The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Soapbox: The War Of Words

Posted on April 29, 2018 by

So everyone’s fighting about Gaelic again. Provoked by a minor story about a Gaelic dictionary MSM and alt-media pundits are flying at each other with daggers over a language spoken by almost nobody on Earth and on which the government spends a few measly and irrelevant pennies, trying to turn it into a proxy war over politics and the constitution and fascism and genocide and goodness knows what else.

We’ve covered the political nonsense around the issue numerous times on this site, and we’re not about to do so again here. This, as befits the Soapbox section, is a purely personal view, which will doubtless attract more furious shrieking from the sort of people who long ago lost the ability to listen to a counterpoint – or indeed tolerate the mere concept of one – let alone consider it or debate it without abuse.

But hey ho. After a while you just learn to tune that stuff out, so let’s go.

The dictionary story was in fact pretty innocuous stuff. The BBC, the Herald and (to a slightly lesser extent) the Scotsman all reported it pretty straight, with only the Times trying to blow it up into SNP BAD hysteria by massively inflating the sum of money involved – by 500% – with some purely imaginary future expenditure that blew the cost up from £2.5m to £15m.

(The tabloids, naturally, ignored it on the entirely reasonable grounds that the vast mass of Scots don’t give much of a toss one way or the other. If you really press them, voters are split about half and half on whether even the very modest level of spending on Gaelic is justified, but in truth they barely think about it at all.)

Everything only kicked off when a chap called Brian Beacom – who’s apparently the Senior Features Writer on the Herald, though this was the first we’d ever heard of him – penned a column for the paper challenging the cost of the dictionary project. By the brutal standards of a modern-day newspaper opinion piece it was velvet-glove stuff, certainly mildly provocative but then “mildly provocative” is pretty much the absolute minimum standard required in that genre.

(Well, unless you’re David Torrance, in which case you can get away with slathering pages in the literary equivalent of magnolia emulsion for the best part of 20 years before everyone is SO bored of it that you finally have to get a proper job.)

But predictably all hell broke loose – perhaps because when you represent SUCH a small minority that every micro-challenge feels like a mortal threat requiring a huge overreaction, in a manner rather reminiscent of current transgender activism – and heat triumphed over light once again.

Now, as it happens I agree with the broad sweep of the column while disagreeing with the specifics. This particular project is a totally worthwhile one, and is exactly how Scotland SHOULD be treating its niche history – preserving it accurately and in great detail for posterity and study, not going through the charade of frantically and hopelessly trying to flog a long-dead horse back to life.

And the reason for that is that languages are the curse of humanity.

And it’s not just in one sort of bible:

“The problem is the same for all three super-states. It is absolutely necessary to their structure that there should be no contact with foreigners, except, to a limited extent, with war prisoners and coloured slaves. Even the official ally of the moment is always regarded with the darkest suspicion. War prisoners apart, the average citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages.

If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate.”

(George Orwell, “Ninteen Eighty-Four”)

For “war prisoners and coloured slaves” there, read “terrorists and migrant workers”.

Now, imagine for a moment a world which had just one language (it doesn’t matter which one). Imagine the true global “freedom of movement” – that progressive pillar of the EU, that pride of the internationalist – it would bring about.

At the moment people are theoretically free to travel and live and work across much of the world, but in practical terms that ability is enormously restricted by the need to learn languages.

If the wretched Tory UK sickens you beyond toleration, upping sticks for France or Germany or Denmark isn’t technically all that hard, but to live properly in any of them (ie without relying on the charity of them speaking English) needs months of effort to become fluent in their languages, and then if you want to go somewhere else you have to start all over again.

It is, and always has been, in the interests of the world’s ruling elites to keep most people firmly where they are, and to keep even those people who are allowed to move around culturally segregated. That is: it suits their ends, in all sorts of ways, for foreigners to be as foreign as possible.

Imagine trying to whip up hatred against immigrants if they spoke the same language as you. Imagine how absurd it would be for the likes of UKIP to try to get you to hate Polish or Romanian people if all they had was a different accent, no more “alien” or frightening than Brummie is to Glaswegians or the Highland lilt is to a Geordie.

From Aberdeen to Alabama to Alberta to Adelaide, almost no native English speaker on the planet, however thick their accent, is incomprehensible to any other native English speaker.

Because while we all take the piss out of each other’s regional accents – and Americans and Australians and Canadians, eh? – it’s ultimately affectionate bonding, because in realising that it’s the same language underneath we realise far more readily that we’re all the same people underneath.

But if someone is saying things you don’t understand, it’s a natural human response to be uncomfortable and fearful and to see them as “other”. Maybe they’re going to rob you, or hurt you, or cheat you, or are simply mocking you. They’re almost certainly NOT, of course, but you have no way of knowing that because you can’t tell what they’re saying and measure it against their expression or body language.

And it’s a very short step from that inbuilt human defence mechanism to somebody with a cynical interest in division getting you to hate them.

(It’s obviously still POSSIBLE to foment hatred of people who speak your language – the Irish in Britain in the 1970s, the Jews in Germany in the 1930s, the poor everywhere all the time – it’s just a lot harder the more like you they seem, which is why so much racism is based on exaggerating grotesque stereotypes to maximise perceived differences.)

Measured on a human scale, all time spent learning multiple languages is time wasted. Every minute a British person spends learning Spanish, or a Japanese person spends learning Arabic, just to be able to communicate on the most basic level with someone of the same species who lives as little as 10 miles away is time that could have been spent on something more productive of some kind of benefit to humanity.

It’s like regressing to being a toddler every time you cross a border. And this is, of course, doubly true when you learn a language that’s only spoken in one country, where you already live and where everyone already speaks another one.

(My father was once sued by a Welshman, and the entire proceedings were conducted in Welsh, leading to the farcical situation that a native citizen of the UK appearing in a court in the UK against another native citizen of the UK had to hire a translator to defend himself even though every single person in the room spoke perfect English and had done all their life.)

And what do we gain? Defenders of defunct languages invariably cry “But CULTURE!”, as if that was an argument in itself rather than just giving something a name.

Culture is a people’s customs, their food, their music, their architecture, their festivals, their dances, their society. And none of that is dependent on any specific language. Language is just the tool you write the recipe book with so that someone else can replicate the dinner. A chicken and a poulet and a hoender and a kjúklingur are all the exact same thing, and a frying pan is identical to a stekpanna, so what’s the good of having hundeds of different words for them?

Language is a tool, one that different tribes all happened to develop in different forms as a historical accident because they were geographically isolated from each other, not because it was better that way. Language isn’t culture any more than a paintbrush is art. It’s what you do with it that counts.

Multiple languages are like cars that have different parts and use different fuels and have steering wheels on different sides – they all work fine in themselves, one isn’t inherently better than the other, they’ll all get you from A to B, but the fact that they’re all mutually incompatible is just a giant unnecessary pain in the arse.

(As the local garage that’s been trying to find a replacement power-steering fluid hose for my 2001 Mazda MX-5 since the middle of last December will confirm.)

They’re like phone chargers that only work on one kind of phone so you can’t borrow a colleague’s or a stranger’s when you forget yours.

They’re like the multiple competing videogames consoles that won’t play each other’s games, so that if you want to enjoy ALL the best titles from any given generation the back of your TV has to look like this:

(In fact, it’s like if you had to buy three different TVs to watch BBC and ITV and Sky.)

And ironically, the best thing about language – any language that’s spoken in large numbers – is that it’s adoptive and inclusive and alive. Over the centuries of civilisation English has enlarged and enriched itself by incorporating words and phrases from Gaelic and Latin and French and German and Greek and Yiddish and every other tongue on the planet, and doubtless the same is true of every other language. If we all just arbitrarily agreed on one tomorrow and used it from then on, we’d already be getting the best of all worlds, and it would keep happening.

(Because even if other languages fell into general disuse, people would still study them and find useful things in them and introduce them into modern speech because that’s how it works.)

In a typically passionate and informed case for the opposing argument, the Wee Ginger Dug noted this week that Gaelic is such a tiny rump interest because it’s “been minoritised by a Scottish establishment which aped the linguistic ideals of the monoglot English British establishment”.

Others bitterly note the years when Gaelic was actively and savagely oppressed by English rulers after the failure of the Jacobite rebellions.

And all of that’s perfectly true, but… so what? It’s done now. It’s 2018. The battle was lost, it’s never going to be fought again and there’s nothing to be gained by weeping and wailing on the grave and refusing to go home and get on with your life. Over 99% of Scots can’t speak Gaelic and don’t have any interest in doing so, no matter how loudly people shout that there are a couple of Gaelic schools in Glasgow now.

