and cultural heritage in Uist in the Western Isles has secured £1m in funding.

Cnoc Soilleir is a partnership project between Ceòlas Uibhist and Lews Castle College UHI in Stornoway, Lewis. The education and arts centre could create more than 40 jobs.

The £1m funding has been allocated from the Scottish government's 2016-17 Gaelic capital fund.

Read more...

Glasgow Gaelic School performs Christmas pantomime

16 December 2016 (BBC News)

A traditional Christmas panto would be nothing without the familiar catchphrases. But what do they sound like in Gaelic? BBC Scotland's very own fairy godmother, Aileen Clarke, has been to find out.

Read more...

Seven Gaelic phrases and sayings for the absolute beginner

25 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

There is nothing like learning a new language to exercise your mind and impress your friends. 

Gaelic may have become a political hot potato but picking up a few key phrases will connect you to a language spoken in Scotland for more than 1,000 years.

Little over one per cent of Scotland’s population now speaks Gaelic with highest rates found in the Western Isles. Numbers of young people learning the minority language are on the rise while the proportion of the older population with a knowledge of Gaelic starts to fall.

Here are seven easy Gaelic phrases and sayings - with phonetic transcription - to try out for size.Some may come in particularly handy over the festive season.

Read more...

Definitive guide to ancient Norn language discovered

16 November 2016 (BBC News)

The definitive text on the ancient Norn language and its link with modern Scots has been reprinted using the original pages and covers.

Norn was largely spoken by people in the north of Scotland until the mid 18th Century.

Uncollated and unbound sheets of the text, first printed over 80 years ago, were discovered in a Kirkwall warehouse.

The Orkney Norn explains the link between the ancient language of Norn and modern Scots as BBC Scotland's David Delday explains.

Read more...

New survey examines impact of Gaelic media on learning

14 November 2016 (BBC News)

The influence of Gaelic media on learning of the language is being examined.

The Big Gaelic Survey has been commissioned by the language's development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The study of media, such as BBC Alba and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, has three questionnaires. They are aimed at Gaelic speakers, Gaelic learners and people who are interested in learning Gaelic in the future.

Read more...

Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, supports MTOT

4 November 2016 (SCILT)

We are delighted to have Jackie Kay, the national laureate, as patron for this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland.

Hear Jackie's message supporting the aims and values of the competition in the video on our MTOT webpage.

Read more...

Take a haiku, add Gaelic - and welcome to the 'gaiku'

30 October 2016 (The Scotsman)

It is one of the world’s oldest forms of poetry, honed down the centuries with not a word or syllable left to waste. Now haiku, the major form of Japanese verse, is set to take the Gaelic world by storm with the forthcoming publication of The Little Book of Gaiku – believed to be the first full-length volume of Gaelic poems composed as haikus.

Read more...

Swinney sets out bold ambition for Gaelic

19 October 2016 (Scottish Government)

The Deputy First Minister John Swinney has delivered the Angus Macleod Memorial lecture during the Mod in Stornoway today setting out the importance of the Gaelic language to Scotland as part of a bold ambition to build participation and economic activity in the future.

Mr Swinney was making his first major speech on the subject since assuming ministerial responsibility for the Gaelic language after the election. Over the summer the Deputy First Minister has engaged widely with a range of stakeholders central to the future of the language.

Read more...

£700,000 for Gaelic language delivery

19 October 2016 (Scottish Government)

Additional funding to improve facilities at Glasgow’s two Gaelic schools has been announced by the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney.

Glendale Gaelic School and Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu will use the extra £700,000 to further improve the learning environment for young people studying core subjects such as physical education, STEM and ICT, ensuring Gaelic learning provides a fully immersive experience across the curriculum.

The money will also be spent on upgrading school facilities helping to tackle an increase in demand for places.

Since the introduction of the Gaelic Schools Capital Fund in 2008 the number of young people in Gaelic medium education has increased nationally by 32%.

Read more...

Seniors pass on their Gaelic skills to learners

19 October 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

A series of films to help teach Gaelic to children learning it in primary school outwith Gaelic Medium Education has been launched. 

The films star, and were made by, senior school pupils who have come through Gaelic Medium Education and are now passing on their language skills to youngsters who are just beginning to learn it. 

The films, made with the support of media professionals, form part of the Go! Gaelic programme, a comprehensive online resource developed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig.

Read more...

Royal National Mod warning that Gaelic faces battle for survival in modern world

15 October 2016 (The Herald)

Gaelic is facing a fight for its survival and every Scot needs to play a part to ensure that it continues to receive much-needed support, it has been warned.

Opening the Royal National Mod last night, the head of the Gaelic media service warned that one of Scotland’s cultural “jewels” is at serious risk of being lost forever unless it is given greater support.

Maggie Cunningham, chairwoman of MG Alba, the Gaelic Media Service, made an emotive speech about the future of the tongue which, despite receiving millions of pounds of public funding, has continued to decline.

Read more...

£3.9 million modern languages research project launched in Manchester

11 October 2016 (University of Manchester)

A consortium led by The University of Manchester has launched a four-year language research project which aims to demonstrate the UK’s critical need for modern languages research and teaching. The project will collaborate with schools and universities to develop curriculum innovations, and strengthen university commitments to local community heritage.

The launch of ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’, which is funded by an AHRC Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) grant, took place at The University of Manchester. They are leading a consortium which includes 11 other universities, city councils, the Royal Opera House, Tyneside Cinema, political think tank Chatham House, and a sixth-form college known for its strengths in modern languages.

Read more...

How a deaf teenager from Congo found her voice in poetry

6 October 2016 (STV News)

For most of her life, it seemed as though Keren Mingole would never have a place to call home.

Forced to escape war-torn country of DR Congo, the 16-year-old has been brought up in Scotland from a very early age. Not only faced with the difficulty of communicating with strangers, Keren also had to learn British Sign Language.

[..] In 2015, an opportunity arose for Keren to explore and draw from her difficult experiences as a child through a multilingual poetry contest.

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition explores cultural identity, and allows pupils from P1-S6 to enter creative pieces of work and celebrate the many different languages used in schools throughout the UK.

Pupils from across Scotland are currently participating in the multi-cultural competition, which is officially endorsed by Nobel Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Scottish Makar Jackie Kay is also the official patron.

Keren won the 2015 Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition with her poem 'Who am I?' - a composition of her journey from her native home to her current home, Scotland.

Read more...

Related Links

National Poetry Day (STV News, 6 October 2016) See Jackie Kay and one of last year's MTOT winners, Keren Mingole, talk about poetry in their lives (the programme is available on iPlayer until 13/09/16 - watch from 28:50).

Celebrate National Poetry Day!

6 October 2016 (SCILT)

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme this year is 'Messages'. To mark the occasion we've created our own triolet poem in French on this theme.

You can see the poem on the National Poetry Day webpage of our MTOT website. We hope it will provide some inspiration for those taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition in Scotland! There are lots of other poetry resources on our website too. So take a look and get creative!

Read more...

Wee Ginger Dug maps Scotland entirely in Gaelic

1 October 2016 (The National)

Going out and about this weekend?

How about a trip to Grianaig, Ros Saidhe or Achadh an t-Seagail – all places included in a new all-Gaelic map of Scotland.

The project, by The National columnist and blogger Paul Kavanagh, better known as the Wee Ginger Dug, replaces the standard English-language place names normally seen on maps with terms drawn from a number of specialist maps, studies and documents.

Read more...

Urban Scots may not be spoken in 50 years time

30 September 2016 (The National)

‘Urban’ Scots may no longer be spoken in 50 years’ time – but independence could save the language, according to a study.

According to the report, schoolchildren “aren’t familiar” with commonly used terms including bampot, glaikit and stooshie and changes to pronunciation will see the hard “r” sound after vowels disappear from “working-class” speech, with the letter “l” left off the end of words.

The claims are based on analysis of Scots used in Glasgow by an academic from York University and a dialect coach who has worked with a number of Hollywood actors.

