This handbook reveals and
explains the many and varied facets that make up a Gaelic In The Home
apropos, why we need such strategies, right through to what comes next,
once one has reached the desired Gaelic fluency.
Gaelic In The
Home Course client groups are those couples considering parenthood,
expectant parents, grandparents, neighbours, friends, relations, and
those who wish to acquire a Gaelic conversational fluency, all of which
occurs in this model in an uninterrupted 9 weeks block. Overall the
purpose of which is to increase the number of Gaelic speakers Scotland
One of the unique features of this course, is that the work is carried
out in a setting that
replicates a home, thus taking in all the tasks, with the associated
items, articles, utensils etc. that come with the territory.
interesting feature is that in this initial phase there is absolutely no
reading, writing, grammar or translation for a student to grapple with.
Yet another highly important
aspect of a Gaelic In The Home Course is the team work format, which
means no top student, no worse student; team centred thinking ensures
that there are only good students, ready and willing to help others make
As one would expect, in such a stress free
environment there is always a great deal of fun and enjoyment to be had, thus
progress is swiftly made by one and all.
Finally, my thanks to Derek
Farber for helping compile this material and for putting it into a
presentable and accessible format.
Fionnlagh M. Macleoid
11 Campbell Street
MORAY AB56 1TJ
…01542-836322 Fax …01542-836402
GAELIC IN THE HOME COURSE
Who are they for?
The Gaelic In The Home Course is
primarily for any adult over 18 years of age who wishes to acquire a
conversational Gaelic fluency in the shortest time possible.
Irrespective of whether one is a complete beginner or highly fluent,
these courses have something to offer wherever one is on the learning
The client groups
The client groups are made up of
expectant parents, couples considering parenthood, parents of newly born
children, grandparents, relations, friends, neighbours, pre-school
staff, parents with children up to the age of eighteen years and those
who simply wish to acquire the Gaelic fluency on offer. Whichever group
one belongs to, the big picture objective is for everyone to come away
with a command of every day functional Gaelic that comes as close as
possible to being a native Gaelic speaker.
Why Gaelic In The Home Courses
are so well-liked
Gaelic In The Home Courses are accessible and
supremely user-friendly, inasmuch as they contain no reading, writing,
grammar or translation elements for a student to contend with in this
initial stage. Thus one can make speedy progress, with the minimum of
The “Gaelic only
rule” ambience also gives an impetus to the students to gain the
language speedily, while at the same time giving Gaelic status in the
eyes of students.
As one would expect, the Gaelic In The Home Course
learning environment is based on a home scenario with most of the
appropriate props, items, articles and such like, that one is likely to
The benefit of
having all these items etc. available, is that they help students
identify, name and eventually use in conversation.
Students gaining a fluency
through a home based scenario, can then in the comfort of their home,
quickly replicate and practice what they have covered during the
learning sessions and in doing so, help themselves considerably in
driving their own progress forward.
The team work ethos found on all
Gaelic In The Home Courses means that no one has to be the top student
or by association, the worst student either; everyone supports everyone
else. Such an atmosphere without pressure of this kind, always seems to
inject a great deal of fun and enjoyment among the participants.
Although most Gaelic In The Home
Courses start with beginners, very soon into the first session, almost
all the students can say some Gaelic words. In fact, within not too long
a period, a novice will be able to converse with fluent speakers albeit,
very stiltingly at first, which in itself moves a learner’s progress
forward no end.
After many years of research,
trial and error and experience, we have found it to be an undeniable
truth, that if Gaelic is to be passed on from one generation to another,
it must begin with children and as early as possible in their lives. To
leave it until later on and the intergenerational transmission battle is
thrust of the work is to first equip the relevant client groups with a
high degree of language fluency, who will then be able with skill and
commitment, pass Gaelic onto their child(ren) in the most natural of
ways and in the most conducive of atmospheres for young children; namely
the family home environment.
