Conference Statement

September 6, 2022

The 2022 Soillse Conference: Rooting Minority Language Policy in the Speaker Community

Conference Statement

The Soillse conference held in Stornoway from 29-31 August 2022, advises Scottish Government, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Local Authorities, development agencies and, importantly, individuals and families speaking and learning Gaelic to come together in a spirit of cooperation and renewal. A renewed spirit of inclusive cooperation is a prerequisite for addressing the societal and demographic challenges of promoting and protecting Gaelic as a living language in our vernacular communities, particularly our island-based Gaelic communities where, until relatively recently, Gaelic was the everyday language.

We call upon decision-makers in Scottish Government, Local Authorities, development agencies and academic institutions to:

1. Base the framework for Gaelic policy decisions and revitalisation priorities on the best available evidence.

2. Acknowledge through practical and appropriate support structures that each community of speakers and network of learners across Scotland has specific requirements.

3. Clearly demonstrate conviction and leadership by working in productive partnership to protect and develop Gaelic communities.

4. Invest and provide adequate funding and resources, in an equitable and efficient manner, in the effective support of island-based Gaelic-speaking communities to provide for sustainable sociocultural and Gaelic development.

5. Recognise and utilise the core role of the family and community as indispensable sociocultural and linguistic cornerstones for Gaelic language maintenance and revitalisation.

6. Place Gaelic development in island communities within a comprehensive whole-of-society approach, recognising the critical importance of supportive socioeconomic and sociocultural conditions, including Gaelic arts and heritage, as prerequisites for credible Gaelic language promotion and protection in creating a basis for a sustainable future for Gaelic in our island communities.

7. Reform and resource the Gaelic development support structure on a regional basis and recognise the various development requirements of varying speaker communities and networks of learners in order to increase mutual cooperation and complementary outcomes for all Gaelic speakers.

8. Realign and strengthen the Gaelic development role of UHI as the primary teaching, learning and research institution to enable a significantly more proactive partnership with Gaelic communities and with development partners; this should entail developing an evidence-based policy framework and public engagement approach, rooted in a pro-active research agenda, to address critical socioeconomic and cultural challenges.

Context

Gaelic vernacular communities are in a societal and demographic crisis, and if current conditions prevail, will no longer be sustainable. The current socioeconomic development support structures for the islands, as well as the Gaelic language policy framework of language promotion with insufficient language protection are presently unable to address the various levels of societal challenge.

Community Projects

August 2, 2022

Projects with close community links will be on display at the Stornoway conference at the end of the month. Series of videos in Gaelic or about Gaelic will be viewable in playlists put together on the Island Voices site, including “Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal”, “Saoghal Thormoid”, “Island Voices Series 1&2” and “International MOOT”.

No specific time is set aside on the conference timetable to discuss these, but they will be running non-stop at free times through the day, to give anyone a chance to take a look and ask questions about them.

And the playlists can be viewed remotely as well, with live links embedded in this PDF poster, where you can also find additional information about the links between Soillse and Island Voices, and other current research work in partnership with other universities in Scotland and internationally.

Some of the projects displayed are ongoing, with new videos added to them on a continuing basis. “Cuairt Chuil Uaraich”, from the Back Historical Society, was added to Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal just yesterday, following the incorporation of optional auto-translatable CC subtitles.

Community Conference

July 11, 2022

Conference Fee Waiver for Islanders 

To encourage local participation in this conference we will offer free places to island residents from the Gaelic Crisis study area. We do ask islanders to register on the conference website, however, to allow the organisers to plan appropriate hospitality for the event. Follow tinyurl.com/rootedlanguagepolicy, click on Tickets, and choose the conference bursary option.

Virtual participation in the conference 

The Soillse team will provide technical options for those wishing to participate in the conference virtually.

Travel Bursaries 

Soillse will make a limited number of travel bursaries available for island residents (outwith Lewis) to help defray travel costs. Please enquire with the conference organiser about this: conference2022@soillse.ac.uk

Conference Programme

July 5, 2022

The draft programme for the conference on Rooting Minority Language Policy in the Speaker Community has now been published. The conference will be held in Stornoway on 29th-31st August (details here: http://tinyurl.com/rootedlanguagepolicy).

The draft programme (updated on 24/08/22) can be viewed here:

http://www.soillse.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/Soillse-Conference-Draft-Programme-2022-Final-version.pdf

You can also see the list of abstracts for presentations here:

http://www.soillse.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/Gearr-chunntasan_Abstracts_Soillse_version_110822.pdf

Conference: Rooting Minority Language Policy in the Speaker Community

June 30, 2022

International Conference, 29–31 August 2022, Caladh Inn, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Soillse is delighted to announce an international sociolinguistics conference on ‘Rooting Minority Language Policy in the Speaker Community’ which will be held between 29–31 August 2022 at Caladh Inn, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

The conference is organised and sponsored by Soillse, University of the Highlands and Islands. Among our speakers are François Grin (University of Geneva), Jane MacLeod (Community Activist), Pàdruig Morrison (Community Activist), Agnes Rennie (Galson Estate Trust), Ùisdean Robertson (Western Isles Council) and Lowri Cunnington Wynn (Aberystwyth University).