(If anything, most folk are mildly irritated and resentful of being made to feel like either imperialist intruders in their own country or somehow a lesser species of Scots, by being constantly presented with a language that’s supposedly their own but that they can’t even begin to pronounce, let alone understand.)

That’s statistical unanimity. In a world where we’re leaving the EU on the whim of 52% and stuck in the UK because of the feelings of 55%, you’d think 99% would be a big enough margin to take the hint – the wheel of history turns and sometimes you just have to deal with it and move on. We mock Loyalists trying to live in 1690 even as some of us try to angrily turn the clock back 500 years further than that.

None of this – of course – is making an argument for BANNING Gaelic, or even for spending less money on it. To reiterate – the dictionary project is a wholly admirable one well meriting its modest price tag, and economically Gaelic support is as close to cost-neutral more widely as makes no odds, with expenditure seemingly being more or less matched by revenue generated from tourism to remote parts of the country that would otherwise struggle to be sustainable.

But it’s an argument about why we should celebrate every language that dies on Earth, not desperately try to keep the corpse breathing when all reasonable hope of recovery is long gone, like poor wee Alfie Evans.

If we could somehow double or treble or quadruple the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland, what would be the point? Who would that have helped? Who could we communicate with that we couldn’t communicate with before? Nobody. Thousands of people would have expended huge amounts of energy to achieve nothing of any use, nothing of any identifiable value to anyone but (debateably) themselves.

Multiple languages are barriers to communication and understanding and solidarity, and therefore to tolerance and peace. They’re the weapons of racists and xenophobes and opportunist politicians. They serve no utility that wouldn’t be far better achieved if there was only one of them.

Certainly, making Gaelic a partisan political battleground is an idiotic idea from a Yes point of view. It’s interesting to speculate on whether support for independence in Scotland would be anywhere near as high if nationalist sentiment had been pacified and diverted into language and “culture” instead of politics, as it has in Wales.

Proportionately more than 20 times as many Welsh people speak Welsh as Scots speak Gaelic, but support for independence languishes at between half and one-eighth of Scottish levels depending on the question asked.

(Voters in Wales prefer – by an ENORMOUS margin – a more powerful Assembly if offered it as an option, and they can only be persuaded to lean a bit more towards independence if presented with a straight binary choice. In fact, in a multi-option vote more than twice as many people want the Assembly completely abolished as want full independence.)

But at the end of the day it’s not only political pragmatism, but progressive principle. Human civilisation is facing more crises than at any time in its history, and the more easily we can all understand each other the better everything is likely to be. Languages are the enemy. Let’s tear down the walls.


Soapbox is a weekend column designed to provoke debate on non-party-political issues. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Wings Over Scotland, except when we write them ourselves, obviously.

If you’d like to contribute a Soapbox piece (ideally 800-1500 words), send it to us via our Contact page, INCLUDING THE WORD ‘SOAPBOX’ IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

Print Friendly

    1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. 30 04 18 20:22

      827. Is Mise Gàidhlig | ancroiait

    442 to “Soapbox: The War Of Words”

    1. mike cassidy says:

      Now if only you had written this in Gaelic!

    2. Ken500 says:

      Music. poetry, song and tourism more than pay for this. Advertising of Scottish products worldwide benefits. What a to do about nothing. It pays for itsel in spades. Scotland one of the mist beautiful and visited countries in the world with a 40 million disporia. Some many had to leave Scotland to find a job because of Westminster centrist illegal policies. Now chucking people out of the UK who have the total legal right to stay.

      More important why is public money being used to support sectarian in sport. Public money being used to support Orange marches etc. Destroying the economy. Supporting misogynists, racist and bigotry, Cut the apron strings, immediately. This carry on is banned in most Scottish cities, it should be banned in the rest. Along with the bigots and perverts in sport. No wonder the terraces are empty. Letting bigots, perverts and thugs run sports clubs. Tax evaders and public money embezzlers. Gies peace.

    3. Ken500 says:

      English is spoken the world over because of the legacy of slavery and colonisation.

      Esperanto did not cut it. Spanish is the most spoken language in the world for the same reasons. Colonisation and slavery. Easier to learn. Close to French, Italian etc.but so many feminine/masculine words. Chinese comes close second. 1.2Billion. Hard to learn.

      Direct flights to China in June. Good for trade and tourism.

    4. Alibi. says:

      Hang on. You have an MX5?

    5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Music. poetry, song and tourism more than pay for this. Advertising of Scottish products worldwide benefits.”

      Which it SAYS IN THE ARTICLE.

    6. Richard Hunter says:

      I think the Mod is pretty cool and BBC Alba is still a lot better than BBC Scotland. (The excellent Eorpa springs to mind). When you’re talking pennies, I don’t object to chucking a bit of money at it.

    7. R Frater says:

      Sorry Rev, I’m with WGD on this. Understand the point you are making, but language shapes thoughts and the expression of ideas and concepts; being bilingual has certainly affected how I view the world. To take your point and throw in Orwell own concept, if we only had a single language, how could those in power then influence and constrain the concepts and ideas of the population?
      In the same way that it is the victors who create the narrative of history, if you reduce the diversity of language, you reduce the diversity if expression, IMHO.
      Anyway, I’m off down the Cafe for a latte and maybe allow myself a little scheudenfreud at the state the Tories have got themselves into over Windrush. Latha math.

    8. Jim McLean says:

      I could not disagree with the Rev more. I think he should read The Prince by Machiavelli again and remember that by destroying the language you destroy the people.

    9. montfleury says:

      There isn’t really space to go into it here, but I have to take issue with the notion semmingly implied by this kind of notion;

      A chicken and a poulet and a hoender and a kjúklingur are all the exact same thing

      that languages are just codes with a one to one mapping of obvious objects like chickens to the word ‘chicken’. Once you really learn a language you discover this isn’t true, often through the colour adjectives. In French ‘rouge’ certainly does not cover all of the tones covered by the English ‘red’.

      That extends into all other words too. ‘Bonjour’ simply doesn’t have the exact same meaning as ‘hello’. Perfect translation from one language to another simply isn’t possible and if you have two languages the thoughts you have when using them are simply not the same. Having more then one language widens the scope of your humanity and gives you a second culture in and of itself.

      I wish I knew more Gaelic, but I never seem to make the effort to acquire it.

    10. Derick fae Yell says:

      The “Culloden’ painting illustrating this article is David Morier’s one. Almost everything about it is a lie, not unconnected to the painter’s patronage by one Cumberland, Duke of.

      The Jacobite army is portrayed as a dirty rabble (literally – look at the light in the painting) in a doomed and chaotic charge against a rather clean and “civilised” army. They are armed with swords! It’s classic fake news, which has become accepted truth by constant repetition for 200 years.

      But it’s still a lie. Both armies were similar in terms of organisation, training, tactics and arms.

      The Jacobite army was more international, reflecting Scotland’s deep European links. The French regulars in particular. The principle arms were muskets and cannon, not swords! Swords not having been the primary arms of any European army since Killikrankie, 60 years earlier.

      The composition of the Jacobite armies was 60:40 Lowland: Highland, reflecting the population of Scotland at the time. And that is the biggest lie in Morier’s painting. The Jacobite army was NOT a Highland one, it was a Scottish one.

      Propaganda like Morier’s, and virtually the whole of unionist historiography, sought, and seeks, to present the 45 as a Highland cause in order to marginalise it.

      The language of the Jacobite armies was Scots, not Gaelic.

      That lie, and myth, of Jacobitism as “Highland” has become accepted “truth”. It’s repeated at Culloden itself by the National Trust in Scotland. The Series “Outlander” repeats it, amongst others.

      But it’s still a political lie.

      See “The Myth of the Jacobite Clans” and “The Battle of Culloden” both by Professor Murray Pittock.

    11. Calum McKay says:

      What a load of old tosh!

      Undermining people’s language, culture and religion whilst dividing and ruling has been the framework for English colonial rule across the globe!

      The decline in Gaelic is a national shame, a national shame that Scots have and still do capitulate and condone the destruction of their own language.

      Why bother at all, the natural conclusion of this piece is we should all like Eastenders, it would be easier to get along.

      If we all did speak like Eastenders, we would be Eastenders, independence would not be in appropriate as we would all be English and happy with being so.

      If you know writing this is divisive, do us all a favour!

    12. Cath says:

      Have to half agree and half disagree with this. It’s a bit like the no borders argument. In a perfect world, there would be no borders at all, and the people of the world would be able to move around totally freely. Why shouldn’t they? Capital can move freely, and supply and demand would quickly ensure that shitty countries no one wants to live in would have to change, exploitation would become far harder because anyone could move to where pay is better. In that same perfect world, there would be one language only and no communication barriers.

      Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world. There will always be borders and languages. And that being the case, small countries and small languages shouldn’t just roll over and accept they’re the ones that don’t belong and need wiped out.

      My grandfather was a Gaelic speaker. He used to be caned at school for speaking it. That’s the brutal way in which Gaelic was deliberately killed off. Yes, it’s all history now, as the Highland Clearances are. But history repeats itself if you let it, and acceptance that was OK and should stand is wrong. I don’t speak Gaelic at all, but would love to learn it, to redress what happened to my Grandad’s generation and bring it back.

      Lastly, the wonderful thing about languages is, while most of us in English speaking countries may only speak on, they enrich communication hugely, because the differences are differences in thinking as well as words. Learning a very different language opens up a new way of looking at a lot of things. Gaelic is the language of a huge amount of poetry and song, because it lends itself to that and those songs will give images English never will. That should never be lost.

      I look forward to learning it one day, when I have the time. It’ll never be a priority for all the reasons you say – it’s not that useful to learn. But I wish to hell my grandfather had lived long enough to pass it on, and his generation hadn’t had it beaten out of them.

    13. Sal says:

      I disagree with your main point in this one Stu. Which single language would you choose? How many other cultures, major and minor, would be consigned to memory only? Children learning another language at a young age, including gaelic, find it easier to learn and understand multiple languages. Something we should encourage.
      With Google translate, and other technologies emerging we are close to the science fiction of universal translators and Babel fish. Surely the better answer to the problems you see with language?

    14. Willie John says:

      It would be interesting to find out how much is spent teaching Latin, Ancient Greek etc compared to that little lot.

      But that’s OK of course because you need to know that for the Times crossword!

    15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Which single language would you choose?”

      I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.

      “universal translators”

      There’s no such thing as a perfect translation.

    16. Luigi says:

      Why do you think so many people still speak gaelic in Ireland?

      They teach it in school!

      IMHO Scots and Gaelic should be taught in primary – just a few lessons and well kent phrases.

      Gaelic and Scots are part of our distinct heritage (thst’s why the Brit Nats hate it), regardless of how many continue to speak it. I love to see the gaelic road signs in the west coast – even if I know so little.

      I would so live the SNP to change their name to a gaelic/native name – like the Irish and Welsh political parties – can you imagine the yoon rage that would erupt. 🙂

    17. Jim Scobbie says:

      So – all human beings need to speak “the same” language, and this will help bring about a utopian universal peace?
      First, with respect to war, hatred, bigotry, humanity, peace, and all the important things that preserve or end life, and cause misery or opportunity for self-determination… “it’s the economy, stupid”. Not the tower of babel – the problem is NOT that we have different languages.
      Second, human beings are naturally multilingual, not monolingual.
      Third, all languages change due to social factors including the depth of networks. If you could magically cause every human being on the plant to have the same language in their brain (which is not even the case for identical twins in the fine-grained details of reality) then the networks those people choose to belong to or randomly adopt will, in time, differentiate. Evolve. And you can’t stop that – unless you force people.
      So, you cannot cause or preserve a universal language. All language change – they grow, diverge, and die. They evolve.
      What this has to do with Gaelic, I have no idea. Utopian dreamers need a universal language. Real people, on the other hand? People need Mozart. People need harpsichords. People invented punk, out of need, now they it is for old folk and advertising butter, they still need it. People need exercise, they need variation in their lives, they need love and attention. They need creativity and self-expression. They need nostalgia as much as they need invention. They need communities within insiders and outsiders. People need answers, and they need new questions. People need to live their own lives, and minorities need to be protected by majorities, not wiped out or forces to assimilate. We need difference, we need heritage languages, we need the humanity to support our living history and those who embody its potential worth to the future of us all who identify, and everyone who is interested.
      We are not clones, we are not robots, we are not efficient in the ways the author wants. Variation keeps a species alive. This article’s view is the enemy of pluralism and self-determination and difference and variety and humanity, despite faking a dangerously warm and cosy view. Only a totalitarian says “all humanity must be the same”, and “the majority knows best”.

    18. Highland Wifie says:

      On moving to the Highlands forty years ago I made a pretty pathetic effort to learn Gaelic through the Can Seo tv programme, fashionable at the time. Needless to say I gave up within a short space of time, mainly because there was nobody to practise on! Despite this obvious flaw in my plan I have felt guilty ever since about my failure to make inroads in my ‘native’ language.
      Over the years I have wrestled with the rights and wrongs of spending money on Gaelic language and endured the squabbling that goes on up here and the venom directed at the so called ‘Gaelic mafia.’ Personally I like Gaelic road signs and have no strong feelings for or against Gaelic medium education. Having been in education I know the advantages that come with learning another language and, far from confusing children, it enriches their learning and enhances their linguistic skills generally. This is why learning a new language is recommended in old age to help stave off dementia.
      I also feel that resentment around the fact that the language was deliberately suppressed after Culloden and even last century Scots language of any kind was brutally suppressed in schools. I agree with the Wee Ginger Dug as far as that’s concerned. However, this piece today really made me think about the whole language debate differently. It’s hard to deny the clear differences between Wales and Scotland regards language and politics but what other factors are at play?
      Instinctively I prefer diversity, including language, but it’s impossible to ignore the problems it creates.
      Damn Stu, you challenged my thinking again!

    19. Robin says:

      Andrew Marr (BBC Arse) a couple of minutes ago:

      “The Liberal Democrats are the most hostile to Brexit out of all the major Parties”


      I think the SNP will have something to say about that quote Andrew.

    20. ScotsRenewables says:

      While disagreeing with Stu on most of what he says I am minded of a virulent anti-English neighbour taking my pilot brother to task because English wasn’t the international language of Air traffic control.

      I like bilingual roadsigns, and think the tourists do too.

    21. Tinto Chiel says:

      Let’s all just speak the one language, everywhere. That’ll make the world a better place.

    22. Archbishop of Dork says:


      Also there is now scarcely a trace left of Marr’s Scottish accent.

    23. Jim Scobbie says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell: you say that the identity of a putative single world language “doesn’t matter”. Fine. You also say “There’s no such thing as a perfect translation.” True.
      But there is also no such thing as a single language at any one time point, nor a language that does not change or diverge in different ways. The chimera of a single world language is just mom-and-apple-pie, if you like the idea, and an Orwellian nightmare of authoritarianism, if you don’t. In other words, it’s not a serious concept, because it is self-contradictory.
      It may be possible to preserve indefinitely a single language for humanity, but only artificially, as an elite language taught to an elite. Social meanings would arise, attaching to the slightest systematic difference that would arise, though variations in communities of practice. Because people choose what to do, where to go, and who to hang out with, their speech patterns, vocabulary, and language gradually change. Not everyone wants to hang out with everyone else, equally. Not everyone is the same age. Those real-world biological and social forces cause language change, and the transmissions of changes that start as random mutations evolve through communities and are transmitted as patterns. Unless you get a big stick to stop it. Hence, “universal language” to me spells authoritarianism. You can defend a universal langauge or even languages, on the same grounds as you might want to defend a (set of) worldwide elite(s).
      On the other hand, you can live and let live.
      It’s not the lack of a single language that holds people back from seeking world peace or understanding, and it never will be.

    24. Highland Wifie says:

      Just remembered about Icelandic having at least 46 different words for snow. This kind of diversity is what makes languages so vital.
      How many words do we have for unionists?!

    25. Ottomanboi says:

      Assuming the above is in a tongue in cheek Devil’s Advocate genre, it might have have directly been lifted from the Daily Mail or Express, language is not a purely utilitarian medium it carries ‘subliminal’ signals concerning identity, associations, community, worldview and of course culture.
      English to not a few on this planet signals imperialism. Utility it may be but it carries many negative signs which ought to curtail its use among those who, like the Scots, have experienced its use as an aggressive medium of repressive, colonialist hegemony vide widespread use of English during the Protestant Reformation, religion of the yellow stick, mi-rùn mòr nan Gall etc.
      To speak or identify with another or a ’minority’ language is to kick Anglo-American imperialism in the balls.
      Suas leis a ghàidhlig, suas i is suas Alba!
      Note. A French wit once remarked that English is an easy language to be incoherent in. Welcome to Global English!

    26. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The “Culloden’ painting illustrating this article is David Morier’s one. Almost everything about it is a lie, not unconnected to the painter’s patronage by one Cumberland, Duke of.”

