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Last Updated: Monday, 27 September, 2004, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Prince backs Gaelic's fightback
Prince Charles at Skye's Gaelic college
Prince Charles said it was a miracle Gaelic was still spoken
Prince Charles has spoken of his hopes of keeping the Gaelic language alive on a visit to the Isle of Skye.

The prince told the Gaelic College, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, it was a miracle the language was still being spoken in Scotland at all.

He praised the college for its work as the only Gaelic language institution in the country and said it was a powerful statement of what Gaelic can achieve.

Last year it was revealed fewer than 58,000 Scots now spoke Gaelic.

The prince is patron of the college and has been said to be "very concerned" about the plight of the language in recent times.

The miracle is that Gaelic has survived at all
Prince Charles

Speaking to students and staff at the college in Sleat the prince said: "If Gaelic dies in Scotland it dies in the world.

"If it flourishes here it sends out a message of inspiration and optimism.

"Scotland faces many challenges as well as great opportunities.

"And Scottish life is greatly enriched by the Gaelic dimension.

'Powerful statement'

"The miracle is that Gaelic has survived at all.

"This college is a powerful statement of what Gaelic can achieve."

The college campus opened in 1999 and is next to the original site which has provided short courses in Gaelic music and language since the 1970s.

As a partner institute within the University of the Highlands and Islands, the college now offers three degree-level courses as well as beginner classes for those with an interest in the Gaelic language.

There are 110 full-time students at the college this year.

Gaelic secondary school planned
21 May 04  |  Scotland
Sign of the times for Highlands
08 Mar 04  |  Scotland
Plans to protect Gaelic
10 Oct 03  |  Scotland
Gaelic first for parents
03 Jun 03  |  Scotland
MSPs approve Gaelic bill
06 Mar 03  |  Scotland


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