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Duolingo adds Scottish Gaelic to language options

Language learning app Duolingo has launched the beta version of its new Scottish Gaelic course, with more than 20,000 people already signed up.

Scottish GaelicDuolingo has launched a new course for learning Scottish Gaelic. Photo: Duolingo

According to a census, 57,000 people in Scotland speak Gaelic

An endangered language, Scottish Gaelic is predominately spoken today in the Highlands and Islands of the country.

According to the most recent census, 57,000 people in Scotland self-reported as being able to speak Gaelic.

“Scottish Gaelic is such a rich and fascinating language with an incredible history. The songs, poetry and meaning given to Scottish place names really open your eyes to a deeper understanding of Scotland and its culture,” said course creator Màrtainn Mac a’ Bhàillidh.

“Scottish Gaelic is such a rich and fascinating language with an incredible history”

“I’m sure this course will raise the profile of Gaelic and increase the number of people learning.”

An architect from Glasgow, Màrtainn Mac a’ Bhàillidh worked with teachers Ciaran Iòsaph MacAonghais and Iagan MacAongha, and university student Joanne McLennan to create the course.

“We hope Scottish Gaelic goes on to achieve success like our Irish and Welsh courses. So far over 1.2m people have signed up to learn Welsh on Duolingo, and the Irish president honoured us for making Irish accessible to millions around the world,” said Colin Watkin’s, Duolingo’s country manager in the UK.

Shona NicIllinnein, CEO of the Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body responsible for promoting Gaelic language and culture both in Scotland and overseas, welcomed the new course and its ability to bring the language to an international audience. 

“We are delighted that the hard work of the community in campaigning to have the language available has succeeded and that volunteers were willing to develop the materials that you can now use,” she told The PIE News

“People throughout the world are interested in Gaelic and this is a very easy, fun and free way to start learning.  It complements the resources already available, making learning Gaelic much more accessible.”

In recent years, Duolingo has expanded its catalogue from commonly learned languages like French and Spanish to include endangered languages such as Hawaiian and Navajo.

It has also introduced courses for Esperanto and Latin, as well as fictional languages from hit TV Shows such as Game of Thrones. Courses in Yiddish and Haitian Creole for English speakers are also currently under development.

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