Raising Awareness: Exactly what it sounds like

May is Gaelic Awareness Month! Let’s talk a little about awareness, shall we? (Okay, I’ll talk type, you read.) 

So what does “awareness” mean? (If you have read through the other pages on this blog, you will notice that I am kind of a fan of defining things.  That’s just the linguist in me itching to get out for some exercise.  You will get used to her, she’s kind of fun sometimes.)

“Awareness” technically just means “knowledge of or about (something)”. It is one of those words that is used an awful lot, and it’s easy to tune it out without clueing into what it really means.  People, organizations, and businesses everywhere all want to “raise awareness” about something or other – diseases, charities, issues, products, services, you name it. 

It’s a tricky thing to measure “awareness”, and it’s really easy, I think, to assume that “raising awareness” necessarily means raising support and/or funding for something. This is partly because measuring the amount of funding or number of volunteers or members an organization has can be used as a more concrete indication of how aware the public is about a certain issue.  In reality though, raising support and funding are much more difficult challenges than just getting the knowledge out there in the first place.

In terms of my own blog here, I pretty much just want to get the word out.  I think it’s totally okay for someone to know about Gaelic in Nova Scotia without them feeling pressured to give time or money or energy to the cause. Of course all that extra stuff is very much appreciated, and the more the merrier, but even if people just start with a basic level of knowledge about what Gaelic in Nova Scotia really is all about, that’s a good foundation to build on.  Eventually, the knowledge may lead to a better understanding, which may in turn translate into more support, which hopefully will lead to other good stuff in the future.

I have the impression (at this point in time) that Gaelic Awareness Month in Nova Scotia has a similar purpose (uhm, someone correct me if I am wrong, please!).  It doesn’t seem to me to be a huge push to raise money or recruit volunteers by organizing a race or knocking on doors. I think it’s more of a chance to educate the public about Gaelic in Nova Scotia, and to get people interested in learning more about it by giving them the opportunity to participate in the various events that are being offered around the province.   It’s also about recognizing the existing Gaelic community and giving them a chance to be proud of and celebrate their language and culture within a wider community. 

(Of course, if you do want to get involved or support the Gaelic community by donating time or dollars, I’m sure it would be very much appreciated by everyone, and I think the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia, for one, would love to hear from you.)

So go ahead, get out and enjoy celebrating Gaelic in Nova Scotia this month! And if you’d like to help “raise awareness”, all you have to do is tell a friend. It’s that simple!

And here’s a video from Nova Scotia Tourism that you might like:

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