What do you think when you think of Scotland? The Highlands? Tartan? The Loch Ness Monster? How about Scottish Gaelic?
I’ve always had an interest in how the Scottish speak. After all, one set of grandparents are Scottish and I still have a lot of family in the country.
Ever since I was young, I remember asking my grandma what she meant when she said “wee” or “bonnie”. Heck, I even wrote about some uniquely Scottish words here on the blog back when I first started blogging.
But I never really thought much about Scottish Gaelic until recently. My grandparents told me about how they’re watching BBC Alba, a Scottish Gaelic TV channel, in the evening with subtitles and they loaned me their book, ‘Scottish Gaelic in Three Months’.
Shortly after this, I was in Berlin (perhaps not where you’d expect to meet a Scottish Gaelic speaker, but when I tell you that this was the Polyglot Gathering, that may change your perspective).
That Scottish Gaelic speaker was Mairin Millward, a Scottish Gaelic teacher and keen language learner. And it’s Mairin that’s helped me with this video.
Your Free Scottish Gaelic Travel Phrases
Mairin also helped me with the Scottish Gaelic Travel Phrases for you. Woop!
Click below to download your Travel Phrases and learn some basic words in the language.
Wait…I thought they spoke English in Scotland?
Yes, most people in Scotland do speak English, even if as a second language. However, what’s interesting is that there’s also 2 other native languages currently spoken in Scotland: Scots and Scottish Gaelic.
Scots is a language that may be slightly more recognisable even if you’ve never studied it. That’s because it’s much more similar to English than Scottish Gaelic.
Take a look at this example from Wikitongues of Doric Scots…
For a contrast of just how different the languages are (and why I said you’re probably more likely to understand more of Scots at this stage), take a look at this Wikitongues video of Scottish Gaelic…
Pretty different, huh?
Whereas Scots (which is different by the way to the variety of English known as Scottish English) is a Germanic language, therefore in the same language family as English, Scottish Gaelic is Celtic, meaning it’s more closely tied to Irish, Manx, and Welsh.
If you’re curious and want to learn more about both Scots and Scottish Gaelic (as well as plenty of other languages of the British Isles) this podcast episode from the Creative Language Learning Podcast archives featuring Simon Ager is a must-listen.
Resources to learn Scottish Gaelic
LearnGaelic.net – solid resource with a variety of resources and methods in one place.
How to Learn Scottish Gaelic – Mairin wrote this post over on Fluent in 3 Months and there’s plenty of resoruces to get you started and take things further with the language.
9 Reasons to Learn Scottish Gaelic
To celebrate Robert Burns Night, Mairin and I have put together a brand new 9 reasons video – 9 reasons to learn Scottish Gaelic. Take a look at the video below and let us know what you think in the comments.
Do you speak Scottish Gaelic? Are you curious to learn more? Share in the comments!