Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic: two distinct languages?
A map showing the Irish Gaeltacht (unrevised since the mid twentieth century).
Read a short introduction to the Irish language and its literature in Transcript 4.
Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic are sister languages. They resemble each other to the extent that Dutch and German or Catalan and Castillan (Spanish) do, but less so than Slovac and Czech, or Swedish and Norwegian.

Differences in every aspect of their grammars - syntax, vocabulary, morphology - justify their being considered distinct from one another. This has been the case for several centuries.

Scottish Gaelic is today somewhat weaker than its Irish sister. It's speakers number no more than 60,000 spread thinly over a wide area, while as many as 100,000 speak Irish regularly.

While Scottish Gaelic may still be heard occasionally on the Scottish mainland, traditional communities speaking the language are largely confined to the Hebridean achipelago today. Irish, one of two official national languages in Ireland, is also spoken in areas little larger than pockets. However, state investment in Ireland has helped to bolster the language.

Scottish Gaelic has never enjoyed the privileges of statehood. Consequently however, it has retained much of the warmth and genius of the older language.

Read Writing in Scottish Gaelic Today.

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