- Professor of Gaelic (Celtic and Gaelic)
- Head of School (School of Humanities Administration)
R302 Level 3
Celtic and Gaelic
3 University Gardens
Glasgow G12 8QH
My main current research interests lie in the broad area of Gaelic languages and linguistics as follows:
- phonetics, phonology, morphology, lexicology, semantics, sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics, language planning
- Linguistic variation in the Gaelic-speaking world (synchronic and diachronic)
- Gaelic dialectology: Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Manx
- Gaelic historical linguistics: historical phonology and morphology; the divergence between Irish and Scottish Gaelic & the emergence of Scottish Gaelic
- Gaelic onomastics: personal names and place-names
- Linguistic contact and borrowing between Gaelic and other languages
- the transmission of Gaelic in non-Gaelic historical sources, Gaelic literacy & orthography
- the editing of Gaelic texts of relevance to the linguistic history of Gaelic Scotland, including early to modern Scottish Gaelic texts, grammars, vocabularies
Recent and current project work includes:
- Corpas na Gàidlig / The Corpus of Scottish Gaelic
The aims of this project are:
(a) to create a comprehensive electronic corpus of Scottish Gaelic texts for students and researchers of Scottish Gaelic language, literature and culture;
(b) to provide the textual basis for the interuniversity project Faclair na Gàidhlig upon which the future historical dictionary will be based.
The Corpus project currently employs three corpus assistants. Funders of the project include the Scottish Government, Comunn na Gàidhlig, Urras Brosnachaidh na Gàidhlig and the R. L. Thomson Endowment.
- SOILLSE: A Research Capacity to Support the Maintenance and Revitalisation of Gaelic Language and Culture
The interuniversity Soillse initiative, the first of its kind for Gaelic, seeks to establish a national network for Gaelic socilinguistic research with relevance to public policy for the Gaelic language and culture. It is a collaborative project involving UHI (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig & Lews Castle College) and the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
The initiative represents the largest ever investment in Gaelic-related research by the universities, matched by the Scottish Funding Council, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. University of Glasgow Soillse staff include Dr Mark McConville as Research Fellow and Nicola Carty as PhD student.
A Selection of Recent Conference Papers and Lectures
- January 2005, ‘The Scots and Irish Gaelic’, Celtic Connections, Glasgow.
- March 2005, ‘ “Us” and “Them”: Linguistic Division in Gaelic’, Inaugural Lecture, Glasgow.
- April 2005, ‘Forbairt an Fhocail leaghmhan agus focail eile ar “moth”’, Teangealaíocht na Gaeilge 9, Dublin Institute for Advance Studies.
- October 2005, ‘Scealach er mac Bally Irte Uare do chaich e do Bhaile Glasgow’, Comunn Gàidhlig Ghlaschu, Glasgow.
- March 2006, ‘The Emergence of Scottish Gaelic’, Strachan Memorial Lecture, University of Aberdeen.
- May 2006, ‘Gaelic Dialects: Past and Present’, O’Donnell Lecture, University of Edinburgh.
- December 2006, ‘Gaelic langue and language: Some Linguistic Evidence’, Forum for Research in the Languages of Scotland and Ulster, Perth.
- July 2006, ‘Bleideagan sa Ghàidhlig’, Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 4, Sabhal Mór Ostaig.
- July 2006, ‘A Gael’s First Visit to Glasgow: An Eighteenth-century Gaelic humorous Phonetic Text from Islay’, The Eighth International Conference on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster, Columba Centre, Islay.
- April 2007, ‘Téacs Gàidhlige ó Íle (1776): Canúint agus Bunús’, Teangeolaíocht na Gaeilge 11, Maynooth.
- November 2007, ‘ Early Recorded Place-Names in Scotland: Medieval Gaelic Pronunciation’, Scottish Place-Names Society Conference, Heriot-Watt University.
- July 2008, ‘Glasgow’s Historical Dictionary of Scottish Gaelic and Preliminary Comments on Gaelic Lexical Semantics’, Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 5 / Scottish Gaelic Studies 5, Saint Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia (invited plenary lecture).
- October 2008, ‘A’ gabhail rathùiream, Taking a real bender and curing toothaches: Glasgow’s Historical Dictionary and Gaelic Semantics’, Department of Celtic Seminar Series, University of Glasgow.
- May 2009, ‘Working towards a Textual Corpus for Scottish Gaelic’, Variationist Corpora Online Symposium, University of Glasgow.
- July 2009, ‘Gaelic Personal Names in Medieval Scottish Charters: Ralph of Diceto’s Royal Genealogy’, Leeds Medieval Conference.
- November 2009, ‘The Transmission of Gaelic Names in Non-Gaelic Medieval Sources: A Royal Genealogy of William I (1165-1214) and Implications for Gaelic Literacy in Eastern Scotland’, Department of English Language Seminar Series, University of Glasgow.
- February 2010, ‘Scottish Gaelic Language Studies: Past and Current Work’, University of Aberystwyth.
- June 2010, ‘Celtic Studies in Scotland: Key Developments’, University of Ulster, Derry.
