ASR project final report

April 16, 2021

Here is the final report on the Gaelic speech recognition project funded by Soillse. As can be seen, although the Soillse seed-funding has come to an end, the development work continues with a growing team.

Spring Sale

April 1, 2021

Special 40% discount price of £15 on this important book throughout April.

From the Gaelic Books Council here:

New insights

March 22, 2021


Soillse held an online workshop on “New Insights on the Vernacular Gaelic Communities in the Islands” for members and associates on 04/03/21, led by Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin. There was university representation from a cross-section of the network, as well as from a range of scholars outwith Scotland. Significantly, a number of Gaelic-speaking community members from within the study area also attended.

A recording was made of Professor Ó Giollagáin’s presentation, which is now made available for general viewing here:

A decision was made not to record the following discussion, in order to encourage a free exchange of views and comments, during which university-affiliated scholars raised points and questions, and lay community members made some notable contributions. However, following the event, members of the Guth nan Siarach group who took part in the seminar separately recorded their own reactions to the study. The group, formed in response to the Gaelic Crisis publication, will shortly be launching its own website. Meanwhile, the recording can be accessed in full on the Guthan nan Eilean website.

The following short clip has also been released on social media, to give a taste of the discussion. (This version has English translation subtitles “burned in”, for the benefit of non-Gaelic speakers. CC Gaelic subtitles, enabled through the Gaelic Speech Recognition project, are also available via the Guthan nan Eilean link.)


International Mother Language Day event recorded

March 3, 2021

International Mother Language Day was celebrated across the globe on 21/02/21. Among the many online events, the Digital Museum held a series of sessions with a focus from South Asia to North America.

Gaelic was featured in Session 3, alongside Jamaican. Soillse Director, Conchúr Ó Giollagáin delivered the opening presentation (at 00.12.50), summarising the key findings and recommendations of the “Gaelic Crisis” publication. This was followed by a range of contributions in conversation, poetry and song, with further input on Gaelic from Gordon Wells (00.31.50) and Meg Hyland (01.09.50), beside Jamaican contributions from Audrey West (00.50.45) and Yvonne Blake (01.35.35). The full recording can be accessed, following free registration, via this link:


Gaelic Speech Recognition Update

January 29, 2021

Lucy Evans, working on the Edinburgh-led Gaelic Speech Recognition project, has produced a comprehensive report on progress so far for the Gaelic Algorithmic Research Group blog. This is supplemented with some early examples of how their work is already yielding results in relation to automatic video-subtitling.

You can read it here.

While the Soillse start-up funding for this work will shortly come to an end, Will Lamb and colleagues have already secured funding from other sources to continue this valuable work.


Minority Language Media and COVID-19

November 10, 2020

In their series on minority language media and the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the European Centre for Minority Issues return to the British Isles for an in-depth analysis of Scottish Gaelic. Dr. Douglas Chalmers, Senior Lecturer in Media and Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University, provides a thorough overview of the situation for that linguistic sphere, in particular by focusing on the public service broadcasters BBC Alba and Radio nan Gàidheal.

You can read the interview with Douglas here: 

Gaelic Crisis: Caibideil 9

November 6, 2020

For anyone wishing to read more about the “Gaelic Crisis” in advance of the community meetings being held by Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, a Gaelic translation of Chapter 9 is now available online: “A dh’ionnsaigh modail ùr airson ath-bheòthachadh coimhearsnachd na Gàidhlig”. It can be read here.


And you can register for the meetings here.

“Living off the edge”: online presentation

October 30, 2020

Soillse Director, Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin gave an online presentation for the UHI “The Edge” seminar series on Thursday 29th October, with the title  “Living off the edge: The crisis in late modern ethnolinguistic diversity from the Gaelic perspective”. It draws on findings from the “Gaelic Crisis” publication.

It is now available to view on YouTube:


Gaelic Speech Recognition Researcher

October 5, 2020

Lucy Evans is a freshly appointed researcher at Edinburgh University, working on a Soillse-sponsored Gaelic Speech Recognition project led by Dr Will Lamb in a partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands and Quorate Technology Ltd. Here’s her interview for GARG – the Gaelic Algorithmic Research Group:

Agallamh le Lucy Evans / An interview with Lucy Evans


“The Gaelic Crisis” published

July 2, 2020

The results of Soillse’s Islands Gaelic Research Project have been published in book form.

The book, ‘The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community: A Comprehensive Sociolinguistic Survey of Scottish Gaelic’, is available from the Gaelic Books Council.

Evaluating the research, the authors’ main findings show that the language is in crisis, and that within remaining vernacular communities of Scotland, the social use and transmission of Gaelic is at the point of collapse.

The authors urge a radical new approach to vernacular Gaelic revitalisation and propose a new agenda and strategy for Gaelic revitalisation in the islands.  They argue for a dynamic language-in-society model that is based on a community development trust for the Gaelic-speaking community and is under the direct control of the community.

The writing team of Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Gòrdan Camshron, Pàdruig Moireach, Brian Ó Curnáin, Iain Caimbeul, Brian MacDonald and Tamás Péterváry has also compiled a bilingual research digest of the findings and recommendations. This is available here as an online PDF.

Additional statistical data not included in the full book is also available online via these webpages of the UHI Language Sciences Institute.

A highly condensed (3-page) research note can be accessed online here.