Tag Archives: languages

On language-learning and decolonisation of mind

A few months ago, I attended a short course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye to take a short course in Gaelic, after about a year of trying to learn it on my own. When I came back, I wrote a little thing about the experience for The Toast: A’ghaillean: on language-learning and the decolonisation of the mind, and the piece was published a couple of days ago.

I’m delighted to have been able to write for The Toast before it closes to new content on July 1st; and I am very grateful for the incredible response I’ve had to this article, particularly for all the other people of various diasporas who reached out to me as a result of it. I don’t feel like there’s much to add here to what has been said.

The one thing I do want to say, though, is to everyone who told me they wanted to learn Gaelic but it was very hard, or they didn’t know where to start – there is plenty of help available! Start with learngaelic.scot – it has everything for the beginner. Beag Air Bheag (“Little By Little”), the BBC Gaelic course, is where I started, alongside Speaking Our Language, the amazing nineties TV programme that is forever rerun on BBC Alba. (Such hair, many fashion disaster, wow.)

An Litir Bheag, the Little Letter to Gaelic Learners, is one of my life’s small pleasures. It’s not ideal for absolute beginners, but it’s a cheery, ecumenical short programme on BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal, that tells you all sorts of things about heather and history and place names and sea lions and everything else under the sun.

And there is also one Gaelic course in London I know of, run by City Lit at their Euston site (and currently very much in need of new blood, I should add). Best of luck!