There was an encouraging turnout for last night’s meeting on “Community Voices in a Digital Age”. It started with a presentation by Gordon Wells of some of the easy-to-use online platforms that are integrated in the Guthan nan Eilean project. This included two live demonstrations of the Ipadio audio-recording function which instantaneously converts a telephoned voicemail into a webpage with sound embedded.
First to go was Iain Caimbeul, the project manager for the Soillse inter-university Gaelic research network, who, speaking in Gaelic, explained the main aims of the organisation and what it was keen to explore in partnership with island communities.
In the second test run local resident Volker Labitzke, speaking in English, compared his experiences of learning English and Gaelic, and talked about how he felt his language learning helped him to settle in his new home.
In the second half of the meeting there was open discussion of ideas for supporting language, and particularly Gaelic, development in the community. The new “Guthan: Voices” tab on the Am Pàipear website was cited as a new opportunity for “lifestyle” contributions, in writing or speech, from members of the public. Also highlighted were community drama, community lunches, and community radio, as well as the importance of links to schools and young people, though it was noted that the use of Facebook and Twitter is by no means restricted to the younger generations! The meeting finished with Volker remarking on the enthusiasm within the group, and the desire to see some or all of the ideas mentioned taken forward as a result.
Future meetings may continue to be held in Balivanich, but there is no reason why interested parties in North or South Uist should not prefer to meet closer to their own homes. Or individuals may feel inspired to work on their own! Gordon is happy to assist in any appropriate manner, and can be reached on 07879 644984. It will be interesting to see how, if at all, engagement with the new media affects patterns of language use – a topic which Soillse is keen to explore.
The English component of the Island Voices video collection has been nominated for a prestigious award, the British Council ELTons, sponsored by Cambridge ESOL – “a celebration of excellence in English language teaching (ELT) from around the world.”
Michael Carrier, Head of English Language Innovation at the British Council said: “The ELTons have grown to become an essential fixture in the ELT calendar. They are a wonderful opportunity to showcase innovative ELT products and creative ELT authors from around the world, and we are very proud to be able to bring the ELT community together to celebrate innovation in our profession.”
The Island Voices Videos have been nominated under the Local Innovation category. The full press release is available via this link. Exciting times! We wait to see what May brings…
The “Local Language Patterns” meeting on 6th March generated a lot of ideas for discussion. A common theme that emerged was the sheer amount of mainly voluntary activity that goes on in the community that supports our linguistic diversity. This is a tremendous resource for language learners who successfully develop social networks outside the classroom walls. Particular mention was made of a recent community drama in North Uist, and the fortnightly Grimsay lunches, where both languages are welcome and actively used. In fact, there was more to say than there was proper time for! As a result, a follow-up meeting has been set up:
“Community Voices in a Digital Age”
Monday 26th March, 7.30pm
More ideas are sought at this follow-up meeting at which the new “Guthan: Voices” page on the Am Pàipear website will also be introduced and demonstrated, using the fantastic facilities at Balivanich School. An open invitation is again extended to any interested community member to come along. Please advise Gordon Wells beforehand on 07879 644984. A rough idea of numbers will help with preparing teas and coffees!
Nuair a chleachdas sinn cànan cha bhi sinn daonnan ga bhruidhinn no ga sgrìobhadh. Uaireannan bidh sinn ga sheinn! Ma tha sgeulachd, bàrdachd, no òran agaibh, no aig caraid, nach cuir sibh thugainn e gus an tèid againn uile air a leughadh no a chluinntinn air làrach Pàipear Uibhist? Seo eisimpleir eile dhuibh.
Let’s not forget that a language can be sung, as well as spoken or written. Local Uist residents have been enjoying a series of community singing workshops recently, and sampling some new languages while doing so, including Finnish and Japanese as well as English and Gaelic. And local organiser Catherine Eunson has put together this short movie for Am Pàipear using one of the workshop songs as the soundtrack. See what you can do just with a series of still photographs!
Song, speech, or text. Still or moving pictures – or none at all. Just let us know if you would like to add to our Community Voices in Am Pàipear.