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BASGLA logo    Recommended Scottish Gaelic
   Instructional Books, Videos,
   Audiotapes and Dictionaries

Seo an liosta againn air a' chuspair de (here's our list on the subject of) recommended books and tapes for learning Scottish Gaelic. If you go to the link at the bottom of the page, Mail Order, you'll find a list of links to recommended mail order companies who are likely to carry these resources, and with whom you might reliably do business. All prices are in US$.

Folks often ask what's the best book or the best tape to acquire for the learning of Scottish Gaelic. That's a hard question to answer definitively, because each of the items below has strengths and weaknesses.

Usually, the SG learner who must work without benefit of a teacher (which describes most of us) is going to want to own at least two or more of these items. They compliment each other, and one's learning will be enhanced by exploring the different approaches and topics covered in the various courses. Some are more heavily weighted in the grammar department, and some go more towards conversational Gaelic. My initial recommendation would be for the beginner in the US first to purchase the texts most easily available over-the-counter in the US: TEACH YOURSELF GAELIC (Robertson and Taylor -- with the audiotapes!) and Renton and MacDonald's SCOTTISH GAELIC-ENGLISH/ENGLISH-SCOTTISH GAELIC DICTIONARY. They're both very reasonably priced and will get you up and running. As to where to go from there -- read on!

Following the book reviews below are some suggested books for starting a beginner's library.

Gaelic Instructional Books, Tapes and Videos


To get your Gaelic learners library started, the first thing to do is to go out to your local book store and pick up (or special order) a copy of Teach Yourself Gaelic, with tapes. It's not perfect, but you'll be glad you have it, later, if not sooner, and it'll give you a flavor of the look and sound of Gaelic while you're waiting for your mail orders to arrive.

My next recommendation is to get yourself into the SOL series as soon as you can, especially if you are working on your own. You can acquire SOL lessons 1-9 on videotape in North American format for around $35.00 by mail order (Siol Cultural Enterprises in Nova Scotia is a good source. The supporting SOL audiotapes will also be a great help, but they're not essential at this point. Round that off with a copy of BUN-CHURSA GAIDHLIG for answering your questions on elementary grammar, and you'll be in good shape to get started. When you are feeling more confident, in addition to hopefully building your SOL library (finances allowing), you will eventually want to acquire COTHROM IONNSACHAIDH.

As I mentioned above, the key to getting a solid grasp of Gaelic while working on your own is to draw from a variety of texts -- they each have much to give, and each have gaps. The more you investigate and absorb, the more you'll benefit.

Recreational Reading

The term "Recreational Reading" is perhaps wishful thinking for the newcomer to any language, and Gaelic is certainly no exception. Being more work than play in the early going, reading Gaelic will obviously present a struggle, but also be of great benefit to the new learner. The following are a few texts that work well for reading practice, especially after the learner has had a little while to accustom him-or-herself to the language.

Gaelic Dictionaries


Acquiring Gaelic dictionaries can operate pretty much on a timetable. You may start out with Renton & MacDonald, an excellent beginners dictionary. When you feel the need for a more flexible dictionary, purchase as a pair the Owen Gaelic-English and the Thomson English-Gaelic. And finally, when you're ready for a truly comprehensive dictionary, pick up Dwelly's and Str-data.
(And have someone put Buchanan in your Christmas stocking) --

Suas Leis a' Ghidhlig! Up with Gaelic!


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