You’re learning Scottish Gaelic, and you need to buy a dictionary. Which one is best for you? No dictionary is perfect, but there are good and bad Gaelic dictionaries out there. Sometimes a dictionary that looks shiny and new is actually obsolete.
I’ve informally surveyed some Gaelic language teachers and scholars in Nova Scotia and Scotland on which dictionaries they prefer. Based on their experience and my own, I’ll recommend which dictionaries to spend your precious money on, which ones to avoid, and the best way to use a dictionary as a tool for learning.
If you’re learning Gaelic, it’s helpful to keep track of what other folks are doing out there so you don’t develop tunnel vision about the language community. One interesting learning resource under development is the eDIL, the electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language. I interviewed Dr. Sharon Arbuthnot about the dictionary project. What does an Irish dictionary have to do with Scottish Gaelic? Read on!
Minority languages like Scottish Gaelic got 99 problems and information technology is one. Linguistically speaking, information technology (IT) is dominated by English. How on earth can minority language users carve out a space for their own technology needs and desires without having to use English or another dominant language? How can IT be used in minority-language immersion teaching, for example, if the interface is English? Who will identify the IT needs and desires of minority language users and work to fulfill them?
While you might expect nonprofit or educational organizations to be doing the work, quite a lot of this effort is individual. Here I present an interview with Michael Bauer, the human being behind many recent achievements and efforts in the world of Scottish Gaelic-medium IT. He gives his insights on the challenges of Gaelic software localization and the problems of English-Gaelic machine translation.