      Highlander didn’t really happen either.

    27. David Smith says:

      Being a native English speaker is, to be perfectly frank, a fucking embarrassment in the modern world.
      Being a native English speaker breeds cultural and linguistic ignorance, fuels a false sense of superiority for the truly ignorant and it is the natural language of the most militaristic, violent, grabbing and pigshit thick wasteful and unsustainable ‘covilisation’ that was ever shat out the bowels of this planet.

      Fuck English.

    28. Donnywho says:

      I mostly agree with the tenor of the argument. But I do think you miss some great effects of bilingualism. First and foremost is the structural effects that language has on the brain. Think of it as a workout. Bilinguals understand their own language better because of being exposed to structural and verbal concepts different from their own.

      This is why “classical education used to include Latin and or Greek the language themselves help to formulate the thoughts. It is why war and peace is better in its native Russian.

      The argument for a single world language is valid but I feel it would bring to the world all the benefits that McDonald’s have brought to cuisine.

      Thus we come to Gaelic schools, they outperform their monoglot contemporarys and preserve our culture. What is there not to like. But perhaps we should think to widen this educational model and add schools to this mix using French or Manderin. We could improve the literacy of a nation whilst reaching out to others!

    29. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I would so live the SNP to change their name to a gaelic/native name – like the Irish and Welsh political parties – can you imagine the yoon rage that would erupt. “

      It’d certainly be a comfort to the SNP as their vote got cut in half overnight.

    30. Alan says:

      “And ironically, the best thing about language – any language that’s spoken in large numbers – is that it’s adaptive and inclusive and alive.”

      Indeed. A big problem arises, though, when you have Deaf people who really can’t hear, no matter what technological aid is applied to us. As soon as we pop up, every single spoken language is immediately useless.

      British Sign Language – centuries old – has been suppressed in the same way other languages have. Indeed, the Milan Congress of 1880 was dominated by British delegates and established a worldwide doctrine of forcing Deaf children to learn to speak with their mouth only – making them sit on their hands if necessary. This doctrine was only finally repudiated in 2010.

      I understand your points here, but the idea that one single lanugage can fit everyone is dangerous and wrong. You are entirely correct that language is a tool, but which tool did my mother use to teach me to read and write English? Her hands and sign language. What tool did I ‘hear’ my final year lecturer in? A sign language interpreter.

      The bottom line is, multilingualism is a necesscity. I would happily pay taxes to support Gaelic and English and any other speaky languages (which I will never hear) as long as my taxes also paid for Deaf children to be educated via a tool that works.

      One Language? Too easily becomes One People(rather than All Peoples) and excludes anyone who cannot use it due to mechanical reasons.

    31. Dave Robb says:

      As you said, most people on both sides will respond emotionally to your article, which is not particularly provocative given your reputation.

      I expect the English monoglots to be delighted – assuming you mean everyone else should learn to speak English, and stop being deaf and dim-witted! Obviously, you didn’t say that – everyone could learn Spanish, or Chinese – and the result would be the same. I just don’t see that happening somehow – English-speaking cultural imperialism is hard to shake off.

      Again, you are perfectly reasonable in stating that the money involved in preserving Gaelic in aspic or maintaining it on life-support is actually insignificant in real terms. It just bugs the shit out of some very unreasonable people in the “UK” that their hegemony is threatened by Gaelic.

      I’ve “wasted” parts of my life picking up bits of languages. Compulsory Latin at school – very dead! But – it has protected status form the “elite” who value “Englishness” above all else.

      I did French at school – but not as a spoken language, just drudgery until I went to France.

      I picked up some German working on North Sea pipelines, more on holidays, and some work at home. I get by without English in Germany.

      I’ve picked up very small amounts of Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Mandarin. I can at least order beer and say thank you without a problem (priority stuff!)

      S’urrainn dhomh ach beagan a’ Ghaidhlig a bhruidhinn – I can speak some Gaelic, not fluently, and probably not grammatically perfect.

      The point I would make is that given an imperfect world where one language will be out of reach, learning other languages is not pointless. The person you are speaking with appreciates your effort – however trivial – and is more inclined to view you sympathetically. It also is likely to give you some insight into the way people in different cultures think. Shouting loudly in English or American English is not effective communication.

      Most countries outside of the UK and USA cope well with more than one language. In bygone ages travellers, merchants and publicans needed to be able to communicate in more than one. it was and is normal to be able to do this, and gets easier the more you do so – it alters the way you think.

      Anyway, that’s my rant over – I hope I wasn’t too reactive!

    32. Archbishop of Dork says:

      Gaelic is part of our heritage and a beautiful language. We should spend a bit of money on promoting it but force no one to learn it. And that’s about it.

      Now can we please get back to independence? There won’t be anything much of Scotland left never mind Gaelic if the unionists prevail in their project.

    33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I mostly agree with the tenor of the argument. But I do think you miss some great effects of bilingualism.”

      I don’t miss that at all. I just think those effects are better achieved by at least learning a second language that’s useful.

    34. mrtdnb says:

      I think that everyone in the UK should learn a second language. There are a lot of good reasons for this.
      Firstly, and most selfishly, being bi-lingual is very good for the brain. There is a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s for people that speak more than one language see
      ‘Does multilingualism affect the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease?: A worldwide analysis by country’ published on

      Secondly it promotes a more international outlook. English has evolved into an international language. This gives an impression of cultural dominance to travelling native English speakers, and encourages them to believe in their own superiority. It encourages cultural snobbery. It is also a barrier to their immersion into any mode of thinking that is not ‘Anglo Saxon’. Because language is not only a translation of thoughts into concepts, it is the structure upon which ideas are built in the brain.
      This is part of the reason why there is a difference the German and British stance in negotiating Brexit. The German language tends to be clearer about goals and where you are going, English tends to more equivocation. So the British when hearing what the bottom line is for the Germans around Brexit will think that that is just their negotiating stance, and the Germans will be surprised when the British don’t have any clearly stated goals.
      So speaking another language opens you up to more modes of thought.
      Thirdly, and lastly because I have gone on a bit. If everyone in Scotland learns a second language we can change that Norwegian joke I heard recently …
      ‘What do you call someone who only speaks one language’
      Answer = ‘British’

    35. Breeks says:

      When I went on holiday to France, and China, I made a point of learning the language. Not fluent of course, just enough to say hello, goodbye, please, thank you, sorry I don’t understand,..the usual pigeon breadcrumbs. It helped a tiny bit, but the real significance was that it served as a huge token of respect that I was making the effort to try to speak the language. My hosts understood a lot more than just the crummy words I was able to pronounce. China is particular, because it seems a lot of “white ghosts” visiting China don’t even bother to try, as if speaking Chinese is somehow beneath them. A shake of the head, a smile, and “ting-ba-tong” and my host was invariably smiling back and knew I didn’t understand.

      Once going up in a lift in Beijing, a Chinese National in the lift car said something rude about us white folks, trying to impress two Chinese girls for a giggle.. They didn’t expect us to understand Chinese, but my mate spoke great Chinese and understood what he said. When we got to our floor, as he exited the lift, he pressed all the buttons to stop the lift on every floor, and said “Ting-ba-tong” like an halfwit who didn’t understand lifts. The Chinese folks then knew what we knew.. “oh shit, these white ghosts speak Chinese!”- and were tremendously embarrassed. Maybe they won’t be rude next time they’re in a lift with foreigners. You can say so very much when all you say is “I don’t understand”.

      Here in Scotland, we have our own different language, and we really ought to invest a proportion of the money in our culture into supporting a language of our culture. It’s a no brainier to me. I’m not saying Gaelic is an artefact, but in some respects you can see it that way. You wouldn’t take an authentic ancient Claymore out from a museum and leave it outside in the rain, so why do some people think a complete living language should not be looked after and nurtured too?

      I honestly don’t understand the indifference and hostility towards Gaelic. I really don’t get it. When has Gaelic ever been a demerit to Scotland, other than an obstacle to our enforced Anglicisation?

      Look at all the First Nation American culture hanging on by its fingertips just to exist. Australia is the same. There is so much we can learn from a living culture which we cannot learn from it ever again once it’s dead.

      When you think of a stone age culture, what do you imagine? What stereotypes enter your head? An Ancient race of stooped hairy Neanderthal’s chasing woolly mammoths over a cliff? Think again. The Native Americans were a Stone Age culture. The Sioux Nation was Stone aged. The Apache. The Mohawk. The Navaho. All Stone Age. They had no metal. Their tomahawks were stone axe heads lashed to wooden handles with animal hide until the settlers brought metal to them.

