Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Where are you from?


If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you will know that we are Gaelic speakers and that the boys attend a Gaelic school, where their education is all in Gaelic. They do learn how to read and write in English, but not until their third year of Primary school.


Despite attending a Gaelic school, the fact that they speak Gaelic at home puts them in the minority there. Some parents have chosen to send their children there because they themselves had a parent or grandparent who were Gaelic speakers and they want to bring back the language in their families.


Don't forget that a few generations back it was considered uneducated to speak Gaelic. English was the language of schools and to get ahead in life you were expected to speak English. Because of this belief there were many families who didn't pass the language on to their own children. I have a few friends who have Gaelic speaking parents who didn't speak it to them. These friends now wish that they had been given the chance to learn the language when they were young, as it's a difficult language to learn when you are older.


My parents both spoke Gaelic to us as our first language, and when I started school I had more Gaelic than English. My husband isn't a native speaker, although he knows a little of the language, and it always seemed natural that we would bring our boys up bilingual. I speak to them in Gaelic, he speaks to them in English. From a very early age they know the difference in sounds between the two languages and will naturally speak the correct one to any adult speaking to them.


Anyway, I seem to be digressing from my original point here!


As well as the families at the school who have a Gaelic heritage in previous generations of their families, there are also plenty parents who have chosen to send their children there because they believe in the benefits of a bilingual education. Many of these families also speak more than one language at home. One of the boys in Alasdair's class has an Italian father and a Spanish mother. They both speak to him in their own language and he learns in Gaelic at school!


This week all the children in the school are learning about the different countries that families within the school come from. Would you believe that there are actually 24 different nationalities represented in the school?!


Each class is learning about the countries that some of their classmates' families come from.


David's class of 8 year olds are learning about the United States as the mum of one of the girls in his class (the one pictured with him in the old photo of their first day at school I shared a couple of weeks ago, and who plans to marry him one day) is from the US.


He has been loving learning about the country. Today he told me that France and Germany could fit into Texas. I didn't know this, is it really true?! They have been learning all about baseball and have been playing it in the park beside the school. He has been singing the baseball song, 'Take me out to the ball game' over and over and over!


We have a jigsaw of all the states in the US that my husband bought on a trip there when David was a baby and he has been trying to memorise where all the states are.


He knows a few people from the US, other than his friend's mum, and I told him that some of the people reading my blog were from there. He knows of our friends in Washington State and his friend's mum is from Tenessee. Oh, that's another thing he learned - how to spell Mississippi really fast! But he would really like to know where any other readers are from. And not just those of you reading in the US.


I told him we wouldn't have a list of 24 different countries like there are at his school but he would really love to see where everyone is from.


So, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, how about we help him out and let him know where you are from with a little comment?


Near or far, he's curious as to how far across the globe people are reading about his multi national Gaelic speaking school!


Thank you!



  1. I think this sounds like a great class project and personal interest your son is taking! I love learning about other countries. While I've lived in many states in the U.S. (east coast to west coast and in between!) I currently reside in the state of Arkansas. Next door neighbor to the states of Oklahoma, Mississippi (like your son learned to spell!) and Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee! - R

  2. Denver, Colorado! Louise & Mike

  3. Just down the road in Falkirk! Sorry it's not exciting :-)

  4. That sounds like a fun project. Not very exotic I am afraid-we live in Pitmedden which is in Aberdeenshire. Not much Gaelic speaking in this part of the world-we have our own Doric, which is a dialect as opposed to a language, but confusing enough to those who don't speak it! I would love to learn Gaelic though :D)

  5. Isobel@mcqueer.com McQieer3 September 2014 at 09:44

    Glasgow also brought up in a Garlic. Speaking.homr for.the.early part of my life

  6. Tha sinn math: translation, that is a great project for the children to do.
    This is from Gran in the Isle of Lewis.