In the findings, the pair also claim the picture could be “very different” – but only if “a second independence referendum were to go in favour of Scotland’s separation from the UK”.

Read more...

Related Links

It's the end of the frog and toad for regional slang, says report (The Guardian, 29 September 2016)

We must be proud of the rise of Gaelic education

16 September 2016 (TESS)

Three decades ago, 24 children enrolled in experimental Gaelic schooling. Now thousands of children are learning the language and exploring the culture.

This has been a milestone year for Gaelic learning. The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced Gaelic-medium education (GME) provisions, assuring a national entitlement at primary-school level. New GME schools opened in Glasgow and Fort William, with building works underway in Portree, adding to three existing Gaelic schools across Scotland, and complementing departments in primary and secondary schools. And, recently, Scotland’s first director of Gaelic education, Mona Wilson, was appointed.

Read the full article in TESS online, 16 September 2016, pages 20-21 (subscription required).

Read more...

MTOT - Free creative poetry workshops for teachers

9 September 2016 (SCILT)

Once again, we are delighted to be able to offer FREE poetry workshops for primary and secondary teachers at four different venues across Scotland.

Teachers will work with Juliette Lee, a poet and creative writer, for a half-day workshop to develop their own creativity, explore poetry and the impact of language we use. We hope that teachers will leave inspired and able to take back some ideas and examples to work with their own pupils who will then submit their poems/rhymes/raps/songs into the MTOT competition.

Teachers do not have to attend one of the workshops to register their school for the MTOT competition although the workshops are a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills in teaching poetry, languages and to gather ideas to take back into the classroom. Due to the creative and interactive nature of these workshops, places are limited to 15 teachers at each venue, therefore we advise you to book your place early.

Details of the workshops are as follows. Click on the appropriate workshop link below to register for the event.

  • Saturday 24 September, 10.00 – 12.30; Dundee University, Dundee (deadline for registration Friday 16 September)
  • Friday 30 September, 13.30 – 16.00; The Open University in Scotland, Edinburgh (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 1 October, 10.00 – 12.30; Inverness College - UHI, Inverness (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 8 October, 12.00 – 14.30; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (deadline for registration Friday 30 September) PLEASE NOTE EVENT NOW FULL!
For more information about the competition visit the MTOT page on our website and register your school to take part!

Read more...

Support for EAL and bilingualism

2 September 2016 (SCILT)

SCILT has developed a new section on its website in recognition of the growing diversity within Scottish schools. The new EAL & Bilingualism section celebrates all languages spoken in Scotland, promotes bilingualism, and supports parents and practitioners in facilitating a multilingual ethos. It also signposts a wealth of resources and advice for learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL).

Read more...

Welsh language target of one million speakers by 2050

1 August 2016 (BBC Wales)

A drive to almost double the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050 has been unveiled by the first minister at the National Eisteddfod.

Carwyn Jones stressed the workplace, family, schools and the planning process as the key areas for action.

Alun Davies, minister for the Welsh language, admitted it was a "deliberately ambitious" target.

But Plaid Cymru's Sian Gwenllian called the announcement "another superficial stunt".

The 2011 census reported a drop in the number of Welsh speakers from 582,000 in 2001 to 562,000, about one in five of the population.

Traditional Welsh-speaking communities have been said to be under threat from young people moving away to find work and new housing developments attracting incomers who do not speak the language.

Ministers who launched the consultation at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, on Monday cited a growing demand for Welsh-medium education as a reason to be positive.

Read more...

MOOC: Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World

3 June 2016 (Future Learn)

This free 3-week online course, commencing 13 June 2016, will explore multilingual education and how it can impact and improve education and even wider society.

Our languages are an essential part of who we are as human beings. They are instruments of communication and are often a source of dignity and of human pride. Our life experiences and views of the world are bound up in our languages.

In week 3 you can hear about the Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition, where school pupils are invited to express themselves either in the language they speak at home or in one they are learning at school, and which will be run again in Scotland by SCILT in the new term.

For more information about the course and to enrol, visit the Future Learn website.

Read more...

Police Scotland mobilises first Polish officers

24 May 2016 (The Herald)

Two Polish police officers have joined Scotland's national force in a pioneering move to tackle criminality in the country's biggest migrant community.

The men have been seconded for six months as a pilot scheme that may be expanded in the future as EU law enforcement agencies tighten co-operation.

Senior officers at Police Scotland say the two officers have already helped on crucial inquiries involving Poles as perpetrators, victims or witnesses of crimes.

Chief Superintendent Paul Main said: "They are here to advise us and to help us on criminal and other inquiries. "They don't have the power to arrest anybody or question anybody so they are always with Scottish officers.

"But they can assist us with understanding cultural and linguistic issues and connecting with law enforcement in Poland to deal with everything from organised crime to domestic abuse."

[..] However, Poles would also like to see Scottish police raise their knowledge of migrant communities, including learning the language.

Read more...

Colours of the Alphabet screenings in Scotland

29 April 2016 (Colours of the Alphabet)

Liz Lochhead will be launching the Scottish preview tour of 'Colours of the Alphabet' at the GFT on 11 May and taking part in a post screening discussion on the relationship between language and childhood with director Alastair Cole and producer Nick Higgins.

The launch event will mark the opening night of a run of 11 screenings and discussions across Scotland during which the filmmakers and guest contributors will discuss the issue of mother-tongue education and the impact of teaching additional languages in primary schools.

Visit the website for a full list of dates and venues and to secure your tickets. Places are limited.

Read more...

MTOT 2015-16 Celebration Event held at Language Show Live

29 April 2016 (SCILT)

The celebration event for MTOT 2015-16 saw 20 award winners receive their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SECC on Saturday 12 March 2016 as part of the wider Language Show Live Scotland event.

Pupils took the opportunity to perform their poems and rhymes to the audience, showcasing the many languages used by children and young people both in school and at home. The event drew in a huge crowd, with passers-by stopping to also see and hear their work.

Find out more about the day on our MTOT Celebration Event webpage, where you can also find links to the list of winners, pupil videos and recitals, the anthology, press articles and photos from the event.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for their support and participation, which helped make the competition and celebration such a success. We hope to run MTOT again next year, so make sure you sign up to our e-bulletin for updates, or follow us on our social media sites Twitter or Facebook.

Read more...

Identity 2016: Why I stopped mispronouncing my Igbo name

27 April 2016 (BBC News Magazine)

In Nigeria, the language spoken by one of the largest ethnic groups, the Igbo, is in danger of dying out - which is odd because the population is growing. In the past this didn't worry the BBC's Nkem Ifejika, who is himself Igbo but never learned the language. Here he explains why he has changed his mind.

Read more...

Community languages saved to ensure diverse curriculum continues

22 April 2016 (UK Government)

Government action means GCSEs and A levels in a range of community languages such as Panjabi, Portuguese and Japanese are to continue to ensure young people can carry on studying a diverse range of foreign languages.

The news, announced today (22 April 2016) by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, marks a significant step for the government in its efforts to extend opportunity to young people and equip them with the skills they need in what is an increasingly global economy.

It follows a government commitment in 2015 to protect a number of language GCSEs and A levels after the exam boards announced that from 2017 they would be withdrawing several courses. In May 2015, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to the exam boards during the pre-election period to convey her concern about their decisions to stop offering GCSEs and A levels in certain languages.

Read more...

Related Links

Community languages continue as vital part of our curriculum (Speak to the Future, 22 April 2016)

Outlander helping to promote Gaelic and Scots

9 April 2016 (The National)

It's been heralded as a feminist version of Game of Thrones and derided by critics as having a plot with more holes than a pair of well-worn socks. But now Outlander, the cult Highland costume drama, is being credited with fuelling a growing interest in both Gaelic and Scots languages.

Voice coach Carol Ann Crawford, who has helped Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan perfect their accents, claims that the American-British TV series, which has an international audience of millions, could be just the thing to get the languages known by a wider audience.

