Lecture by Prof Conchúr Ó Giollagáin

April 29, 2017

“The Gaels of Scotland and Ireland, and a new vision for language development policy”. Inverness College, 11/05/17, 7-8.30 pm.


This lecture will be delivered in Gaelic.

PhD Studentship: Language and Culture

April 17, 2017


A Gaelic-related PhD studentship has been advertised at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The title is “Language and Culture as a Societal Asset: Strategic Alignment of Language Policy to a Sustainable Socio-economic Market for Gaelic”. Further details are available here.


Meetings in Lewis and Harris

April 5, 2017


Public meetings will be held in April with the Islands Gaelic Research Project, at which community members are invited to share their opinions on the state of Gaelic today. These meetings follow on from those held in Scalpay, Uist and Barra in March.

Here are the April meetings:


Dr Donald William Stewart: Interview

March 29, 2017

Dr Dòmhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart talks to Gordon Wells in Gaelic about the research module that Sabhal Mòr Ostaig will be conducting in Gaelic communities, as part of the “Leacag” corpus development project funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and emphasises the important role of day-to-day speakers of the language in shaping the overall results.

Director at Stockholm University

March 9, 2017


Soillse Director, Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin will deliver a lecture on “Minority bilingual acquisition and challenges for educational provision: Issues for the Gaeltacht and the Gàidhealtachd” at the forthcoming Workshop about “Education, language policy issues and minoritized languages across borders” at Stockholm University on Thursday 30th March. Further details are available here.

Island Meetings

March 6, 2017


Public meetings will be held by the Islands Gaelic Research Project in March and April, at which community members are invited to share their opinions on the state of Gaelic today.

Here are the March meetings:



Additional meetings will be held in Lewis and Harris next month.

Lecture in Glasgow

January 16, 2017

Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Soillse’s Director, will be speaking to Comann Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu this week at the Glasgow Gaelic School. His subject is “Staing nan Gàidheal ann an Alba agus ann an Èirinn: a’ strì leis an fhìrinn”.

Further information on the poster below.



Donostia Protocol on Language Rights

December 20, 2016

Soillse Research Director Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin was in Donostia in the Basque Country on 17th December for the signing of the 2016 Donostia Protocol on Language Rights. The full press release is available via this link, from which you can also download the protocol.

Ned Madrell Lecture

December 20, 2016

Soillse Research Associate Dr Cassie Smith-Christmas, now at the University of Limerick, delivered the 2016 Ned Madrell Lecture on the Isle of Man, hosted by Culture Vannin and yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh. Her topic was “The Affective Landscape of Intergenerational Language Transmission: A Case Study of a Scottish Gaelic-Speaking Family”. You can see it on YouTube here:

“Saoghal Thormoid – Norman’s World” now available

November 22, 2016


The full series of 5 video recordings with ancillary materials is now available online, and accessible via this link.


“Saoghal Thormoid” going online

November 3, 2016


On consecutive days in the last week of April Gordon Wells recorded a series of Gaelic conversations with famed writer and entertainer Norman Maclean, in which Norman spoke reflectively of his memories and impressions of Gaelic life in Glasgow and the Hebrides from the middle of the Twentieth Century up to the present day.

The five videos, ranging between 35 and 55 minutes in length, will soon be posted online on Guthan nan Eilean, starting on Monday 07/11/16. Word for word transcriptions will be made available simultaneously on Clilstore, enabling instant one-click vocabulary checking for Gaelic learners*. All in all there are 27,000 words and over three and a half hours of listening material in this collection, forming a unique new resource for serious study by learners and researchers. But Norman is a master raconteur, and there are plenty songs, jokes, and stories along the way. So, while it’s certainly an education, entertainment galore is also guaranteed for the more casual listener!

Over the week the conversations ranged over a wide variety of topics. In broad terms, however, each day had a different central focus:

Monday Ancestry
Tuesday Education
Wednesday Communities
Thursday Creativity
Friday Gaelic

The “Saoghal Thormoid” (“Norman’s World”) project is a collaboration between Soillse, which funded the recordings through its Small Research Fund, and Guthan nan Eilean (Island Voices), the bilingual community project and archive which posts online video clips of Hebridean life and work. All recordings are free to access.

