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Gaelic Hebrides point the multilingual way

16/10/2020 Leave a comment

The University of the Highlands and Islands takes inspiration from Island Voices.

Perhaps a surprise to some, but not to us!

Here’s how it all comes back to Benbecula…

The tweeted press release touches on a couple of international projects that are being taken forward by UHI’s Language Sciences Institute. It doesn’t have the space to describe in detail how each builds on experience first gained in the Island Voices/Guthan nan Eilean project, and the closely linked development of Clilstore at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Both of these have grown from originally European Union-funded initiatives.

Island Voices followers who have time and inclination to read a bit more may find the additional information below of interest.

Taisce bheo na nGael/Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal” is a joint Irish/Scottish Gaelic ethnographic retrieval project in which community-based expert speakers are recorded in their own homes. The first stage of the Scottish side of the project was completed shortly before lockdown began. There are now 15 hours of video material with Clilstore transcriptions on the Institute’s website, with access open to all. Project partners are now testing out alternative ways of making recordings online, in case continuing lockdown restrictions mean the Irish recording stage needs to be tackled in a different way.

The same issue has also arisen with the Institute’s “Mediating Multilingualism” project in India, in partnership with Amity University Haryana and the Indian network of Centres for Endangered Languages. With COVID-19 continuing to cause severe disruption to university-based activities there (including fieldwork), the project team has already been trialling the production of home-based recordings for publication on the same, highly flexible, online Clilstore platform. Six Indian languages have been recently added to its linguistic range. Some of these are featured in the short Gaelic film (subtitled in English) “Dà Dhùthaich Iomadh Cànan/Two Lands Many Languages” produced by the UHI team after visiting Shillong in North-East India at the end of 2019 (the International Year of Indigenous Languages). This is also available to view online on the project’s webpage.

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, UGC, Video

Stòras Beò: Alasdair

14/10/2020 Leave a comment

Happy Birthday to Alasdair Crois Mòraig!

Belying Alasdair MacDonald’s youthful looks and demeanour, we’re reliably informed that 14th October 2020 is a particularly special day, marking the completion of his 80th year. We can only wish him many more happy returns!

We mark the day by featuring his own contributions to the Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal collection, in conversation with Archie Campbell. Alasdair has his own inimitable style in rich North Uist Gaelic, and we’re grateful for his daughter Kirsty’s help with one or two words in the transcripts that had left earlier scribes rather scratching their heads…

In the first part, Alasdair talks about his life-time commitment to crofting on North Uist, which his son is now continuing. His first schooling was in Carinish, with his fondest memory being of getting out into the garden, followed by Bayhead, and one year in Inverness, which he didn’t like. On returning to Uist he has worked his croft full-time ever since. He recalls the house-visiting customs of earlier times. His wife, Annie, is from Broughty Ferry, but Alasdair would find it difficult to live somewhere else if it wasn’t by the sea. He’s seen many changes since the time crofters would work with horses, and he explains fertilising and storage practices using seaweed and potatoes.

The wordlinked transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8245

In the second part, Alasdair remarks on developments since the 60s, such as the advent of tractors for horses, the Baleshare causeway, local government reorganisation, and European Union development funds. He also talks about a visit to New Zealand and the evident Gaelic influence in its recent history. The conversation shifts to discussion of changes in the Uist physical environment. Shipwrecks are also talked about and the cargo they might yield. Alasdair explains the history of the name Crois Mòraig, and talks about the strength of Gaelic in the community, and reflects on the rhythm of the seasons experienced through crofting.

The wordlinked transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8246

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Stòras Beò: Dòmhnall

01/10/2020 Leave a comment

We continue our exploration of the North Uist cluster in Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal with Donald MacDonald – “Dòmhnall Caol” – from Baleshare. As we’ll hear, Donald was a well-travelled man in Europe and the Middle East before settling back home to full-time crofting. Talking to Archie Campbell in measured tones, Donald takes his time to give a detailed account of his adventures.

Here, in the first part, Donald recalls his schooling and first job. Going to primary school in Baleshare he found he made faster progress with a Gaelic-speaking teacher. Illness interrupted his education at Bayhead, before he spent 5 years in Inverness, where he encountered some hostility as a “teuchter”, and experienced a distancing from his family. A happier memory was of salmon poaching in Lewis on his way home, where he started work in a bank before being transferred to Glasgow.

A wordlinked transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8249

In the second part, Donald recalls giving up his job in Glasgow, and then poignantly describes how his father saw him off at the quay in Lochmaddy as he set off on his travels round Europe. He recounts various adventures with various travelling companions, before arriving in Turkey. Troubles at the time between Turkey and Greece over Cyprus caused difficulties with the post.