Crawford said that the drama, which will return to our screens for a highly-anticipated second season on Sunday, is helping keep old Scots words alive and as well as creating a new growing awareness among an international audience.

Read more...

Could targeting linguistic talent boost staff diversity?

8 April 2016 (TESS)

A school of education is hoping to boost the number of minority ethnic student teachers on its courses by favouring applicants who speak another language.

As of this year, the University of Edinburgh's Moray House School of Education will take additional languages into account in its selection process, particularly community or heritage languages such as Urdu or Polish.

(Read the full article in TESS online, pages 8-9 - subscription required).

Read more...

Young poets’ multilingual talents celebrated

22 March 2016 (SCILT)

The multilingual talents of budding young poets from across Scotland were celebrated at a prestigious award ceremony in Glasgow.

Primary and secondary students from Aberdeenshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Renfrewshire, West Lothian and George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh used their language skills to create and share poetry for this year’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition. Winners received their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SECC on Saturday 12 March 2016 as part of the wider Languages Show Live Scotland event. Their work is published in an anthology.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is an exciting project which celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing and showcases the many languages used by children and young people across Scotland, in school and at home. The competition is organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, based at University of Strathclyde. This year over 400 pupils from across Scotland took part in the competition.

Ruth Cunningham, EAL teacher from Renfrewshire, said of the competition: “Being part of the Mother Tongue Other Tongue project has been a privilege. I have heard the ‘other voices’ of my bilingual pupils, witnessed them careful craft their poems, laugh about the differences in language and, above all, feel valued and respected for their ability to speak with another voice. This event has opened my eyes to the importance of supporting children to continue to learn in their mother tongue and of engaging with my pupils’ voices, in whatever language that may be.”

One of the young competitors commented: “I had a great time writing the poem and getting my prize was exciting. It makes me more eager to learn and write in different languages.”

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT, added: “Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a celebration of the many languages that are spoken and learned by children and young people across Scotland. The collection of their poems weaves a rich tapestry of voices that honours cultural diversity and pays testament to the wealth of Scotland’s many languages and cultures. We were delighted to see such a high calibre of entries this year, submitted in 36 different languages. Our congratulations go to the winners and to all who took part in the competition.”

Mother Tongue invites children who do not speak English as a first language to share a lullaby, poem, rap or song from their mother tongue and to write about why this piece is important to them. Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school to use that language creatively with an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue. Prizes are awarded in both categories.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue supports the Scottish Government initiative, “Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach” by allowing pupils to apply their language learning in a creative way. The competition provides children who do not have English as their first language with an opportunity to celebrate their mother tongue. This year saw over 150 entries submitted from primary and secondary pupils across the country. The competition was supported by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland and creative writer Juliette Lee. Prizes were presented at the ceremony by actor Atta Yaqub and Juliette Lee.

Full details of the winners and further information on the competition can be found on the SCILT website.

Read more...

Learning English is child's play, thanks to Paisley teacher Ruth

22 March 2016 (Paisley Daily Express)

More than 500 children from all over the world are being helped to speak English fluently by a remarkable council project.

Young people, many from Eastern Europe and some newly-arrived refugees from Syria, are getting to grips with the tongue as it is spoken in Scotland, thanks to Renfrewshire Council’s English as an Additional Language Service.

And not only that – they are also being encouraged to keep in touch with their own native language through literature.

Supporting the primary-age children in the scheme is teacher Ruth Cunningham, who herself speaks fluent Spanish.

As revealed in the Paisley Daily Express, three of Ms Cunningham’s pupils – variously from Norway, Hungary and Lithuania – recently had great success in a poetry competition organised by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages. (Also see the attached, related article courtesy of the Paisley Daily Express).

Read more...

£1m for Gaelic broadcasting

20 March 2016 (Scottish Government)

Gaelic broadcaster MG ALBA will receive an additional £1m investment this year.

Minister for Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan announced the media service will receive the funding following the UK Government’s plan to withdraw all funding to Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland.

MG ALBA is a public body that works in partnership with BBC Scotland to produce BBC Alba. Since moving to Freeview in 2011, the channel viewing figure have increased significantly.

Read more...

Related Links

Gaelic TV saved in Scotland (The Herald, 20 March 2016)

Gaelic broadcaster gets £1m Scottish government funding (BBC, 21 March 2016)

More backing for Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland (Brechin Advertiser, 21 March 2016)

Gaelic Virtual School for Scotland

18 March 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig today announced funding to support the creation of a Gaelic virtual school for Scotland, E-Sgoil.

The announcement was made by the Cathraiche of Bòrd na Gàidhlig at the National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-2022 Seminar in Edinburgh to open discussions on the creation of the 3rd National Plan for Gaelic.

E-Sgoil will look to design and develop an online learning environment that will provide connectivity initially, between all secondary schools throughout the Western Isles and beyond.

It will provide greater quality of subject access, vocational choices and learning opportunities across Gaelic medium secondary schools nationally.

Read more...

Gaelic 'should be preserved' to benefit the brain

15 February 2016 (The Herald)

Languages on the brink of dying out should be preserved in light of evidence that shows juggling different tongues is good for the brain, claims a British expert.

Professor Antonella Sorace, founder of the Bilingualism Matters Centre at the University of Edinburgh, is investigating the potential benefits of studying minority languages such as Sardinian and Scottish Gaelic.

Previous research has already shown that being multilingual can improve thinking and learning ability, and may reduce mental decline with age.

Read more...

North-east councillors assert commitment to Doric… and Mandarin

5 February 2016 (The Press and Journal)

Aberdeenshire councillors have cemented their commitment to both the region’s native dialect – and a far Eastern tongue.

Both Doric and the Chinese language of Mandarin have been earmarked as priorities in Aberdeenshire’s schools.

Councillors were given an update on the implementation of the “one and two languages initiative” across Aberdeenshire Council’s schools at yesterday’s education, learning and leisure committee.

The progress of the scheme – which ensures that youngster learn two languages in addition to their mother tongue – was hailed by councillors.

Read more...

Matthew Fitt: Pairlament should mirror aw oor three languages

4 February 2016 (The National)

"Let our three-voiced country sing in a new world..."

Bauld hopefu words scrievit by the makar Iain Crichton Smith, in a poem that opened the Scottish Pairlament on July 1st 1999.

In the first verse he urged us aw tae sing in oor English, oor Gaelic and oor Scots and the last wis sung by the woman that cam tae symbolise the history and promise o that day.

When Sheena Wellington sae memorably hanselled the new Scotland wi Burns’ anthem o social justice A Man’s A Man, the language that partially endit roon aboot three hunner year o London rule wis Scots.

Fast forrit tae Holyrood 2016. Look for Scots in the Scottish Pairlament Buildin. If ye find ony, gie me a shout.

Read more...

Ambulance crews to get Gaelic lessons

18 January 2016 (The Herald)

Scottish Ambulance Service staff will be given lessons in Gaelic as part of the government’s push to boost the language. The service has proposed to introduce measures between now and 2020 that will include “Gaelic awareness and Gaelic language skills training”.

But the idea has been attacked by critics who believe that Gaelic lessons will take staff away from helping patients.

Read more...

Related Links

Gaelic logo plan for ambulance service (The Express, 17 January 2016)

Paramedics could be forced to learn Gaelic, under new Scottish Ambulance Service plans (Press and Journal, 18 January 2016)

From Creole to Scots, all our tongues need preserving, says top linguist

16 January 2016 (The National)

Few people know more about the power and influence of minority languages than linguist Hector Poullet, an expert on the Creole tongue of the Caribbean.

The softly-spoken 75-year-old is a source on Creole in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. You could say he wrote the book on the language, co-authoring one of the world’s first Creole dictionaries and helping to introduce it into the school curriculum.

This week, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland launched a free online resource for children. Gifting Every Child includes Scots songs and Gaelic lullabies, providing an introduction to the traditional arts for the classroom or family home.

“All of the world’s languages are like a kaleidoscope – every single one of them is multiform and each one must be protected,” Poullet says.

Read more...

