Intergenerational project to grow Gaelic speakers in South Uist

Young people will learn Gaelic in a community setting from fluent speakers with lots of life experience. Photograph: Ceolas

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A new pilot project to increase the transmission of Gaelic in the South Uist community will begin in February next year.

Called ‘Càirdeas Coimhearsnachd’, is aiming to pair fluent speakers with different age groups in social contexts to reinforce vocabulary, usage and relationships through the language. The project is based on similar language programmes run by the Office of Gaelic Affairs in Nova Scotia, Canada, such as ‘Bun is Bàrr’ and ‘Na Gaisgich Òga’.

Ceòlas Uibhist and Comunn na Gàidhlig will lead the project with support from Cothrom Ltd, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Running between February and June, they are looking for three different groups: children under the age of P4, teenagers in S1-S3, and fluent speakers over the age of 18. Fluent participants will receive an honorarium for their time.

Regular sessions will seek to build on participants’ language skills and usage practices. Parents will receive practical support towards raising their children with Gaelic.

Màiri Ann Chaimbeul, from Comunn na Gàidhlig, said: ‘We’re looking forward to working with other community organisations in Uist on this project. Partnership work is a very important part of operating in small communities.’

Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: ‘This is an exciting project which will support the National Gaelic Language Plan’s aim of more people speaking Gaelic more often in more situations. It’s a great opportunity for young people to benefit from older people’s knowledge and ensure that the richness of the language is passed on through the different generations.’

For more information, visit the Ceòlas website or phone 01878 700154.