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Major Gaelic funding boost announced at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

The First Minister, Alex Salmond, announced more than £2m of funding for Gaelic projects based at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig whilst on a visit to the Gaelic college on Skye on Friday 26 July.

The First Minister revealed that the development of the ground-breaking, authoritative and comprehensive Scottish Gaelic dictionary – Faclair na Gàidhlig – will receive a £2m funding boost through the Scottish Funding Council to help progress the project. Mr Salmond also announced further funding from the Scottish Government, of £100,000 and £25,000 respectively, to support a National Sound Archive for Scotland and for the FilmG 2014, Scotland’s national Gaelic film competition, which aims to develop new talent for Gaelic channel BBC ALBA and produce significant new Gaelic content online.

The National Library of Scotland is working with Tobar an Dualchais, based at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, on the pilot of a sound archive project. The Tobar an Dualchais team has past experience in this field having digitised, catalogued and preserved audio recordings from across Scotland dating back more than 80 years.

MG Alba aims to encourage more young people to engage in Gaelic filmmaking through its annual FilmG competition, which is delivered by Cànan, the multimedia company owned by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. The latest Government funding will support the competition’s training programme which will include schools and community-based sessions on story development, filming and editing and master-classes with prominent actors and filmmakers.

The First Minister said: “The Scottish Government is a strong supporter of our indigenous languages, including Gaelic, and recognises the important cultural and economic benefits that these bring to a vibrant and modern Scotland. We’re committed to working with a range of other public bodies to create a secure future for the Gaelic language. The dictionary initiative will play an important part in that work and I’m delighted that this extra funding has been identified to drive forward the project.

“The work that the Tobar team are doing with the National Library of Scotland on the National Sound Archive certainly is of national importance. The archive will, once complete, allow public access to collections of recordings. Our history is as important as our future and this project will allow people across Scotland and beyond to access these records.

“After five successful years, the FilmG short film competition is now established as one of the country’s best platforms for developing and showcasing Gaelic language films and creative talent and I’m pleased the Scottish Government can again support the training opportunities this year.”

The Dictionary of the Scottish Gaelic Language – Faclair na Gàidhlig – will fully document the Gaelic language and its history by tracing the development of each word from its earliest written form to the present day, and will help to raise the profile of the Gaelic language and heritage. SFC’s £2 million will help to accelerate the process with the recruitment of more staff to compile the dictionary as well as buy the software necessary to support their work.

The compilation of the dictionary is managed by SMO, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Cutlture, in partnership with the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde and aims to produce a historical dictionary of Gaelic comparable in value and status to those available for Scots (Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue) and English (Oxford English Dictionary).                                                                                                                                                                                 

John McClelland, Chair of SFC said: “The Faclair na Gàidhlig project is vital to securing the future of the Gaelic language and an essential resource for people across the world with an interest in Gaelic and Celtic Studies. We are delighted to work in partnership with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on this ambitious project to document the entire Gaelic language.”

Professor Boyd Robertson, Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Convener of the Faclair na Gàidhlig Steering Committee said: “The increased investment by the Scottish Funding Council augmented by the subvention of funding from the Research Councils and the continued funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, recognises the national significance of this foundational project. The award will expedite preparatory work for the dictionary which will, in time, give Gaelic a resource comparable to the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and the Oxford English Dictionary.”

In addition to SFC’s £2 million for the project, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is providing £100,000 and £50,000 is coming from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Bòrd na Gàidhlig has supported the project since 2004 and currently contributes £75,000 per year.

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