*Clilstore also provides links to automatic Google Translate versions via the “unit info” tab. While machine translation from Gaelic to English is still at a very rudimentary stage, these versions can give at least an impression of the gist of the conversations for those viewers who have yet to start learning Gaelic.

Director’s Address in the Irish Parliament

October 18, 2016

Irish parliament

Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin addressed the Parliamentary Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands at 5 pm on 18/10/16.

Here is the abstract: The Gaeltacht Crisis

Here is the recording of the session.

Dr Will Lamb: Interviews

September 27, 2016


Dr Will Lamb spoke to Gordon Wells about Edinburgh University’s involvement in one of the first modules of the “LEACAG” corpus development project, and the importance of consultation with professional users of Gaelic.

Here in Gaelic:

Here in English:

Soillse Director at Highland Council

August 12, 2016

Conchúr Ó Giollagáin spoke to Highland Council’s Gaelic Implementation Group yesterday.

Here is the webcast of the event.



And here is the presentation he delivered on Powerpoint.


Job opportunity with Soillse

August 12, 2016


Soillse, in collaboration with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO), invites applications for a short-term contract to help develop and manage appropriate knowledge exchange and public engagement strategies for the Soillse research mission. Soillse is a collaborative initiative to provide research opportunities in academic disciplines relevant to the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture.

This management position is available at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands. Candidates will be required to have close knowledge of the current Gaelic sociolinguistic situation, substantial experience of engaging with Gaelic communities and public bodies supporting the language, and high-level skills in dealing with the media. The successful candidate will be remunerated according to the SMO pay scale, within the range of £37,088 – 40,724 (at 0.75 FTE pro-rata).

Deadline for applications: 05/09/2016 . Applications should be submitted by e-mail to obair@smo.uhi.ac.uk.

Expected date for interviews: 12/09/2106.

More details are available here and from the Director of Soillse: Prof. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, University of the Highlands and Islands, Tel: 01471 888558, E-mail: sm00cog@uhi.ac.uk

The job application form is available here.

Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh: Interviews

June 16, 2016

Gaelic researchers are engaged in a major contract to provide linguistic and technical support for a new official pioneering Gaelic language initiative – “Leacag” (Gaelic Corpus Development).


Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Professor of Gaelic, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Arts, will lead an inter-university team, bringing together academics at Glasgow with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (part of the University of the Highlands and Islands). The team will operate under the banner of Soillse.

Rob spoke to Gordon Wells about it,

Here in Gaelic:

And here in English:

The BBC at the Soillse conference

June 10, 2016

Reporters from the BBC were in attendance every day of the Soillse Conference in Glasgow, disseminating stories on television, radio, and online.

Here are some online Gaelic reports they published, based on interviews with researchers at the conference.

“Rabhadh mun Ghàidhlig”

“A bheil planaichean Gàidhlig ag obrachadh?”

“Sianail Gàidhlig ann an cunnart”


Online Lecture

May 30, 2016

Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Gaelic Research Professor at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and Director of Soillse, delivered his inaugural lecture at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Tuesday 19th April. The lecture is now available online:

Soillse Director at the European Parliament

May 4, 2016

Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin will be speaking at this event in the European Parliament.


Soillse/FEL Conference 2016

April 26, 2016


Small Language Planning:  Communities in Crisis


University of Glasgow

6th-8th June 2016


Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

François Grin (University of Geneva)

Leena Huss (Uppsala University)

Brian Ó Curnáin (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies)



Building on the success of the Soillse conferences held in 2011 and 2015, this conference aims to provide a forum for minority language researchers, policy makers, practitioners and activists to exchange research findings and experiences in order to stimulate fresh perspectives on minority language revitalisation and to identify new areas for collaboration.  Although not limited to small language planning, the particular focus of this year’s conference lies in issues pertinent to language planning at the meso and micro levels, strategic interventions in support of minority language groups with weaker demographic densities, as well as to minority languages considered ‘stateless’ and/or without state support. Presentations may cover any of these themes:

