Sunday, 12 August 2012

Experiencing Scottish Gaelic at the Olympics

Making sure that Scottish Gaelic played a part in the Greatest Show on Earth is one my best achievements to date in the promotion of the language. I did not have to think twice about it, I just did it.

I started by creating posters in Scottish Gaelic welcoming London 2012 to Glasgow: “Tha Glaschu a‘ cur fàilte air Lunnainn 2012”. They were displayed at the fleet driver training events in the Hilton and were noticed by around 100 Games Makers from all over the UK and as far afield as Latvia and Greece. The Greek and several English Games Makers commented on the posters and took an interest in how Scottish Gaelic plays an important part in Scottish life and more specifically in Glasgow.

My next use of the language was to include a signature line of my name and job title in my Emails. This had a significant impact. It created awareness of Scottish Gaelic and impacted on various people from across the UK: Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Coventry, Cardiff, Weymouth and London.  I recognised that although English and French are the official languages of the Olympic Games, there is no reason whatsoever that any other languages cannot be used in a working capacity.

My other use of the language was to include it in my daily newsletters. From the traditional “Ceud Mìle Fàilte” to the hybrid name of our EuroMillions Lotto Syndicate “Olympiado Ghlaschu”. The newsletters were well read and collected as Games souvenirs. These will have a lasting impact. My own wee legacy for the Games and Scottish Gaelic.

On reflection, I have to wonder why I do not see Gaelic more than I do. It does not take much effort. I only tend to find Scottish Gaelic in places where I would expect to see it. I have yet to be surprised by seeing the language somewhere unexpected or in a context where I have thought “now that was clever”!