Quite simply, two languages are better than one. Research has shown that, on average, people with two languages possess better cognitive and language skills than those who have only one language. According to a specially commissioned study by researchers from Edinburgh University on Gaelic Medium Education in 2010, not only do GME pupils achieve the same level of attainment as English Medium pupils in the curriculum’s subjects, but they also by P7 surpass their English Medium counterparts when it comes to English and Science.
With two languages, you gain the perspective of the two languages. You can engage with the literature of both languages. You gain the breadth of understanding and the outlooks of two cultures. If you have Gaelic, you are better placed to understand Scotland’s history, heritage and culture. And with two languages, it is usually easier for you to learn other languages, and you will have better reading skills. If you have been immersed in two languages from a young age, research demonstrates that you will be better at multi-tasking than those who have been exposed to only one language.
If you have two languages, you will have improved job prospects. And if you have Gaelic, in Scotland there are a number of different Gaelic careers you can undertake or opportunities for you to use Gaelic in your work. From teaching to crofting, Gaelic is both a language of work and a language that can work for you.
So when it comes to the question, why would you choose Gaelic education or learn Gaelic? It is clear that there are many reasons why and many benefits if you do. With Gaelic and bilingualism come cognitive and cultural benefits, and a greater understanding of other languages, and many, many opportunities.