SUPERSEDING GAELIC: linguistics and cognitive effects in Gaelic young adults


How the Gaelic language is perceived by secondary school pupils attending a Gaelic medium education program (GME), and its effects on their linguistic and cognitive development, was addressed for the first time to further the debate on the use of Gaelic in the young generations. 

The project, currently on going, is looking at young adults about to leave Gaelic school, after 15 years of education in Gaelic. Young adults are at a crucial point in their lives where the decision to continue or stop using Gaelic depends entirely on them. A protocol covering Cognition, Language skills and Language Perception will be adopted to test effects of GME on both brain and language. 


bernadette orourke

Prof Bernadette O’Rourke

Bernie is a sociolinguist based at Glasgow University. She has promoted the concept of New Speakers at European level, leading the New Speaker Cost Action. Together we are looking at perception of Gaelic speakers acquiring the language in medium education.

antonella sorace

Prof Antonella Sorace

Antonella is Professor of Developmental Linguistics at The University of Edinburgh.
Her research brings together linguistics, experimental psychology and cognitive science. She is the Director of Bilingualism Matters.


Garraffa, M., Kutasi, T., O’ Rourke, B. and Sorace, A. (2018). Growing up with a minority language: a study on cognitive and linguistic skills, and on language attitudes in Gaelic-English young adults. Poster for Barcelona Summer School on Bi- and Multilingualism. 


Garraffa, M. (2017) Exploring learning Gaelic. Being Human Festival. Film screening and discussion of the Video Growing up with a minority language. 18th November. Oban, Scotland.

Garraffa, M. (2017). Public panel on minority languages in medium education. Coimbra, Portugal September.