Welcome, Fàilte!

The Arizona Scottish Gaelic Syntax Project web site is currently in development. It's aim is to provide resources concerning Scottish Gaelic Syntax. For now, take some time to browse around, and be sure to keep visiting for future updates!

The Formal Approaches to Celtic Languages: Workshop & Mini-Course is an opportunity to learn more about this language in a workshop that was last scheduled in March 2009.

About the Project

As many as 20 million Americans claim to be of Scottish or Scots/Irish descent. One of the primary heritage languages of this community is Scottish Gaelic. This language is the medium for a rich culture of literature, song, poetry, history and indigenous knowledge-systems. It also provides an important window into the world-view and culture of the ancestors of the Scottish-American community. Sadly, the Scottish Gaelic language is severely endangered. There are no monolingual speakers. In Scotland, the number of speakers who use the language everyday has dropped more than a third in the past 30 years. At this rate, within a generation the language will have passed its critical mass and no longer be viable. A long tradition of language and cultural suppression dating back to the early 18th century has resulted in a language that, while embraced by an enthusiastic minority, is on the verge of oblivion. The potential loss to our understanding of the culture and background of so many Scots and Scottish Americans is tragic. Scottish Gaelic is also interesting to linguists because it contains many grammatical structures not found in other languages.

One of the first steps towards building a stable linguistic community is to develop materials in and about the language for use of the community of speakers -- both here in the USA and in Scotland -- to use for language teaching. A prerequisite to developing such materials is a proper understanding of the grammar of this language. This grant targets this important first step. Using modern linguistic field techniques Prof. Andrew Carnie and Scottish Gaelic native speaker Muriel Fisher will gather data about the language's grammar and words. The output of this fieldwork will be a web-accessible database of Scottish grammatical structures and a complete descriptive grammar of the language, and subsequent to the grant, teaching materials. In addition, in doing this research a graduate student will be trained in the techniques of grammatical description of an endangered language. This training will allow the student to do similar work on other endangered heritage languages. This work has important implications for documenting and preserving the linguistic traditions of the Scottish and Scottish-American communities.