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'Bi-lingual' dog learns commands in Scottish Gaelic

Ginger listening closely to his master 

A DOG impressed members of a Scottish Gaelic speaking class by learning commands in the language in just three weeks. 

Ginger, a four year old hearing dog, showed off his new language skills at a church near Dunoon in Argyll and Bute.

His owner Neil Smith (67) demonstrated that Ginger could respond to the Scottish Gaelic words for sit (suidh), come here (trobhad). stay (fuirich) and good boy (cu math).

Mr Smith said that Ginger is helping to lead a 'revival' of the language amond his family.

"He has given me a lot of confidence because I used to be a very shy person and often felt quite isolated in company, even with family and friends," he said.

"Going to the Gaelic class gets me out and about to meet people, and I have always wanted to learn the language because my great-grandmother spoke it but it was not passed down through the family, so Ginger is helping to lead a family revival.

"Ginger has picked it up really quickly, it only took him about three weeks. It is great because I can show off that he is a bi-lingual dog - people think it is amazing that he can do that and it is a wee bit of added interest to the class."

Elma McArthur, who leads the conversation class, said she was very impressed by the speed Ginger had grasped the complex language.

"He is a very, sharp clever dog. It is a really good advert for Gaelic and I have never heard of a dog learning it as a second language before," she added.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison, added: "It is great to see an older person enjoying such a good relationship with his dog where Gaelic is the medium of communication," he added.

Although a distinct language, Scottish Gaelic is considered to be closely related to the Irish language. 

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