Scottish Gaelic belongs to the Celtic family of languages and is closely related to Irish Gaelic and Manx. Welsh, Breton, Cornish, the other Celtic languages, are more distant cousins.

No other modern language has been spoken in Scotland for so long as Gaelic. It's at the heart of Scotland’s history and culture and its imprint is almost everywhere in the nation.


Economic hardship in the late 18th and 19th centuries resulted in both forced and voluntary emigration from the north of Scotland which meant that many thousands of Gaelic speakers left for the industrialising Lowlands or for the New World mainly in Canada but also Australia. This, together with factors such as the failure to give Gaelic its proper place when universal education was established in the late 19th century, caused the number of Gaelic speakers to decline.


Although still not recognised as a minority language in the UK or by the EU, the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 established a language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Gaelic playgroups and Gaelic-medium education at primary and secondary levels have undergone unprecedented growth in many areas of Scotland. Gaelic is increasingly used on road signs, adverts and government websites. More Gaelic TV and radio programmes are now available than in the past. 

Suas leis a’ Ghàidhlig! Up with the Gaelic!

Even after centuries of repression, this is a living language still spoken by around 65,000 people in Scotland (and more in parts of Canada). It's strongest in the Western Isles, with substantial communities elsewhere.

Our classes

Members of the Scottish Gaelic Society can attend a weekly language class - non-members are welcome to pop by for a trial lesson. 

Our terms follow the school terms of Victoria, with the new beginners classes starting on the first Wednesday of February each year - but you can still join us at any time during the year. Classes run from 7.00pm until 8.30pm.



The Celtic Club
420 - 424 William Street

The venue is five minute walk away from Flagstaff Station - the closest tram is the number 58, which stops a couple of minutes from the venue. 


Fees for our language classes are determined at the AGM in March. For 2018, it is $25 a year plus the annual membership of the Scottish Gaelic Society of Victoria of $30.

Our Library

The Scottish Gaelic Society of Victoria is especially fortunate to have a wonderful collection of books and other resources available to all its members.


You're welcome to turn up one evening at the Celtic Club (make sure it's term time). You can also email if you have any questions.

A short introduction - free beginners lessons

With many thanks to Seonaidh MacFhraing please find the following Gaelic lessons.

Beginners Gaelic - sneak peek

Take a sneak peek at the language with two short audio lessons and a few written sentences explaining how the grammar in this language is so different to English.