Band together to save the Gaelic language

17th August 2007 at 01:00
If one accepts the fact that a paramount objective for the survival of the Gaelic language is that children learn it as young as possible, this means they should be fluent before the age of two-and-a-half.

It is worth remembering that the majority of children immersed in Gaelic education come from homes where only one parent is fluent though, more often than not, the case is that neither parent speaks any Gaelic. The education system, therefore, has brought on stream a many more Gaelic nurseries than are presently available.

Of course, nurseries cannot provide the complete fluency package. But having Gaelic-medium nurseries open all day and serving a stimulating range of language acquisition methods for child- ren and parents will do much to sustain, maintain and develop the lang- uage significantly.

Parents can do even more by acquiring Gaelic fluency themselves, even before their child is born, in order to create a Gaelic home life. Education alone or parents or any single group cannot save the language. But together, as a formidable group, I say it can be done and without too many tears.

Fionnlagh Macleoid

Comhairle nan Sgoiltean Araich, Inverness

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