Scottish Gaelic is spoken by about 87,000 people in Scotland (Alba), mainly in the Highlands (a' Ghaidhealtachd) and in the Western Isles (Na h-Eileanan an Iar), but also in Glasgow (Glaschu), Edinburgh (Dùn Eideann) and Inverness (Inbhir Nis). There are also small Gaelic-speaking communities in Canada, particularly in Nova Scotia (Alba Nuadh) and on Cape Breton Island (Eilean Cheap Breatainn). Other speakers can be found in Australia (Astràilia), New Zealand (Sealainn Nuadh) and the USA (Na Stàitean Aonaichte).
Scottish Gaelic is closely related to Manx and Irish and was brought to Scotland around the 4th century AD by the Scots from Ireland. Scottish Gaelic was spoken throughout Scotland (apart from small areas in the extreme south-east and north-east) between the 9th and 11th centuries, but began to retreat north and westwards from the 11th century onwards. All Scottish Gaelic dialects are mutually intelligible, and written Irish can be understood to a large extent.
Scottish Gaelic is also distantly related to Welsh (Cymraeg), Cornish (Kernewek) and Breton (Brezhoneg), which form the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages, also known as P-Celtic. The Celtic languages all have a similar grammatical structure, but have relatively little vocabulary in common.
Here is an illustration of some of the differences and similarities between the Celtic languages using the phrases 'What is your name?' and 'My name is ... / I'm ...':
The earliest identifiably texts in Scottish Gaelic are notes in the Book of Deer written in north eastern Scotland in the 12th century, although the existence of a common written Classical Gaelic concealed the extent of the divergence between Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
Scottish Gaelic is written with just 18 letters each of which is named after a tree or shrub. The consonants all have more than one pronunciation depending on their position in a word and which vowels precede or follow them.
|A a||B b||C c||D d||E e||F f||G g||H h||I i|
|L l||M m||N n||O o||P p||R r||S s||T t||U u|
A grave accent on a vowel (Àà, Èè, Ìì, Òò and Ùù) indicates a longer version of the vowel, but these are not considered separate letters
The older Gaelic (uncial) script or "corr litir" has not been used for several centuries in Scotland, and has never been used in printed Gaelic. The uncial script is still used in Ireland on road signs and public notices.
The orthography of Scottish Gaelic was regularised in the late 1970s. For details see: http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/goc/
The second pronunciations, indicate with separate brackets  are used in unstressed syllables.
The connragan leathann or broad consonants are those preceded or followed by a, o or u. Connragan caola or slender consonants are those preceded or followed by i or e. Most consonants have different pronunciations depending on whether they appear at the beginning of a word or elsewhere.
The initial consonants of Gaelic words can change in various contexts. This process is known as "lenition" and involves the addition of an h after the initial letter. The resulting letters are suathaich or fricatives.
Tha gach uile dhuine air a bhreth saor agus co-ionnan ann an urram 's ann an còirichean. Tha iad air am breth le reusan is le cogais agus mar sin bu chòir dhaibh a bhith beò nam measg fhein ann an spiorad bràthaireil.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
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Online Scottish Gaelic lessons
Fuaimean na Gàidhlig - The Sounds of Gaelic
Gaelcast - Podcasts anns a' Ghàidhlig
An Darach - Scottish Gaelic Translation
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