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Emma Maree @emaree

Oh heck I just found out about ceilidh.space and my mind is blown by the idea of a Scottish Gaelic/Gaidhlig-friendly Mastodon instance and how powerful Mastodon could be as a language learning tool, particularly for smaller languages without good learning resources.

· Tusky · 57 · 89

I've never talked here so I might as well say: it's my mother tongue, I grew up speaking both English and (Isle of Lewis accented) Gaelic.

I lost a lot of it after I left school because I never had an occasion to use it, and now I'm living in it's even tougher because there's far less her for learners than .

I am still practicing and doing my best though! It is a beautiful, endangered language and I care a lot about its continued survival.

I also get asked to do written translations of a ton and gotta say:
a) please don't, I learned it verbally so the written rules and grammar are hard. I will screw it up, and then I'll feel bad as a native speaker who cannae write it well.
b) translating English phrases is VERY difficult, don't trust non-pro translations.
C) pay your professionals. Learning Gaidhlig is hard & often expensive. Professional translators are rare. Pay the pros for their work.

Oh one more thing and this is the important

Despite my grumbles about bad translations, DON'T BE AFRAID TO TRY GAIDHLIG. Sing in it! Put it in your stories! Use it gratuitously! Appropriate the heck outta my culture, friends!

Build fantasy worlds that include it as a core element of your worldbuilding! (I love doing this in my novels.)

Gaidhlig is dying from lack of use and it makes me happy whenever I see it in a book or game or or comic or tweet or toot.

@emaree Hey there, linguistic cousin! #IrishGaelic (#Gaeilge) here.

You know what? I'm writing a book that draws heavily on Irish folklore. I used a lot of Gaeilge (with correct translations worked into the text, of course), and the writing group I was in got mad whenever I did so. They called it "annoying", "lazy", and "downright stupid".

I left the group eventually, but that has unfortunately stuck with me. Now I'm afraid to use this awesome language anywhere.

@fidgety Oh, that breaks my heart. My local area has a sneering attitude towards Gaidhlig as a "waste of money" to save and promote so I stopped speaking it locally, to my detriment, and my books or online are one of the few places I still let it show.

Your critique groups were, to be blunt, idiots. It's not an uncommon brand of 'my culture is the best' daftness either: I know Latino authors who hear similar about including Spanish.

@fidgety Including Garlic in our works is *so important*. But there are always going to be voices who would prefer we let the Gaelics die out, and they can be so, so loud and cruel.

I hope you find your writing joy again and get a chance to write more with your language.

@emaree I feel the same way about Irish as you do Scottish: These are tenacious languages that somehow survived, and if I can do my little part to save them, then I HAVE to.

I'm an American, so I have nobody to speak it to. Instead, I wander around the house, repeating random words and phrases whenever I'm by myself.

@fidgety I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who wanders around the house speaking random phrases lol!

@balrogboogie @fidgety haha, I speak Gaelic more to my dog than anyone else. He's a good boy! Gle mhath cù.

@emaree pretty sure my family thought I'd truly lost it when I was walking around practicing that Scottish "ch" sound all day

@emaree with other less common but still extant North European languages (including dialects of English, Scots, Dutch and German) there was much disagreement over grammar and spelling for written content; although consensus is developing and wider spread of Unicode on computers gives you more characters to use (i.e å (from DK) finding its way into some German dialects and ø now being used in Scots and Gronings), there are also keyboard layouts that make it easier to use accented characters

@vfrmedia @emaree Not only North European languages. French dialects also had variations, and them being mostly spoken, there was no consensus for writing, and many of them almost disappeared before there ws. There has been since then efforts to revive those dialects, and with that normalizations have been proposed, although those are in fact different from the original dialect precisely because they use consensus to normalize things, and so present a form of the dialect that was never spoken.

@emaree @vfrmedia And I am talking about French because that’s the one I know best, but I am pretty you can find similar patterns in other South European languages as well.

@emaree hello! Gotta say I'm super excited to meet a native speaker. I've only been learning for a few weeks now so I still have to google-translate a lot.

I'm an American but my mother's family was from Greenock and I've always been very interested in my Scottish heritage, so learning the language just felt like a good way to connect with the culture a bit

@balrogboogie this is so exciting! If I can help in any way I'm here, I can always ring up my mum with questions too.

I love hearing about speakers from USA and Canada because you folks have so much enthusiasm and joy for it that I rarely see here! You rock, thank you for learning it!

@balrogboogie I've also had good experiences with the 'Scottish Gaelic Speakers Unite' Facebook group and reddit /r/gaidhlig if you haven't found those yet. Lots of written Gaidhlig skills on display there.

@emaree ah, nice, tapadh leibh! I'd found /r/gaidhlig but I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook so I hadn't looked there yet

@emaree what are some good references for a complete beginner to start? (Solid English knowledge)

@emaree Keep it up! Every language is a precious part of humanity's heritage and it's important to work to preserve them.

@emaree I also like the idea of keeping language learning abstracted from modern data mining, habit-manipulating apps

@mairin I'm not sure (I don't know how to find instances beyond luck and chance and hashtag searches) but if there isn't I hope someone makes one!

@emaree that's super cool! too bad I couldn't take enough classes to be conversant

@emaree Too bad it's invite only. One of my friends is a gaelic poet, and I was going to point him at it. 😕​

@emaree I'd really like to learn it properly, and I wish I knew more people who spoke it. I vaguely recall watching Gaelic kids TV as a very wee Lisa & apparently I took well to it! Sad that I've all but forgotten it...

@EffingRainbow Gaelic kids TV is great! I keep meaning to watch more of it to refresh my learning, and the legendary De An Nis? Kids show, and their better Top Gear alternative Air An Rathad.

@emaree Mastodon has both linguistic-centered and regional instances, and yes, it's a great way to form communities within a larger Mastodon world :) @Magess There's also an open regional instance for users in Scotland or who identify as Scottish: mastodon.scot

@lightone @Magess @emaree lol I've never heard the phrase "identify as Scottish" 😁

@wolfie @lightone @emaree It's probably an American thing? We pick the ancestry we like best. ;) I'm more Polish than anything but have the warmest feelings for the drops of Scottish blood.

@Magess @wolfie @lightone @emaree ah must be an American thing, that makes sense about identifying with your ancestry 😁

@wolfie Although I do wonder about my college acquaintance who is now a gaelic poet of some note, but is from York. I would guess he identifies as English? Even though his professional life is all about gaelic and Scotland.

@Magess if he's from England and doesn't have parents from Scotland then he'd be considered English, it's not really something I think you can just choose to identify as?

@wolfie I guess I just wonder how the linguistic community part figures in. I would imagine it has to be part of one's identity somehow.

@Magess I guess in the same way any profession or interest is part of your identity?

@emaree I've always wanted to learn Scottish Gaelic, but I've no idea where to start. I found the Duolingo language app recently and was heartbroken to see that it has Irish Gaelic and Welsh, but no Scottish stuff yet. I've still got a lot of Japanese to learn, but my progress so far has taught me that I at least have the ability to learn new languages. I want to keep using that.

@Neko I really, really hope Duolingo gets Scottish Gaelic some time. I'd love to use it!

@emaree I was going to point my mother in law at this instance, but I've just seen that registrations are closed. Do you know how I might be able to get her an invite?