To this end Gaelic In The Home
Courses have a key role to play inasmuch as they endow those found in
the client groups with the language wherewithal to help pass Gaelic onto
the next generation.
The Gaelic In
The Home Course format
A Gaelic In The Home Course seeks to bring an adult
to a Gaelic language conversation fluency in full time, uninterrupted 9
week blocks; this means five all day sessions per week. One of the
unique features of this course, is its flexibility, whereby, variations
to this schedule can easily be made to suit whatever lifestyle students
fact to ponder, is that in 9 week blocks, such courses are both
financially competitive and highly cost effective.
Through thirty 8-16 hour themes
that all have at their heart, the home and all the usual everyday tasks
that most of us undertake in keeping such an establishment going.
Also found within the thirty
themes are a number, that take one out into the wider community; the
shops, stores, doctors, dentists, visiting friends or relations,
walking, in a car, on the bus, train etc.
What will Gaelic In The Home
Throughout this document we have in some detail
described what one may get from participating on a Gaelic In The Home
Course. Notwithstanding, we have drawn up a simple bullet point list of
some of the main benefits.
The acquisition of everyday conversational Gaelic
fluency appropriate to the home, one’s lifestyle and being out and about
in the wider community. Then again, the language used by tutors on
Gaelic In The Home Courses is very different from that found in Gaelic
medium schools, colleges etc.: not better or worse, simply different.
Acting as a catalyst in bringing
a whole family to a Gaelic speaking fluency.
Providing strategies whereby
adults and then their children and wider family members feel confident
and at ease in using Gaelic through activities and their daily lives.
Having decided to embrace Gaelic
in one’s life, then being given the range, depth, richness, vocabulary
etc., of the language, in order to make this as all embracing as
Create a positively encouraging scenario from which
intergenerational transmission can grow strong and flourish.
What is different about Gaelic
In The Home Courses
Speedy, painless, flexible language acquisition
without reading and writing, grammar and translation tasks etc.
Team-centred, means no best or
worst student, lots of help and support from and for each team member as
well as the tutor, so that everyone wins. Such a positive environment
naturally and strongly motivates, while at the same time, drawing forth
lots of fun and enjoyment from all participants.
“hands on” site based language learning, with a great deal of role play
strategy used throughout the proceedings, will familiarise students with
the work when trying out things in their own home.
Gaelic dialects incorporated,
indeed enthusiastically encouraged for bringing in added richness and
All Gaelic In The Home Courses have at their heart
the Total Immersion Plus (TIP) strategies. In doing so, they not only
bring comprehensive language to a student, they also do the job, quickly
and effectively, thus boredom with the time taken to acquire the fluency
As was stated earlier, the “Gaelic only rule” gives
an impetus to the students in gaining the language as quickly as
possible, while at the same time giving Gaelic status in the eyes of
students. It may seem a harsh and uncompromising stance from which to
begin what will be quite a difficult task, especially in the early
stages. However, it is in this precise environment that a student finds
the strongest and most dynamic motivation in picking up the language
quickly and decisively; an absolutely essential part of the learning
As expected and remembering that the Gaelic In The
Home Course learning model is based on a home with appropriate props,
items, articles etc., that one would find there; all of which is in the
cause of helping a student identify, name, imprint and eventually use
with ease and confidence in conversation.
With this in mind, it is then, most necessary that
a course tutor has a large and diverse range of items, articles,
utensils, props etc. Remembering that the tutor who has made the
greatest effort in making their range of props etc. the most exciting,
stimulating and imaginative, generally has the least bored, most
progressive students to enjoy and inspire.
Why we need Gaelic In The Home Courses
Other than the ongoing Taic/CNSA
Gaelic In The Home Courses there are no courses that serve parents and
other adults in acquiring an everyday, ordinary lifestyle conversational
Gaelic. Moreover, one of the unique features of these courses is that
they are all centred
around a home setting with all that entails. There is also a venturing
out into the wider community regarding visiting, social activities,
shopping, doctors, dentists, friends etc, equipped with Gaelic that will
allow one to make progress smoothly and effectively.