Registration is still open and further information is available at the following Evenbrite page: [https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rooting-minority-language-policy-in-the-speaker-community-tickets-266759784697]. The conference programme will be available to view soon.

For further information [http://tinyurl.com/rootedlanguagepolicy] and all queries, please contact conference2022@soillse.ac.uk.

Presentation for North Uist Historical Society

June 27, 2022

A presentation was given to Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath (North Uist Historical Society) by Iain Caimbeul and Conchúr Ó Giollagáin on the Gaelic Crisis as part of the “Aire Air Sund” project in which CEUT is currently engaged. This was followed by a lively debate with members of the Society. The presentation can be viewed here. It was delivered entirely in Gaelic, with subtitles now available through the CC button on YouTube. These can be auto-translated into multiple languages through the Settings Wheel:

Here is a PDF of the presentation.

The presentation was delivered as the first part of a series of online workshops relating specifically to Gaelic in partnership between CEUT and Island Voices.

Seminar on Gaelic ASR

May 5, 2022

Soillse held an online seminar on “Progress Towards Accurate Automatic Speech Recognition” on 27/04/22, led by Dr Will Lamb, Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. The attendance was international with representation from Basque, Friulian, and Maltese language interests, as well as Scottish Gaelic community members.

Dr Lamb’s presentation was recorded. You can view it here with a short introduction by Soillse Director, Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin.

Dr Lamb has also made a PDF of his presentation available to read here. This includes live links to online references.

Conference: Rooting Minority Language Policy in the Speaker Community

February 21, 2022

Soillse International Conference, 29–31 August 2022,

Caladh Inn, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Call for Papers

Soillse is happy to announce an international sociolinguistics conference on ‘Rooting Minority Language Policy in the Speaker Community’ to be held between 29–31 August 2022 at Caladh Inn, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

The conference is organised and sponsored by Soillse, University of the Highlands and Islands. Our keynote speakers are François Grin (University of Geneva), Jane MacLeod (Community Activist), Patrick Morrison (Community Activist), Agnes Rennie (Galson Estate Trust) and Lowri Cunnington Wynn (Aberystwyth University).

We welcome abstracts of between 250 and 300 words (excluding references) in either English or Scottish Gaelic along with a short biography, no longer than 150 words, together with an affiliation if appropriate, and to include a non-binding preference whether you are likely to attend the conference in person or online. The extended deadline for abstracts is 20 May 2022. Please forward abstracts and/or queries to conference2022@soillse.ac.uk. We welcome proposals for presentations from people of all career stages that engage with the themes of the conference. Postgraduate students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to participate with a limited number of bursaries available (on a first-come, first-served basis). Papers should be approximately twenty minutes in duration and should allow for around 10 minutes for discussion.

If circumstances permit we aim to hold the conference on an in-person basis but, if not, we have alternative plans in place to proceed in a hybrid mode, with live keynote addresses, speakers and audience in Stornoway (if possible, and following any government guidelines at that time) as well as online speakers and audience. The choice of their mode of attendance will be open to all delegates. A nominal fee of £50 is charged for attendance whether in person or online (but please note that travel or accommodation expenses cannot be covered if the conference goes ahead on an in-person basis) which also includes the conference dinner. Registration details will follow.

For further information and all queries, please contact conference2022@soillse.ac.uk.

Download the Call for Papers as a PDF: http://www.soillse.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/CfP-2022-Soillse-Conference.pdf

Conference registration: Eventbrite.com

“Talking Points” from Norman Maclean

January 18, 2022

A series of recorded discussions on Language Endangerment, Language Hierarchies, and Language Contact.

In the last few weeks of the funded period for Mediating Multilingualism, international project partners in universities in Scotland, India, and Jamaica discussed themes of common interest with UK-based community language speakers, stimulated by brief extracts from the final session of Saoghal Thormoid. These discussions, held in English, were recorded, and have been placed on the Island Voices YouTube channel.

The table below gives links to all the discussions, together with associated clips of Norman Maclean in conversation. (In the recorded discussions Norman’s remarks in Gaelic are subtitled in English. On the freestanding clips from Saoghal Thormoid, the YouTube Closed Captions option will give viewers the choice of following his comments with same language Gaelic subtitles, or automatic translation into other languages using the Settings wheel. Written translations into English are also provided in the YouTube video description.) Linked projects can be accessed on the webpages of the University of the Highlands and Islands Language Sciences Institute.

Topic

Recorded Discussion Norman Maclean Extract

Language Endangerment:
Gaelic Trajectory?

Talking Points 1 Saoghal Thormoid clip 1

Language Hierarchies:
English Ascendancy?

Talking Points 2 Saoghal Thormoid clip 2
Language Contact:
Bilingual Balance?
Talking Points 3 Saoghal Thormoid clip 3

Gaelic Award

November 17, 2021

Congratulations to the Gaelic Algorithmic Research Group GARG at the University of Edinburgh on their Gaelic Award for the work they’ve done on Gaelic Speech Recognition!