A wordlinked transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8250

In the third and final part, Donald describes his adventures crossing to the West Bank from Syria to spend time in a kibbutz. He was then called home in light of his father’s serious illness, which meant that Donald had to take over responsibility for the croftwork. Working several crofts together he made a living for a while selling cattle and beef, with partners in Elgin and customers in Ardnamurchan. While his father was alive they would also host Gaelic learners. Following a mini-stroke he no longer keeps cattle, but a neighbour continues to use his land.

A wordlinked transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8251

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Stòras Beò: Aonghas

01/09/2020 Leave a comment

Angus MacPhail from Clachan in North Uist is another well-known member of the community who kindly agreed to contribute to the Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal project, often seen on stage in local drama productions, as well as working hard behind the scenes. Here, he talks to Archie Campbell.

In the first part of the conversation he reveals his Boreray ancestry, and talks about his schooling in both North and South Uist before finishing in Inverness, with impressions of hostel life and being regarded as a “teuchter” in the town. Studying Civil Engineering in Aberdeen, he shared lodgings with other islanders, and was involved in inter-university competitions in shinty and through the pipe-band. Work took him to Inverawe first, followed by London (where he met his Irish wife), and then back to Scotland. Always keeping in touch with fellow Gaels, when they moved to Loch Broom they got involved with An Comunn Gàidhealach, and he also volunteered with the Mountain Rescue team.

A Clilstore transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8247

In the second part, Angus talks about their life for 7 years around Applecross and the north-west, with his wife being a district nurse and also doing B&B, in an area where there was still some Gaelic spoken. They then moved back to Uist (via Lewis) when Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was formed. This was a busy time with lots of civil engineering work on roads and new developments. He talks about the development of the strong local Gaelic drama group, and plans for the local history society. Other interests include boating, and his garden – though this was mainly his wife’s work. He discusses the changes he’s seen in Carinish, and his international links through family in Australia and Ireland.

A Clilstore transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8248

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Ceòlas yaz okulu

27/08/2020 Leave a comment

Güney Uist adasında bulunan Daliburgh kasabasinda her sene düzenlenen, İskoç Galcesi ve Galik müziği eğitimi veren Ceòlas yaz okulu hakkında kısa bir belgesel.

The Island Voices project is very grateful to Şirin Bryson for this Turkish version of our Series One documentary on the Ceòlas summer school – yet another addition to our “Other Tongues” collection!

Şirin works as a Pupil Support Assistant at Bun-Sgoil Taobh na Pàirce in Edinburgh, where she puts her Certificate of Higher Education in Gaelic to good use. She also speaks English, in addition to her Turkish. And she’s learned Japanese too. “I believe learning multiple languages has many benefits. One of them being able to connect to the culture where the language comes from.” Cho fìor ‘s a ghabhas!

As usual, we have also created a Clilstore unit for this film, so you can read a wordlinked transcript while you watch and listen to the embedded video: http://multidict.net/cs/8726

Categories: CALL, Community, UGC, Video

Stòras Beò: Gina

01/08/2020 Leave a comment

Another two-way conversation in the Stòras Beò collection. Here, Archie Campbell questions Gina MacDonald on her recollections and opinions on growing up and continuing to live on North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

In the first part, Gina from Claddach Baleshare in North Uist remembers her early schooldays, and a childhood in the Westford Inn. She talks about the prevalence of Gaelic and the difference in English skills between the generations. She completed her schooling in Inverness, and worked in Glasgow for a while before returning to Uist to work in a bank. Then, after retiring from that work, she returned to education to do a BA in Art, and she discusses some of the challenges entailed.

A Clilstore transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8240

In the second part, Gina first shows Archie some of her work from her art course, discussing local environmental and cultural influences and their interaction with memory processes. This leads on to discussing local storytelling experiences. Gina further explains how the family croft has developed, with the associated self-catering accommodation business for returning visitors, and expresses an interest in continuing to work with the active local history society.

A Clilstore transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8241

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Cat’s Cradle Disentangled

30/07/2020 Leave a comment

The Island Voices project allows itself some geographical and linguistic latitude on Twitter. This was particularly evident this month with three separate multilingual threads exploring links and languages beyond the Hebrides. For fear of entanglement they’re collected here to ease reference. If you’re not a Twitter fan you can just click on the wee bird in the images below and then “Show this thread” to access each string independently.

The first (July 15th) recollects posts and recordings documenting the “Mediating Multilingualism” project, led by UHI’s Language Sciences Institute (LSI) with Indian partners, in which Island Voices approaches to community-based video-making are featured.

The second thread (July 23rd) stays with the LSI, focusing in on its development of a multilingual online presence in support of its international projects. This is exemplified both on its own webpages (in four different languages) and through its experimental use of Clilstore (a platform developed in tandem with Island Voices) with a number of new languages.

