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New generation of Gaelic speakers

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:20 am
by Gràisg
'IMMEDIATE action to create a new generation of Gaelic speakers is the only way to save the language, according to Minister for Gaelic Michael Russell and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Fiona Hyslop, speaking today during a visit to the studios of Stornoway-based Gaelic broadcaster MG Alba.
To address the issue, Ms Hyslop and Mr Russell announced that the Scottish Government and Bòrd na Gàidhlig will work closely over the next three months to identify the critical steps required to deliver such a challenging outcome. '

tuilleahd an seo: ...

Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:49 pm
by Seonaidh
Uil, bha mi ann an Leòdhas Dihaoine/Disathairne agus air na busaichean bha a h-uile òganach a' bruidhinn sa Bheurla.

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:09 pm
by Gordon
Murray International Language Centre (MiLC) is in the process of setting up Gaelic Intensive courses to be ready for 2010.

Along with producing the first ever Gaelic Karaoke DVD - we hope that we can do our part to keep introducing new and interesting learning techniques for Gaelic

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:40 pm
by Níall Beag
Gordon wrote:we hope that we can do our part to keep introducing new and interesting learning techniques for Gaelic

Can you give us a quick description of how your courses are different from other courses on the market?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:08 pm
by Gordon
Hi Naill,

Maybe it was yourself I replied to on the Footstompin forum ...sorry, if you have read this before...

Its myself that runs the centre and I, along with a few others are trying to pull all the methodologies and teaching strategies into providing a comprehensive intensive Gaelic course. The Ulpan method is excellent for maybe beginners but the strategy is called audio-lingual and is very teacher centred and maybe doesn't allow the student opportunity to think and be more creative with the language- the idealogy behind the Gaelic course is to use techniques that have worked successfully in the teaching of other languages to give a comprehensive holistic approach and to try and increase the competency of Gaelic learners through different learning levels.

We are working on it at the moment and hope to have something available by the turn of the year,

best wishes,

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:19 pm
by Níall Beag
Yes, I'm the same Nìall Beag.

We've had a fair bit of information here about TIP and Ùlpan in the past, and it's just that I feel it's more useful to say something about the method itself.

From the website (and your background), I'm assuming you'll be following the Communicative Approach. I am correct?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:43 pm
by Gordon
Hi Niall,

We would be looking to use a lot of approaches and not just one particular one but yes, the communicative would be one of the main ones.

Its a work in progress and I am looking for it myself also as someone who is from Lewis and wants to learn Gaelic and reconnect to the langugae and possibly pass it on to my kids.

So, many methods used to try and put together a good course and maybe raise funds to produce more language tools such as the Karaoke DVD we produced earlier in the year. Also a knowledge share of materials used in ESL is also being used,

Contact me via the website Niall if you like,

Best wishes,

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:37 am
by Seonaidh
Are you telling us that you're starting up a course for learning Gaelic and that you do not have it yourself? Has it occurred to you that there just might be a wee problem with this?

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:26 pm
by Gordon
Hi Seonaidh,

You are right - what I am hoping to do is work with a few teachers of Gaelic in a knowledge -share exercise and try and construct a Gaelic course that takes a complete beginner through the different stages to an advanced level of Gaelic possibly enabling them to do a Gaelic degree or maybe work in the media.

This is still in the embryonic stages so any comments or thoughts would be gratefully received.

I am hoping to pass my experience of ESL and methodologies in a Gaelic context - hopefully help more learners gain enough confidence to speak in everyday life


Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:48 pm
by faoileag
Well, Gordon, good luck to you. Ambitious, but with a sensible starting point.

There are a lot of bodies and individuals trying to do the same, but I have always lamented the lack of exploitation of methodology, materials and research from the best of the successful ESOL world in setting up such programmes; why does everyone think they have to reinvent the wheel?

Go for it in your own corner of the Gaelic world. Often the private, small-scale schemes are more efficient and flexible than big ones with all the funding and the committees that go with them.

Need I mention MyGaelic and this forum again... :spors:

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:50 pm
by Gordon
Thanks a lot Faoileag!

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:59 pm
by Gràisg
It isn't unknown for people without Gaelic to teach it. One year I was at Sabhal Mor for a summer course and there were a large group of teachers from the Central Belt area mainly (I think) who were doing a course that would enable them to teach some Gaelic to their pupils as they learned themselves. Presumably in the hope that they could stay ahead of the brighter more absorbent youngsters lol.
I never heard of how they were getting on. But anyway why should anyone have a monopoly? Good luck Gordon.

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:14 pm
by Gordon
Thanks a lot Griasg for your support.

I am really hoping I can make this a reality and there's absolutely no chance of getting any funding so, we'll just see how it goes.

Again, any suggestions, thoughts, advice from you and the any other forum members would be great - think of anything let me know on the email below:

Best wishes,

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:01 pm
by akerbeltz
Please take this as a constructive comment - which it is meant to be.

You need to look, in a way even before you start out designing the course, at how you intend to fund it. If you intend to run it on a purely commercial basis, then you have all the freedom in the world within your funding limits.

If you intend to relay on public funding, you need to work out a model sooner rather than later. Your main problem will be that in order to receive any kind of money that's long term, you need some degree of accreditation of your model. Which is where you need to be careful, otherwise it'll fall over because currently most Gaelic "degrees" outside university rely on being SQA accredited to receive funding. Which is a problem because the SQA Gaelic "modules" are, well, designed at kids (Higher et al) or follow a path that's crazy (very heavy on reading and writing, progression issues beyond.. well, some intermediate level etc).

Having seen the outcomes of Welsh Wlpan, I do think it has the capacity to take people to a level of functional fluency (this years learner of the year was an American girl who did the intensive summer Wlpan, she's definitely functionally fluent at this stage (I met her)) but hey, course diversity is a good thing, not every approach works for everyone. So go for it!

Oh and another thing - some people might groan cause it sounds like I'm always going on about this - but in your course design, you must place a lot of early focus on pronunciation and listening skills (in relation to comprehending native speakers). These issues are much more vital in Gaelic than, say, Spanish, which is a rather forgiving language for bad pronunciation. In Gaelic, you ignore this at your own peril; there's a reason why many Gaelic learners are eternally stuck at upper intermediate and only communicate well with other learners.

guma math a théid leat!

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:33 pm
by deardron
akerbeltz wrote:Oh and another thing - some people might groan cause it sounds like I'm always going on about this - but in your course design, you must place a lot of early focus on pronunciation and listening skills (in relation to comprehending native speakers).

There's another thing that should be emphasised - the grammar. As a linguist I've never been a big follower of the "communication/interaction" approach Nìall mentions above. It might work with languages with little or no inflectional system, like English, although even the only case when I witnessed the use of this approach in English studies didn't work at all (IMHO).

Of course, I'm sure that this given course will put serious emphasise on the grammar, but it's never contreproductive to repeat its importance. The native languages of practically all Gaelic learners, incl. English, differ much from Gaelic where the grammar and syntax are concerned. The grammar must be trained, like in Latin. It's like scales in music or the handling of the ball in football, something that you can't go further until it's trained to automacy. Without good control over the grammar pupils won't have the full freedom to communicate and speak beyond the trained topics.

You certainly won't perfect your grammar skills without communicating, but unfortunately many many courses based on the communication approach have the same drawback - students are indeed taught to communicate, but where the grammar is concerned their head is still much in a muddle ("Colloquial Scottish Gaelic" is a typical example of that). So there surely has to be a happy medium.