Guth nan Siàrach is a newly constituted grass-roots activism group based on the West Side of Lewis, one of the areas of Scottish Gàidhealtachd with the highest density of Vernacular speakers of Gaelic.
Much has changed bureaucratically in our world in the last few decades, some of it without our prior knowledge or consent. Recent research from UHI, The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community (O’ Giollagain et al, 2020), has confirmed our concerns that Gaelic is on the cusp of moribundity as a community language despite our relatively healthy numbers of Vernacular speakers [See videos on the right].
We now insist that we be recognised as a linguistic and cultural group with our own in-group concerns, rights and expectations, which are ours to own democratically without out-group interference or dominance.
To that end we have established a Comann (akin to a union) which has as its main aim to ensure that any Gaelic Planning that impacts upon our group within our social, educational and geographic context is suited to our needs and not those of out-groups.
We consider that many other groups with an interest in promoting their own interests with regard to Scottish Gaelic are already well-represented. For example, GME Parents can find useful support here at Comunn nam Pàrant, and New speakers can seek information here at the New Speakers Forum. It is our intention to ensure a comparable voice and influence for the Vernacular Gaels of the Western Isles in all language planning discussions and academic research with regard to our mother tongue and its future in Scotland and in the world.
Membership of the group is open to all Vernacular Gaels resident in the islands and not just the West Side of Lewis and is also open to our diaspora of Vernacular speakers, wherever they now reside. You can become an associate member if you do not fall into either of those categories but do support our aims.
You can become a member or supporter by following the links below. If you do not wish to join our supporter list but still wish to learn more, you can visit this site from time to time to download our newsletters as they come available.
Presentation by Academic Director, Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, for the Soillse workshop on the findings of the 2020 "Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community" study, held on 04/03/2021.
Jane, Catriona, Christine, Maggie, and Calum, founding members of new community group Guth nan Siarach on the west side of Lewis, discuss thoughts and exchange views after attending the Soillse workshop of 04/03/21, led by Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin on "New Insights on the Vernacular Gaelic Communities in the Islands".