Home > CALL, Community, Research, UGC, Video > Scotland’s Gaelic College: an Okinawan take

Scotland’s Gaelic College: an Okinawan take

Okinawandumptitle (2)

ソールモールオスタイク んでぃいーる スコットランド ぬ ゲーリック 大学に ちーてぃ うちなーぐち っし  うんぬきやびら。

(“Nach bruidhinn sinn mu dheidhinn Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Colaiste Ghàidhlig na h-Alba, ann an Uidsianàguidsidh – cànan Okinawa.”)

At Guthan nan Eilean we centre our Gaelic attention on the Hebridean islands where the language is still most widely spoken, while reaching out to a worldwide community of interest. We believe this provides a firmly grounded platform, rooted in day-to-day vernacular practice, on which to build links and relationships with other linguistic communities who may be facing similar challenges, transcending nationally drawn boundaries of frequently debatable relevance or disputed authority for those who actually speak the languages in question.

So we’re delighted now to add Okinawan – another island language at apparent risk of societal desuetude – to our list of Other Tongues in which our films have been re-purposed. Here, Tomoko Arakaki of the Okinawa Christian University has provided a fresh voiceover for our short documentary film about Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. This was first made in Gaelic and English for Series 2 Generations, with a Breton version following more recently. It’s a source of pleasure and encouragement to us to make this concrete and practical new link across seas and continents, with a view to sharing news and ideas in a manner as suggested, for example, in the “Two Lands Many Languages” film which was shot mainly in Meghalaya during the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Hebridean communities have functioned bilingually for generations, with the balance only tipping drastically in a majoritised monocultural direction within the living memory of current residents – an experience commonly shared in similar contexts across the world. If Island Voices has anything to offer in terms of redressing that imbalance, we’re more than happy to share lessons from our Gaelic work with others.

Producing an accompanying Clilstore transcript – at https://clilstore.eu/cs/9722 – presented various challenges, not least the lack of an appropriate online dictionary for Okinawan. Fortunately, Caoimhín Ó Donnaíle at SMO has already been putting his mind to this issue in relation to the “Mediating Multilingualism” project led by the UHI Language Sciences Institute. We can look forward to extending his “Custom Wordlist” approach beyond Okinawan to Indian and Jamaican languages in the near future. Watch this space!

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, UGC, Video

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