Gaelic in Fife
Fife has a long and rich history of Gaelic, predating the crowning of Malcolm Canmore (a corruption of Ceann mòr meaning chief), at Dunfermline Abbey, and lasting after the Fife Adventurers (a group of 12 men from Fife sent by James VI in an attempt to ‘civilise’ the Macleods of Lewis).
Gaelic in Fife is not widely known of but is well documented, with Fife being mentioned in the Book of Deer, the earliest surviving written Gaelic in Scotland. The vast majority of place names in Fife are Gaelic in origin, indicating not only how long Gaelic was spoken here but that it was the main language of the area for a substantial period of time.
Gaelic in Fife today
The 2011 census showed 87,000 people in Scotland having some Gaelic language skills, an increase on previous census returns. Current estimates would attribute 5% of all Gaelic speakers in Scotland currently living in Fife.
It is worth noting that Gaelic speakers living in the rest of the UK are not recorded.
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Gaelic Language Plan
The Gaelic Plan for Fife 2019-2024 sets out Fife Council's commitment to supporting Gaelic development and equity of language in line with the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.
Gaelic development in Fife is a community-led affair with a range of groups and service providers coming together to create a sustainable network of events, activities and opportunities for our Gaelic community and those looking to learn.
Examples of opportunities regularly taking place across Fife include:
- adult learning classes;
- conversation groups;
- book collections in libraries;
- Bookbug and Gaelic Bookbug gifting;
- early years provision;
- Gaelic learning in schools and;
- more in partnership with Fife Gaelic Development Group and the Partnership Group for Gaelic in Fife.
Gaelic Place names
In some areas, such as Galloway, Fife and Aberdeenshire - the landscape is still one named by Gaelic speakers.
Mouth of Water
Mouth of the Keithing Burn
Headland of Fife
The town was first called Muckross (boar-wood), then Kilrymont (church on the royal mount), then Kilrule (church of St Regulus) and finally St Andrews after the church of St Andrews
Beagan Gàidhlig/ Wee bit Gaelic
How are you?
Ciamar a tha thu?
Tha gu math
Tha mi sgith
Na gabh dragh
na gav drugh
|*Phonetics is a suggestion only and largely depends on your own accent.
- Ainmean-Aite na h-Alba - A free resource that provides a single source of authoritative information on Gaelic forms of place names
- BBC Alba - BBC’s Gaelic pages and provision
- BBC Bitsize - Support for Gaelic learners of all ages
- Bòrd na Gàidhlig - National Gaelic Language Board
- Gaelic4Parents- the website for parents and children interested and involved in Gaelic education
- Learn Gaelic - Online resource for Gaelic learners
- Open University - Free Gaelic short courses
- Walk Highlands - A handy guide to pronunciations’ of place names