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Gaelic Variety

Years ago I heard a Scottish teacher interviewed on Canadian radio about how she spent every summer on Cape Breton island in Nova Scotia. At the time a number of Scottish people had realised that Cape Breton was a bit like of a Gaelic world captured in aspic. Some of the Gaelic folk traditions on the island had almost died out back in Scotland. Fiddling was big. Cape Breton had absorbed a lot of Highland immigrants in the 19th Century, many ending up as coal miners and steel workers. This Scottish teacher was a Gaelic speaker. She could tell by the variety of Gaelic spoken in various parts of Cape Breton where people's ancestors came from. One village obviously had been settled by folk from Lewis while a neighbouring community was evidently settled by people from Skye, etc. This was in the early 1990s. Sadly, I suspect the number of Gaelic speakers on Cape Breton has by now drastically shrunk.

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