Scots Gaelic has been approved for use in EU meetings in a new memorandum of understanding, according to the BBC. The move is an important step forward for Scots Gaelic,although it still does not have the status of an EU “official” language like English.
In addition to being used in meetings, Gaelic speakers can now write to the EU in Scots Gaelic and get a response back in the same language.
In Scotland’s 2001 census, about 58,652 people reported being able to speak Scots Gaelic, while an additional.33,748 were able to understand it.
The Scottish Government will be footing the bill for the costs of translation for EU meetings and correspondence as part of their efforts to increase the use of the language in Scotland.
Use of Scots Gaelic, has declined significantly, especially over the past 100 years. For example, according to Wikipedia, in 1911 there were 183,998 Scots Gaelic speakers. Also, in 1991 there were 7,300 more Scots Gaelic speakers than there were in 2001-a decline of 11 percent over 10 years!
In the BBC article, Scottish Culture Minister Mike Russell commented on the news, saying, “This is a significant step forward for the recognition of Gaelic both at home and abroad and I look forward to addressing the council in Gaelic very soon.”
“Seeing Gaelic spoken in such a forum raises the profile of the language as we drive forward our commitment to creating a new generation of Gaelic speakers in Scotland.”
In honor of the occasion, here are some common words and phrases in Scots Gaelic, along with their English translations:
Ciamar a tha thu: How are you?
Madainn mhath: Good Morning
Feasgar math: Good Afternoon
Oidhche mhath: Good night
Dè an t-ainm a tha ort?: What’s your name?
Slàn leat : Goodbye
Slàinte: “Health,” usually used as a toast, like “cheers.”