Gaelic Word of the Week blog – lockdown – Glasadh-sìos

Each week we publish the text of our Gaelic Word of the Week podcast here with added facts, figures and photos for Gaelic learners who want to learn a little about the language and about the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. This week we are looking at the Lockdown – an Glasadh-sìos.

Its roughly a year since lockdown started so this week we’re going to learn how to talk about it in Gaelic and share a little about how it has been affecting Gaelic speakers and learners.

The Gaelic for lockdown is glasadh-sìos – literally lockdown, though you will also hear glasadh-sluaigh – “locking of people” or just lockdown.

How has the glasadh-sìos affected Gaelic?

With many parents home schooling, there have been some issues with children in Gaelic education – foghlam Gàidhlig – who are often not members of Gaelic-speaking familes. To help with this, Gaelic educational and arts groups have created a lot of online content for learning and for entairtainment during the glasadh-sìos.

For adults too, there has been a strange situtation where Gaelic speakers have been unable to use the language as much in their local communities due to the glasadh-sìos but have been able to use it with people all over the world via the internet – an t-eadar-lìon!

People outside the Gaelic scene – saoghal na Gàidhlig – may not readily connect the language with technology but Gaelic speakers were very early adopters of the internet with many using email groups in Gaelic before most of the people in Scotland – Alba – had even heard of the internet or email! Gaelic also has a very large and lively twitter community which you can follow with hashtags like #cleachdi or #Gàidhlig. There is also a growing Instagram community. In fact, more Gaelic is now written and read than ever before and the glasadh-sìos has no doubt added to this!

More notable still has been the use of the internet during the glasadh-sìos for online meetings including online Gaelic classes. The Parliament’s Gaelic team, for example, was able to contribute to a session bringing together Gaelic learners in the Western Isles – na h-Eileanan Siar – and in Glasgow – Glaschu.

Learn a little about the demographics of Gaelic and our Gaelic services on our Gaelic awarness video.

The Gaelic community – coimhearsnachd na Gàidhlig – is a scattered one with a minority of speakers living in communities where Gaelic speakers are a majority, and around half of speakers living outside the Highlands – a’ Ghàidhealtachd. One benefit of the glasadh-sìos has been that it has created more connections between Gaelic speakers wherever they live and given more Gaelic speakers confidence with technology.

Perhaps the most interesting development of the glasadh-sìos in the world of Gaelic has been a rise in Gaelic learning. The Gaelic Duolingo app and LearnGaelic have seen a huge rise in numbers of learners, which is a promising development for Gaelic’s future!

It’s been a difficult year for all of us, and in different ways. We’re looking forward to the gradual easing of the glasadh-sìos, and particularly when we can meet Gaelic speaking friends again in person! But there’s no doubt that there’s been some silver linings for Gaelic.

Here at the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba – we will be keeping on with many of the innovations introduced during the glasadh-sìos and until the building opens to the public again, you can find out what’s going on in Gaelic on our twitter feed @parlalba.

 We hope you keep staring safe, and hopefully we can speak Gaelic with you in person soon!

This week’s Gaelic WoW has been read by Alasdair MacCaluim, Gaelic Development Officer.