Berneray Singers

Such was the success of the previous event another cèilidh was held at the Lobster Pot on Berneray in January, again with the intention, among other things, of encouraging Gaelic learners to come forward and put their new skills to use. There was a great variety of songs and tunes, with contributions from all round the room.

Duncan Mackinnon, in particular, was prevailed upon to sing several times in his supremely relaxed traditional style. One of the songs he delivered was his version of Òran a’ Vita.

You can hear it here:

Extracts from a printed version of the song are available here. The thing about “traditional” singing is that, while it’s a living tradition, it mutates and develops, constantly producing “new” versions of “old” songs. Learner-listeners are invited to compare Duncan’s version with the written one, and note the differences. How many additional verses does he sing? Do you notice any other changes?

And then from the sublime to the singalong – Archie’s Gaelic class give a sturdy rendition of a cèilidh favourite, Birlinn Ghoraidh Chròbhain.

Here’s the transcript. Why not join in in the privacy of your own home?

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Movie Maker? Dèan fhèin e!

Seo eisimpleir eile dhen t-seòrsa rud a b’ urrainn dhuinn dèanamh – ma thèid againn air an obair a tha sinn air a bhith a’ leasachadh a thoirt air adhart chun na h-ath ìre.

Bha clas airson luchd-ionnsachaidh na Beurla aig Cothrom o chionn bliadhna no dhà. Agus chuir iad romhpa fhèin pròiseact sònraichte a choileanadh – film goirid a dhèanamh a bhiodh a’ sealltainn na h-obrach a bha iad ris, agus an dòigh beatha a bh’ aca sna h-eileanan.

Abair deagh eacarsaich a bh’ ann airson cànan ionnsachadh! An toiseach bha aca ri deasbad agus aontachadh dè na seallaidhean a bha iad ag iarraidh san stòiridh: am bàta-aiseig, beathaichean, eunlaith, muir is tìr, na h-àiteachan far an robh iad a’ fuireach agus ag obair, agus gu sònraichte na diofar rudan a bhiodh iad a’ dèanamh nan obair làitheil.

An uair sin thug sinn camara dhaibh airson na dealbhan sin a thogail. As dèidh sin bha aca ri na dealbhan a chur ann an òrdugh, a’ cleachdadh Windows Movie Maker. Obair caran teicnigeach a bha sin, ach rinn iad fhèin an gnothach air (ag ionnsachadh sgilean ùra IT aig an aon àm ’s a bha iad ag ionnsachadh a’ chànain).

Agus an uair sin, ’s iad fhèin a sgrìobh an aithris a rachadh leis na dealbhan (le cuideachadh an siud ’s an seo bhon luchd-teagaisg). Agus a-rithis, ’s iad fhèin a chlàr an guthan a’ toirt seachad na h-aithris, le ceòl ann cuideachd bho oileanaich sa cholaiste ionadail.

Obair mhòr a rinn iad, a thug orra an cànan a chleachdadh ann an suidheachaidhean ùra, agus a thug misneachd dhaibh leis cho soirbheachail ’s a bha iad aig an deireadh.

Nis, ma thèid aig luchd-ionnsachaidh na Beurla air rudeigin mar sin a dhèanamh, a bheil adhbhar sam bith nach gabhadh rudeigin coltach ris dèanamh sa Ghàidhig – le luchd-ionnsachaidh no fileantaich? Sin an rud a tha sinn airson fheuchainn – a’ gabhail ris aig an aon àm gum bi feadhainn ann a bhiodh airson tòiseachadh le audio a-mhàin, ’s dòcha, no sgrìobhadh. Tha Am Pàipear air duais eile fhaighinn am bliadhna. Nach e bhiodh math stuthan ioma-mheadhan bhon choimhearsnachd a chur air an làrach spaideil aca!

Seo am film a rinn iad:


English summary

This was a project for English language learners from Poland and Latvia who wanted to make a film about their life and work here in the Hebrides.

First of all they had to agree the contents of the film, and what sort of pictures they wanted – scenery, animal life, the places where they lived and worked, and particularly the different things their work involved. Then they borrowed the camera to take the pictures. After that they edited a picture sequence together using Windows Movie Maker, simultaneously developing IT and language skills.

Finally, the learners themselves scripted the voiceover commentary (with some help from teachers) and recorded the narration. All in all, it was a very fruitful learning process which helped to build the learners’ confidence in using the language in new situations.

It’s this kind of work we want to develop bilingually in the next stage of the Island Voices project – recognising also that, for some, audio recording or written work will be a more comfortable jumping off point. Am Pàipear is Community Newspaper of the Year again. Wouldn’t it be good to see multimedia materials from the community on their site!

