geographic

Geographic Distribution of the Gaelic Languages

bleacliath:

A brief history of the Gaelic languages: Middle Irish spread into Scotland and the Isle of Man about 1000 years ago and has since developed into Scottish Gaelic, Manx and Modern Irish, though all are somewhat mutually intelligible (like Spanish and Catalan).

In the Republic of Ireland, Irish is a compulsory subject for 14 year’s of education up until college/university. While 41% of Irish people ticked Yes to the question Can you speak Irish? on the 2011 census, the reality is that only 4.4% use it outside the education system on a regular basis. This 41% figure is a reflection of Irish people’s aspirations for the language rather than ability. I would guess that no more than 10% of the population could actually hold a conversation in Irish, if even.

The situation in Scotland is worrying as they don’t have the huge popular and political backing like Irish does. And Manx died out as a native language 40 years ago but it’s seeing a recent revival with Manx-medium education.

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Last month I travelled to Panama to make a short film for National Geographic about a sloth rescue organisation called APPC. The film is now ready and I’m really pleased with the result. As well as all the usual gorgeous baby sloths it shows a less cuddly side to adult sloths, which serves as a reminder why they should never be kept as pets.

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