News release

Preserving Gaelic Language Focus of Workshop

A language expert will help Nova Scotians preserve Gaelic language and culture at a workshop, May 6-8, hosted by the Office of Gaelic Affairs. The participants have been accepted to the Root and Branch or Bunn is Bàrr master-apprentice program.

Leanne Hinton, a retired linguistics professor at the University of California at Berkeley and creator of the original program on which Bunn is Bàrr is based, will be at the Gaelic College in St. Ann's to train the master-apprentice teams.

"Nova Scotia's rich and diverse heritage and culture, including our Gaelic traditions, add to our unique way of life and make us more attractive as a place to visit and raise a family," said Minister of Gaelic Affairs Maureen MacDonald.

"With this new program we're ensuring the knowledge of our Gaelic elders is passed to a new generation and that helps to make life better for all Nova Scotians."

Nine Gaelic-speaking seniors will pass on their language and culture to Gaelic learners in the one-on-one mentoring program. Apprentices will work with the seniors in Gaelic for 360 hours over a 12 month period.

"I am delighted to be part of a program that values and respects my language, culture and people," said Amber Buchanan of North Shore, Cape Breton. "I will undoubtedly become a better Gaelic speaker, passing on the experience and knowledge gained to my daughter and other Gaelic students."

Ms. Buchanan will work with her great grand aunt, Jean MacKay of Sydney River. She expects to dig deeper into the Gaelic dialect and traditions of her family who have lived for ten generations on the north shore of Cape Breton.

The Bunn is Bàrr program supports passing language skills to new generations and building bridges between cultures. Support is being received from the Department of Seniors and the Office of Acadian Affairs, which will send participants from the Acadian community to the workshop.

While in Nova Scotia, Ms. Hinton will also deliver two public lectures:

  • May 9 at 7 p.m., at Saint Andrew Junior High School, 12 Appleseed Dr., Antigonish. She will offer ideas on how parents, schools and communities can foster love and use of heritage languages.
  • May 10 at 7 p.m., in Halifax at Saint Mary's University, Atrium 101, she will talk about language revitalization in the home.

The Office of Gaelic Affairs assists Nova Scotians with the learning and use of Gaelic language so the culture, wisdom, heritage and traditions of Gaels are valued, practised and passed on to future generations.

More information on the Bun is Bàrr master-apprentice program or Ms. Hinton's public talks is available by contacting the Office of Gaelic Affairs at 902-945-2114 or emailing

FOR BROADCAST USE:

A language expert will help Nova Scotians preserve Gaelic language and culture at a workshop May 6th to the 8th.

Leanne Hinton, retired linguistics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, will hold the training at the Gaelic College in St. Ann's.

It is called the Root and Branch master-apprentice program.

Minister of Gaelic Affairs Maureen MacDonald says the program ensures the knowledge of Gaelic-speaking elders is passed to a new generation.

Ms. Hinton will also deliver two lectures on heritage language revitalization at Saint Andrew Junior School, Antigonish on May 9th and on May 10th at St. Mary's University, Halifax.

Information on the program is available on the Office of Gaelic Affairs website.

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Media Contact:

Frances MacEachen
Office of Gaelic Affairs 902-945-2114 Email: