Alba - Online Dictionary Welcomed

-- Media et Internet --

Rapport de Celtic League
Porte-parole: Cathal Ó Luain

Publié le 16/10/09 9:29 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

It has been called the most authoritative Scottish gaelic dictionary ever produced and from this year it is accessible to all online, thanks to the work of William Robertson and Michael Bauer.

Dwelly's dictionary contains over 70,000 entries and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive dictionary of the Scottish gaelic language compiled to date.

However, due to copyright laws and other complications, it took a German born learner of gaelic, Michael Bauer, 10 years to digitise the dictionary. Finally, with the assistance of a Scottish software engineer from Perthshire, William Robertson, the dictionary was finally put online in January 2009 and was completed without any outside financial support.

The actual Dwelly dictionary, first published in 1911, contained over 1000 pages and was an illustrated edition. The author of the dictionary, Edward Dwelly (1864-1939), was born in Arundell in southern England and only began learning gaelic after being stationed in Scotland with the army. He began collecting words in Scotland at the age of 17 years and the dictionary has had a huge influence on the development of the language, including on Irish lexicography.

This year the online dictionary has received the support and recognition from a number of sources and has also been the subject of parliamentary motions of commendation from both Holyrood in Scotland and Westminster in England.

First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, said about the dictionary:

«Gaelic belongs to Scotland. It is a unique and essential part of the rich and diverse cultural life of Scotland, and we must ensure we take the necessary and urgent steps to secure its place in the future.

That is why I am particularly pleased to welcome the Online version of Dwelly's 1911 Gaelic Dictionary, with search facilities available for both English to Gaelic and Gaelic to English.

This comprehensive online English-Gaelic Dictionary is a unique reference book which I am sure will be an inspiring tool for Gaelic learners, native speakers, students and academics alike.

Dwelly's 1911 Dictionary is a truly marvellous achievement, particularly when we think of the difficulties Edward Dwelly faced at the time, when many speakers of Gaelic were not taught to read and write in their native language. Nevertheless, the Dictionary has stood the test of time, and I am extremely proud of its endearing success over the years.»

At the 2009 Celtic League agm in Kernow, delegates unanimously passed a motion congratulating William Robertson (Uilleam MacDhonnchaidh) and Mrichael Bauer (Micheal Bauer) on their achievement and the following letter was sent on behalf of the general secretary of the League to communicate the decision.

F ios [at] ...

Dear Michael Bauer and William Robertson

Support from the Celtic League for Dwelly's Online Gaelic Dictionary

I am writing on behalf of the Celtic League to congratulate you on your hard work in making Dwelly's Gaelic Dictionary available online for the first time.

At past annual general meeting's (agm) of the Celtic League delegates have discussed the importance of this dictionary and how public money should be made available to support a project in putting the dictionary online. It was therefore a pleasure to here at our 2009 agm in July that the dictionary had been made available on the internet and delegates unanimously passed the following resolution:

«The Celtic League congratulates William Robertson (Uilleam MacDhonnchaidh) and Michael Bauer (Micheal Bauer) on making Dwelly's Gaelic Dictionary available online for the first time at We further note that they did this without subsidy or financial reward.»

Dwelly's dictionary has indeed stood the test of time and has been a useful tool for giving learners and speakers of gaelic alike suitable linguistic reference over the generations. Its availability on the internet, will also secure the dictionary's place among future generations of gaelic language learners and users.

The publication of the dictionary online also comes at an opportune time during the Scotland homecoming celebrations this year.

I congratulate you and your efforts once again and look forward to being able to use the dictionary for reference online in the future.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Ta-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League


The Online Dwelly dictionary can be found at the link below:

Scottish Nationalist Party Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Alasdair Allan motion commending Mr William Robertson and Mr Michael Bauer's efforts can be found at the link below:

(voir le site) emid=3

(Article compiled for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot

J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League


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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)

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