Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig; listen) is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Old Irish.
The 2001 UK Census showed that a total of 58,652 (1.2% of the Scottish population aged over three years old) in Scotland could speak Gaelic at that time, with the Outer Hebrides being the main stronghold of the language. The census results indicate a decline of 7,300 Gaelic speakers from 1991. Despite this decline, revival efforts exist and the number of younger speakers of the language has increased.
Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of the European Union, nor of the United Kingdom. (The only language that is de jure official in any part of the UK is Welsh.) However, it is classed as an autochthonous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified. In addition, the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 gave official recognition to the language and established an official language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Outside of Scotland, dialects of the language known as Canadian Gaelic exist in Canada on Cape Breton Island, Glengarry County in present-day Eastern Ontario and other isolated areas of the Nova Scotia mainland. The number of present day speakers in Cape Breton is around 2,000, amounting to 1.3% of the population of Cape Breton Island.
Read more about Scottish Gaelic: Nomenclature, History, Number of Speakers, Current Distribution in Scotland, Pronunciation, Grammar, Church, Sport, Personal Names, Surnames, Loanwords, Common Words and Phrases With Irish and Manx Equivalents
Famous quotes containing the word scottish:
“Well never know the worth of water till the well go dry.”
—18th-century Scottish proverb, collected in James Kelly, Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs, no. 351 (1721)