Dè an t-ainm a th' ort?/What is your name?
Updated: Aug 3
Orchid as it turns out. Who would have thought that such an exotic sounding plant actually lives and grows in the wild here, in the equally striking Highlands of Scotland? And then there is my heading why is it bilingual? Well, after my last post looked at rewilding or giving nature a hand, I thought it only right that I look at that other thread that flows through my life. This also needs as much help as it can get otherwise it too with be tramped on, devastated and tossed aside. Yet it streams through Scotland, her culture, her music, her songs and her stories. It adds colour and depth. It grabs hold of your heart strings. Its essence is in the hills we walk, the landscape that surrounds us and the names we call ourselves, it too has its ‘roots in the soil’. It was a breath away, on the brink of extinction, educated out of the populace and hounded out of its people. It has taken years to try and right the wrong done to it. We have now in the next generation proud, motivated parents who use the language in everyday life. But it was from their parent’s generation mostly that helped get it this far. Their hard work, their doggedness, their ability to find and locate grants, their pressure that challenged attitudes and formed policies that would help. Their pure hard determination not to let it die. And like nature it has started to 're-wild' itself outside its normal foundations. What does that mean exactly? Well, I asked a question to do with writing on a forum the other day. Nothing to do with language or culture. I gave an example which just happened to include the word Gaelic. A question came back immediately not about my initial query but ‘Did I have Gaelic?’ What was amazing about this person was not the fact they weren’t Scottish, many people outside Scotland value our language greatly. Nor the fact they already have at least three languages. The really impressive thing about this individual was when I mentioned where they would find some Gaelic audio (this is normally one of the first thing learners what to find; somewhere they can hear the language). This person however knew phonetics and didn’t need that kind of help. This person who wanted to learn some more Gaelic was in fact deaf and had learnt all her languages through phonetics. I reckon that is pretty wild and as rare as any orchid. And the heading? Well you may see this on many a Facebook page this month. I thought some of you may like to know what it means and help a little way on that path of restoring one of our richest treasures. Suas leis a ‘Ghàidhlig.