It’s nice to be able to report something positive from the BBC for a change. No, the Corporation hasn’t finally admitted to its long term and systemic bias against Scottish independence and taken concrete measures to ensure that in the future its reporting on the Scottish constitutional question will be scrupulously fair and even-handed. Don’t be daft. I only said it was something positive for a change, not a bloody miracle.
The BBC together with MGAlba (the company running the BBC’s Gaelic medium TV channel BBC Alba), Bord na Gàidhlig, the Scottish Government, and the Gaelic language college based on Skye, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig have funded and developed a £4 million major new initiative to promote learning Gaelic. This involves the release of a wealth of new materials for online learning. These will be more extensive and in-depth than the highly popular and excellent Gaelic Duolingo course and will provide structured learning of the language in four levels, from absolute beginners to advanced learners.
Each level will comprise 13 lessons with two classes in each lesson accompanied by a series of 13 half-hour media programmes. The learning outcomes for each of these modules will be underpin all elements of SpeakGaelic in a consistent way. The curriculum for SpeakGaelic was developed by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. The materials that have been developed and are being released today include resources for both teachers and learners of the language.
The first level, for beginners in the language has been launched today. The resources include a series of short video lessons, all of which will be made available free of charge on the BBC iplayer, and also on Youtube for learners outwith the UK or for those who object to paying the TV licence fee. There are also podcasts which will be available on BBCSounds, and much more. This is an exciting and professional initiative which should go a long way to ensuring that Gaelic will forever enjoy its rightfully prominent place in the Scottish cultural landscape.
These are high quality learning materials and will provide an invaluable resource which will make learning Gaelic more accessible for a wide range of people. To give you a wee taste, here is the very first lesson in the very first level for complete beginners.
You can find out more, and begin your path to Gaelic here: https://speakgaelic.scot/ You can register for online classes – it’s free.
Incidentally, my Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to firstname.lastname@example.org (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).
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