Language Sciences Institute

The Language Sciences Institute (LSI) aims to connect innovation and expertise in research and learning and will use the collective power and multi-disciplinary strengths of the UHI academic network to reconfigure current approaches to the revitalisation of minority languages. With a particular focus on the traditional Gaelic speaking communities of Scotland, the LSI will build on the work of the Soillse project.

The distinctive features of the LSI are:

  • A research and learning institute, embedded within a minority language community, with a focus on understanding the dynamic linkages between Gaelic communities.
  • An open and collaborative approach to minority language research that engages communities in a process of reflection and learning.
  • The co-design of new research methodologies and innovative knowledge exchange processes that will help develop the capacity of the university to address a sociolinguistic challenge.
  • Address the sociolinguistic challenge from both a both national and international perspective.
  • Use of a whole-systems approach to language research and practice, centred on addressing the challenges of social and economic sustainability within minority language communities.
  • A languages science approach to research, linking localised minority language situations to international perspectives on language revitalisation processes and which involve the community in the design of new interventions, policy and research.

It is envisaged the research legacy of the Soillse research project will enable the LSI to provide support in creating a sustainable future for the Gaelic language and culture in Scotland. Future policies and strategies that are articulated through National Language Plans, and the Language Plans of public bodies, need to be grounded in the reality of the Gaelic language condition. The LSI recognises this is particularly important in the those locations where Gaelic is still, in relative terms, a community language.


Knowledge exchange plan
The LSI has been developed with the aim of strengthening the Gaelic language research, learning and developmental portfolios of the university in collaboration with the National Gaelic College, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, public bodies and the Gaelic speaking community.  Institute staff will work across specific university disciplines to address increasingly complex social and global problems of sustaining minority languages and cultures in an integrated way.

Developing policy and partnerships
The LSI will provide a focus for informed debate and discussion on factors in relation to creating a sustainable future for Gaelic as a communal and social identity. Additionally, its establishment will provide a forum facilitating engagement in a meaningful and positive way with the traditional language community and with the new Gaelic communities emerging within the larger urban conurbations of Scotland. The Language Sciences Institute has a central role in researching and informing national policy in this area of language planning in Scotland.