And lastly, the third thread (July 27th) uses snatched video of cricket in Queen’s Park, Glasgow, to introduce a summer reading list, for those with an interest in social history, that travels “Across Seven Seas and Thirteen Rivers” from “A School in South Uist” to “A Corner of a Foreign Field” – with an intriguing link to ship-jumping in London and New York that brings “Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal” into a multimodal matrix. There may be more than one way of joining the dots…

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Stòras Beò: Catrìona

01/07/2020 Leave a comment

Visitors to the annual Ceòlas summer school in South Uist, among many others with an interest in Gaelic cultural and educational activities, will need little introduction to Catriona MacIntyre. Here she is talking to Archie Campbell for UHI’s project, Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal.

Here, in the first part, Catrìona, from Iochdar in South Uist, recalls happy schooldays, first in Iochdar, then Daliburgh, and finishing in Fort William on the mainland. Having decided on a teaching career she trained in Glasgow, before returning to South Uist for her first job, in Lochboisdale, where she used her Gaelic extensively. On marrying she moved back to Fort William where she worked in a school for twenty years, noticing the close island and Gaelic connections of many in the town and the school.

A Clilstore transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8233

In the second part, Catrìona talks about her seminal involvement in the development of Gaelic Medium Education in Lochaber and neighbouring areas, together with the growth of the Fèis movement at the same time. She enjoyed her peripatetic lifestyle. On retiring home to South Uist, she was involved in supply teaching, and has become closely involved with Ceòlas, the summer school and associated activities, and been involved in teaching Gaelic to adults, for example, for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

A Clilstore transcript is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8235

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Stòras Beò: Seònaid

01/06/2020 3 comments

In amongst the valuable Gaelic social history, Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal interviewer Pàdruig Moireach (Peter Murray) uncovered some interesting new family stories when he talked to his mother, Seònaid (Jessie) – including why she didn’t emigrate to Canada!

In the first part, Jessie, originally from Shawbost, Lewis, talks to Peter about their family history, and how his grandparents actually met and married around the time of the Depression in Detroit, where there was a strong Gaelic community. She tells stories of him jumping ship, and his working conditions and how they differed in America. On returning to Lewis they raised a family on the croft, and Jessie talks of her earliest memories of life on the land, herding the cows and getting home-made butter and cheese, and the food she got at school before they opened a canteen. (You can get a Clilstore transcript here: Unit 8388.)

In the second part, Jessie recalls her schooling and the weak Gaelic component to it, though the language was strong in the playground and the community. Communion practices are also recalled, as well as the role of supernatural tales, and New Year and Hallowe’en customs in a culture where house visits were common. After leaving school at 16 and some work experience, Jessie settled on training for nursing, which took her to Glasgow. Plans to move to Canada were abandoned when she met Peter’s father, and they returned to Lewis, first to Carloway, then Stornoway. Now living in Inverness, she offers thoughts on changes she’s seen in Lewis and the lack of opportunities. She prefers to remember home as it was. (You can get a Clilstore transcript here: Unit 8389.)

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

विंडसर्फिंग – Windsurfing (Hindi version)

27/05/2020 Leave a comment

Ding dong! “लंदन को जाने-वाली ब्रिटिश एयरवेज़ की उड़ान…. British Airways flight to London….”

For those with a keen ear for language, the international departures lounges of airports once provided rich listening, as announcements in multiple languages provided a constant reminder of linguistic diversity across the world. Then came COVID and the lockdowns. Almost overnight, international air travel came to a near-complete halt, and those multilingual moments have turned into ever more distant memories.

But our taste for linguistic adventure lives on, and physical lockdown has not disabled our capacity for creativity and innovation in responding to new communicative challenges, as our contributor Animesh Biswas has recently demonstrated, here and here. Nor is he alone! We now welcome a new addition to our Other Tongues collection with a Hindi version of our Windsurfing film by Rohini Tolsma.

Gordon Wells met Rohini, who is based in the Netherlands, at the 2019 NEHU International Language Fest for Indigenous and Endangered Languages in Shillong. The Netherlands is currently relaxing some of its most stringent lockdown restrictions, but in this exercise Rohini followed the same simple modus operandi as previous recent contributors, recording her voice on her phone, and sending the results to Gordon by Facebook Messenger.

Anyone listening will be struck by the clarity of Rohini’s diction, and may find themselves wondering how her voice somehow feels familiar. Well, if you’ve passed through Heathrow Terminal 5 or any other similar airport lounge, the chances are you have heard her before, as Rohini’s day job is to record the public announcements in Hindi for airports across the world. Island Voices have a Hebridean locus, but a truly international reach!

Here’s the film:

And here’s the wordlinked Clilstore transcript: Unit 8610

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, UGC, Video
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