Within the Gaelic speaking
community there is a large number of fluent Gaelic speakers, especially
in the over 40 year old age group who cannot read and write in Gaelic. Thus they are denied an easily and accessible way
of passing the language onto the next generation, except by way of
embracing a Gaelic In The Home Course.
A great many parents have
approached Taic/CNSA saying that all too many language learning courses
do not provide them with a range of Gaelic that they could use in their
own home, with their children or out and about.
True, language courses related
to holidays, work and formal schooling abound. However, if a parent
wants to engage in conversation with their two year old child regarding
dressing, putting on shoes, socks, putting on a jacket, buttoning a
shirt etc., there is virtually nothing on offer. For all this type of
thing, the language range is inadequate, apart from Gaelic In The Home
Courses which do provide exactly this type of language, in great depth
and in the widest variation.
Children are the life blood and
future of Gaelic, for they are the ones who, with support and
encouragement, will carry it forward. And children being children,
naturally, ask their parents many, many questions about the world they
live in. Consequently if parents cannot provide a Gaelic answer that
meets their child’s language needs, one can be certain that it will be
abandoned very soon, for a language that does provide answers.
Gaelic In The
Home Courses find a logical place in our thinking due to our growing
awareness that the intergenerational transmission habit will not break
out spontaneously in families. If parents are to proceed and in a well
prepared way for their children to become Gaelic speaking by the age of
three years, much work will have to be undertaken by them. For one
thing, they will have to begin the process before the child is born or
very soon afterwards; leaving such work till later on, merely makes the
job harder, to the point where the space before the three year deadline
is so short, as to make it impossible to meet.
Gaelic In The Home Course
In 1985 Taic/CNSA created the first Family Language
Plan document for five very good reasons.
We were convinced that if
parents wanted their children to grow up fluent both in Gaelic and
English, it would then be essential for them to plan strategically for
the implementation and subsequent use of Gaelic, both in the home and
the wider world.
Despite the growing amount of information regarding
language learning, parents and children were and still are, largely at
sea as to how to handle the language strategy in any one of the
A home where both parents are Gaelic speakers.
A home where one parent is a fluent Gaelic speaker.
A home where neither parent speaks any Gaelic
Ground rules governing language use must be laid
down and then always adhered to when using the two languages. This is
absolutely essential in order for a child to feel secure and therefore
confident in knowing that the language they are using at any time is the
It is important that parents when applying The
Family Language Plan maintain a strong thread of consistency throughout
the language strategies they use with the child. If consistency is not
maintained parents will be left with a child who speaks only English and
no Gaelic whatsoever.
Before the child is born or as
soon as possible after the birth, is the best time for putting The
Family Language Plan into practice. The timing of which is crucial, for
it can be difficult to change the language spoken to a child, once a
pattern is established.
An unexpected additionality role of The Family
Language Plan is in the providing of another important source from where
fluent Gaelic speaking children within the birth to three years age
range can be found.
What the development of the above also revealed was
that the Gaelic to be used at home and with one’s child and then out in
wider community, lacked range, diversity and application to these three
Hence the need
for and subsequent birth of Gaelic In The Home Courses, providing as it
does very effectively, a comprehensive amount of Gaelic that a family
would use in their daily lives.
This development in turn saw the creation of Altram
Courses which added yet add another much needed dimension to a families’
The four fundamental elements of
an Altram Course are:
Focusing on parents who have a child up to the age
of three years with a highly functional range of Gaelic.
Easy to use themes built around
familiar daily tasks and experiences that parents encounter in their
home and out and about in the community.
On another level, enabling
parents to engage with their baby or very young child, by way of a
meaningful range of intimate Gaelic language of affection; still a
highly unique and unusual feature to be found in language leaning
The client groups are made up of expectant parents,
those considering parenthood, pre-school staff, grandparents, relations,
friends, neighbours and parents of children from birth to three years.