  7. Belgium!! And I mainly speak Dutch but obviously also English, and French and even some German (although I don't always know the right words in German but I do understand almost anything!). It's a typical Belgian thing though, being multilingual... I don't know many Belgians that only speak one language. It's because through history, parts of our country belonged to different other countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands) and we kinda learned to adapt... In Belgium there are three main languages: Dutch (or actually Flemmish but it's a lot like Dutch. That's in Flanders - where I live), French (in Wallonia) and German (in the east cantons). It's a very interesting country, really ;-)

  8. How lovely that your children are learning to speak different languages! I am from New Zealand! English speaking, but our native language is Maori, and us of distant english/Scottish descent try our best to learn some Maori (taught in our schools).

  9. Inverness, Scotland.

  10. I live about 45 minutes from Washington DC in southern Maryland. Calvert County is the smallest county in MD and it's also a peninsula. It is rather rural (compared to other counties in MD) and there are lots of old red tobacco barns (that have been preserved for historical value, as most tobacco farms have been converted to other crops) and horse farms. This area is where the British landed during the War of 1812. Just recently, we went to a War of 1812 reenactment complete with tall ships and period dress. Now that my children are older and my husband and I can get out more, we often go to DC for dinner, nightlife and walking around the monuments. It always amazes me how quickly our rural farmland area turns into the city life of DC. I love living here. My mom was born and raised in Edinburgh, so I have also lived in Scotland, England and Germany plus the states of Maryland, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Nevada (I lived in Las Vegas). If David needs anything from the US, I would be more than happy to give him information or send him things. I think it is fantastic that you have put a priority on your children learning Gaelic. Not only are they continuing their heritage to pass down to their children, but learning other languages will come much easier to them. I love reading your blog. It always reminds me of the Famous Five books I used to love when I was little...your kids enjoy good, wholesome fun (something that is lacking in many of today's children).

  11. Oh I just enjoyed this post so much! I actually am over at my sister's house (Marie) and I had to read this post to her. She is making dinner while I read hehe! She loved everything you wrote. And all the comments.

    I was born in Arizona, but raised in Colorado up until my adult life. I then lived in Ohio, and now Florida. But Colorado is my home and where I am from :) My husband Benjamin was born in Mexico but came to the United States as a teenager and lived first in Texas. The saying in Texas is, everything in Texas is big! The food including the cowboy hats :)

  12. Wow! Such a fun project!
    AND you do know that your friends here in Washington state would LOVE to have ANY and ALL of your family come for a visit! We'd LOVE to show you 'round these here parts! (Do read that w/ a Texas accent if you would! - I spent many growing up years in San Antonio, TX!) The northwestern USA is BEEEEEyouTiFull!

  13. Brentwood, New York! My husband and I grew up in nearby Syosset. We have lived in Brentwood (originally known as the village of Modern Times) where we now call" home " raising our four sons here for the past twenty six years! Brentwood is located to the west of New York City, on that fish-shaped island ,appropriately known as Long Island. Any further help we could be to David, please do get in touch

    1. Oops!! Brentwood is to the EAST of New York City, not west!!! My proofreading can be off SOMETIMES, --my sense of direction, unfortunately, ALWAYS!!! My husband, Rick, a former over -the -road trucker who has seen more than half of our 50 united states, 32 if i remamber correctly has teased me, saying: "Thank goodness you were not Christopher Columbus--you never would have discovered America!!" LOL!!! Our two older sons used to go along with him from time to time!!! I was inspired by David's project to find his Rand McNally Trucker's Atlas from 1995. Now we navigate with GPS in cars and hand -held smart phones! For me , these electronic navigating devices don't replace the tactile feel of unfolding/folding a map, its vivid colors , and geographical accuracy of the mapmaker him/her self!

  14. Me again! Just want to let you know i have been following Scotland's bid for independence as I watch the BBC, and just today, read the article in the business section of The New York Times discussing North Sea Oil in addition to the RBS and Lloyd's pulling their banking from your country if you succeed in attaining formal and financial "countryhood." " I am as interested in your country as you are in mine!!! May tomorrow's vote reflect your heart's desire. Your blog most certainly displays your love of country, not just love for your houseful of boys!


I love reading everyone's comments, so thank-you for taking the time to leave them! I try and respond to them here too, so do check back later on.