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Gaelic Nova Scotia: Tradition in a Modern World An editorial for Gaelic Awareness Month by Seumas Watson

The matter of Gaelic language in Nova Scotia has been a subject of discussion for its advocates for nearly two hundred years. The question most asked is: will Gaelic die? Whatever will be, the Gaelic language yet lives in Nova Scotia and the month of May has been designated to celebrate its achievements.

If one examines the history of Gaelic in Nova Scotia, it is evident that much dedicated work has been done to ensure the language's future. Going back to the turn-of-the-century's Gaelic publication Mac-Talla, we read about a Gaelic environment much different from that of today's. It was during this era that Gaelic suffered the most as it began to decline in usage. The ongoing struggle for its maintenance was initiated by its faithful around that period.

As so often happens, opinions change over time and understanding deepens. It is now apparent that Nova Scotia's Gaelic language has taken a substantial step in the right direction. The new world we live in today is governed by information. Accordingly the Age of Information brings with it many new opportunities for Gaelic and the Gael.

Nova Scotia's Gaelic speaking regions no longer exists in isolation. Every year sees an increase in the number of tourists seeking Gaelic cultural experiences in Nova Scotia. In years gone by, Gaelic's champions bore a vision of fidelity to their forebearers’ traditions. Their contribution has been immeasurable. It is now widely understood that Gaelic culture must also include an economy to continue its progress in modern terms. Gaelic Month proclaims the efforts of the old and new. Lets praise them all and keep up the Gaelic.

Seumas Watson is the manager of Gaelic Interpretation and Education at The Highland Village Museum/An Clachan Gàidhealach.

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