Là na #Gàidhlig

Latha na Gaidhlig

‘S e “Là na #Gàidhlig” a th’ ann an-diugh.

Dè th’ ann?

‘Se latha eadar-nàiseanta nan Gàidhlig air na meadhanan sòisealta a th’ ann. Thòisich Là na #Gàidhlig ann Ameireaga-a-Tuath ann an 2014 ach tha daoine às a h-uile saoghal a’ dèanamh Là na #Gàidhlig am-bliadhn’.

Latha na Gaidhlig - Sealainn Nuadh Astrailia an t-Seapan - 20.04.2016

Happy La na #Gàidhlig (Gaelic Day)! What is it? It’s an international day for Gaelic in social media which started in North America in 2014 and has spread across the world.

Latha na Gaidhlig - an t-Sin Duthaich nan Taidh - 21.05.2016

‘S e di-ardaoin (an-diugh) a th’ anns a’ Là anns a’ h-uile saoghal ach Astràilia agus Sealainn Nuadh – bha Là na #Gàidhlig ann an-seo an-dè! Ach tha mis’ ag ràgh gu bheil Là na #Gàidhlig anns an-diugh co-dhiùgh.

Latha na Gaidhlig - h-uile Saoghal

So, you might have noticed that I’m alternating between “latha” and “là”. There’s a reason for that. Because Là na #Gàidhlig started in North America, it uses Canadian Gaelic.

Huh? Dè th’ ann Gàidhlig Chanada? According to Wikipedia, Canadian Gaelic is “the dialects of Scottish Gaelic spoken by Gaels in Atlantic Canada”. This may be so, but here’s a few things to know about Canadian Gaelic:

(1) They pronounce the name of their language “Gaylic” when referring to it in English. (As opposed to “Gallic” in Scotland and Australia/New Zealand).

(2) They haven’t accepted the Gaelic Orthography Convention of 1981, and so still use both accents. (This is true in Australia/New Zealand, too). Emily McEwan-Fujita at Gaelic.co explains:

We still write “an nochd” and “am màireach” instead of “a-nochd” and “a-màireach“, and “céilidh” instead of “cèilidh.” And you still know what we’re saying.

On a similar note, I’m constantly being corrected by my teacher for writing “‘n uair” or “‘n-uair” rather than “nuair”, which has to do with the orthography conventions. Based on the above, it wouldn’t surprise me if Canadians still wrote it out in full as “an uair”.

(3) There are a few distinctive dialectal traits in Canadian Gaelic. One of the most obvious is the pronunciation of the broad L – incidentally, the sound most likely to be a stumbling block for learners, as well. In Canada, as well as in the now-seldom-used Lochaber dialect, it’s pronounced “w”. As in “watha math”.

(4) Another obvious one is saying “agamas” rather than “agamsa”.

(5) There as a lot of Irish in nearby areas in the early days and in Canada, the census doesn’t recognise Irish and Gaelic separately. (This was true in Australia until quite recently, too). Irish writes “latha” as “lá”. I’m not going to say definitely that this is the reason it’s being called “Là na #Gàidhlig”, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the Canadian spelling.

De mar a tha thu

Oh, yeah, (6) if there’s one phrase that will identify which part of the Gaelic-speaking world you’re from, it’s “how are you?”


In 2011, 1275 people in Canada said they spoke Gaelic at home, along with 804 in Australia at around 59 000 in Scotland. (I can’t find the statistics for New Zealand, although interestingly that’s a 22% increase in Australia from 659 in 2006).

Latha na Gaidhlig

It’s been a big year for Gàidhlig. At least two major things happened: the Gospel of John was translated and published, and Google Translate finally acknowledged the language’s existence, thereby making Gaelic social media accessible to non-Gaelic speakers accessible this year for the first time since Là na #Gàidhlig started.



7 thoughts on “Là na #Gàidhlig

  1. astraya says:

    I would have assumed that ‘Gaelic’ was ‘gay-lic’, and referred to Scotland and Ireland etc, and the ‘gallic’ was ‘Gallic’, and referred either to ancient Gaul (I read all the Asterix comics when I was young) (expect they use the form Gaulish in the comics) or to modern-day France.

  2. Rachel says:

    That’s a pretty common misconception. Generally “the Gaelic languages” are pronounced “gay-lic” and refer to the Irish, Scottish, and Manx languages, all of which are mutually intelligible.

    In Scotland: “Gaelic” (pron. “gallic” or “gahlic”) is Scottish Gaelic (Gaidhlig) and “Gaelic” (pron. “gaylic”) is Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge).

    In Ireland: “Gaelic” (pron. “gaylic”) is Scottish Gaelic (Gaidhlig) and “Irish” is Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge).

    In Canada: “Gaelic” (pron. “gaylic”) is Canadian and Scottish Gaelic (both Gaidhlig); I’m not sure, but I think “Irish” is probably the Irish variety.

    As I’ve explained before, I use “Gaelic” (pron. “gallic”) for Scottish Gaelic, and “Manx” for Manx Gaelic (Gaelg) and “Irish” for Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge), which is what those languages are referred to (in English) by their speakers. The explanation given by Gaelic-speakers is always “I pronounce Gaelic “gallic” because that’s how Gaelic is pronounced in Gaidhlig”. When I referred to how “Gaelic” is pronounced in Australia/New Zealand, I meant by ANZ Gaelic speakers (which is itself its own dialect, I’m convinced).

    Sometimes it’s easier to refer to “the Goidelic languages” rather than “the Gaelic languages”, because of that confusion.

    Gallic (spelt this way) DOES refer to the ancient Gaulish language of France, though.

  3. astraya says:

    After thinking about it, I was going to withdraw the comment about Gallic = ancient Gaulish.

  4. Reblogged this on Social Media Alba ® and commented:
    Chord sin rium gu mòr 🙂

  5. […] ma do sgrìobh thu air Gàidhlig air an loidhne airson Latha Twitter […]

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