I read a very sad article in Thursday's Guardian today (yes, I know it's Sunday already â€” give me a break). The number of Gaelic speakers has declined 15% in the last 10 years to less than 60,000. Once it falls below 50,000, it will be officially declared dead. I love the Gaelic language. When I lived for a summer on a boat in the Isle of Mull, my only aural entertainment (apart from the sea, seals, deer, curlews and oystercatchers â€” which were wonderful) was Gaelic language talk radio, a tape of Billy Connolly and a recording of Faure's Requiem. It was an odd but interesting mixture.
I only know the merest smattering of Gaelic words, but I loved just listening to the music of it. I even have some â€˜Teach Yourself Gaelic' tapes somewhere, but I'm the world's worst linguist, so I've never got very far with it. Perhaps I'll give it another go; I might be able to keep the numbers at 50,001.
Mike Russell of the Scottish National Party said:
"Language expresses where you live and your angle to the world; it is a way of seeing. There are things we say that you can only express in a certain language. It has huge impact. Are we saying we can preserve a building here and a bird there but we can't preserve that?"