  • Language Planning at the Micro and Meso Levels
  • Comparative analysis of minority language communities
  • The challenge of prioritisation in small language planning
  • The discursive bias and minority language communities
  • The need for complementary efforts in language planning
  • Sociological theory and minority language sustainability
  • Challenges to minority language diversity and post-modern culture

Organisations working in this field who wish to have a stall at the conference should contact fios@soillse.ac.uk in the first instance.



The conference will be held at the WILT complex at the beautiful University of Glasgow.

More information on how to get to the University of Glasgow can be found here.


The conference will take place June 6-8th 2016.  The conference programme is available here.

Depending on interest, there is the possibility of scheduling a sightseeing trip for June 9th 2016.

The social progamme for the conference is available here.

Civic Reception

Kindly hosted by Glasgow City Council, this will be held in the City Chambers on the evening of June 6th.


We kindly ask all participants to register before 01/05/2016. To register for the conference, please follow these steps:

  1. Please go to this Eventbrite page to pay the registration fee (£125, which includes conference pack, tea/coffee breaks, lunches, and conference dinner followed by a cèilidh)
  2. After you have paid the registration fee, please fill in your details on this Google form.


Information on university accommodation can be found here.

This link is a good list of other accommodation options in Glasgow and in particular, in the West End of the city, which is where the university is located. As a rough guide, hotels and B&Bs in the West End typically are about a twenty minute walk from the university while accommodation in the city centre generally is about a twenty-minute bus ride/ten minute subway ride.  If looking in the West End, post codes G11 and G3 tend to be near the university, but do check on the map.  (As well, some of these listings are far outside the city centre/West End of Glasgow, so be sure to check the location before you book).

Research in the Islands: Interview

April 20, 2016


Soillse teams are now working in Scalpay, Grimsay, and Eriskay on the Islands Gaelic Research Project. Here’s Gordon Cameron talking about what they’re doing, first in English on the overall project, and then in Gaelic on what he’s been doing in Eriskay.

New Project – Gaelic Corpus Development

April 13, 2016

A new project has commenced under the direction of Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh at the University of Glasgow and under the Soillse banner.


Read more here.


Researchers in the Islands: Eriskay, Grimsay, Scalpay

March 31, 2016

The Islands Gaelic Research Project takes a step forward in April with researchers going from house to house in Eriskay, Grimsay, and Scalpay. Please click on the posters below for further information.

scalpposter Grimposter  Erisposter

Conference Registration Open

March 4, 2016

We kindly ask all participants to register for the June conference before 01/05/2016. To register for the conference, please follow these steps:

  1. Please go to this Eventbrite page to pay the registration fee (£125, which includes conference pack, tea/coffee breaks, lunches, and conference dinner followed by a cèilidh)
  2. After you have paid the registration fee, please fill in your details on this Google form.



Lecture by Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin

March 2, 2016

“Rethinking Our Condition: Language Minorities in Globalised Modernity”

Conchúr Ó Giollagáin 19.2.16correctedcropped

In his inaugural lecture, on 19/04/16, Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin will offer a reappraisal of the minority language condition from the joint perspective of local and global challenges. He examines how modernity has influenced our contemporary world in contradictory ways. On the one hand, it has ushered in enormous socio-cultural change which has manifested itself chiefly as metropolitan diversity. On the other hand, this trajectory of change has also witnessed the emergence of a destabilising dynamic which now threatens the survival of the minority language groups constituting much of the world’s cultural diversity. In the context of contemporary scholarship on the Celtic languages, he questions whether the current academic configuration of Celtic Studies, an exploration of past cultural heritage wedded to utopian cosmopolitan sociolinguistics, offers the most suitable intellectual basis for current challenges. Conchúr sets out the need for a different response to current circumstances and outlines an alternative approach to addressing the challenges of the minority language condition.

Further information here.