A point to consider is that there is no place in Ontario (to my admittedly
limited knowledge) where Gaelic is a community language, in the sense that a
community exists where Gaelic is or until recently was the first language of
many people, such as Alec McDonald. Gaelic still is a community language in
that sense in Cape Breton, though the Gaelic community is small.
Alec McDonald's death is a stark reminder of the fragility of Gaelic, both
in Scotland and North America. Yet I would hope that his obvious love for
his language will continue to encourage others to learn it, speak it and
keep it alive.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scottish Gaelic Language beginners forum
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Neil MacEwan
> Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 1:39 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Death of Last Native Speaker in Ontario
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "R Bell" <[log in to unmask]>
> > Thank you very much for forwarding this... It made for good
> (but slightly
> > depressing reading.) Somewhere I've heard that Ontario has more Gaidhlig
> > speakers than Nova Scotia... I take it that factors in learners and
> > immigrants too.
> I really have no idea but I suppose it's possible -- certainly
> given the much greater population of Ontario and higher
> proportion of educated people there are almost certainly more
> learners in that province (if you don't count schoolchildren).
> Gaelic-speaking immigrants would include Cape Bretoners
> as well as Hebrideans.
> But on the other hand the Gaelic-speakers who do remain in
> Cape Breton are much more concentrated together, and the
> language is more culturally influential in the smaller towns and
> villages on the island than it is anywhere else in North America --
> at least for the time being.
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