Thursday, 20 October 2011
The Herald reports that, for the first time, the bard of Am Mòd Nàiseanta is to be a poet from outwith Scotland. Lewis McKinnon hails from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, which has retained a Gaelic-speaking minority against the odds, even preserving some dialectal features now extinct in Scotland itself. Despite the Scottish or Irish origins of most Nova Scotians, it is a sad fact that today considerably more French than Gaelic is spoken in the province — the reason being, to put it bluntly, that French-speakers are more willing to stick up for themselves than the Gaels.
The 2006 Canadian census reports 799 mother-tongue speakers of Gaelic in Nova Scotia, or 0.1% of the population, putting it in thirteenth place, behind such languages as Dutch, Greek and Korean.
Once again, however, a tender Gaelic plant has brought forth flowers, and with nurture will do so again.
On a more strategic note, a paragraph appended to the article reads as follows:
"The statutory development body Bord na Gàidhlig is to launch a campaign to promote Gaelic-medium education (GME) and learning next month to meet the aspiration in the National Gaelic Language Plan of doubling the number of children enrolling in P1 GME."
Good news, but we're not out of the woods yet.