      European colonialism wasn’t about Empires, it was a story of modern weaponry and mechanisation destroying and displacing a living, modern, Stone Age culture. But the kick in the head for me is not the great “success” of European superiority, it is just how modern and sophisticated a stone age culture could be.. language, music, songs, clothing, jewellery, culture, folklore, philosophy, bushcraft, heritage, and not least intelligent adaptability to use metal… and occasionally herding buffalo over a cliff. Stone Age people? We are all Stone Age people, but we had guns, and they didn’t.

      I don’t know whether it’s still the case, but 25 years ago, I met an elderly lady who’s native language was Gaelic, and English was her second language. If she had gone to Court for anything, say eviction or unpaid Poll Tax, in a Court of Law in her own native country, she would have needed a translator to understand what was said, and to translate all the forms and literature because Gaelic wasn’t formally recognised as a language. Frankly, that’s inexcusable.

      I don’t have a problem with Gaelic expanding its influence. I would much rather see that than its decline to extinction. But I don’t think it’s much to ask the whole population of Scotland to have a little more respect for our Gaels and at least have a smattering or rudimentary capacity to speak a few words in Gaelic. Frankly, I don’t see road signs making much difference, but should our kids be taught Gaelic in School? I say yes, absolutely. How else are they going to read the road signs? (What’s Gaelic for “I’ll just get my coat?”)

      Just like saying hello, goodbye, and thank you in Chinese, – language is a rare phenomenon where there is absolutely no downside to having it, but such tremendous positive empowerment when you do.

    36. galamcennalath says:

      I have never found learning languages particularly difficult, though I’m getting lazy in my old age.

      I always felt that when you visit a country with another language it’s only courtesy to know a minimum. I can still e polite and order drinks in Serbo-Croatian from nearly 40years ago. My Spanish is good, if short of fluent. And French a bit poorer. German definitely just tourist. It’s only ever been for fun, entertainments, and good manners. In my youth if I had decided to live and work in a different language regime I reckon I would have become fluent.

      What to I owe my ability to learn languages to? I reckon being bilingual in perfect English from my mother, and very broad Ayrshire Scots from my father and friends. My two first languages are rich, very different, very distinctive, and close to being mutually incomprehensible. They ARE languages not dialects.

      Every expert agrees learning multiple languages from a very young age is an extremely good thing. That’s how most countries do it. Scotland must do the same. Early learning is good, multiple first languages is better.

      Which languages? Most countries would go for their own plus global ones. Scotland is lucky because we all already have a global one, English. If the object is to enhance the brains and learning abilities of our coming generations, any languages will do the job. The main object at a young age should be ‘brain wiring’. So why not Gaelic or Scots?

    37. Andrew Davidson says:

      1. I fundamentally mostly agree with the idea that speaking different languages slows down progress, but it can be looked on quite as dispassionately in the real world. Also different languages allow different ways of thinking to evolve so there’s that. How much benefit that last bit is to us now, I don’t know, not now that we’re all civilised.

      2. I think spending more money on Gaelic is a good thing, whether as tourist attraction, help for those who actually use it or want to do so, to keep it as a museum piece, and yes even to try and nurse it along and keep it going. Whatever. It’s good to see you’re not in the cut funding camp but I actually can’t understand anyone that is. It’s probably got the same budget as the office expenses for a government departure. It’s a rounding error in the bigger picture.

      3. I think it’s on life support but with no way back barring some miracle that is not on the radar. That does make me a sad as the death of any language does, or truthfully the death of any singular thing, like a species. No one could see footage of the last native speaker of language X after they died and not be moved in some way. You can find a lot of articles and videos of that over the years and I find it sad each time.

      4. I don’t think any attempt to tie the cause of independence into the treatment of this language (or any other historical ages ago thing) is worthwhile or sensible. You want to be mocked for being a tartan shortbread tin indy fan, you go right ahead though. Plus there is MORE than enough going on right now, not even tens, let along hundreds of years ago to warrant independence.

      5. How is it pronounced, Gaylick or Gahlick? Yeah.

    38. Yerkitbreeks says:

      You’ve reminded me of why I want to remain in the EU – by supporting minority languages it seeks to preserve diversity

      Presumably you’d like us all to be white pudding eaters with W of Scotland accents

    39. Truth says:

      So many flaws in this line of thinking. Contradictions too.

      On one hand you say there’s no such thing as a perfect translation, then on the other hand you suggest that one language would suit all. There are many terms that have no adequate translation at all in another language.

      You suggest language is words, but some of the largest spoken languages in the world do not use words at all, they are made up of sounds (tones). Yes, there is a difference.

      We create new languages all the time. Be it technical jargon, computer languages etc.

      You dismiss culture, when this is in fact one of the biggest benefits of different language systems. Different homogenous units will come up with different art, solutions etc. That’s not to say I dismiss the negatives of this such as war.

      I can’t celebrate the death of any language. The Chinese for example are systematically destroying hundreds of languages in order to control their population and destroy competing culture and dissent. So your argument that multiple languages keeps people in their boxes is a double edged sword.

      In see your point, I just disagree with most of what you say on this.

    40. louis.b.argyll says:

      Ah, suppression, seen as mere cultural mixing, Rev? There was no Wings back then.

      Had UK GOV not tried to wipe it out, who knows Scots/Gaelic/English dialect versions may have evolved- like many European countries- but we’ll never know.

      When Gaelic was brutally outlawed while it was’spoken in large numbers’ within its islands and archipelago, by the preferred language of external forces, it was a carefully forced act of Imperial social nationalism. Fascism.

      Seems like that’s lasted until modern times.

      What if the British Empire had succeeded, ruled the world, would, could, should English be the only language?

      I grew up below an area that suffered badly during the Highlands clearances, like Srebrenica of today which we have evidence of.

      The Serbian leaders were criminals, much like the British Unionists leaders of 1746.

      Gaelic was ethnically cleansed. Reversing that may be a 100 year project of repopulation, land restoration, cultural revolution.

    41. Indy2 says:

      Today’s Sunday Herald front page:

    42. JOML says:

      “by being constantly presented with a language that’s supposedly their own”? I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate! Whether you mean it or not, a feeling of animosity comes through in this article.

    43. Donnywho says:

      Rev I suppose we might differ as to Gaelic’s usefulness. Yes it is spoken by few. Nor is it useful abroad. But it is part of our heritage and I believe enriches our culture and understanding. Like the place names in English and Gaelic you get to understand their meaning from the source language. Also learning a language any language helps you to learn others more easily and like Latin (a totally dead language) it helps to widen your ability to conceptualise. Also Rev please note that medium Gaelic schools proform better in European languages than their contemporaries.

    44. Archbishop of Dork says:

      Is it a coincidence that in the same week that the Welsh Government folded in their opposition to the power grab there appears a highly provocative anti-Gaelic piece by some numptie in the Herald? Said piece gets all the language anoraks in the independence movement debating ad nauseam and deflecting full attention to the political emergency Scotland is in.

      No disrespect at all. This debate would ordinarily be very interesting. But we do not find ourselves in ordinary times and we must be very alert to unionist attempts to pull our strings.

    45. Big Jock says:

      The uniqueness of culture can often only be expressed in the historic languages. So language is very important culturally. Think of Gaelic song. If none can speak Gaelic then the songs die. Part of our history! Gaelic poetry, every mountain has a Gaelic name,nearly every town name. Are you suggesting we change all the names!

      I think if you spoke the language yourself you might see the value in it. As for everyone on earth speaking the same language. That’s no different an idea than everyone waiving the same flag. The British are essentially lazy arrogant bastards when it comes to languages. I wish I could speak Gaelic and French, that’s my failing as a result of poor education.

      Like most things in most countries, it’s the small things that make up the culture. I would love all children to learn Gaelic.

    46. HandandShrimp says:

      I don’t speak Gaelic and it isn’t in my view a contentious political issue. Gaelic has cultural significance and it has an academic interest. It is also a fun thing for tourist market differentiation. On balance I think that although not widely spoken it would be a loss for it to become a dead language and therefore it is worth keeping a flame alive even if that flame is only ever a small one. The money spent on Gaelic is relatively small and although not a speaker I don’t begrudge it.

