BBC ALBA's contributions to Gaelic language planning efforts for reversing language shift

Lindsay Milligan, Douglas Chalmers, Mike Danson, Alison Lang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    BBC ALBA is the first dedicated Gaelic-medium television channel in history. It launched in September 2008 and, in late 2010, announced that it would be carried on Freeview, in addition to Sky, Freesat, and BBC iPlayer, thereby widening access to Gaelic throughout Scotland. The channel is a BBC-licensed service that is presently operated as a partnership between the BBC and MG ALBA. It combines three media (television, radio, and the internet) with an annual content budget of 14m British Pounds while targeting a weekly viewership of 250,000 persons. In this article, we discuss the channel in the context of language planning for Gaelic in Scotland. We begin with a brief discussion of the policy framework out of which the channel arises, then analyse the kinds of economic impacts it is making, and finally consider its social importance for reversing language shift goals. The media have previously been critiqued in terms of their importance to the RLS for minoritised languages, but more
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)349-361
    Number of pages13
    JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Language Maintenance
    • Language Planning
    • Foreign Countries
    • Indo European Languages
    • Television
    • Programming (Broadcast)
    • Economic Factors
    • Criticism
    • Language Minorities
    • Computer Software
    • Social Networks, Scotland


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