Language struggles

In the Guardian, former minister Brian Wilson says Scots Gaelic will die unless the Scottish Parliament protects the language the way the authorities have done in Ireland and Wales.

Amongst other things, he seems to want a digital TV channel for Scots Gaelic speakers – funny, I could have sworn they already had one..

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    What if it does die out? Minority languages should be able to exist on their own merit, if they can’t, there is clearly no demand for them.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    For the record, I agree with the introduction of Gaelic to roadsigns in “the most gaelic speaking areas” provided a significant (even minority, say 15%?) of first speakers reside in/around the area.

  • La Dolorosa

    Just wondering if the post of Ulster -Scot’s speaking stenograppher at the NI assembli is still vacant . I think I have adequate qualifications – I know that the assembly is not up and running a the moment, but I am sure I could do the job, as I couped the bike into a sheugh on the way home from a shebeen the other night.

  • La Dolorosa

    Just wondering if the post of Ulster -Scot’s speaking stenographer at the NI assembly is still vacant . I think I have adequate qualifications – I know that the assembly is not up and running at the moment, but I am sure I could do the job, as I couped the bike into a sheugh on the way home from a shebeen the other night.

  • fair_deal

    La dolorosa

    The US position was filled first time off.

  • idunnomeself

    But it’s vacant again as the previous incumbent got a new job.

    Scots Gaelic is in a different position to Irish or Welsh. Both Irish and Wesh are widely used and most children study them in school and there are large Irish and Welsh medium education sectors.

    Scottish Gaelic is spoken by less than 2% of the population of Scotland, and most Scots never learn a word of it.

    Per head I think they do quite well for themselves

  • fair_deal

    IDM

    Has it be re-advertised or is it pending political developments?

  • fair_deal

    IDM

    The last I’d heard was the Scots gaelic ones had started to make a serious go at expanding the scots Gaelic medium sector after research pointed out more were dying every year than were in the medium sector? Did they desist or is it not working?

  • idunnomeself

    Fair Deal

    It hasn’t been readvertised, Probably because they are struggling to keep their staff occupied as it is.

    The Irish one was though

    Re Scottish Gaelic

    They are, but they are 20 years behind the game in Ireland, 30 years behind Wales, but there were (I think) in the last census) signs that it was beginning to work. But the numbers are tiny, and the potential to grow is low, there aren’t many kids in the highlands anyway. I’m not sure it’s just a case of resources, the Scottish Gaelic community has received significant funding since the early 80s, 20 years before Irish did in NI. But Irish is reviving and Scottish Gaelic isn’t, which implies that the money and state support aren’t the crucial elements of language revival.

    But you now that anyway

    On a practical point I think a minority language group has to embrace bi-lingualism to succeed in the modern world. Thats what Welsh and Irish have done, but Scottish Gaelic was slower to do this.

  • maca

    Beano
    “Minority languages should be able to exist on their own merit”

    Why?

    Aaron
    Check the TeleG FAQ’s: “TeleG transmits daily between 6 -7pm.”

    A full time TV channel like TG4 would be a good idea IMO.

  • fair_deal

    “the Scottish Gaelic community has received significant funding since the early 80s”

    They way i heard it the Scots gaelic lobby prioritised media programming in the 80’s, which took up lots of cash but didn’t produce results (excpet jobs for a good chunk of the Gaelic lobby who had advocated it in the first place – or maybe that’s just cyncism creeping in)

  • For the Record

    Fair_deal – for the record. Those members of staff who are still working at the Assembly are kept very busy doing various work for other public organisations as well as supporting the ongoing constituency work of MLAs. Admittedly there is not a lot of work for an Ulster Scots translator just at the moment but hopefully in the future……

    This impression people have they everyone is just sitting twiddling their thumbs up at Stormont is extremely annoying. No-one is more frustrated at the lack of progress being made than the staff here. The majority of staff were recruited to the Assembly directly and are not Civil Servants therefore they hope even more for a political breakthrough otherwise they will all be made redundant (like so many other people in Northern Ireland). I’m not asking for any sympathy just making the point.

  • fair_deal

    Fortherecord

    It wasn’t me who made a comment about the bsuiness or otherwise of the workers at Stormont it was idunnomyself.

  • Keith M

    I agree with beano, minority languages should be left to die. The purpose of language is to communicate with as many people as possible. If people want to keep minority languages they should do so without funding from people speaking the majority language.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “Scottish Gaelic is spoken by less than 2% of the population of Scotland, and most Scots never learn a word of it.”
    Less than 1% of the population of NI speak Irish in preference to English, so would you agree with me that it should be left to be used in cultural context and not as a means for communication, eg, on road signs?

    Maca: because the government have better things to fund. Remember I’m talking about NI here, where the population of Irish speakers is tiny. It may well be legitimate in the South (in parts anyway) but I resent the preferential treatment given to it in relation to other languages.

    More people in Northern Ireland speak mandarin than Irish.

  • idunnomeself

    fortherecord

    If the Assembly is so busy how come staff keep being ‘lent’ to the Civil Service?

    Many civil servants transferred to the assembly as they would get more money that way. The payoff was that they lost their job security. Now they appear to get both: if there is no assembly they come back into the NICS and are found work, yet still get paid more..

    Beano. The difference is that 10% of the population of NI speak it and it is the third most popular language GCSE here. Thats a market it can grow into, a market Scots Gaelic will struggle to match.

    Fair_Deal
    Sounds like what my understanding is. Now of course they want schools like the Irish while the Irish want broadcasting like the Scots..

    It shows a difference of priority though, they Scots were more interested in consolidating a small, shrinkng, geographically remote speaking community than growing the speaking base among English speakers.

  • idunnomeself

    Beano the ‘Mardarin Statement’ is totally untrue.

    There are 3,000 kids in Irish medium education this year in NI. The TOTAL chinese population (which included Mandarin, Cantonese and Haka speakers) was about 5,000 in teh last census.

    Unless you can prove that catchy ounding ‘fact’ I think you should admit it’s wrong

  • fair_deal

    the Gaelic medium schools in the Central Belt are doing well the last i heard but still probably incidental in population terms

  • idunnomeself

    fair deal

    They are small, but obviously extremely significant.

    Last I heard there was one in Edinburgh, one in Glasgow and some pre schools. Mainly used for the children of migrants from the highlands and islands.

    So tiny, but if they work Gaelic will be a lot more secure

  • Alan

    “Scots Gaelic is in a different position to Irish or Welsh.”

    I would say Welsh is streets ahead of the other two. Scots gaelic is struggling because it is not seen as “cultural” or “national”, most are happy with English and a bit of Rabbie Burns.
    Certainly here in Dungannon I would be better off learning Portugese or an Eastern European language.

  • stan

    Going by the number of racist attacks against the Portugese community in Dungannon,learning the lingo is the least of your worries

  • maca

    Keith
    “The purpose of language is to communicate with as many people as possible”

    How awfully dull Keith.

    Beano
    “because the government have better things to fund.”

    For the amount that’s actually spent on language development why not just cut it from the defence budget?

    “Remember I’m talking about NI here, where the population of Irish speakers is tiny”

    I thought we were talking about Gaelic.