      As I said, I don’t think it is a politically contentious issue (the dictionary received unanimous support) and I do not view support for Gaelic as in any way linked to a forward looking independent Scotland. However, I have noted that the SiU regulars on various sites absolutely loathe Gaelic with a vengence. I think it is some sort allergic reaction to anything that isn’t wrapped up in the Union Flag. Despite most of the legislation relating to the language being of Lib/Lab origin, for the more deranged SiU keyboard thumper, Gaelic road signs are the work of the devil…aka Nicola Sturgeon. For this reason alone I would increase funding for road sign in their immediate vicinity 😉

    47. Kenneth McDowall says:

      I am totally indifferent to the Gaelic language
      I you want to speak or to learn it good for you.
      Personally i have no interest in it.
      And i speak as the son of a Mod gold medallist
      and a winner of the Lovat and Tulibardine trophy.

    48. Bill says:

      I can’t stand Gaelic. Worked in Kyle area once and listening to Scots talk among themselves in your presence a foreign language somehow didn’t feel right. Lived in Spain once and listening to Spanish didn’t faze me at all.

    49. Rocky II says:

      Looking forward to next week’s Rally

    50. Flower of Scotland says:

      I could not agree with the Rev more. Was Gaelic ever spoken in central Scotland?

      Anyway, I agree that language should be Universal. I see Macron wants the French language to be at the heart of the EU, not English.

      I’m happy with the amount being spent on Gaelic, and happy for those that want to speak it, but the fact that the Tories support MORE money being spent on the Gaelic says everything!

    51. Glamaig says:

      I learned Gaelic as an adult because I started to wonder why there was this whole other language in my country I didnt understand, and placenames I couldnt pronounce. Its one of the best things I ever did and opened up a new understanding of the country Ive lived in my whole life. Its not two parallel languages, its two very much interwoven ones.

      The biggest barrier to communication is not the existence of other languages, it’s people who refuse to learn any others. Bilingualism and multilingualism are the norm across much of the world.

      If the UK has a language problem, it’s the expectation that everyone should speak English. That’s probably an Empire mentality.

    52. A. Reid says:

      *Because even if other languages fell into general disuse, people would still study them and find useful things in them and introduce them into modern speech because that’s how it works*

      This is why I’m trying to learn Gaelic. I wanted to know the names of the glens and the mountains initially as I never knew and no one i knew could tell me (in the central belt).

      It turns out Gaelic is a helluva lot more descriptive than the English semi translation the names were replaced with.

      Pure and simple if we dont look after it no one will do it for us and I fear we will loose a part of our history and heritage if we don’t. What other country doesn’t know the name of it’s lands, seas etc like us?

      Funny how I only felt that way after trying to learn it. Sure it may not be of much use in France (except Brittany) but that’s fine, on a personal note I need to know more about where I come from before I can go somewhere else.

    53. Colin Stuart says:

      Rev, I take your point on breaking down inter-human barriers via a universal language; but “culture” is a lot more than you paint it. The L1 moderates thought, frames learned principles and establishes its own community of identity, fostering a sense of belonging on a human scale we can grasp comfortably. For me (although I taught English for forty years) Doric is the old pair of comfortable shoes I can slip into to feel at home; and “home” is a concept we all need in order to feel secure and to know who and what we are.
      And if we were to adopt a universal tongue, which one? Just imagine the battles between Spanish, English, Chinese, the multifarious tongues of India… There are grounds on which some of these just can’t meet and blend, and patterns of thought and levels of expression whose loss would in effect numb some of our thinking – like the Hebridean who remarked of “manana” that Gaelic didn’t have anything with quite that sense of urgency.
      In language, diversity may be a global barrier, but it’s equally (even more) a source of richness and colour where we live, among other people in our daily round. What are so many of us striving for here in Scotland but the freedom to be ourselves, live by our inherent principles of fairness and decency, and develop our own resources and the lives of those within our own borders, by getting out from under the cold, cynical exploitation and dominion of our Southern neighbours?
      Saying things our own way is an inherent part of that: “Jock Tamson’s bairns” is more than a fragment of colourful dialect; but it only says what we want it to say in its own medium. So, geopolitically I see and accept your point; but right here and now… that utopia’s a long way off yet, and we’ve other fish to fry first.

    54. Habib Steele says:

      I think that really everyone in the world should be required to speak 3 languages, Scots, Gaelic, and Latin. Scots because it’s the language of the Scottish proletariat and would heighten the self esteem of the proles everywhere if it had the cachet of a universal required language. Gaelic because of the beauty of if its sound. Well, it really doesn’t matter if people understand it, its the beauty of the sound that matters! Latin because it’s the ancient language of the scholarship of the West, and many of its expressions and phrases are used in the Scottish law-courts, and in the Church of Scotland (eg. in hunc effectum).

      Thus we would have the benefits of one universal language, for which you argue, plus the other benefits I mention above, with 3 obligatory, universal languages.

    55. Bill says:

      Much as I value (almost) everything else that Wings does, I think this article is serious misconceived and, frankly, unhelpful. In my view it is important the new Scotland that we all aspire to preserves Gaelic and givee it equal prominence to all the other languages here spoken. I have two reasons for this
      1) Gaelic is a beautiful and subtle language and carries with it the history and culture of a substantial part of our country. To lose the language is to lose that heritage.
      2) We are surrounded by placenames which record for those who care listen, a Gaelic component of the history of places the length and breadth of Scotland: not just in the Gaeltachd but throughout central and west southern Scotland. Understanding these placenames gives an understanding of how these people lived and what they did, even (especially) in places from which human habitation has been cleared.

      If we accept that we must not lose Gaelic then we also need to accept that it can only be kept if people use it. Since intergenerational transmission is now very weak this means accepting that public subsidy is needed to finance much of the effort (e.g. Gaelic medium education). Given that much of the decline in both Scottish and Irish Gaelic resulted from deliberate (and frequently highly coercive) action by the British State, it seems only right that modern state action should redress the balance as far as is possible.

      Finally I must object most energetically to your drawing an equivalence between the “two sides” of this argument. The anti-Gaelic argument is part of a systematic effort by right-wing and anti-independence opinion to delegitimise public expenditure on Gaelic, mainly because it is a distinctive part of Scottish culture. So far as I can see the counter argument has been put by those of us who care for the language (native-speakers and learners alike) in term perhaps more respectful than the situation warrants. By equating the two, I am sorry to say that I think you do a disservice to the movement we both believe in.

    56. Niall Wilson says:

      Won’t translation technology change things? I mean, once they learn how to understand Scottish accents…

      My Google navigation calls Crianlarich – Crying-la-rich but then even I’m not sure how to pronounce half the place names in Scotland. Is it Kin-gussie or King-ussie??

    57. Lenny Hartley says:

      Surely its not beyong the wit of The Scientists at the Roslyn Institute to genectically create a Babel Fish and then thats the issue of Language sorted. I would much prefer to speak Gaelic but found out when taking night classes in the Eighties I was too thick to Learn it.
      Btw “From Aberdeen to Alabama to Alberta to Adelaide, almost no native English speaker on the planet, however thick their accent, is incomprehensible to any other native English speaker.” Wrong, back in the Eighties, I bought my first home in the Bridge of Don in Aberdeen, since I travelled frequently in my job I employed a Gardener with a Strong Doric Accent, having lived in Aberdeen for several years I could just about understand him. The Front Door Posts were rotten so I got a joiner mate from Arran to come up to fix them, when I got home from Work at Lunchtime, I had to translate what the Gardener had being saying to my mate all morning. Hecould not understand a word. So disagree, i was on a train in Glasgow last week and understood about one word in ten of two “Locals” who were sitting next to me.If you go to Romania you will hear a slavic type language, but go to a Restaurant and you will think you are in an Italian Restaurant, as its actually close to Latin.

    58. Glamaig says:

      ‘I learned Gaelic as an adult because I started to wonder why there was this whole other language in my country I didnt understand, and placenames I couldnt pronounce.’

      I should add, it took a German to point this out to me. Some times you need an outsider to notice the obvious.

    59. Terence callachan says:

      Fantastic report.
      There are times when both sides are correct.
      In my opinion this is one of them.
      People who want to continue using Gaelic should have government support to do so as is supplied by the Scottish government.
      People who don’t see the point of spending money on Gaelic are right to believe this if they think it serves no purpose.
      In life you will always get those who want government to spend money on things and those who do not want government to spend money on those same things.
      It’s clear that the media in UK hate anything that is seen to be Scottish they want everything to be British and as has been shown so often British is perceived by the majority of people across the world to be exactly the same as English .
      That’s why the UK media and British nationalist supporting businesses are rebranding as much as they can Scottish whisky being sold as British whisky with a Union Jack plastered all over it is an example.
      British nationalism is English nationalism it s trying hard to obliterate Scottish identity and will attack anything and anyone that opposes it including a language, Gaelic is not only spoken in Scotland so it will survive no matter how hard the British nationalists try to kill it off.
      I can’t speak it but I wish I could ,I don’t have the time or money to learn it but wish I did.
      Carry on spending what you spend to preserve it is what I say to Scottish government.
      Mind your own business is what I say to British nationalists I also say to them remember there are other languages spoken in UK other than English and Gaelic .
      Scottish independence is coming soon so people in Scotland will be able to decide these things without paying any attention whatsoever to British nationalist media won’t that be just wonderful
      I can see it now , a whole range of new tv stations and radio and newspapers that report all the good things happening in Scotland and put the spotlight on what a mess there is in English nationalism

    60. Cloggins says:

      If you ask 100 people if they agree with money being spent on gaelic and 43% says no, they answer a different question namely ‘do you have any personal use for…’. The ones who have no objection also have no use for it -as you so admirably demonstrated – but at least they recognise the fact that other people do and that it benefits country, tourism , trade etc. Respect to that minority!

