Celtic revival makes itself heard far and wide

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There is a Celtic revival that stretches from John o'Groats to Land's End and beyond.

In the Scottish Highlands there is a resurgence of interest in the Scots Gaelic dialect, much of it fuelled by the enthusiasm for all things Celtic brought by a recent influx of English families to the area.

The number of Gaelic-medium schools has grown from two to 50 in the past 10 years, while the number of Gaelic-medium play-groups has jumped from four in 1982 to a current high of 142.

Programmes financed by the Gaelic Television Fund have attracted audiences of 500,000.

The Celtic dialects are divided into two linguistic groups. Irish, Scots and Manx Gaelic form the Goidellic group, while Welsh, Breton and the Cornish dialect, Kernow, make up the Brythonic group.

Kernow is perhaps the smallest of these, in terms of the number of speakers, but its advocates have claimed it is the fastest-growing. There are broadcasts in Kernow, dictionaries are written and it is taught in schools.

Manx is a mixture of "pure" Irish Gaelic and its Scots offshoot but it uses English orthography. Four years ago, hundreds of school children responded to a request for volunteers to learn the disappearing language and now classes are offered in every school.