I’ve been in Scotland since last Saturday, mainly at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. I’m doing a course in Gaelic mouth music (puirt à beul) and waulking songs (òrain luaidh) with Christine Primrose, and am having a wonderful time.
There are eight of us in the singing class – some from Scotland, some from England, one from Japan and one from Sardinia. The ones from Japan and Sardinia are both professional singers, and earlier today we were treated to some lovely songs from Okinawa, which sound quite similar to Irish traditional songs.
I’ve been speaking quite a bit of Scottish Gaelic, and find that I can now understand most of what I hear in Gaelic and have relatively complex conversations – so my Gaelic has improved a lot since I was last here four years ago. When I don’t know how to say something in Scottish Gaelic I try saying it in Irish and it’s usually understood, though not always.
I’ve also spoken some French, German, Czech and Welsh here, and quite a bit of Japanese. My Japanese is very rusty, but it’s starting to come back. It’s great to have opportunities to speak so many languages :)