Sunday, September 04, 2011

A-nis beagan Gàidhlig...

Well talking about Gaelic in English (a bit of an industry really). Gaelic activist Johnny Campbell who lives near Aviemore recently wrote an interesting letter to the Herald. Here it is:

Published on 24 Aug 2011
Acknowledge the survival of Gaelic outwith the isles

Many will be surprised by the research findings released last week by the Scottish Government indicating general support for Gaelic (“Survey reveals degree of apathy among Scots toward Gaelic”, The Herald, August 19).

Few will be surprised that 9% of survey respondents were hostile to the language. It might have been appropriate to have asked this group if they were hostile to any other languages.

The Berlin Wall is now history, totalitarian regimes across the world are crumbling. Yet here in Scotland we are still fettered to outdated beliefs about language learning and a faith in standard school English as the only language of any value in the modern world.

A substantial number, 38%, had no opinion on Gaelic. That, alas, can hardly be described as surprising given the official secrecy that still surrounds the language.

Within living memory there were native speakers from areas of the Clyde close to Glasgow and from parts of Dunbartonshire, Perthshire and Stirlingshire just a bicycle ride from the main cities.

Evidence of the recent survival of Gaelic in these areas might help inform debate on the language. What’s the point of keeping it hidden away in archives in Edinburgh?

We must move beyond the illusion that Gaelic belongs exclusively to the Western Isles.

John Campbell

There are those that think that Gaelic might even have a brighter future on the Mainland than in the still declining traditional Gaelic speaking communities in the West and the Isles. John Campbell also recently wrote an open letter to the Minister for Gaelic,Alasdair Allan, in which he severely criticised the policies of Bòrd na Gàidhlig. A copy of that letter in both Gaelic and English can be read here.

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