Tha Murray MacLeòid a’ meòrachadh air an t-slighe air adhart dhan Ghàidhlig

‘S dòcha g’eil e a’ dol ro fhada a ràdh gum feum luchd taice na Gàidhlig beagan de shòcrachadh agus de stòltach a dhèanamh, ach tha e follaiseach gu bheil sgaradh bheachd air nochdadh mu shoirbheachas a’ chànain agus tha e duilich, ann an suidheachadh dhen t-seòrsa sin, slighe air adhart a choileanadh ris an gabh a h-uile duine.

Dh’fhaodadh thu siubhail bho Rubha Robhanais gu Bhatarsaigh gun a’ Ghàidhlig a chluinntinn mar chànan làitheil

[English-language version below]

ò Agus tha feum air. Le saoghal cho beag agus obair cho mòr ri dhèanamh, chan eil e math daoine fhàgail air dheireadh. Aig a’ cheann thall, chan eileas ag iarraidh ach aon rud: an cànan a bhith soirbheachail.

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‘S fhiach cur nar cuimhne na thathas air a dhèanamh. An-diugh, tha Gàidhlig bunaiteach do mar a thathas a’ faicinn Alba.

Far an robh uaireigin ana-ceartas oifigeil, tha taic a-nis ann thairis na pàrtaidhean poileataigeach agus aig gach ìre den roinn phoblachd; far an robh siostam foghlaim a bha aig aon àm, a’ cur sìos air a’ chànan, an-diugh tha còir laghail aig pàrantan an cuid chloinne a chur gu foghlam sa Ghàidhlig.

Ach, an dèidh sin…

Tha fios againn gur e na h-Eileanan an Iar an sgìre as làidire a thaobh a’ chànain. Ach, dh’fhaodadh thu siubhail bho Rubha Robhanais gu Bhatarsaigh gun a’ Ghàidhlig a chluinntinn mar chànan làitheil.

Chan i tuilleadh cainnt na fainge, cànan an taigh-seinnse no na th’ aig a’ chlann ‘s iad ri cluiche (ged a tha iad ga fhaighinn sa sgoil ann an dòigh nach robh na ginealaichean roimhe).

Ged a tha e soilleir gu bheil adhartas air a thighinn ann an dòigh, tha an cànan fhathast air leabaidh a’ bhàis anns na coimhearsnachdan far an robh i uaireigin beò, fallainn – sna sgìrean, mar a chànadh cuid, a tha mar cridhe dhith.

An-diugh (Dihaoine) tha Sabhal Mòr Ostaig a’ dol a chumail deasbad air “An t-Slighe Air Adhart”, ach tha cuid a’ faireachdan gur iad na h-aon dhaoine a bhios ri chluinntinn a-rithist.

Tha e cuideachd a’ tighinn agus Plana Gàidhlig ùr ga ullachadh le Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus tha fhios gum bi sin gu math cudromach ann a bhith dearbhadh is a a’ deasbad an dòigh as fheàrr air adhart.

Chan eil fhios le cinnt am biodh Gàidhlig air a bhith càil na bu shoirbheachaile anns na coimhearsnachdan traidiseanta nam biodh rudeigin gu math eadar-dhealaichte air a bhith air a dhèanamh bho thùs.

‘S e an fhìrinn gu bheil an crìonadh a’ cheart cho mòr an urra ris an atharrachadh a tha air tighinn air na sgìrean an taca ri càil sam bith eile.

Ach, an rud nach urrainn a dhol às àicheadh ‘s e gu bheil mòran de luchd-bruidhinn a’ chànain anns na h-eileanan, an teaghlaichean is an caraidean, a’ faireachdain nach eil na tha a’ tachairt gu h-oifigeil ann an saoghal na Gàidhlig a’ buntainn riutha-san.

