Tha Murray MacLeòid ag ràdh gu bheil feum air slighe ùr dha leasachadh a’ chànain

Tha Bòrd na Gàidhlig an-dràsta a’ dol an sàs ann an grunn choinneamhan poblach mu phlanaichean nàiseanta a' chànain.

Tha a’ Ghàidhlig air crìonadh anns na coimhearsnachdan tradiseanta

[English language version below]

Bho chaidh Achd na Gàidhlig a stèidheachadh ann an 2005, tha dleasdanas air a bhith air a h-uile buidheann poblach poileasaidhean foirmeil a dhealbhadh air ciamar a tha iad a’ dol a bhrosnachadh na Gàidhlig nan obair agus a’ dol a bhronsachadh dhaoine gus a bhith ga cleachadh, le Bòrd na Gàidhlig mar ùghdarras air a’ phlana às leth an riaghaltais.

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Dha buidhnean mar Dhualachas Nàdair na h-Alba agus Poileas Alba, ‘s e obair mhòr a tha ann agus, ged a tha iad air an cànan a dhèanamh nas fhaicsinniche ann an cuid a dh’àiteachan, chan eil an dìleab cho soilleir sin. Co-dhiù, tha fios a-nis dè th’ ann an gathan-gobhainn (no, a bheil?) agus iar-àrd-chonstabal.

Tha na planaichean nàiseanta seo nam pàirt mhòr de dh’obair a’ Bhùird, ach chan eil e idir soilleir dè cho feumail ‘s a tha iad air a bhith dha leasachadh a’ chànain. Anns na sia bliadhna deug a dh’fhalbh, chan eil adhartas mòr sam bith air a thighinn, cho fad ‘s a chì an duine àbhaisteach, ach ann am foghlam fhèin.

Ach, bha aithne a' fàs co-dhiù air cho buannachdail ‘s a tha foghlam tro mheadhan a’ chànain, agus sgoilearan Gàidhlig a’ dèanamh nas fhèarr san sgoil nan co-aoisean, agus bhiodh an t-adhartas sin air tighinn le iarrtas bho phàrantan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig ann no às.

Tha am Bòrd stèidhichte ceum air falbh bhon riaghaltas ach tha sin a’ ciallachadh g’ eil e ro fhurasta dha ministearan gun cus ghnothaich a ghabhail -- agus tha an sreath dè dh’àrd-oifigearan a tha air a bhith aig a’ Bhòrd, agus an t-aithisg chruaidh bho Bhuidheann-sgrùdaidh na h-Alba an-uiridh, a’ sealltainn nach e soitheach ro fhurasta a stiùireadh a tha innte.

Nuair a nochd aithisg an-uiridh bho luchd-rannsachaidh cliùiteach a bha ag ràdh gun tig a’ Ghàidhlig a-mach à sealladh anns na coimhearsnachdan traidiseanta ann an deich bliadhna eile mura tig atharrachadh, b’ e cothrom a bha ann. Bha còir aice dòigh smaoineachaidh ùr a phiobrachadh, agus ‘s dòcha gur e sin a thachras fhathast. Ach, chan eil cùisean a’ coimhead ro ghealltanach.

Mar thoradh air an rannsachadh, chaidh buidheann strì ùr a stèidheachadh ann an Leòdhas, Guth nan Siarach, le amas aire dhaoine a tharraing gu cho cugalach ‘s a tha an cànan anns na h-eileanan. Ma tha mar a tha air dol dhaibh le Bòrd na Gàidhlig na chomharra, chan eil mòran sìth gu bhith san àrdaich. Chuir iad às leth a’ Bhùird an t-seachdain-sa nach eil iad a’ toirt aithne gu leòr dha suidheachadh nan eilean, g’ eil iad a’ cur an cùlaibh ris na tùsanaich agus ag amas air luchd-ionnsachaidh agus pàipearan mòra poileasaidh.

Bu chòir a ràdh gu bheil am Bòrd fhèin a’ dol às àicheadh seo. Tha iad ag ràdh gu bheil iad deònach èisteachd ris a’ bhuidhinn agus gu bheil iad ag aithneachadh cho cudromach ‘s a tha na h-eileanan dhan Ghàidhlig. Chan eil e uair sam bith math dha daoine aig a bheil an t-aon amas, aig a’ cheann thall, a bhith a’ bagairt air a chèile, ach ‘s dòcha gu bheil e dìreach a’ dearbhadh gu bheil sinn dha-rìribh aig crois-rathaid ann an slighe leasachaidh na Gàidhlig.

Tha cridhe na Gàidhlig anns na coimhearsnachdan eileanach a’ fàs lag. Cha chùm planaichean nàiseanta aig ìre Poileas Alba, no as bith dè a' bhuidheann eile, am bun-spiorad sin beò idir. Tha an t-àm ann slighe ùr a ghabhail.

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.

Murray MacLeod argues that it's time for a new direction on Gaelic development

Bord na Gaidhlig, the national Gaelic development agency, is about to embark on a round of consultation meetings about its formal language plans.

Since the passing of the Gaelic Language Act in 2005, public bodies have been compelled to produce five-year plans which set out formal policies on how they will make Gaelic more visible in their activities and encourage its use, with BnG being the responsible authority on behalf of government.

For the likes of Nature Scot (Scottish Natural Heritage) and Police Scotland it’s a considerable body of work and, while it has helped raise the profile of the language in certain areas, it has also left more questionable legacies. But at least we know the Gaelic for dandelion and deputy chief constable.

These language plans form a central part of what the Bord does, but the tangible benefits for the actual development of the language are far from clear.

The only real advances that anyone can point to in the 16 years of a formal language act being in place is in the field of education. But given there was a growing awareness of the benefits of bilingual education, with Gaelic pupils out-performing their peers, this would have probably been the case anyway through parental demand, with or without the existence of the Bord.

The arms-length nature of the organisation from the Scottish government is too convenient for ministerial inaction and a string of chief executives and a critical Audit Scotland report last year point to it being a difficult ship to steer.

The publication last year of a report on “The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community” was an opportunity. The respected academic study stated that native Gaelic-speaking communities in the islands could collapse within 10 years unless language policies were reassessed and funding re-prioritised.

It should have triggered an urgent change of approach, and still could. But the omens are not hugely promising.

In response to the publication of the academic study, a pressure group was established on Lewis, Guth nan Siarach (the voice of the westerner), with the objective of drawing public attention to the perilous state of Gaelic in the islands.

If their early engagements with Bord na Gaidhlig are anything to go by, it’s not going to be a great meeting of minds. The group accused the Bord of failing to take the islands seriously enough and, in its current guise, of leaving the native speaker behind in favour of the learner and grandiose policy documents.

The Bord, of course, vehemently deny this. They say they are willing to listen and to engage with the group and fully recognise the value of the traditional heartlands to the language.

While it’s never a good look for those who essentially share the same aims to be at loggerheads, it’s maybe a reflection that we have reached a crossroads on Gaelic development.

The beating heart of Gaelic in the islands is fading and fast. Formal plans for the likes of Police Scotland, or whatever public body, will do little to address that. It’s time for a new direction.

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