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18th July 2014 at 01:00

Parents, don't leave Gaelic lessons to schools

In an ideal world, children would learn Gaelic from their parents from birth. Thus intergenerational transmission of the language would be the norm and children's Gaelic fluency would progress as they matured. But as we all know, the ideal is highly elusive, so it is best to get on and work with what we have. Although passing on Gaelic earlier rather than later is best, this doesn't mean that starting later isn't possible. It does mean, however, that the job will be much harder and require an even greater commitment.

Many well-intentioned parents wrongly believe that they have little or no role to play in their children acquiring Gaelic; they are told that schools are the right place for language learning to happen. In truth, parents have an absolutely crucial role to play in passing on Gaelic to their children - who else has a greater influence during this formative period of a child's Gaelic journey? Today, we are fortunate in having an array of Gaelic courses, through which students can embrace a diverse collection of everyday themes such as homemaking, shopping, socialising and so on. Other courses offer a range of intimate language for conversing with partners. Another is devoted entirely to the caring of and speaking to children. All these are basic requirements for any future fluent Gaelic speaker.

F M Macleoid
Buckie, Banffshire

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