Gaelic Revitalization

Ath-bheòthachadh na Gàidhlig

latest post

Recently a reader in Cape Breton asked me where to find Psalm 23 in Gaelic. If you’re not already part of a Gaelic community or taking classes, it can be hard to find! This post offers a video of us singing the metrical 23rd Psalm, the text of the metrical and regular Bible versions, and more information about the Gaelic psalm singing and the Gaelic Bible, including the new free app and translation.


Here’s a list of free online resources for exploring Gaelic in Nova Scotia. Some of the resources are good for Gaelic language learning, some for learning songs or folklore, and some for history and research projects. I decided to compile this list because although the resources are free and publicly available, you still have to know where to look for them – search engines can’t tell you everything!

I put on my anthropology hat, dust off a previously unpublished conference paper, and look at how different Nova Scotia Gaelic users orient to place in culturally Gaelic ways, in the construction of their Gaelic identities.

Having a wedding ceremony in a Celtic language is fairly rare nowadays, but we were excited to try. Let me tell you the story of My Big Fat Gaelic Wedding (A’ Bhanais Mhór Ghàidhealach Dhà Rì-ribh agam)!

I interview linguist Dr. Conor Quinn about the Ogham alphabet, how it relates to Irish & Gaelic, and what to be aware of if you’re using it in a tattoo.

The English language bears traces of historical contact with Gaelic: we explore Gaelic loanwords in English, and the influence of Gaelic grammar on English dialects.

Start Here

New to Gaelic?

Start with some of the most popular posts:

Nova Scotia Gaelic

Learn a bit about the North American Gaelic diaspora with this two-part series on the top ten differences between Gaelic in Scotland and Nova Scotia.

For Gaelic Learners

If you are learning Scottish Gaelic already, or you’re interested and don’t know where to start, check out these posts!

Gaelic Tattoos

If you’re thinking about getting a Scottish Gaelic tattoo, check out my 2-part series on Gaelic tattoo mistakes, and how to plan a good Gaelic tattoo.

About the Author

Dr. Emily McEwan is a linguistic anthropologist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has been involved with Gaelic in Scotland and Nova Scotia for over 25 years. She specializes in linguistic and cultural revitalization of Scottish Gaelic and other minority languages.
Dr. McEwan is the author of journal articles and book chapters on Gaelic revitalization as well as a number of popular magazine articles on aspects of Gaelic language and culture.

What Is Gaelic?

Gaelic is a Celtic language, also known as Scottish Gaelic or Gàidhlig.

Gaelic is most closely related to Irish (Gaeilge) and Manx Gaelic (Gaelg). Gaelic is also less closely related to the other Celtic languages in current use: Breton (Brezhoneg), Cornish (Kernewek), and Welsh (Cymraeg). Scottish Gaelic is an entirely different language from Scots and Scottish English. Forms of Gaelic has been spoken in Scotland since the 4th or 5th century CE, and in Canada since the 18th century CE. English-speaking government and religious authorities have tried to eliminate Gaelic through military conquest, religious and secular education, discrimination, and intimidation.

What Is Revitalization?

Revitalization is renewing, strengthening, and expanding the use of Gaelic.

Scottish Gaelic has been erased from history to the extent that most people with Gaelic ancestry are unaware of their own linguistic and cultural heritage. Gaelic revitalization is about overcoming the damage done through miseducation, discrimination, and stereotypes, and passing the language and culture on in homes, communities and classrooms to ensure its future use. People are revitalizing Gaelic today in Scotland, Canada, and around the world. Education, design, media, literature, songs, food, religion, celebrations, policy, and scholarship are all different areas of Gaelic revitalization.

Free Resources

Academic Research

Read and follow Emily’s academic work at Many publications can be downloaded as free PDFs.


Watch Emily’s videos about Gaelic revitalization on her YouTube channel, including videos illustrating her article about Gaelic in the Disney/Pixar film “Brave.”