    61. Archbishop of Dork says:

      Imagine someone who is just starting to come round to supporting Yes after becoming aware that the UK government is out to destroy the Scottish Parliament. They are told by friends who are Yessers that a good place to go to get info and debate is Wings Over Scotland.

      They visit this blog for the first time, curious to read what’s being said about independence and our constitutional rights. Instead they find a tsunami of mini-essays about a language issue which, at best, only tangentially has anything to say about Scottish self-government.

    62. Auld Rock says:

      Hi, correct me if I’m wrong but are not all Acts of Parliament written in ‘Norman French’???? How many people in England let alone modern day France speak ‘Norman French’? Puts all the rest into perspective.

    63. cath says:

      One other point: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that small countries which manage to remain independent and, critically, go their own way, are countries which also have their own languages not many people can speak. Sometimes, exclusion can be a useful tool.

      It’s incredibly hard for a non-grassroots, powerful, wealthy astroturfing campaign to come in and undermine a national debate, if those who’d want to do that first have to learn a new language. It’s easy to see, especially with social media, how many trolls, bots and outsiders come in to derail or undermine debates that upset the status quo. Scotland, with all its oil, host to American nukes etc, couldn’t ever debate doing anything radically different, because that’s what would happen. Places like Norway and Finland, for example, can.

      That ability to direct, undermine and take over the national debates of a small country is precisely *why* languages were beaten out of people in favour of the one the ruling elites spoke.

      Sadly, it’s far too late for Scotland now. We can’t go back to having our own language now that it’s so minority. We’re stuck with our debates being in English, hence open to easy interference from England, America etc. But I think it’s an important point of principle.

    64. Lenny Hartley says:

      Flower of Scotland, i cant not believe you asked if Gaelic was ever spoken in Central Scotland, who the fuck do you think lived here before the Angles and Saxons invaded Southern Briton starting 410 ad? What dont you look at place names, I will give you a clue, Glasgow and Edinburgh are not Scots or English place names. And before you say the Briton’s they are both “Gaelic” languages.

    65. Tatu3 says:

      I wish when I was at school in the 60s and 70s we had been taught Gaelic. I believe it would have helped me be more fluent in other European languages too.
      In secondary school I was in the school choir and we entered competitions, the songs were in English. However our choirmaster used to perform in the Mod and she taught us some Gaelic songs, which were just lovely.
      I would like after independence that primary schools did lessons in a mixture of Scots, Gaelic and English. A great age to learn languages. With the choice to continue learning any of them in secondary schools. Maybe one day if the majority over the years were to choose Gaelic, Scotland would once again be a Gaelic speaking independent country.
      And I understand that the above would be very impractical, but it’s nice to dream sometimes.

    66. louis.b.argyll says:

      Andrew, wtf? Exposing Gaelic suppression equates to Shortbread indy whatever, where have you been living?

      Scotland should have at least 10 million people by now.

      A couple of Dukes own most of the Hebrides workable land.

      The lands and fisheries were viable until the clearances.

    67. Ottomanboi says:

      The issue with the ‘Thatcherite’ utilitarian argument for things is that if all human ‘stuff’ were subjected to it little of value would be left. What worth is formal education? Get out in the fields and do something useful!
      The politics of English as a projected world medium is rarely discussed in the Anglophone press.
      Generally in that medium it is considered ‘a good thing’, a unifying voice that all right thinking people ought to embrace. The view from beyond the pale receives little attention. For the moment it is a loud voice, proclaiming its hi-techie merits. As a more diverse world starts to emerge that voice may well become weaker.
      It ought to be remembered that English/American ‘success’ is a phenomenon of the post WW1, 20th century. Compliance with perceived American power has much to do with it.

    68. SandyW says:

      Missing Mr Cairns and his crayons already 😉 Lovied the comment about Torrance’s magnolia words though.

      I think there’s a couple of weaknesses in your arguments.

      I don’t believe that learning another language only benefits the learner themselves, any more than learning a musical instrument only benefits the player (once they’re past a certain level of basic proficiency of course). Think of the pleasure you get when someone speaks to you in English when you’re in a country that doesn’t naturally speak it, and vice versa, when you engage with someone in their native tongue when they don’t expect it.

      Even if we did all decide it would be beneficial to all speak one language, which one would we choose? English, Mandarin, Spanish, Esperanto? Imagine the barney that would take place trying to sort that one out.

      I agree somewhat that dying languages should be gently laid to rest, in cases where the few remaining speakers are elderly and reaching the end of their lives taking their language with them. How could it be otherwise? Who would you choose to force it on to try and sustain or revive a dead tongue?

      However, Gaelic is by a long chalk not the smallest language (as Paul Kavanagh will confirm). I also think its a different situation where a language has been reduced in scope by cultural oppression and there are plenty of people voluntarily taking it up (Although I take your very valid point about diverting the desire for full independence into a push to maintain a language/culture as sufficient separation from the artificial British identity that Westminster promotes). In that case, Gaelic should be supported and promoted (and Scots too – subject for next week’s soapbox?)

    69. God sort of agrees with Stu on the matter of `common language`,(Genesis 11)

      God could see that having a common language was helping humanity become more and more powerful,

      humanity`s cohesion/togetherness through language would eventually (tower of Babel) allow them to reach for the heavens and confront God Him/Herself,

      so to destroy the cohesion/togetherness of humanity God shattered the common language so that every family spoke a different language and instead of being together they scattered over the earth.

      A common language would unite the world,but the world is run by c@nts.

    70. Capella says:

      I disagree that Gaelic is spoken by few people. In Scotland we speak Gaelic every day. Almost every place name in Scotland is Gaelic. Some are just descriptions such as Big Hill (Beinn Mohr), others tell a story. The pity is that most people have no idea what the words mean. Deracination is the technical word – cut off from our roots.

      There are very few people in the rest of the world who have this form of deprivation. North American natives maybe now won’t know the origin of many natural features e.g. Yosemite:

      The name “Yosemite” (meaning “killer” in Miwok) originally referred to the name of a renegade tribe which was driven out of the area (and possibly annihilated) by the Mariposa Battalion. Before then the area was called “Ahwahnee” (“big mouth”) by indigenous people.

      I would love to be able to speak Gaelic and read the poetry in the original and understand the songs. Too lazy to persevere beyond the basics. But learning languages is not difficult if taught early.

      The only people in the British Isles who are indepenent, the Irish, deliberately set up cultural groups to propagate understanding of Irish Gaelic and preserve it and the native culture. That arguably led to a greater determination to achieve independence. However, I would agree that the setting up of their indpendent English language newspaper was more influential.

    71. mrtdnb says:

      The two best British linguists that I know. One started off speaking Gaelic in Uist, and then had to start speaking English at primary school. Was effectively bilingual before attending secondary school, and from there found an affinity for learning languages. Now speaks several European languages fluently. The other moved from England to North Wales as a child. Primary school was in Welsh. Is now a professional translator of European languages, mostly Spanish.
      By learning a second language, any second language including Gaelic, the ability to learn another language is increased. This is another reason to encourage more adoption of a Gaelic in Scotland.

