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A new £2.4 million SpeakGaelic project starts this September online and on telly.
It will be delivered over three-years and is being billed as the most comprehensive approach to learning Scottish Gaelic in a generation.
SpeakGaelic will start with a course, a dedicated on-demand learning website and complementary programming across BBC ALBA platforms, including BBC ALBA YouTube.
Between 2021 and 2021, the project will be launched in four stages, each directed at a different ability level.
Users will have the option of face-to-face classes, self-guided online learning, and media content through a variety of platforms – or all three at the same time.
The initiative will complement and extend the range of options already available to learners through other sources, such as LearnGaelic, existing formal courses and the Scottish Gaelic offering on Duolingo.
Duolingo’s success, with around 600,000 registered users learning Gaelic, the doubling of LearnGaelic’s website users, and a surge in interest in Gaelic both in Scotland and internationally, will allow SpeakGaelic to offer an integrated structure at a crucial time, says its makers.
Media organisation MG ALBA will deliver it with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture in Skye as lead academic partner, and the BBC as media content provider.
Funding is coming from the Scottish Government; the principal body for promoting Gaelic development, Bòrd na Gàidhlig; the BBC; and MG ALBA, which delivers BBC ALBA in partnership with the BBC.
Iseabail Mactaggart who is Director of Multiplatform Content at MG ALBA, said SpeakGaelic is an unprecedented partnership initiative delivering a unique combination of ways for people to take up – and improve – their Gaelic and hoped it would prove game-changing for the future of the language.
And Marsaili MacLeod, Vice Principal and Director of Studies at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, said SpeakGaelic will transform the landscape for Gaelic learning creating structured, accessible and media-rich learning materials that will support the teaching community from private tutors to councils and community groups to Universities.
‘It will support our community of learners and Gaelic speakers, welcoming anyone who has an interest, connection or love of the language to take part,’ she said.
Margaret Mary Murray, Head of Gaelic Services at the BBC, said: ‘SpeakGaelic will be a fresh and modern approach to learning on the BBC’s Gaelic services’ offering a fantastic new service for audiences on BBC ALBA, iPlayer, Radio nan Gàidheal, Sounds and BBC ALBA YouTube.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney added: ‘This comprehensive and ambitious scheme will have benefits for Gaelic speakers and learners in all parts of Scotland – and all over the world.’