Scottish Gaelic dialectology: A preliminary assessment of the Survey of the Gaelic Dialects of Scotland

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This essay outlines the current state of Scottish Gaelic dialect study, with a focus on the contributions of the published Survey of the Gaelic Dialects of Scotland [Ó Dochartaigh, C. (Ed.), 1994-1997. Survey of the Gaelic Dialects of Scotland. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 5 vols. Dublin] and the archival resources upon which that publication is based. Although the SGDS provides a wealth of transcribed phonetic detail, there is still an urgent need for information on lexical, morphological, and syntactic variation in Scottish Gaelic. In addition it is proposed that the Survey's extensive archives, held at Edinburgh University, from the foundation for a concerted and on-going effort at assembling a larger archival resource on contemporary Scottish Gaelic dialect data for future analytic work, with a view to developing a searchable electronic archive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2012-2022
Number of pages11
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The E-MELD research program, and its affiliated website [Electronic Metastructure for Endangered Languages Data,] is a project funded by the National Science Foundation, bringing together linguists and anthropologists from a variety of backgrounds to establish standards for archiving and presenting language data, and to promote such standards across the international community of linguists. Although this project focuses on the immediate concerns of those working on endangered languages, the development of discipline-wide ‘‘best practices’’ will be valuable to all linguists working with archival sources of linguistic data, of any type: here, ‘‘archival sources’’ may refer to your own dog-eared notebooks of transcriptions; to your own tapes of conversations or elicitation sessions; or to scratchy recordings on wax cylinders from another century. Most linguists working on endangered or minority languages are crucially aware of the value of these resources for future generations, but how many of us think about what we will do with our notes after they have served our immediate purposes?

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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