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Collaborative Project Reaps Rewards for Gaelic

A collaborative project between Faclair na Gàidhlig and Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches (TAD) has resulted in a significant amount of oral material being added to Faclair na Gàidhlig’s corpus.

A pilot study undertaken by the two bodies in 2018 produced a list of over 1,200 Gaelic words and phrases of interest which were sourced from audio recordings on the TAD website  In the most recent phase of the project, some of the source material in which these terms were found was transcribed by the TAD staff. These transcriptions were then assessed by the Faclair na Gàidhlig team to establish what the material could potentially add to the Dictionary.

Commenting on the outcome Alasdair Campbell, a member of Faclair na Gàidhlig’s lexicographical team, said: “Our work with the transcribed Tobar an Dualchais material has shown clearly that it will add significantly to the corpus of Faclair na Gàidhlig, particularly in terms of Gaelic dialects, idiom, registers of speech, cultural material and subject matter which rarely appears in the written record. The relatively small sample of the transcripts studied so far has yielded words that were previously unrecorded in the Faclair na Gàidhlig corpus and modern dictionaries. It has also provided us with new meanings for existing words. The recordings and transcripts allow us to hear and read rich, idiomatic Gaelic in the dialects of the speakers as they tell us of the unusual and the everyday. This project will make sure that the words of those speakers become part of Faclair na Gàidhlig.”

The 76 transcriptions will be made available on the Tobar an Dualchais website and accessible through the online corpus on the Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG) website.

Flòraidh Forrest, Project Director for TAD, commented: “We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Faclair na Gàidhlig on this project. As well as adding to Faclair na Gàidhlig’s corpus, as we work to redevelop the Tobar an Dualchais website, the transcriptions will enable users to explore the language in more depth while listening to different dialects, and this will enhance the user experience. We are very grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for funding assistance and are delighted to announce that we have been successful in securing further funding from the Bòrd so that we can continue with this valuable collaborative work.”

Daibhidh Boag, Director of Language Planning and Community Development at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “Working in partnership is so important when it comes to Gaelic. It enables our community to flourish and strengthen and we are delighted that Faclair na Gàidhlig and Tobar and Dualchais have come together to deliver this excellent project.  The project contributes to the language, heritage and culture and will leave an important legacy for future speakers.”

Faclair na Gàidhlig is scheduled to begin publication online in 2021.

The TAD website currently has over 43,000 recordings of songs, stories, customs, traditions and beliefs in Gaelic, Scots and English. It is anticipated that the new TAD website, which will include transcriptions, will be available in early 2021. If you would like a daily dose of oral heritage be sure to follow Tobar an Dualchais on Facebook and Twitter.

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