Prof Boyd Robertson

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI
Isle of Skye
IV44 8RQ

Boyd Robertson
tel: +44 (0)1471 888000

Available to talk to the media about

  1. Gaelic language and culture
  2. Gaelic education
  3. Bilingualism

In the following languages

English, Gaelic


Professor Boyd Robertson has played a leading role in Gaelic language development throughout his career and his achievements to date led to his appointment as Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, in 2009.

A native of North Uist, Professor Robertson graduated from Aberdeen University in Celtic Studies, before training as a teacher of Gaelic at Aberdeen College of Education. He taught at Oban High School where he became Principal Teacher of Gaelic before moving in 1982 to Jordanhill College of Education, Glasgow as Lecturer in Gaelic. After Jordanhill College merged with the University of Strathclyde, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer and then Reader in Gaelic. He became Head of Language Education at Strathclyde before taking on his current position at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye.

Professor Robertson has had longstanding involvement with various educational, language promotion and community bodies. He was a member of the first Bòrd na Gàidhlig and was, prior to that, Vice Chair of Comunn na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s (SQA) Gaelic Assessment Panel. He has also chaired An Lòchran, the Glasgow Gaelic Arts agency and continues to chair the inter-university Historical Dictionary of Scottish Gaelic steering committee as well as the UHI Gaelic Committee.  He is Chieftain of the Gaelic Society of Inverness for 2011-12.

Professor Robertson has extensive experience of designing and producing courses and resources for learners of Gaelic including the Teach Yourself Complete Gaelic course and is co-compiler of the Essential Gaelic Dictionary. Previously he acted as Director of the Abair E Gaelic learners Project for secondary school pupils and was principal language consultant for the Scottish Television series, Speaking our Language.

He has also undertaken consultancy work for a wide range of agencies including BBC Scotland; the General Teaching Council for Scotland; the Scottish Qualifications Authority and the University of Arizona. His research interests are primarily Gaelic education; language development; minority languages; Gaelic idiom and lexicography.

Current research

Gaelic idioms and expressions

Gaelic education

Research groups/interest

  • Member of Advisory Board for inter-university Soillse Research project
  • Convener of Faclair na Gàidhlig Steering Group
  • Member of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Research Committee


  • Gaelic education
  • Gaelic idioms
  • Gaelic lexicography
  • Language development
  • Bilingual education
  • Minority languages

Selected publications

  • Robertson, Boyd and Ian MacDonald (2010) The Essential Gaelic Dictionary, London: Hodder Headline
  • Robertson, Boyd  and Iain Taylor (2010) Complete Gaelic, London: Hodder Headline
  • Robertson, Boyd  and Gordon Wells (2010) Speak Gaelic with Confidence, London: Hodder Headline
  • Robertson, Boyd (2008) Gaelic Education in Bryce and Humes (ed) Scottish Education, (third edition) Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press
  • Robasdan, Boyd (2008) Oideachadh ann an Gàidhlig in Scottish Gaelic Studies Vol 24, Aberdeen: Aberdeen University
  • Robertson, Boyd and Wells, Gordon (2008) Teach Yourself Gaelic Conversation, London: Hodder Headline
  • Robertson, Boyd and MacDonald, Ian (2004) Gaelic Dictionary, London: Hodder Headline
  • Robertson, Boyd (2002) Teacher Training in Gaelic in Scotland in Kirk and O’Baoill (eds) Language Planning and Education: Linguistic Issues in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Scotland. Belfast: Queen’s University Belfast. pp76-81
  • Robertson, Boyd (2002) Limba gaelica in invatamintul din Marea Britanie in Altera 19 Anul VIII, Tirgu-Mures. Romania: Liga Pro Europa. pp169-186
  • Robertson, Boyd (2001) Gaelic in Scotland in Extra and Gorter (ed) The other languages of Europe. Cleveden: Multilingual Matters. pp 83-101
  • Robertson, Boyd (2001) Gaelic Immersion Courses: Report on Gaelic Immersion Course Provision in Scotland, Glasgow: Scottish Qualifications Authority