Publication Date



Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Ethnolinguistics, American Immigration

Document Type



Celtic Studies | English Language and Literature | Folklore | History | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Linguistics | Theatre History


Historians have occasionally recognized the presence of Scottish Gaelic-speaking immigrants in the United States, but no previous study has attempted to determine the relationship between the Gaelic-American community and their language in detail. This article makes use of evidence available in contemporary periodicals to examine the attitudes of Scottish Gaels resident in the United States towards their native language from 1872 to 1912, and attempts to assess the efforts made to maintain that language. The failure of Gaelic to thrive in the United States is evident in the lack of development of effective strategies to buttress the language. The evidence for several linguistic domains is examined, as well as the prevailing attitudes about Gaelic and how Gaelic-speakers responded to, and were influenced by, the representation of their native language.