Scottish Gaelic (Scottish Gaelic: Gàidhlig [ˈkaːlɪkʲ] (listen)), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family) native to the Gaels of Scotland. As a Goidelic language, Scottish Gaelic, as well as both Irish and Manx, developed out of Old Irish. It became a distinct spoken language sometime in the 13th century in the Middle Irish period, although a common literary language was shared by the Gaels of both Ireland and Scotland until well into the 17th century. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced especially by Gaelic-language place names.
This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2023)
|Native to||United Kingdom, Canada|
|Region||Scotland; Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia|
|Speakers||57,000 fluent L1 and L2 speakers in Scotland (2011)|
87,000 people in Scotland reported having some Gaelic language ability in 2011; 1,300 fluent in Nova Scotia
|Latin (Scottish Gaelic alphabet)|
Insular script (historically)
Official language in
2011 distribution of Gaelic speakers in Scotland
|Part of a series on the|
|Culture of Scotland|
|Mythology and Folklore|
In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population aged over 3 years old) reported being able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001. The highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides. Nevertheless, there is a language revival, and the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, a dialect known as Canadian Gaelic has been spoken in eastern Canada and Glengarry County, Ontario since the 18th century. In the 2016 national census, nearly 4,000 Canadian residents claimed knowledge of Scottish Gaelic, with a particular concentration in Nova Scotia.
Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the UK Government has ratified, and the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 established a language-development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.