Learn to speak Gaelic

Outer Hebrides


Mainly spoken in the Highlands and Islands, around 60,000 people living in Scotland now speak the Gaelic language. Thought to be brought over from Ireland, the language spread throughout the historical Kingdom of Alba to become the founding language of Scotland. Its prominence dwindled due to the shameful Highland Clearances; Gaelic speakers were persecuted throughout the centuries to diminish national unity and stamp out Scottish culture.

Gaelic is now being kept alive through an incredibly proud collection of people who can be found throughout Scotland and countries including New Zealand and Australia, with a large diaspora in Nova Scotia, Canada. The Gaelic community has had a lasting impact on Scotland, birthing many things we associate with Scotland today, including the kilt, bagpipes, Highland games and whisky. Whether you know it or not, you have been exposed to the legacy of the Gaelic language. From VisitScotland, whisky comes from uisge-beatha (whiskybae), meaning the ‘water of life.’

Today, people learn Gaelic to celebrate Scotland’s past, enjoying something that was very nearly lost forever. Learning Gaelic will open up centuries of literature, arts, and folklore, giving you an insight into the culture of a nation that can’t be obtained without speaking the language. You can use the world’s most popular language-learning tool to begin your Scottish Gaelic journey; taking as little as five minutes of your day, Duolingo will enable you to step into the history of a nation. For those who want to take a more intensive approach to Gaelic, the astonishing  Ann Desseyn offers multiple options to guide you, which can be found on her website.