What comes first? Practitioners in Glasgow City Council’s EAL service share their experiences of supporting learners who are new to English

14 January 2016 (Teaching Scotland (Issue 62))

See the article in the latest edition of Teaching Scotland magazine (page 32/33) where EAL teachers in Glasgow share how they're supporting incoming migrants to the city.

Read more...

MTOT deadline for submissions – 18 December

15 December 2015 (SCILT)

Last chance to submit entries for this year’s MTOT multilingual poetry competition!  You have until midnight 18 December to get your entries in.

Thanks to all those who have participated. We look forward to seeing all the great work which has been produced and will be in touch again in the New Year once judging has taken place. 

If you still need to submit your pupils’ entries, follow the guidance in the Teacher's Pack within the RESOURCES tab on our MTOT pageOr see the MTOT blog where you can also find submission guidelines.

Read more...

St Andrew’s Day 2015 – Seven educational ways to celebrate!

30 November 2015 (Education Scotland)

The Scots language co-ordinators at Education Scotland have put together a list of seven suggestions for meaningful learning about Scotland for St Andrews Day.

Find links to Scots language websites, songs, poems and other resources, as well Gaelic language materials.

Read more...

Warnings of blow to Gaelic TV

26 November 2015 (The Herald)

Campaigners have warned of a "major blow" to Gaelic television after George Osborne quietly axed UK Government funding.

The Chancellor did not renew a £1 million-a-year grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

[...] Two years ago the then Culture Secretary Maria Miller described the service as playing a "crucial role in the cultural and economic well-being of Scotland".

She also said that the Scottish Gaelic language was an "integral part of our incredibly diverse culture".

And she said that the sum provided the "funding certainty that the channel needs to continue bringing high-quality Gaelic language programmes to the small screen".

Read more...

Animator King Rollo Films planning first Gaelic series

16 November 2015 (BBC News)

Animation studio King Rollo Films plans to make its first Gaelic language television series. 

The makers of children's TV programmes Spot, Humf and Deer Little Forest previously announced plans to develop a new series from a base on Skye. 

It also emerged last month that it will hold free workshops for artists next month and in January as part of an effort to create a local workforce. Gaelic language college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI will host the training.

Read more...

Jersey language to be taught in more schools

10 November 2015 (BBC News)

Jersey's native language, Jerriais, will be taught by a larger group of qualified language teachers in island schools from next year.

Education Minister Deputy Rod Bryans said it would be included in the new cultural programme.

Tony Scott Warren and Colin Ireson from L'Office du Jerriais are due to retire soon and will train the new teachers.

Mr Scott Warren said teaching the language to a wider group would help keep it alive.

A year ago Jerriais was listed among 33 European tongues most endangered in the UNESCO Languages in Danger project.

Read more...

Councillors urged to back Stronger BBC Alba in Royal Charter

6 November 2015 (BBC News)

Showing more original, high quality programming on Gaelic TV channel BBC Alba would benefit Gaelic education, it has been suggested.

MG Alba, which operates in partnership with the BBC, has asked that a stronger BBC Alba should form part of the BBC's next Royal Charter.

Highland Council officers have urged councillors to support this call. The officials said more Gaelic programmes would support "significant growth" in Gaelic medium education.

Councillors on Highland Council's Gaelic implementation group will be asked to back MG Alba's position at a meeting on 12 November.

Read more...

Don't neglect the UK's indigenous languages

29 October 2015 (The Guardian)

Would you be surprised if I told you that, far from being a land of monoglots, there are ten indigenous languages spoken today in the British Isles? Yet we are very quick to tell ourselves that we're rubbish at languages. We are linguistically isolated monoglots, marooned on a cluster of islands on the edge of the Atlantic. If we were in the mix of mainland Europe, we tell ourselves, we'd be blethering away in at least two languages.

Except, as you read this, people the length of these islands are using indigenous languages other than English to communicate with friends, family, teachers, colleagues and public services. That they are in the minority doesn't meant that they don't exist. In fact, the numbers of primary school-age speakers are growing; almost a quarter of school pupils in Wales are educated through the medium of Welsh, Northern Ireland is home to 30 Irish-medium schools, Scotland's capital has just opened a new, dedicated Gaelic school due to increasing demand, and the Isle of Man has a Manx-medium school.

Read more...

Scotland becomes first part of UK to recognise signing for deaf as official language

18 October 2015 (The Herald)

Campaigners have hailed new legislation which will recognise signing as an official language in Scotland as a step towards breaking the “brick ceiling” which the deaf community faces in everyday life.

The British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill, which is due to become law in the next few weeks, will see Scotland become the first part of the UK to recognise signing for the deaf as an official language.

It means the Scottish Government and public bodies will have a responsibility to promote the language and consider how services can be provided in British Sign Language (BSL).

Read more...

Police launch plan for wider use of Gaelic language within service

15 October 2015 (The Herald)

Draft plans for greater use of the Gaelic language within the police service have been launched.

The plans are part of the Scottish Government's commitment to raise the status and profile of Gaelic, and create practical opportunities for learning and use of the language.

The draft plans from Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) were unveiled at the Royal National Mod in Oban, with the support of Bord Na Gaidhlig, with officers wearing uniforms bearing English and Gaelic forms of Police Scotland and a vehicle with the Gaelic version of the Police Scotland logo.

Read more...

All pupils to learn two foreign languages by high school

13 October 2015 (Edinburgh Evening News)

It's the pioneering programme aimed at making ­language learning as easy as un, deux, trois.

Every pupil in the Capital will receive lessons in at least two foreign languages by the time they leave primary school under radical plans aimed at helping them keep pace with peers across Europe.

City bosses have confirmed they want to introduce the new scheme, called 1+2, by the start of 2017 – three years ahead of a national deadline set for 2020.

Youngsters will be offered classes in core languages including French, Spanish and Mandarin, as well as Gaelic, Scots and “heritage” tongues such as Polish and Farsi.

The Edinburgh roll-out is part of a Scottish Government-led initiative which will see all children learn a second language from P1 and have experience of a third from P5 at the latest.

Parent leaders in the city have hailed the development and said it would help prepare youngsters for the modern world.

Read more...

New online resource for teaching the Scots language

10 October 2015 (The Falkirk Herald)

A new online resource featuring support materials and educational resources to help improve learning and teaching of Scots language was unveiled at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow.

The new Scots Language hub sits within the languages section of the Education Scotland website and will feature educational resources including a short animated history of the Scots language as well as a range of materials to support learning and teaching of the mother tongue in primary education and the senior phase.

Read more...

Related Links

Education Scotland's Scots Language hub.

Schools ‘need to focus more on Gaelic skills’

2 October 2015 (The National)

Provision of Gaelic medium education is too slow to safeguard the language, according to the principal of Scotland’s Gaelic college.

Professor Boyd Robertson, who heads Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye, spoke out yesterday after the latest census data showed the number of people who have some ability to speak, understand or write the language had fallen to 87,100 in 2011.

The rates fell in every group for those aged 18 and over, with just small rises of 0.17 per cent amongst 3-4 year olds, 0.22 per cent for 5-11 year olds and 0.06 per cent for 12-17 year olds.

Read more...

Cocker spaniel learns basic Gaelic in 3 weeks

21 September 2015 (The Scotsman)

A cocker Spaniel has stunned members of a conversational Gaelic speaking class by mastering the necessary basics - for a dog - of the notoriously difficult-to-learn language in three weeks.

Four-year-old Ginger responds to “suidh” (sit) “fuirich” (stay) and “trobhad” (come here) and understands when his owner, retired Neil Smith, praises him with “cu math” - good boy.

Read more...

Gaelic plan 'could cost Aberdeenshire Council more than £300,000'

14 September 2015 (BBC News)

Implementing the Gaelic Language Plan could cost Aberdeenshire Council more than £300,000, councillors are to be told this week.

The Gaelic Language Act has the aim of securing it as an official language of Scotland, commanding equal respect with English.

