Smashing! From the Gaelic ‘is math sin’ – we think our language is ‘smashing’ and we hope you will learn a little or a lot of it when you come visit us. Many of the things people think of as quintessentially Scottish, such as kilts, bagpipes and whisky, all come from Gaelic culture. Gaelic was the language of real life Scottish heroes such as Rob Roy Macgregor, and fictional heroes like Jamie Fraser, Highland sweetheart of Claire in ‘Outlander’.
A people’s view of the world is defined by their language, and we see the world through Gaelic eyes. Gaelic is one of the Celtic languages, closely related to Irish and Manx, and more distantly to Welsh, Cornish and Breton. These languages were once spoken throughout Britain; the spread of English (and French in the case of Breton) has driven them to the western fringes. The North and West of Lewis, with Bragar and Arnol at its centre, is one of the last strongholds of Scottish Gaelic.
Gaels have travelled the world, by choice or by force, and have left their mark in many places, as seen in personal and place names. Are you from Dunedin, St Kilda or Calgary? Does your name have a Mac/Mc in it? Are you a Donald or an Innes, a Fiona or an Eilidh?
Whatever your name, and wherever you come from, we are confident that you will learn a bit – or a lot - about Gaelic when you visit us. We can organise classes or conversation groups, just let us know what you need. If you want to learn in advance of your visit, go to learngaelic.scot. More than half a million people worldwide are learning Scottish Gaelic on the popular language learning app Duolingo.