Developing an audio-visual corpus of Scottish Gaelic

Ian Clayton, Colleen Patton, Andrew H Carnie, Michael Hammond, Muriel Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language spoken primarily in the western regions of Scotland, is experiencing sustained contraction in its geographical extent and domains of use. Native speakers of the language are mostly over 40, and relatively few children are acquiring the language in the home. In the media, Gaelic is typically represented by a standardized form, and children learning the language through Gaelicmedium education - currently the only demographic where Gaelic is expanding - tend to acquire a standardized form of the language as well. Consequently, the rich regional diversity Gaelic once displayed has been considerably reduced in recent decades, and is likely to suffer further significant losses within the next generation. There is an imperative, therefore, to create a record of the surviving diversity within the language, focusing most urgently on remaining speakers of dialects most at risk. In this paper, we describe our ongoing efforts to develop an audio-video corpus of Gaelic which represents as diverse a range of Gaelic dialects as possible, with particular attention to those varieties most immediately at risk of loss. The corpus contains material collected over the past four years through extensive fieldwork among historically Gaelic-speaking communities in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-513
Number of pages33
JournalLanguage Documentation and Conservation
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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