- July 2010, ‘Gaelic Names in the PoMS Database: A Preliminary Classification’, New Perspectives on Scotland before the Wars of Independence, University of Glasgow.
- August 2010, with Fiona Dunn, ‘Oifigear na Gàidhlig ann an Oilthigh Ghlaschu: Amasan, Adhartas agus Cothroman Ùra’, Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 6, University of Aberdeen.
- March 2011, ‘Structural, Geographical and Social Aspects of Sound Change in Gaelic’, Gaelic Language and Linguistics Seminar Series, Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.
A Research Capacity to Support the maintenance and Revitalisation of Gaelic Language and Culture, 2010–14; overall value of project, £5.4m.
Funding: Scottish Funding Council (£186,621); Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (£93,908).
Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG), 2007–
Funding: British Academy (£20,000)
Corpas na Gàidhlig, 2008–
Funding: Bòrd na Gàidhlig & Faclair na Gàidhlig (£83,398); Comunn na Gàidhlig (£9,000); Urras Brosnachaidh na Gàidhlig (£1,000)
Oifigear na Gàidhlig / Gaelic Language Officer, 2009–
Funding: Bòrd na Gàidhlig (£51,000); Scottish Funding Council (£42,000); The Scottish Government (£72,000)
Co-Investigator with Professor Dauvit Broun, of the AHRC-funded interdisciplinary project, The Paradox of Medieval Scotland 1093–1286: Social Relationships and Identities before the Wars of Independence.
Funding: AHRC (£629,437)
A’ Fosgladh Seòmar Mhic Ghill’Eathain: Unlocking the MacLean Room, 2010
With Dr Aonghas MacCoinnich; a project to catalogue the unique collections of the ‘departmental’ research archive held in the MacLean Room.
Funding: Chancellor’s Fund (£18,000)
Language and Identity: The Transmission of Scottish Gaelic in the Modern World, 2009–13
With Dr Jane Stuart-Smith and Dr Andrew Smith to fund a PhD Studentship
Funding: Lord Kelvin / Adam Smith Fund (£80,000)
Recent and current PG supervision of research degrees at Glasgow includes:
MPhil by Research
- Nancy Dutton, 'The Copula in Gaelic' (Glasgow, 2005–06)
- Julia Kühns, 'Edition of An Acallam Becc' (Glasgow, 2005–06)
- Stuart Harris-Logan,'Gaelic Bird Imitation in Folksongs, Oral narrative and Fowling Traditions from the 17th Century' (Glasgow, 2006–07)
- Gilleabuig Dòmhnallach, 'Ainmean-àite a' Bhràighe' (2008–) (suspended)
- Veronika Csonka, 'The Category of Person in Gaelic' (2010–11)
- David Robinson, 'Phonological Interaction between Gaelic and Scots' (2010–11)
- Charles Wilson, 'Language Planning: Comparative Studies' (2010–12)
- Joina NicDhòmhnaill, 'Bàrdachd-baile na Hearadh' (2005–) (suspended)
- Julia Kühns, 'The Early Modern Irish Recension of OIdheadh Con Culainn and Laoidh na gCeann: Text, Transmission and Manuscript Tradition' (Glasgow 2006–09).
- Sìm Innes, 'Cràbhachd do Mhoire air a' Ghàidhealtachd sna meadhan-aoisean anmoch, le aire shònraichte do Leabhar Deadhan Lios Mòir' (2006–10).
- Cassie Smith-Christmas, 'Code-switching in the Gaelic of Northern Skye' (co-supervision with English Language) (2008–)
- Claire Nance, 'The Transmission of Gaelic among Adolescents: Phonetics and Sociology' (co-supervision with English Language and Sociology) (2009–)
- Nicola Carty, 'The Gaelic L2 acquisition process: Order of acquisition and constraints on near-nativeness in advanced learners.' (2010–)
I teach at all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate provision. First year and second-year teaching includes or has included courses on: Gaelic Sounds, Gaelic Reading, Gaelic Prose, Gaelic Phonetics, Gaelic Linguistics and Sociolinguistics and contributions to Celtic Civilisation 2B on Modern Irish language and literature.
Honours teaching includes the following courses:
- Introduction to Modern Irish
- Gaelic Dialectology
- Historical Development of the Gaelic Languages
- Classical Gaelic
- Twentieth Century Modern Irish Poetry
- Modern Irish Prose
I regularly teach research specialisms and advanced Gaelic language classes for our taught Masters programmes. I regularly supervise dissertations at Honours, Masters and PhD level.
I was deeply honoured to have been awarded the winning prize for the ‘Most Organised Course’ category in the inaugural Prizes for Excellent Teacher Awards in March 2011, organised by the SRC.
Born in Dublin, I was educated at St Peter’s National School and Drimnagh Castle Secondary School. I studied Irish and Mathematics for my BA Hons Degree at University College Dublin, where I also undertook a postgraduate Masters degree in the Gaelic languages and literatures of Ireland and Scotland. I was awarded a Travelling Studentship from the National University of Ireland, which enabled me to study in Scotland, specifically linguistics and Celtic Studies at the University of Edinburgh, where I graduated with a PhD on the basis of a thesis about Gaelic historical phonology.
