Study found there are significant benefits in being bilingual
A ground-breaking study into how Gaelic is perceived by secondary school pupils and how it develops their linguistic and cognitive skills found significant benefits of speaking the language alongside a global language such as English.
The immersion study, funded by Bord na Gàidhlig, was led by Dr Maria Garraffa from Heriot-Watt University, together with Prof Bernadette O’Rourke from University of Glasgow and Prof Antonella Sorace from the University of Edinburgh.
They worked together with senior pupils from The Glasgow Gaelic School to find out how our younger generation of Gaelic speakers view and use the language.
It examined for the first time particularly whether older teenagers, after 15 years of education in Gaelic, continued to speak Gaelic or what might lead them to stop.
The research revealed that speaking Gaelic does not affect the ability to speak well in English – and that being bilingual provides more opportunities for those fluent in both.
Dr. Maria Garraffa, explains: “We had clearly proven that the positive effects of bilingualism are not contingent upon the fact that a speaker is using a small heritage language like Gaelic or a global language like French.”