It would cost more than £200,000 to make changes to road signs and introduce a bilingual logo.

Read more...

Related Links

Aberdeenshire taxpayers to fork out £300k for Gaelic plan (The Scotsman, 15 September 2015)

Taxpayers could foot the bill for six-figure Gaelic language plan (The Courier, 15 September 2015)

MTOT - Free Creative Poetry Workshops for Teachers

4 September 2015 (SCILT)

In taking MTOT to a national level this year, we are delighted to be able to offer FREE poetry workshops for primary and secondary teachers at four different venues across Scotland.

Teachers will work with Juliette Lee, a poet and creative writer, for a half-day workshop to develop their own creativity, explore poetry and the impact of language we use, including our Mother Tongue and also experimenting with poetry in an Other Tongue too. We hope that teachers will leave inspired and able to take back some ideas and examples to work with their own pupils who will then submit their poems/rhymes/raps/songs into the MTOT competition.

Due to high levels of interest for the competition in general, we have decided to leave registration for schools open until Friday 9 October. Teachers do not have to attend one of the workshops to register their school for the MTOT competition although the workshops are a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills in teaching poetry, languages and to gather ideas to take back into the classroom.

Spaces are still available at the following workshop:

  • Friday 9 October, 13.30 – 16.30 ; Open University, Edinburgh (deadline for registration Friday 2 October)

Register by completing the MTOT workshop registration form on the SCILT website.

For more information about MTOT and to register your school to take part in the competition visit the MTOT 2015-16 page of our website.

Read more...

MTOT 2015-16 registration extended

1 September 2015 (SCILT)

Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) 2015-16 has launched in Scotland!

The multilingual poetry competition celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing. Mother Tongue encourages children who do not speak English as a first language to share a remembered poem from their mother tongue. Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school to write an original poem in that other tongue.

The competition was successfully piloted in Glasgow last year and we're delighted to now offer all primary and secondary schools in Scotland the chance to participate.

Take a look at our MTOT 2015-16 webpages for full details about this year's competition. You'll also find a section on previous events and testimonials from those who took part, as well as links to the MTOT blog and a host of other useful resources, including the teacher's pack containing the categories, criteria and rules.

During September and October there will be some Saturday workshops available for teachers from schools registered for the competition. There will be a limited number of places which will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so watch for more details about these soon and ensure you don't miss out!

Register your school for MTOT now*! Deadline extended to 9 October 2015.

*Some schools are reporting an issue with accessing the online registration form. If your authority is also blocking the page, we would suggest registering from a home PC or emailing us to be registered manually.

Read more...

More than 300 different languages spoken in British schools, report says

24 July 2015 (The Telegraph)

More than 300 different languages are now spoken in British schools with English-speaking pupils becoming a minority in hundreds of classrooms, a new investigation has revealed.

There are 1.1 million children who speak 311 dialects and in some schools English speakers are the minority, the inquiry revealed.

Read more...

Future of community language qualifications secured

22 July 2015 (UK Government Department for Education)

The government has stepped in to secure the future of GCSEs and A levels in community languages such as Panjabi and Turkish - Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced today (22 July 2015).

Exam boards have said that there are a number of community languages which may not be continued at GCSE or A level but the government is today announcing that it is taking action to work with the boards and Ofqual to make sure as wide a range of language subjects as possible continue to be taught in the classroom.

Read more...

Budding police constables must speak second language in Met pilot scheme

20 July 2015 (The Guardian)

Aspiring police constables must speak a second language to join London’s Metropolitan police under a month-long pilot scheme.

Scotland Yard is hoping the new criterion will help police “engage with London’s diverse communities as effectively as possible”.

From Monday, to be considered for one of the sought-after positions with the capital’s police force, applicants must speak one of 14 languages as well as English. 

They are: Arabic, Bengali, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Spanish, Turkish or Yoruba (Nigeria).

Read more...

Related Links

Language recruitment campaign launched (Metropolitan Police, 20 July 2015)

BBC review to look at whether Gaelic broadcasting offers value for money

16 July 2015 (The Herald)

Funding for Gaelic broadcasting could be reduced after ministers questioned whether or not the service offered taxpayers value for money.

The Conservative government has launched a review of the size and ambition of the BBC as part of the renewal of the corporation's royal charter.

Read more...

Police Scotland launch Facebook page for Polish speakers

16 July 2015 (Holyrood Magazine)

Scottish police have launched a Polish language page on social media to help improve links with the migrant community.

Police Scotland has set up a dedicated Facebook page that will include updates of current incidents as well as other relevant information to Polish nationals living north of the border.

Read more...

Related Links

Scots cops launch Polish website (Evening Times, 22 July 2015)

Review of Bord na Gaidhlig long overdue, says professor

15 July 2015 (BBC)

An academic who advised Scottish ministers to set up Gaelic development body Bord na Gaidhlig has said a review of its work was "long overdue".

Prof Donald Meek said the 12-year-old Inverness-based organisation needed to "look seriously" at its purpose.

Read more...

East Ren plan to boost Gaelic language use

6 July 2015 (The Extra)

Residents in East Renfrewshire are being asked their views on a new draft Gaelic language plan.

The ERC plan is aimed at promoting and developing the use of the language, from encouraging communication with it to integrating it into day-to-day council business.

The council proposed making certain documents available in Gaelic, as well as having a Gaelic language section of its website.

The proposals are part of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 passed by Scottish Government, aiming to secure the language status as an official Scottish tongue.

Read more...

Left Foot Forward: a crowdsourced Scots dictionary means we can ensure our linguistic legacy

6 July 2015 (The Herald)

Before the meteoric rise in printing technology, most European nations were a hodgepodge of dialects and linguistic variations. More of a flowing fabric of interwoven words across the continent, than our current situation of bounded nation-states.

With the popularity of print publications came the need to standardise written languages - translating every book into the hundreds of French dialects would have been an unwieldy and costly project, much more complicated than developing dictionaries for people to learn the standard.

Thusly, the new and increasingly ubiquitous print media at the time effected spoken variations, with institutions like L'Academie Francaise established with the sole role of linguistic arbiter; policing the nation's speakers to communicate 'properly'.

Read more...

Airbrushing Gaelic from Scotland's story

4 July 2015 (The Herald)

Visitors are denied a real understanding of Scotland because the tourism industry obscures the true story of Gaelic Scotland and allows historical nonsense to be promoted, important new research has found.

The author challenges VistScotland to take steps to prevent "just any Tom Dick and Harry setting themselves up to take money from unsuspecting tourists" by talking rubbish to them about the Highlands and Islands, when they know little.

Read more...

Related Links

Has Scotland betrayed its Gaelic heritage? (The Herald, 4 July 2015)

Gaelic broadcaster turns its ambitions to foreign screens

22 June 2015 (The Herald)

Scotland's Gaelic broadcaster is to broaden its horizons to international TV and productions, and increase its appeal to young viewers.

MG Alba, which with the BBC runs BBC Alba, publishes its annual report today, which is expected to show that Gaelic broadcasting contributes £23m to the creative industries.

The company is now to re-emphasise its international credentials, encouraging production companies to work with foreign companies to make programmes that can be shown at home and abroad.

Read more...

It is important that the Scots language survives

22 June 2015 (The Herald)

From Herald Scotland letters pages

I would like to take a broader view of the languages currently and previously spoken in Scotland than expressed by Alexander Waugh (Letters, June 19).

For this discussion we should bypass the Scots whose language inheritance is from the Indian sub-continent, China, Eastern Europe or even south of the Border.

Read more...

Ebola: a crisis of language

16 June 2015 (Humanitarian Exchange Magazine)

In the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak, the humanitarian community is taking a hard look at international response mechanisms, evaluating what went well and what can be improved.
[..] Language was one of the main difficulties faced by humanitarian workers responding to the Ebola crisis. Information and messages about Ebola are primarily available in English or French, but only a minority of people (approximately 20%) in the three most affected countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, speak either language.

Read more...