I was appointed a lecturer at the Department of Celtic, University of Edinburgh in January 1993, where I worked alongside Professor William Gillies and Mr Ronald Black. We hosted the 10th International Congress of Celtic Studies in 1995, and subsequently published the proceedings as Celtic Connections (1999). I established Ionad na Gaeilge / Centre for Irish Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 1993. In the year 1996 was published Scottish Gaelic in Three Months in the HUGO language series, which I wrote with Iain MacAonghuis as consultant. A slightly enlarged edition was published by Dorling Kindersley (1998, 1999) and a revised edition was published under the title, Scottish Gaelic in Twelve Weeks by Birlinn in 2008.
In 2001 I was appointed Assistant Professor at the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, where I directed the Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature project and published two online bibliographical databases: see Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature 1942–71 and Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature 1972–
In January 2005 I was appointed to a personal chair in Gaelic at the University of Glasgow, and was appointed Head of Department from 2007–11. I established the Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG) and Corpas na Gàidhlig projects in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Along with my colleagues Michel Byrne and Thomas Clancy, I am a co-editor of Aiste 1: Rannsachadh air Litreachas Gàidhlig / Studies in Gaelic Literature. I was appointed to the first ever established Chair of Gaelic at the University of Glasgow in April 2010. I am currently Deputy Head of Sgoil nan Daonnachdan / School of Humanities.
External Contribution: Gaelic
I have taken an active interest in Gaelic language and cultural developments in Scotland. Some of my roles and responsibilities in the Gaelic world have included or include:
- 1994–2000: University representative on the Gaelic Panel of the Scottish Examination Board (1994–97); Scottish Qualifications Authority (1997–2000).
- 1998–2001: Chairperson of Comann nam Pàrant (Dùn Èideann)[Edinburgh Gaelic-medium Parents’ Support Group].
- 2000–01: Board of Celtic Studies representative on Management / Steering Committee of ‘Faclair na Pàrlamaid Project’, which produced Faclair na Pàrlamaid: Dictionary of Terms (Edinburgh: The Scottish Parliament, February 2001) [see also www.scotland.gov.uk/dictionary].
- 2005–: Executive member of the Board of Celtic Studies Scotland; Secretary, 2009–.
- 2005–10: Chair, Comhairle nan Leabhraichean / Gaelic Books Council.
- 2005–: Member of Advisory Committee, Faclair na Gàidhlig.
- 2007–: Member of Steering Committee, Faclair na Gàidhlig.
- 2007–: University of Glasgow Senate representative, Catherine McCaig Trust; Acting Chair 2010–.
- 2008–: Member, Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Working Party on Research.
- 2008–: Member,Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Gaelic Learners’ Advisory Board.
- 2009–: Trustee, Gaelic representative, Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd.
- 2010–: Member, Management Group, Soillse.
External Examiner: Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Degrees
- 1998–2003: External Examiner for Gaelic language and literature, University of the Highlands and Islands (Project); Senior External Examiner 2001–03.
- 1999–2003: External Examiner for Irish language and literature, Leeds Metropolitan University.
- 2003–04: External Examiner for Celtic (undergraduate and postgraduate) degrees, University of Glasgow.
- 2004–08: External Examiner for Celtic (undergraduate and postgraduate) degrees, Queen’s University Belfast.
- 2004–07: External Examiner for the Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Scholarship and Prizes in (Modern, Early Modern, Middle and Old) Irish,National University of Ireland(i.e. for universities in Dublin, Maynooth, Galway and Cork).
- 2007–2010: External Examiner for Celtic (undergraduate and postgraduate) degrees, University of Edinburgh.
- 2010–: External Examiner for Old Irish, National University of Ireland, Galway.
External Examiner: Postgraduate Research Degrees
- University of Ulster, 2005 (PhD)
- University of Edinburgh, 2006 (PhD); 2008 (PhD)
- National University of Ireland, 2006 (DLitt)
- University of the Highlands and Islands & University of Aberdeen, 2009 (PhD)
- University of Aberystwyth, 2010 (PhD)
- 1998–99: External Validator for new degrees in the University of the Highlands and Islands (Project).
- 2001–02: External Validator for new degree courses, University of Ulster(Coleraine, Belfast and Magee colleges).
- 2003–: External Assessor for: Arts and Humanities Research Board / Council (AHRB / C); Leverhulme Trust; The British Academy; Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences; National Science Foundation (USA).
- 2005: External Assessor for Quality Assessment of Department of Irish, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin.
- 2006: Externalassessor and panel member ofIrish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, to assess Government of Ireland Research Project Grants in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- 2005–: External Assessor for numerous professorial appointments.
- 2006–09: AHRC Peer Review College.
- 2009: Deputy Chair of RAE Panel, University College Cork.
- 2009–: Reappointed to AHRC Peer Review College; appointed to various Prioritisation Panels.
- Ainm: A Journal of Name Studies (Belfast)
- The Journal of Celtic Studies (Aberdeen)
- Scottish Gaelic Studies (Aberdeen)
- Éigse: A Journal of Irish Studies (Dublin)
- Forum for Research on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster Internet Publications Series (Aberdeen)