Check this out! Ciara Ní É from What the Focal just posted an interview with Eoin P. Ó Murchú about the difference between Gaelic (Scottish Gaelic, Gàidhlig na h-Alba, Gaeilge na hAlban) and Irish (Irish Gaelic, Gàidhlig na h-Èireann, Gaeilge na hÉireann). Eoin translated my Gaelic novel, Air Cuan Dubh Drilseach, into Irish, and here he talks about the difference between the two languages and how he approached the translation:
Stair an aistriúcháin Ghaeilge le Eoin P. Ó Murchú
Thart ar 10 mbliana ó shin bheartaigh mé Gaeilge na hAlban a fhoghlaim. Ós rud é go bhfuil an dá Ghaeilge cosúil go maith le chéile, shíl mé go mbeadh sé éasca go leor. Thug mé m‘aghaidh ar Shabhal Mòr Ostaig ar an Eilean Sgiathanach. Tar éis dom eitilt ó Bhleá Cliath go Glaschú, dul ar thraein go Mallaig, bád farantóireachta go dtí an t-oileán agus léimt ar bhus chomh fada leis an gColáiste féin thuig mé go mb’fhéidir nach aon turas éasca a bhí i ndán dom!
Tha mi air mo dhòigh innse gum bi eadar-theangachadh de ACDD gu Gàidhlig na h-Èireann a’ tighinn a-mach an clò a dh’aithghearr. Ga tionndadh gu Gàidhlig Èireannach le Eoin P. Ó Murchú agus ga foillseachadh le Leabhar Breac, tha sgeulachd uabhasach inntinneach air cùl an eadar-theagachaidh, agus sgrìobh mi beagan uime an seo. Agus ma tha a’ Ghàidhlig sin agaibh, thèid a reic greis le lasachadh air a’ phrìs bho €15.00 gu €12.00. Nach e sin an salann saor!
A novel way to learn a minority language: Writing a novel in the language
Tim Armstrong is a Senior Lecturer in Gaelic and Communication at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye, and his novel, Air Cuan Dubh Drillseach, won the 2013 Saltire Society award for best first novel.
I write science fiction in Scottish Gaelic, and when asked why, I have to admit that my reasons are fairly prosaic. While do I hope that my novels might eventually contribute in some way to the continuing vitality of the language; truthfully, that’s not why I do it.
The fact is that I just really enjoy writing—but also, writing long fiction in Gaelic is a great way for me to continue to work on my proficiency in the language.
Seo clàradh dhen phrìomh òraid a rinn mi aig co-labhairt bhliadhnail a’ Foundation for Endangered Languages dà sheachdain air ais. B’ ann innte a bhruidhinn mi air Sabhal Mòr Ostaig agus air foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig aig ìre an oilthighe.
Tha mi a’ creidsinn gu làidir anns a’ Cholaiste. Tha i sònraichte, agus mar a thuirt mi aig deireadh na h-òraid, tha mi am beachd gu bheil i a’ cur gu mòr ri neart na Gàidhlig:
A college that not only teaches about a minority language, but that also functions in that language, can serve as a revitalizing site of language use, as an organizing node in networks of minority-language speakers, and also, as a powerful site for ideological clarification in the context of a broader language-revival social movement. Establishing new sites of minority-language use is always a challenge, and no less so on a college campus like Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. In our work at the College, we have found that it is a common error to vastly underestimate the scale of this challenge. We yearn for language use that feels natural, that seems to just happen, but those days are long gone for Gaelic. If we aim to have Gaelic spoken in a particular space, then we have to self-consciously promote Gaelic use in that space. Keeping Gaelic going at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig requires continual ideological work; it never just happen ‘naturally’.
This disappoints some folk. For detractors, Gaelic as a networked, activist language feels artificial, fake, or staged in some way, but I strongly reject this critique. I spend almost all of my waking hours speaking Gaelic. It is my working language, I use it with my network of Gaelic-speaking friends on Skye, and I speak it at home. Gaelic isn’t a hobby or a performance for me; it’s a real, living language. And each year, I have the opportunity to work with a new group of talented young adults who are strengthening their Gaelic skills and acquiring strong identity connections to the language, and who then go on to use Gaelic in their daily lives, working in Gaelic and raising families in Gaelic all over Scotland and beyond. Gaelic isn’t a dead language for them either.
We are all very lucky. None of us would have these opportunities without the College. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is our speech community, and for all its flaws, it serves as a powerful driver of the revival of Scottish Gaelic as a vital, spoken language in the 21st century.