Leis an obair a chaidh a dhèanamh thairis an 40 bliadhna a chaidh seachad, tha Gàidhlig gu bhith againn. Bidh foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig ann, bidh BBC Alba againn air an telebhisein agus bidh an ceòl agus na h-òrain fhathast tlachdmhor is tarraingeach. Thèid a theagasg is a sgrùdadh gu sioraidh sna h-oilthighean.

‘S dòcha gum bi seo gu leòr dha cuid. Ach, ma dh’fhalbheas i bho na coimhearsnachdan traidiseanta, ma thig an ceangal eachdraidheil is culturail sin a bhriseadh, bheir e atharrachadh bunaiteach air dè tha e a’ ciallachadh a bhith nad neach-labhairt Gàidhlig.

‘S ann leis na laigsean sin, a bu chòirear tòiseachadh ann a bhith a’ dearbhadh slighe sam bith air adhart – agus tha e duilich fhaicinn carson a bhiodh sin connspaideach ann an d ò igh sam bith .

Fios bhon neach-deasachaidh:

Tapa leibh airson an aithris a tha seo a leughadh. Tha sinn an eismeil ur taic nas motha na bha riamh agus buaidh a’ Choronbhirus air buaidh a thoirt air luchd sanasachd. Mur eil sibh air a dhèanamh mar-tha, ma se ur toil, nach beachdaich sibh taic a chumail ri ar obair-naidheachd earbsach, a tha sinn a’ dearbhadh a tha fìor, le bhith toirt a-mach ballrachd digiteach.

It may be a considerable stretch to suggest that the Gaelic world needs some sort of peace and reconciliation process, but the current division of opinion on the fate of the language – specifically in relation to what can be termed the “traditional” communities – provides for a rather shaky foundation.

Given what’s at stake, there can be little benefit in fostering a sense of alienation among some critical supporters who ultimately desire the same outcome: the language to survive and thrive.

Sometimes it’s worth providing a reminder of just how far along the journey we have travelled.

Today, Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland’s modern identity. Decades of prejudice at an official level has been replaced by support across the political spectrum, and at every level of public life; an education system that one time actively conspired to suppress the language now provides for a legal right for parents to have their child educated in the language.

And yet…

We know that the highest concentration of speakers is found in the Outer Hebrides. But you could go from the Butt to Barra and be hard pushed to hear it used as a natural means of day-to-day conversation.

It is no longer the predominant language of the sheep fank, of the bar stool, or of the playing children (even though they are now being taught it in the classroom in a way previous generations were not).

It is this dichotomy of fortune that irks. While there has clearly been a great deal of progress in one sense, it is still teetering on the edge of survival in the communities where it once thrived – what some would justifiably term, its beating heart.

Today the Gaelic college Sabhal Mor Ostaig hosts a discussion entitled “the way ahead”, but clearly some feel it’s just going to be dominated by the usual suspects.

It also comes against the backdrop of the Scottish government’s new Gaelic language plan, which may well signal a fresh direction, after a period of public consultation.

Whether Gaelic would ever have continued to thrive in its heartlands even if a radically different approach had been taken is a moot point – probably not, in all honesty, as the changing face of these communities is as much to do with the decline as anything else.

However, what cannot be denied is that many of the remaining Gaelic speakers in these islands, their wider family and peer group, feel alienated from much of what’s happening in Gaelic at an official level. It is no longer, they surmise, for them.

Whether entirely fair or not, there is a fundamental disconnect between officialdom and those who should feel a natural sense of ownership, but do not.

The language, thanks to the campaigning efforts of the last 40 years, is not going to disappear. Gaelic medium education is here to stay, BBC Alba will remain, the music and song will continue to enthral and enthuse. It will still be taught and analysed in universities ad nauseum.

Perhaps for some that is enough. But its disappearance from island communities, the severance of that important historical and cultural link, will signal a fundamental departure from what it means to be a Gaelic speaker.

Addressing this systemic failure should be the only starting point in charting a way forward – and difficult to think why it should, in any way, be controversial.

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