Audio recordings of the traditions of crofters, farm workers and fishermen, in English and Gaelic put online by the University of Glasgow

Audio recordings of the traditions of crofters, farm workers and fishermen, in English and Gaelic put online by the University of Glasgow

Tasglann èisteachd Gàidhlig/Beurla Oilthigh Ghlaschu ri fhaotainn saor ’s an-asgaidh

GLASGOW, 31-Aug-2018 — /EuropaWire/ — Their songs and stories speak of a different time.

Living memories passed down from parent to child over generations.

Now audio recordings of the traditions of crofters, farm workers and fishermen, in English and Gaelic, along with some Scots, were today (27 August) put online by the University of Glasgow.

Tha na h-òrain agus na sgeulachdan ag innse mu àm eile.

Cuimhneachain beò air an aiseag bho phàrant gu pàiste thar nan ginealaichean.

A-nis, tha clàraidhean èisteachd ann an Gàidhlig is Beurla agus beagan Albais mu dheidhinn nòsan chroitearan, luchd-obrach tuathanais agus iasgairean air an cur air-loidhne an-diugh (27 Lùnastal) le Oilthigh Ghlaschu.

It is part of the University’s continued drive to make the riches of traditional Gaelic speech more accessible to speakers, non-speakers and learners alike.

The move comes as the Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG), an online repository of digitised texts and lexical resources for the language, celebrates its 10th anniversary.

It also heralds a new direction for DASG of focusing more on the spoken word to include oral traditions of storytelling, folklore, songs and poetry.

It is also hoped that the audio archive will help to raise interest among new audiences in learning more about Scottish Gaelic and its oral traditions.

A key element is also to return traditions and stories to those communities from whom that were freely and generously given, thus ensuring they are preserved for future generations.

At the 10th anniversary symposium held at the University of Glasgow today (27 August 2018), it was also announced that the family of renowned Gaelic Poet, Tormod MacLeòid/Norman MacLeod, known as Am Bàrd Bochd/The Poor Bard, has donated his life’s work to the DASG archive. The collection includes images, songs, tales and folklore collected in the Isle of Lewis by the bard.

Professor Rob Ó Maolalaigh, the University of Glasgow’s Professor of Gaelic and the Director of DASG/ Ollamh na Gàidhlig, Oilthigh Ghlaschu, agus Stiùiriche DASG, said: “Our archive is a living memory connecting us directly through an oral history of storytelling and song to the traditional Gàidhealtachd of previous generations.

“It is a reminder where we have come from and celebrates an important part of Scotland’s dùthchas and heritage. All three of Scotland’s indigenous languages – English, Gaelic and Scots are contained within the archive.

“Today the Gaelic language is very much part of modern Scotland. From the names of cities and towns we live in which have come from Gaelic like Kilmarnock, Stirling, and Inverness to words like loch, glen, bard, whisky and clan, the language helps put Scotland into context. We are delighted to make this audio resource freely available.”

Professor Ó Maolalaigh added: “We are deeply honoured that the family of Tormod MacLeòid has decided to donate his papers to the Bàrd’s alma mater, the University of Glasgow.”

In total, some 42 audio files are being published. Nine are from the newly launched Cluas ri Claisneachd Archive, recorded in Campbeltown in Scotland and also Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Canada, which will be fully transcribed and searchable with detailed contents.

These recordings were mostly made during the collection phase for the Historical Dictionary of Scottish Gaelic Project (HDSG) in the 1970s. It also includes other reel-to-reel tapes and cassettes donated to Celtic and Gaelic in the College of Arts.

A further 33 audio files are being published from the Mòthan Archive, all gathered in North and South Uist, Scalpay, Harris, Barra, Berneray and Benbecula by American Tracy Chipman during the 1990s and early 2000s. These were recorded in English and Gaelic and will be fully transcribed or subtitled in due course.

The audio tapes range from fishing terminology to songs and poems as well as stories about everything from courting to traditional ailment cures to fairy stories and premonitions.
Many of those featured in the audio archive have since died and it will be the first time their families and friends have heard the recordings.

DASG has managed to trace the family of Donald MacDonald who was recorded in Daliburgh, South Uist.

Mary Ann Campbell, a great niece of Mr MacDonald, said: “It is lovely and moving to hear Dòmhnall’s voice again. He was always very welcoming and looked forward to his many visitors, they used to come from all over the world.

He was a kind, softly spoken and modest man and never boasted about any of his work.

“His work was often published in the local paper. We are fortunate as a family that we now have his book to look at some of his bàrdachd or poetry, it was just unfortunate that is was published after his death.

“He always spoke Gàidhlig to us and yes we speak Gàidhlig as a family.”

DASG is looking to trace families of those featured on the audio recordings to reunite them with their relatives’ voices and stories.

Abi Lightbody, Àrd-Neach-Taic Corpais is Tasglann-Èisteachd/ Senior Audio Archive and Corpus Assistant, said: “I am delighted to be able to share these wonderful audio files with the public. I am from a small village in

Stirlingshire where Gaelic is no longer spoken and so I began learning Gaelic when I started studying at the University of Glasgow back in 2010.

“Learning Gaelic has opened up Scotland to me and a part of our own culture of which I previously had very little knowledge. I am delighted that fluent speakers, learners and people who have no Gaelic at all can now enjoy these recordings.

“The way we use and speak Gaelic is changing and these recordings allow people to access the rich idiomatic Gaelic of previous generations, whether they are interested in terminology, stories and legends or songs and music.”

The Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic is funded by the British Academy, and is an online repository of digitised texts, lexical resources and fieldwork recordings for Scottish Gaelic. Here is a link to a blog post about the Audio DASG project.

SOURCE: University of Glasgow



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