The various stages students go
through on the road to a Gaelic fluency
All students are obliged to
attend a Student Information Meeting prior to joining a Gaelic In The
Home Course or Altram Course.
Moreover, within this new learning method, the
Student Information Meeting is essential, as it contains explanations,
guidance and information that makes language acquisition better
understood and accordingly, progress is made that much quicker.
The information meeting will
include the following subjects:
The Gaelic Declaration
The Gaelic Only Rule
The course and how it works
Why the course focuses on the spoken word
Non verbal communication
The stages of learning Gaelic for a student
Practising Gaelic at home
How students can help themselves
Fluent Gaelic speakers
Question & answers
The way ahead
The various stages apropos a 9
week block course
Using words, phrases and short sentences that have
been learnt by way of repetition, firstly with the tutor and then on
A student feeling very overwhelmed by the intensity
of the learning process and the lack of understanding, leading to
extreme tiredness by the end of the day long session. Discomfort and
frustration are also factors in these early days; it is somewhat
unfortunate to feel this way, however, it is absolutely essential, for
such feelings are most beneficial, inasmuch as they act as triggers for
the “moving to Gaelic as quickly as possible” process to be truly
Moving on from the above and believe it or not, a
student will now begin and quite quickly too, understand some Gaelic.
Also occurring at this stage a student will very often reply to a
question with the Gaelic Tha and Chan eil.
Phrases and short sentences heard often enough will
be remembered and then repeated quite easily.
At this stage a student’s
progress frequently becomes uneven, as they will most likely hit the
first of many plateaus, resulting in them feeling that they are going
nowhere or even backwards. Then all of a sudden a great progressive leap
forward is made and the sun comes out.
A student will begin
internalising the language and stop translating from English to Gaelic
and vice versa.
Words, phrases, simple sentences and short
conversations now come unevenly, sometimes in chunks as understanding
A breakthrough to conversation in Gaelic with the
Themes helping to enrich vocabulary and strengthen fluency, while gap
filling continues as does the making of lots of errors.
Student now able to ask and
answer questions without too much difficulty.
Student feeling confident in
their Gaelic fluency and able to converse quite comfortably with the
tutor and other students.
Where opportunity exists meeting and talking with
fluent speakers from other sources, will be both rewarding and
beneficial to a student’s language skills.
A continued increase in a
student’s Gaelic vocabulary, phrasing, sentence building, use of idioms
and interaction with other fluent and native Gaelic speakers. In
addition, on courses where there is a large proportion of fluent
speakers as helpers or among the student body, progress can be made even
The next steps
Of course, to be a fully rounded
Gaelic speaker, one must now embark on learning to read and write in
Gaelic, which in turn means, joining an appropriate course.
Also certainly worth considering
is the joining of a Gaelic activity group, that are now growing in
number around Scotland. If one has a hobby, interest, skill etc. there
may be a group of other likeminded Gaelic speakers to be sought out.
If there are no groups
around, why not make contact with some other Gaelic speakers and start a
Gaelic activity group of your own choosing.
After all there is no point, if after having spent
so much time and effort in gaining a Gaelic fluency, to then have no one
to share it with.
Let us not forget, that it is an awful waste of
student’s skills if it finds no expression; it doesn’t do much for
expanding the pool of fluent Gaelic speakers either.
Points worth considering
Learning Gaelic through action
and activity is very effective
Language of endearment essential
for close family intimacy
All tutors undergo 10 days of personal training
Because translating from one
language to another is such a major drawback to progress, a special
section apropos explanation, problems and solutions may be found in the
handbooks mentioned below.
A great deal more highly relevant and useful
information for a student may be found in the Taic/CNSA
Immersion Plus For Adults The Student’s Handbook 7(G)
Language Plan 5(G).
For more information or
enrolling on a Gaelic In The Home Course Contact:
Taic/CNSA by email firstname.lastname@example.org or