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Island Voices. A Gaelic/English project by Gordon Wells

image credit: Island Voices site

Designed primarily for language learners, this Scottish island project in Gaelic and English shows video slices of life and work in the Hebrides, including traditional crofting/fishing practices.  Over 150 videos in English and Gaelic can be accessed at the project site.

Click here to access Gordon Wells’ Island Voices website http://guthan.wordpress.com

“Is Gaelic an Indigenous Language?”

Some time after a conversation with Makere Stewart-Harawira, Outer Hebridean Gaelic language learner and teacher Gordon Wells ventured into contentious territory on his personal blog, where a range of comments can also be found.

Is Gaelic an Indigenous Language?

“Stupid question.” That’s the short answer, tinged perhaps with weariness, perhaps indignation. “Of course it is. Next question.”

Well, there is a next question – indigenous to where? And so what? We need deeper reflection in a British/UK context, where indigenous or aboriginal status may be most loudly proclaimed by sometimes closet, sometimes open, racists of a self-styled “British nationalist” perspective affecting to speak on behalf of the “original” (read white) English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish peoples.


On Globalization

Click here to listen to conversations in English on Globalization with Maori and Gaelic speakers involved with indigenous language revitalization efforts.

(left click to listen, right click and ‘save target as…’ to download)

See below for a transcription:

Makere Stewart-Harawira: Where does indigenous self determination sit in this mix and what is it that is the really critical thing about this revitalization of language and culture?  What is the really important…why is it so important? What is critical about that? Huge questions, too big, I know…

Sir Mason Durie: I will try and tackle the last one because it might lead on and just talking off the top of my head if that is all right?  I see that whole indigenous movement and I am putting in the movement the language cultural revitalization and the political independence or a variant of it to a greater or lesser extent.  Through the whole indigenous movement to me it’s done two things.  First of all I think it is potentially acting as a protector of the worst excesses of globalization.


Gaelic scholar and poet Maoilios Caimbeul on Globalization

image credit: Mike Mackay

Click here to listen to a conversation with Gaelic author, scholar and poet, Maoilios Caimbeul of Skye, on the impacts of globalization on Gaelic

(left click to listen, right click and ‘save target as…’ to download)


See below for a transcription of this conversation:

Maoilios Um…there is a person in Edinburgh university, I knew it was Clauss(?) as well (laughs)

Ma- Oh really (laughs)

Maoilios I first, she’s done a study of this, she’s doing a PhD on how things have translated from one language to the other.


Indigenous Language Conversations on Education

Click here to listen to English conversations on education from Maori and Gaelic speakers involved with language revitalization

(left click to listen, right click and ‘save target as…’ to download)


Gaelic scholar and poet Maoilios Caimbeul of Skye, on Gaelic language and education

image credit: Mike Mackay

 Click here to listen to scholar and poet, Maoilios Caimbeul of Skye, talking about education and the Gaelic language

(left click to listen, right click and ‘save target as…’ to download)

See below for a transcript of this conversation:

Ma-Well you know William Gillies said to me a couple of years ago, he made the comment that communities are disintegrating and even in the Western Isles and Lewis, and then he said but new communities are forming and some of them are diasporic communities and people that are, you know, parents may have left, like my dad, or whatever, and he said some of them are green minded communities and maybe they are the ones that will bring back the Gaelic, and yet yes and no, and I hear there is an ambivalence around that and there is a part that want’s to say “no, no” because, and I heard that in GalGael from young Seamus, when I mentioned that he said “oh, but they’ll never have it right and it’ll never be the same, and that’s true.