Scottish Gaelic

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Scottish Gaelic

 

the language of the Scots who inhabit the northern (mountainous) part of Scotland and the islands of the Hebrides. It belongs, along with Irish and Manx, to the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. Scottish Gaelic is a descendant of the language of the Irish who began to migrate to Scotland in the fifth century A.D. It began to separate from Irish only in the 13th century. Records from the 11th to the 15th century do not differ linguistically from those of the Irish. One of the oldest records in Scottish Gaelic proper is the Book of the Dean of Lismore, which dates from the early 16th century. Modern Scottish Gaelic is split into two dialect areas—the eastern and the western. The written literary language, which took shape during the 18th and early 19th centuries, is extremely conservative; consequently, literary works in Scottish Gaelic are written in the dialects with a more or less standardized orthography. Scottish Gaelic differs from Irish Gaelic in phonetics, its simplification of the noun and verb systems, and the presence of Scandinavian lexical items. According to the 1961 census, Scottish Gaelic was spoken by approximately 80.000 people: however, only approximately 1,000 were monolingual Scottish Gaelic speakers.

REFERENCES

Stewart, A. Elements of Gaelic Grammar. 5th ed. Edinburgh. 1901.
Dwelly, E. The Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary, 5th ed. Glasgow, 1949.

A. A. KOROLEV

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