WHY develop a Gaelic Language Plan?

You might have received notification from  Bòrd na Gàidhlig to prepare a statutory Gaelic language plan - or you may have become interested in developing a plan or language policy voluntarily. In either case, it is necessary to have understanding of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act  2005. Reference should also be made to two key publications - "Guidance on the Development of Gaelic Language Plans" and the "National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17" 

The security and future growth of Gaelic depends upon cooperation and collaboration at every level. Gaelic is one of Scotland's oldest indigenous languages still spoken; it is also a modern, vibrant, irreplaceable language in a fragile position. Gaelic has notably survived hundreds of years of economic hardship and population loss, as well as official neglect. The 2005 Act responded to this reality and established Bòrd na Gàidhlig as a public body that functions with "a view to securing the status of Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language". The Bòrd is the primary agency responsible for promoting the language and guiding it toward a sustainable future – a responsibility which is shared across Scotland through delegation and support.

The Bòrd advises the Scottish government and other agencies on Gaelic issues and on the provision of Gaelic Medium Education in Scotland. The Act also tasks the Bòrd with the publication of a national Gaelic language plan at least every 5 years. In addition, the Bòrd is empowered to require public authorities to develop and publish Gaelic language plans.


The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005

The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 is a piece of legislation unique in the history of Scotland. It follows on from a foundation of European measures that secures the status and respects the rights of minority language users in local, regional, national and international contexts, including:

Welsh and Irish are amongst the other languages protected by these statutes, but there are many others: Catalan (spoken in parts of Spain and France), Basque (in Spain and France), Provencal (France) and Sami (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia), for example.