McCash poetry competition now offers £3,500 in prize money

8 June 2015 (The Herald)

The 2015 James McCash Scots Poetry Competition, announced today, offers total prize money of £3,500, making it among the UK's major poetry prizes.

The total has more than doubled since last year, when it was £1,500.

The free-to-enter competition, which has been run jointly by The Herald and Glasgow University since 2003, aims to celebrate and encourage the use of the Scots language in all its rich diversity.

Read more...

Related Links

Tinto Hill Withoot Oxygen (The Herald, 9 June 2015)

Exam board chief: 'Unless we act soon, even GCSE French and German could face the chop'

8 May 2015 (TES)

The furore around the announcement by some exam boards that they will no longer provide GCSEs and/or A-levels in ‘lesser-taught’ languages such as Turkish, Polish, Urdu and Gujarati begs some big questions. Given that the boards are a mixture of not-for-profits and commercial organisations, it is clear this is not simply a matter of money. The challenges are systemic and the root causes are a mixture of cultural attitudes, failed infrastructures and policy failures over many years.

Formal education has seen an overall decline in the study of traditionally taught foreign languages – French, German, etc – while the study of lesser-taught and community languages has failed to grow.

Any rational analysis of trends in school language education reveals that all languages, apart from English, are in danger of becoming ‘lesser taught’. The number of A-levels awarded in all available languages in 2011 was 40,685 and by the summer of 2014 it was 32,680. Many languages departments in universities are facing a real threat of extinction. Unless something is done soon to correct this we will wake up one morning to learn that GCSE French and German are also for the chop.

Read more...

Related Links

Newham lecturer’s concern over end to community language exams (Newham Recorder, 6 May 2015)

How the Manx language came back from the dead

2 April 2015 (The Guardian)

In 2009 the Manx language was declared extinct. Today Isle of Man residents are using Twitter, music and schooling to help revive their ancestors’ mother tongue.

Read more...

Talks to put Polish language on curriculum under way

30 March 2015 (The Herald)

For a decade the Polish language has been heard in the playgrounds of Scottish schools as thousands of children whose parents moved to Scotland with EU expansion settled in alongside Scots.

Until now there was no prospect of a formal route for young Poles to be able to take Polish language as part of the fourth and fifth year curriculum despite the research showing Polish is the language young Scots are most likely to hear in school other than English.

Talks are under way, however, to make the provision a reality for the first time.

Read more...

Related Links

Herald View (The Herald, 30 March 2015)

Supporting Polish shows Scots are different (The Herald, 30 March 2015)

Polish language to be added to Scottish curriculum? (Radio Poland, 22 April 2015)

Why we need our community languages exams

16 March 2015 (Alcantara Communications)

(Applies to England) Back in 2013 my colleague Kate Board and I undertook some research for the British Council investigating which languages the UK will need most in the next 20 years, and why. We took into consideration not just trade and the potential for UK exports, but whether cultural and strategic ties were likely to expand or need strengthening. We made the point that our country already has a rich asset in the pool of speakers of different languages amongst its population. Children whose parents speak Turkish, Arabic or Chinese are in a position to make much more rapid progress with those languages than those whose only contact with the new language is in the classroom.

For over 20 years, the education system has recognised this important fact by providing a range of languages at GCSE and A level (and even more through the Asset Languages scheme, which was withdrawn in 2013). But as exams become tools for measuring school performance rather than accrediting what individuals can do, the rationale for offering a wide range of languages is melting away. The exam board AQA has announced that it will be withdrawing A levels in Bengali, Hebrew, Panjabi and Persian after 2018 and OCR plans to do the same with GCSE and A levels in Dutch, Gujarati, Persian, Portuguese and Turkish.

Read more...

Mothers' advice, in their mother tongue

12 March 2015 (Gathered Together / Beamis)

This blogpost features videos of parents who have been actively involved in community and school groups giving their advice to other parents in their own languages – Arabic, Chinese and Urdu.

Read more...

Turkish GCSEs and A Levels axed

11 March (Londra Gazete)

Teachers and politicians have expressed astonishment at the decision to entirely scrap Turkish GCSE and A Level exams in just two years.

Read more...

In praise of…the Polish language

6 March 2015 (The Guardian)

There is a straightforward reason why Britain’s exam board should rethink its decision to scrap the Polish A-level.

Read more...

Scots language being revived in schools

13 February 2015 (BBC)

A scheme has been launched to encourage the use of the Scots language in schools.

Specially recruited ambassadors are working to raise the status of the language and to help teachers incorporate it across the curriculum.

BBC Scotland's education correspondent Jamie McIvor reports from a school where they have found Scots a useful part of the timetable.

Read more...

Broadcaster calls on BBC to rescue Scots language

9 February 2015 (The Scotsman)

The Scots language should be heard on radio and television as part of mainstream programming and not confined to comedy shows, an award-winning broadcaster has said.

BBC Scotland’s Frieda Morrison, who also presents a monthly podcast on Scots Language Radio, will host an event next week and call for Scots to be given the same airtime as Gaelic.

“Scots is in a far more perilous situation than Gaelic. Yet in recent memory we had children ridiculed for using it at school and it only being acceptable once a year learning a poem for Burns Day,” she said

“Using Scots is all about confidence and identity. So many people are proud they speak it and it has not held them back.

“But we need a multi-pronged attack. Education Scotland has made it part of the curriculum but we need it heard much more often.”

Read more...

Hi-tech schools rescuing an ancient language

30 November 2014 (BBC)

Technology and education have a long, complicated and sometimes exaggerated relationship.

[...] So you might not expect to find tablet computers being deployed to defend a language first written down 1,700 years ago when "writing on a tablet" would have meant carving on a stone.

But in an innovative blend of ancient and modern, online technology is being used to keep alive teaching in the Irish language.

Read more...

Community languages not supported in UK education system, survey suggests

28 November 2014 (The Guardian)

Despite the fact almost one in five young people have a first language other than English, research reveals their skills go unsupported and unrecognised by exam system.

Most young people in Britain whose native language is not English believe speaking a second language is an advantage in life. However only just over a third take a qualification in their mother tongue, according to a Guardian/ICM poll.

Read more...

Related Links

Ten ways to support community languages in the UK (The Guardian, 2 December 2014)

Live Q&A: how can we better support community languages?

12 November 2014 (The Guardian)

There are hundreds of languages spoken across the UK. How can we capitalise on their educational, economic and cultural value? Join us on 14 November, 1-3pm BST, to discuss.

Read more...

1+2 - a new approach to language learning in Scotland

11 November 2014 (Gathered Together/BEMIS)

The Scottish government recognises the value of speaking more than one language; Scotland however is behind many European countries in the area. To help address this and ensure that children in Scottish have the advantages of being able to speak other languages, the “1+2” policy is being rolled out.

Read more...

Police Scotland take recruitment drive to Poland as they hunt new officers to police growing Polish community

10 November 2014 (Daily Record)

Law enforcement agencies in Warsaw will be approached as the Scots force look to recruit officers to help liaise with agencies back home and communities here.

[..]Maciej Dokurno of Fife Migrant Forum, who previously trained Scottish police in how to deal with his compatriots, said: “It is really good that the police understand they have to try to improve their cultural, linguistic and legal understanding of Polish issues.

Read more...

Girlguiding Scotland launches new Gaelic resource

21 October 2014 (Stornoway Gazette)

A Gaelic version of the activity book used by girls when they join local Rainbow units has been launched by the charity Girlguiding Scotland.

‘Ready for Rainbows’ is a resource available to all new Rainbows when they join a local group. The book explains things such as the Rainbow song, uniform and promise to girls who are new to the group, along with activities to complete and games for the girls to play.

The new Gaelic translation – ‘Deiseil Airson Boghan-Froise’ – was developed after several Gaelic-speaking girls joined a Rainbow unit in Skye.

Read more...

Can Northern Ireland learn lessons from the world's only Manx-speaking school?

15 September 2014 (BBC News)

As you approach the front gates it is clear this is not an ordinary school. The pupils do not look twice at the camera or recording equipment; TV and radio crews are here all the time.

