Sabhal Mòr Ostaig enters new partnership with Duolingo

NO F13 Duolingo
The online language learning app, Duolingo, has now linked up with the world famous Gaelic language and culture centre on Skye. NO F13 Duolingo

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Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture based on Skye, has entered a new partnership with Duolingo to deliver the online app’s popular Scottish Gaelic language course that has already attracted over 1.1 million Gaelic learners worldwide.

The announcement that the centre has taken over the development of the Scottish Gaelic Duolingo course comes during World Gaelic Week (Seachdain na Gàidhlig).

The same group of volunteers which has been working on the course since it launched in 2019 will now develop the course as part of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s team.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye. NO F13 Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye.
NO F13 Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Today, there are 431,000 active learners worldwide: 37 per cent in the USA, 25 per cent in the UK and six per cent in Canada, with the remainder spread across the globe.

The primary motivation to learn is ‘culture’, with 40 per cent of learners choosing this, followed by ‘brain training’ 18 per cent, and ‘family’ and ‘school’, both 12 per cent.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Principal Dr Gillian Munro said the new partnership was a great opportunity to align Duolingo’s Scottish Gaelic language content with the centre’s own Gaelic language courses.

‘The success of Scottish Gaelic on Duolingo demonstrates the growing demand to learn Gaelic both in Scotland and internationally, and we would like to pay tribute to the dedicated volunteers for developing such a great course – ceud mìle taing dhuibh,’ she said.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Adult Learning Manager Màrtainn Mac a’ Bhàillidh also worked as a volunteer on the Duolingo Scottish Gaelic course.

He added: ‘The Duolingo app is a brilliant learning resource to attract new learners, and to help existing learners and lapsed Gaelic speakers on their learning journey.

‘I look forward to developing the Duolingo course, while promoting further learning opportunities to the growing Scottish Gaelic Duolingo community.’

Colin Watkins, UK country manager for Duolingo, said as its own Scottish Gaelic course grew in popularity, it was important for the company to find the right partner to continue its development.

‘The fit with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for the Gaelic Language and Culture, is perfect,’ he continued.

‘We’re confident the course will continue to go from strength to strength under the direction of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, which is taking the original development team on board to work on the course.’