In order for a language to survive, people need to want to speak it. Fortunately for the future of Gaelic, a new survey shows that the majority of Scottish citizens support efforts to promote the language.
The survey, “Public Attitudes Towards the Gaelic Language,” was conducted by the Scottish government. It found that 70 percent of respondents believed that more opportunities to learn Gaelic should be made available to the public. 53 percent of respondents would like to see the language make its way into everyday life more frequently. 80 percent of those surveyed were aware that Gaelic is still spoken in Scotland today.
Quoted in a Scotsman.com article about the study, the authors of the report stated:
“The key challenge therefore is not so much to increase awareness of Gaelic generally, given that it is already high, or indeed to do more to relate Gaelic to traditions and culture, but rather to promote the relevance of Gaelic to Scotland – as whole – nowadays.”
However, the survey’s findings weren’t all rosy. While the majority of respondents wanted to see Gaelic spoken more frequently, they didn’t necessarily want to be the ones speaking it. In fact, half of the people who took the survey said that there was nothing anyone could do that would encourage them to use the language more, or to learn it if they were unfamiliar.
Still, Gaelic Minister Alasdair Allan chose to focus on the positives, saying:
“Such a strong swell of support for Gaelic from across the country, not just in the Gaelic-speaking heartlands, is very encouraging and just reward for the efforts of those who are working hard to ensure it remains a part of modern Scotland.”