In the playground some of the children whisper in English. They know they should not be speaking the language, even though the school is in the very heart of the British Isles.

About 70 pupils attend Bunscoill Ghaelgagh, the world's only Manx-speaking school.  The primary school is situated in St John's village in the Isle of Man and the children are taught all their lessons solely in Manx Gaelic.

Read more...

Polish pupils celebrate exam success

2 September 2014 (Press and Journal)

A group of Polish students have created history by becoming the first pupils in the Highlands to pass a GCSE exam in their native language.

The seven young people, aged between 12 and 19, celebrated their success at Inverness High School yesterday, watched by proud pupils, politicians, teachers, and tutors.

With no provision for accreditation in their own language in the current Scottish education system, the Inverness Polish Association set up the course with the help of Highland Council.

Read more...

Julia Donaldson, James Robertson (trans.) - Room on the Broom in Scots

27 August 2014 (The List)

An already engaging and exciting story becomes even more theatrical when ‘performed’ in a new language.

Read more...

The Free Enclopaedia That Awbody Can Eedit: Scots Wikipedia Is No Joke

5 August 2014 (Slate)

At first glance, the Scots Wikipedia page reads like a transcription of a person with a Scottish accent: "Walcome tae Wikipaedia, the free enclopaedia that awbody can eedit," it says. The main page's Newsins section includes info about the FIFA Warld Cup and a Featurt picture of a Ruddy Kingfisher from Kaeng Krachan Naitional Pairk in Thailand. If you type "scots wikipedia" into a Google search, the first autocomplete suggestion is "scots wikipedia joke," and a top hit is a Wikipedia talk page with a proposal for getting rid of Scots Wikipedia containing the following comment: "Joke project. Funny for a few minutes, but inappropriate use of resources."

But Scots is totally real, "not a joke," as pointed out by one of the Wikipedia editors, who overwhelmingly rejected the proposal. Their final verdict stated that the "proposer should educate him/herself in linguistic diversity," and included a link to the Wikipedia page for Scots.

Read more...

Language issues in migration and integration: perspectives from teachers and learners

22 July 2014 (British Council)

This new book from ESOL Nexus is about the role of language in the integration of migrants. The writers of the chapters are all engaged in the education of migrants as teachers, researchers or policymakers in a wide variety of contexts and they provide us with a rich and thought-provoking array of perspectives from teachers and learners on language issues in migration and integration. Through them we hear directly from learners, migrants who have arrived in a new country and are now striving to master the host language. We learn much from them about the place of language and language learning in their new lives.

Read more...

James Robertson: Scots Literature speaks to all

5 July 2014 (The Scotsman)

Shall There Be a Scottish Literature? It may seem that the question, posed to hundreds of international delegates gathered in Glasgow for the first World Congress of Scottish Literatures, is redundant. But it is worth asking, for three reasons.

First, there was certainly a time when a Scottish Literature did not exist. Second, even when its existence was asserted, it was often disputed. Third, prior or present existence does not guarantee future existence.

Read more...

Pupils look to Polish-Scottish festival

14 June 2014 (Scottish Government)

Pupils, parents and staff at Edinburgh’s No Boundaries Polish school welcomed Education Secretary Michael Russell today (Saturday). During his visit to the Polish Saturday No Boundaries School in the name of Wojtek the Bear, based at Leith Academy, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning heard how bilingual learning helped the pupils integrate better in their English-language school while also celebrating their Polish heritage and community.

Read more...

At least 1.1m pupils speak English as a second language

12 June 2014 (The Telegraph)

The number of schoolchildren speaking English as a second language has soared by a third in just five years amid fresh concerns that immigration may be putting a strain on the education system.

Official figures show that the number of pupils who speak another language in the home exceeded 1.1 million for the first time this year.

The proportion of non-native speakers in primary schools has now reached almost one-in-five following a year-on-year increase over the last decade.

Read more...

Related Links

More primary pupils speak a foreign tongue (The Times, 13 June 2014)

Creative Scotland to develop a plan for the Scots language

12 June 2014 (The Herald)

The nation's main arts funding body, Creative Scotland, is to make its first concerted efforts to back the Scots language and culture.

In its annual plan, launched today, the funding body pledges to develop a Scots Language policy and to ensure "it considers all aspects of Scots in the cultural life of the country".

Read more...

Learning Polish, the UK's second most spoken language, is a plus

5 June 2014 (The Guardian)

Already 16,000 children attend Polish Saturday schools, but local authorities could do more to support such work, writes the Polish ambassador to the UK.

Read more...

Can we do more to value the languages of immigrants? – open thread

3 June 2014 (The Guardian)

Did you teach your children your native language or do you have encouraging language-related experiences you would like to share?

Read more...

How do health services care for those who can't speak English?

28 May 2014 (The Guardian)

A handful of organisations ensure that for refugees, asylum seekers and communities where English is not widely spoken, language is not a barrier to getting help.

Read more...

“Mother Tongue Other Tongue” Poet Laureate Education Project Coming Soon to Glasgow!

2 May 2014 (SCILT)

From August 2014, SCILT will be piloting the inspiring multi-lingual poetry competition and Poet Laureate Education Project, Mother Tongue Other Tongue, in Glasgow schools. If you are a teacher in a Glasgow primary or secondary school who is looking for a creative way to motivate language learning and celebrate all the languages spoken by your learners, go to our webpage to read more about what MTOT can offer you.

Read more...

Book helps Polish speakers learn Scottish slang

14 April 2014 (The Scotsman)

They are the sort of obscure Scots phrases that can leave even a native English speaker scunnered and or possibly black-affrontit. And for those who are learning the language from scratch, some of the phrases used by Scots can be almost impossible to understand – until now.

Read more...

Great Scots!

4 April 2014 (The Economist)

Among the publications that the Scottish Book Trust, a charity funded in part by the Scottish government, sent to bairns last year was “Katie’s Moose: A Keek-a-boo Book for Wee Folk.” In this tale, Katie hunts for a menagerie of beasties, locating a pig “ahint the chair, daein a jig” and a “broon bear” whose “airm looks gey sair.” The Scots language, long derided as bad English with a thick accent or merely a northern dialect, now enjoys the backing of the state.

In 2011 the Scottish census asked for the first time whether people spoke Scots. Some 1.5m said yes.

Read more...

The role of schools in building community links through languages

28 March 2014 (The Guardian)

(Applies to England) Schools play a key role in the community, but the devolution of budgets has put funding for specialist language services at risk.

Read more...

Census 2011: Identity, Language and Religion in Scotland

19 March 2014 (Scottish Government)

The statistics published today by the Registrar General for Scotland on the Scotland’s Census website, present further details from the 2011 Census in Scotland on Ethnicity, Identity, Language and Religion, from national to local level.

Other tables in this release, within the Standard Outputs menu, present information on: 

  • Gaelic language skills by sex by age 
  • English language skills by sex by age 
  • Language other than English used at home by sex by age

Read more...

Related Links

Graphical data on languages in Scotland (Scotland's Census 2011)

The Irish language is for life, not just for St Patrick's Day

17 March 2014 (The Guardian)

As celebrations take place around the UK, Gavin O'Toole asks what more can be done by local government to address the indifference towards the Irish language.

Read more...

PaiBa! Photo Club

07 March 2013 (Ricefield)

Literally meaning “Shoot it!” in Chinese, PaiBa is one of Ricefield’s new, free monthly meet-ups for keen photographers to enjoy shooting and sharing photos inspired by Chinese photography and culture:
* Chinese inspired photo assignment each month
* Bring your photos along to share views and techniques
* Chat in a relaxed setting at Feast restaurant (upper floor)
* Amateurs and beginners welcome!

Featuring presentations from Chinese photographers Yao Hui, Cui Ying and Guo Xueci.

To join PaiBa please contact info@ricefield.org.uk

Read more...