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Community Adaptations

Here is just one example, from the POOLS YouTube channel, of the kind of thing that community members can do for themselves. Donald Mackinnon re-scripted the commentary for the documentary about the Craigard Centre, which he attends as a client, and then recorded a new voiceover with himself as the narrator. Except of course it’s two examples, as he did it bilingually!

Here’s the Gaelic clip:

Here’s the English clip:

The Gaelic transcript is here. And the English transcript is here.

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Next Steps?

In the last two videos of the Enterprise section of Series Two, recorded at the end of last year, Gordon Wells outlined some ideas for how the project might move further into the community, at the same time strengthening links with local groups. Here’s the Gaelic clip.

And here’s the English version.

The new scheme is not ready to launch just yet, but it is hoped to get things started in the Spring. In the meantime comments and suggestions are welcome from near and far!

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Classes Continue

While the Series Two video production component of the Island Voices/Guthan nan Eilean project is now complete, classes for English and Gaelic learners are continuing into 2011. Cothrom have restarted ESOL classes in Benbecula. Details are available from the centre, or by phoning 01878 700910. And Gaelic classes are running again in Berneray, this time with split levels and different timings. Alison Dix, who also co-ordinates the Guthan Bheàrnaraigh project, is the contact point for information on 07774 570349.

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Enterprise Online

Enterprise, the third and final section in this series of Guthan nan Eilean/Island Voices videos, is now complete and online. Click here to get to the menu page.

Completion of this section brings the total number of videos between the first and second series to 150. It’s a tribute to these island communities that so many individuals and organisations were prepared to make important contributions to a body of work that will be a very useful resource for local learners of both languages, and perhaps of wider interest still.

As the Enterprise catalogue explains, the amount and level of material in this section pose a new order of challenge for learners. Good luck!

Teachdaireachd Ghàidhlig an seo:

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Am Pàipear Bumper Issue – Island Voices News

The end of 2010 approaches and the December/January issue of Am Pàipear is published, including news on the progress of Guthan nan Eilean so far and plans and aspirations to develop new ideas and approaches next year.

While the video-making phase of the project will be complete by the year’s end, there is also the prospect of current Gaelic and English classes continuing into the New Year.

The Am Pàipear piece includes breaking news of Cothrom’s successful bid to the Soillse research initiative to conduct an investigation into learning and bilingualism at a local level. This should complement new development work next year.

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Guthan Bheàrnaraigh – Berneray Voices

Berneray and other Island Voices mingled harmoniously on Friday night (26th November) at a cèilidh in the Lobster Pot – where Archie Campbell runs his weekly class for Gaelic learners on the island. The “Berneray Voices” project, with help from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, hosted this event aimed at bringing learners and fluent speakers together.

Take your pick of the following sound files to get a taste of how it went.

Berneray resident Donald Maclean talks about Berneray singers and learning Gaelic.

Here in Gaelic:

Here in English:

Gaelic tutor Archie Campbell talks about the class and the importance of singing.

Here in Gaelic:

Here in English:

Project co-ordinator Alison Dix talks about the Guthan Bheàrnaraigh project and names some of the performers at the cèilidh.

Here in Gaelic:

Here in English:

A selection of performances.




The learners:


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Wordlink With WordPress

The POOLS-T project has now reached the end of its funded period. During the course of the project the basic concept of a tool that enables the checking of any unknown words in a text in an online dictionary has been developed substantially. The original “Webpage Textblender”, invented by Kent Andersen, is now complemented by Caoimhín Ó Donnaíle’s Wordlink and Multidict tools, and the range of languages supported has been massively expanded.

To mark the completion of the project Gordon Wells has placed all 40 texts from Series One of Island Voices (20 English and 20 Gaelic) on WordPress platforms linked to Wordlink/Multidict. Although the funded period of the project is now over further refinements of the tools will continue, as more languages are incorporated and in response to comments from users. Interested readers are invited to take a look at the Wordlinked Island Voices materials. Please note that, while the default display is “Split Screen”, there are alternative options, such as “New Tab” and “Pop-up”. A choice of dictionaries is also available, depending on the language in question.

Of course, dictionaries are by no means the answer to every language learning problem – and some dictionaries are better than others. But the facility to present online text with this added dictionary access function may be attractive to both teachers and learners. Comments are welcome here, and will be relayed to the developers.

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Media Matters

Here are two more short previews from the final Enterprise section of Series Two. Norman Maclean talks direct to camera about the launch of his autobiography in English.

Agus an seo tha e a’ toirt seachad a bharail air Pàipear Uibhist.

Humour and spontaneity are brought to bear in a masterly demonstration of the presentational craft.

These clips will be accompanied by transcripts when the collection is complete. Other topics for this section include:

Seatrek to St Kilda
Greenspace Live
Galson Estate Trust
Seallam Genealogy Centre
Tobar an Dualchais Digitisation Project
Am Pàipear Community Newspaper

Cùm cluas ri claisneachd!

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