A new interactive website was launched today (Wednesday, 19 October) that provides a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in learning Gaelic.
LearnGaelic.net was launched at an event held at the Royal National Mòd in Stornoway and is the result of a unique collaboration between Bòrd na Gàidhlig, MG ALBA, the BBC, the Board of Celtic Studies Scotland and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. LearnGaelic.net has also received financial support from the Scottish Government.
The core aim of the website is to present enhanced Gaelic learning resources in a single online portal where, through time, learners of all ages and abilities can source the help they require when learning the language.
The website is split up into three broad areas of content for adult learners focusing on beginners, intermediate and advanced, with a further three sections for young learners at stages under five, primary and secondary school, with detailed guidance for parents, carers and teachers.
The website draws together newly commissioned content including a brand new online dictionary and thesaurus, a searchable Gaelic terminology database and guidance on Gaelic grammar, all of which are essential tools for learners and users of Gaelic. Additional language tools are also available such as spellcheckers and web browsers.
A range of existing resources that offer quality Gaelic learning materials have also been incorporated into the website including more than 400 video clips from the popular television series Speaking our Language. Information about the Gaelic language and culture is also available through links with new resources recently launched by the Open University.
Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for Learning and Skills (with responsibility for Gaelic & Scots) was in attendance to endorse the new website, and said: “The Scottish Government is committed to a vibrant and sustainable future for Gaelic in Scotland, and with recent research showing high levels of interest in where and how people can learn the language, initiatives like LearnGaelic.net must be welcomed. As a Gaelic learner myself, I warmly welcome these new resources.
“The site should have something for everyone – beginners, youngsters and teachers – and I expect it to become an important resource in Gaelic education.”
Sean Batty, STV weather presenter and current Gaelic learner, said: “I am so glad that this website has been set up, it really is great to finally see all the Gaelic resources pulled together into one contained site. It took me weeks to find a course to learn Gaelic in my local area as there was no one place to look and check.
“Learners like myself will find this new site absolutely fantastic as there are so many learning resources to hand which are very well organised into categories. For a learner it's vital that materials are easy to find and are well laid out, otherwise someone can lose interest very quickly and stop the learning process.
“My hope is to speak enough Gaelic by 2013 so that I can be involved in some way when the Mòd comes to Paisley. I know that this user friendly site will really help me learn more outside my evening classes and I hope that it will encourage more people to start on the journey of learning our language.”
A dedicated freephone helpline will also be made available from Friday 21 October which will allow users to gain expert advice, directed to appropriate resources pertinent to their individual needs, as well as being assessed on their level of fluency.
In addition, for those also keen to learn Gaelic on a face-to-face basis, full details are available on where you can find Gaelic classes and courses in your area.