International Mother Language Day, 21 February 2014

11 February 2014 (UNESCO)

International Mother Language Day has been celebrated every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. This year the theme of the International Mother Language day is “Local languages for global education: Spotlight on science”.  UNESCO highlights the importance of mother tongue as part of the right to education and encourages its member states to promote instruction and education in the mother tongue.

Read more...

Languages reading list: Disney ignores Africa, whistling and Polish for police

1 February 2014 (Guardian - The case for languages learning series)

In Northamptonshire police officers learn Polish, the ancient art of whistling lives on in Turkey and Disney is accused of ignoring African languages.

Read more...

How schools cope with teaching children who speak 14 different languages

31 January 2014 (Telegraph)

How the schools where nine in ten pupils do not speak English as their first language help bring their pupils up to speed.

Read more...

French for bilingual children

31 January 2014 (Institut français)

In association with la petite Ecole, the Institut français offers workshops in French for children who are growing up with a bilingual background using CLIL methodlogy (learning and improving language skills through other topics like science and arts).

Read more...

Scots Language Radio

30 January 2014 (Scots Language Centre)

Episode 2 of Scots Language Radio is available to listen to.  The episode includes information about the new ‘Scots Toun Award’ which encourages communities to get involved to have a chance of winning up to £6000.

Read more...

Northamptonshire Police officers to learn Polish as part of multicultural training

27 January 2014 (Northampton Chronicle & Echo)

Police officers in Northamptonshire will be learning Polish and other Eastern European languages as part of a new cultural awareness training programme.

Northamptonshire Police has joined forces with The Association of Northamptonshire Supplementary Schools (ANSS) to provide frontline officers with access to short language courses to give officers some basic phrases in different languages.

The training also covers a variety of subjects such as how to engage with people from different cultures, facts about the major faiths, festivals and local places of worship and face-to-face sessions with people from a range of communities.

Read more...

Scots language prize launched

22 January 2014 (Scottish Government)

Communities with strong links to their Scots heritage are being urged to nominate themselves for the new Scots Toun Awards.

The first prize of £6,000 will help the winner to develop new projects aimed at encouraging the Scots language, Minister for Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan announced today.

The awards have been launched by the Scots Language Centre and applicants have until February 28 to put themselves forward.

Read more...

Related Links

Scots language prize launched – Awards for communities celebrating Scots heritage (Engage for Education blog, 23 January 2014)

Talking the talk in a global economy

20 January 2014 (The Telegraph)

A recent report warned that we are risking the economic health of the country by not teaching second languages effectively enough; we need to tap into the linguistic richness of today’s pupils, says Fiona Barry.

Read more...

7th National Russian Essay Competition 2014

18 January 2014 (Russian Teachers’ Group UK (RTG))

Students learning Russian in schools, colleges and universities in the UK, as well as heritage learners from Russian-speaking families and adult learners, are invited to take part in the 7th National Russian Essay Competition. This is a high-profile event which will give your students a chance to win great prizes including cash (1st prize - £100) and see their essays published on-line! It is a great opportunity for students to be creative, compete nationwide with their peers and raise the profile of Russian. The deadline for submitting entries is 11 March 2014. Judges will review the entries in March and April, and winners will be announced by 30 April 2014.

Read more...

Qualifications - Recognising Polish would 'open doors'

9 January 2014 (TESS)

School qualifications are failing to keep pace with immigration in Scotland, with the result that the language skills of thousands of children and young people from Poland are not being recognised, campaigners have warned.

According to the latest census, carried out in 2011, Poles are Scotland's largest migrant group. They number 61,000, overtaking the 49,000-strong Pakistani population, which was the largest migrant group at the time of the 2001 census.

However, although it is possible to sit National and Higher exams in Urdu there are no national qualifications in Polish in Scotland. GCSE and A-level qualifications in the language are available in other parts of the UK. But support from Scottish schools and local authorities for Polish students to take these qualifications is patchy, according to Beata Kohlbek, who sits on the Polish Council, a body set up by the Polish Consulate General in Edinburgh to campaign on issues affecting the community.

Read more...

CISS Newsletter Autumn 2013

12 December 2013 (CISS)

The latest edition of the CISS newsletter has been published. This edition highlights the promotion of Chinese language and culture around the country. Please download the newsletter if you'd like to find out more.

Related Files

Dragon premieres at the Citizens Theatre

15 October 2013 (CISS)

In conjunction with the Confucius Institute at Glasgow University, CISS was given the opportunity to take 350 pupils from all over Scotland to see the premiere of the play Dragon at the Citizens Theatre. This wonderful co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland, Tianjin Children’s Art Theatre and Vox Motus is highly unusual given that there are no words spoken throughout the play. The audience is invited to take a visual and emotional journey using their imagination. The use of puppetry, illusion and music allows this to happen.

Read more...

Related Files

Beast in the classroom, but nobody's panicking

14 June 2013 (TESS)

That's because this is a story about a wolfboy from Mars who is making children feel at home in Scotland, says Emma Seith.

Edinburgh's most multicultural school has found a unique way to welcome new students - a story book, in six different languages, written and illustrated by P6 children at the primary.

Read more...

Related Links

Dalry Primary publish book on school’s diversity (The Scotsman, 14 June 2013)

“Use your Gaelic”, visitors to Parliament encouraged

15 May 2013 (Scottish Parliament)

The Scottish Parliament has a push on the use of its Gaelic services, encouraging visitors, MSPs and staff to take advantage of the many opportunities to use and learn about the language.

Read more...

Gaelic studies enjoy support

12 May 2013 (Times)

Half of Scots want children to have the right to attend schools where they are taught in Gaelic rather than English. New data from the 2012 Scottish Social Attitudes survey of 1,229 people found that 48% believe pupils should be entitled to attend specialised Gaelic-medium units to learn subjects such as maths and history, regardless of where they live.

Read more...

Related Links

Related articles:

'Hello, hello, hello, or should I say jak sie masz?' Police in London learn 18 languages to communicate better with capital's ethnic minorities

30 March 2013 (Daily Mail)

(Relates to England) PC Plod is about to get even more PC. Met Police officers in London are being trained to take on crime in the multi-cultural melting pot that is the nation's capital. The Met's 31,000 officers will be offered the chance to learn 18 languages, ranging from French to Farsi, so they can speak in the mother tongue of the capital's burgeoning ethnic communities.

Read more...

eTwinning Plus launches on Monday 4th March 2013!

1 March 2013 (eTwinning)

Ever wondered what is life like in Lviv? Or what’s on the curriculum in Chisinau? What kind of technology is most popular in Tbilisi?  From the 4th of March 2013, you’ll be able to find the answers to these questions, and many more, with the official launch of eTwinning Plus. eTwinning Plus is a pilot that will see a select number of schools and teachers from Ukraine, Tunisia, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan join the thousands of eTwinning teachers who are already collaborating online.

Read more...

Say sayonara to languages that have not made the list

22 February 2013 (TES)

(Relates to England)
Community languages such as Urdu, Polish and Hebrew have been excluded from the new primary national curriculum despite opposition from the majority of responses to a government consultation. Ministers have decided that key stage 2 pupils should study one or more of a list of languages restricted to French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Latin or ancient Greek.
But 61 per cent of the 562 teachers, parents, schools, universities, unions and other organisations and individuals who expressed a view believe the primary national curriculum should cover a much wider range of languages.

Read more...

Inverness Gaelic school set to grow in size

19 January 2013 (BBC News)

A Gaelic medium education school in Inverness at the centre of difficulties with the appointment of a head teacher looks set to increase in size.

Read more...

Gaelic speakers urged to ‘use it or lose it’

12th October 2012 (Scottish Government Press Release)

Gaelic speakers will today be urged to make the most of their language skills to ensure that a key part of Scottish heritage continues to grow for future generations.

Read more...

Latest News

View all news

My World of Work resources for language learners More...

CLPL for primary teachers in 2018 More...

Gaining international experience and learning new languages enhances careers More...

St Thomas Aquinas Secondary new 1+2 Case Study: language uptake into the senior phase More...