    72. PhilM says:

      If we all spoke the same one language we’d all realise we were the same people underneath and we’d all get along…this is horseshit and I think you know it.
      A bit of history shows that the spread of capital around the world has the effect of homogenising most things including communication. Your argument is not against the grain of history but against those who want to resist the one form of homogenisation that the spread of the English language brings. I think somewhere underneath this continual itch against Gaelic is an aging but technologically sophisticated contrarian who has had enough of complexity and increasingly longs for the simple. I’m about your age and I feel it too. Usually an arrogant snorting Tory, sneering “oh come off it” when faced with an argument or idea they can’t be bothered with manages to bring me to my senses.
      I suppose a very uncharitable person would point out that you seem to have an affection for old clapped out game consoles, which you bore people with online as if you’ve discovered some interesting cultural artefact. Isn’t language a little bit like that?
      Well, I’ve read this back and it I know it sounds a bit strong but it’s just a bit of rough and tumble. I’ve no intention of properly learning Gaelic at the moment but then I keep meaning to learn the names of flowers, birds, animals without having to resort to dictionaries, guides etc. and I never seem to get round to that. This lack of knowledge doesn’t seem to affect me but then I don’t know the extent of my ignorance or how it might affect me because I cannot reliably conceive of that which I don’t know. This is how I view language I guess.
      As for wasting time…anything can be belittled and made to seem a waste of time. Why are we even bothering wasting so much time on this Independence thingy when we could all just enjoy our cereal, the same homogenised, soggy mess as everyone else in the UK and just learn to live with it…cereal for breakfast, dinner and tea…sorry that’s too regionally specific…substitute lunch for dinner…dinner for tea…after all the southern region of the British mainland will get confused by all this…I’ll change so they won’t have to and I’ll drum it into my parents so they won’t make the same mistake.
      I miss those Saturday cartoons…

    73. auld highlander says:

      Never mind all this Gaelic talk, concentrate on the job in hand,

      What about Holyrood and independence.

      What if they do a powergrab job on us, do we sit quiet and let them?

    74. John says:

      I think that the better concept from 1984 is “truthspeak” ( if I remember the word after 30 years), or indeed many of the concepts from animal farm. Basically if you have one language, then you have one means of thought, and if you control the language then you control the thoughts of the population. How do you describe revolution, if there are no words to describe it, or if the meaning of the word can be changed to subvert your intention?

    75. Ottomanboi says:

      A common language did not prevent the English colonies in America from revolting, or the American Civil War. Unilingualism is a dangerous, authoritarian fantasy.
      In my historic background Levantine Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, French and Syriac sat mutually enrichingly and happily together. It’s power hungry politicians and imperialism that screws things up.
      Learn Gaelic, it could broaden those narrow, existential horizons. Observe how your worldview subtly changes.

    76. Margie Davidson says:

      Not sure I agree with this, nevertheless a thought provoking article. As a Doric speaker, at 5 years old, I had to learn a completely new language when I went to school – lug was ear, fit was what and my ankles were kwites!
      As a school teacher in 1973 the Bullock Report ” A Language for Life” was music to my ears as not only had we to accept the child’s language, the report also detailed the psychological harm it had been to children over the years.
      It explained the awful experience of my first year at school.
      On a lighter note – are you sure Doric is universally understood when we are in full flow?
      Oo? Aye oo. AA oo? Aye aa oo? Aa aye oo? Aye aa aye oo? makes perfect sense to me.

    77. galamcennalath says:

      Does having different languages make people more likely to go to war with each other?

      I reckon it makes no difference. Historically many wars are civil wars with both sides using the same language. The split has been religion, ideology, class, or simply warlords and their followers.

      Also adjacent ‘tribes’ having a go at each other would have shared language eg Ancient Greece.

      Were areas of the planet less or more peaceful before or after they formed into multi ethnic/linguistic empires? Again, I doubt if it made much difference in terms of peace and war.

      I think the issue/problem hasn’t been people seeing differences between one another, it is about one group deciding they are special and entitled to lord it over another!

    78. Victor Cavin says:

      I get the point but would disagree with the reasoning. The world is NOT homogenous. Anyone who has been anywhere and lived for an extended time will see that. Language has shaped the CULTURES of the world and having a single language would not bring down barriers it would destroy the diverse tapestry of cultures the world over.

      As is said above English has been spread around the world by force, it did not spread through cultural evolution and mutual acceptance it was violent and oppressive. It did not bring peoples together it brought wealth and power to those who caused all the violence.

      Language is a tool to communicate and that there are different tools to do the same thing makes for a much more colourful world instead of the black and white one depicted in this opinion.

      Should everyone have to drive ancient MX5s forever?

    79. Archbishop of Dork says:

      auld highlander@10:58

      Thank you. I thought I was talking to myself there.

    80. TheBuchanLoony says:

      Gaelic reminds us that we are the unique and separate nation of Scotland. Unionist don’t like that!

    81. Cal says:

      Just like the last time the Rev wrote an article on Gaelic I find myself more or less in complete disagreement with it and just like the last time I am heartened to see the almost universal negative reaction in the comments to his views. Isn’t it great news there is to be a third Gaelic medium school in Glasgow due to such popular demand? In Glasgow at least, the language goes from strength to strength!
      Although the growth in the use of Gaelic is an important issue and something to be celebrated I must agree with some other posters that there are more pressing issues looming for our country. Not the least of which is the imminent extinction of our national parliament. It seems we should all get along to the March in Glasgow next Saturday to show our support for the Scottish government ‘s and Scottish Greens’ defiance of Westminster’s plans to all but abolish the place. Is everyone going? I ask because I haven’t seen much talk about it in btl comments and no articles covering it on Wings.

    82. HandandShrimp says:

      Seemingly bereft of a new SNP bad story I see that the BBC Shortbread headline is that Minimum Pricing will put cheap vodka up by £3 a bottle…as if the issues revolving around the last 5 years legal battle was a complete surprise to the Scottish population.

    83. Hoss Mackintosh says:

      No wonder Rev Stu isn’t a fan of Gaelic when Campbell comes from “Cam” (crooked) and “Beul” (mouth) meaning squint mouth.

      It is a common problem – in the official Campbell Clan history book the name is supposed to come from Campo Bello, a Norman knight who came over with William the Conqueror. Such was their embarrassment about their name and their Gealic roots that it was much better to construct a fake Norman ancestry.

      One the other hand I am very happy with my name “Mac an Toisich” Son of the Chief or Leader due to the Mackintoshes being the leaders or the Great Clan Chatten confederation who lands extended over a large part of the Central Highlands.

      Of course in Ireland the “Taoiseach” is the modern day leader of the country and his deputy is the “Tánaiste” referring back to Celtic system of rule – tanistry where the succession was by a nominated deputy not to the first born male descendent.

      Recently, I also found out the the Real Princes of Wales were called “Tywysog Cymru” which is the same word – if only the Welsh could spell it properly. 🙂

      So I just like our Conmon Celtic history. It is our culture and heritage and should be celebrated and cherished – for ever.

    84. Tom says:

      I don’t speak Gaelic but I think it is something worth preserving.

      There are advantages to speaking a second language as well as being able to speak to other people in their native language such as …

      1) It helps you to understand the rules of your native language
      2) It may prevent mental decline in old age
      3) And once you are bilingual, learning additional languages becomes easier
      4) Swearing – I was taught to swear in Navaho
      5) It opens up many more possibilities for travel and work.

      I decided to try and learn Spanish.

    85. Ken500 says:

      So what’s the problem? Pays for its self.

      Doric is now promoted instead of being punished. By the scud. To be without historical place names. Would be weird. Standing stanes, settlements etc.

      University cultural study centre is world famous. Especially for the diasporia.

      How much is spent on Latin and Greek? Oxbridge funded 200 to 1 of all other universities. Private educated buying their way to rank and privilege. Destroying the world economy.

    86. Proud Cybernat says:

      “Because while we all take the piss out of each other’s regional accents – and Americans and Australians and Canadians, eh? – it’s ultimately affectionate bonding, because in realising that it’s the same language underneath we realise far more readily that we’re all the same people underneath.”

      Try telling that to the BTL, Scot-haters at the Scotsman, Mail, Express etc.

      Diversity is a good thing, nay a vital component of life and that, imo, extends to language. Had not the Egyptian Copts preserved their language, often at pain of death, from the Turkish and Arab invasions, then Jean-François Champollion would probably never have been able to finally crack the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic language which had been dead to the world for thousands of years.

      The language of the Navajo was successfully used in WWII by the Americans to create an unbreakable code. Had that language not existed and we all spoke the same then perhaps the outcome of WWII might have been quite different.

      We don;t need to shove it down everyone’s throats. People can make their own minds up about whether they wish to learn another language or not. But we should preserve and cherish our language diversity because we never know when it might come in handy.

    87. Archbishop of Dork says:

      Margie Davidson@11:09

      “Oo Aye oo. AA oo. Aye aa oo. Aye aa aye oo”.

      Forget Doric. That’s Mundell at Scottish Questions.

    88. mogabee says:

      Hahaha Good ole Stu being semi controversial again!

      The comments btl are, on the whole the best I’ve read for a while so thanks for that Stu. 😀

      My small contribution is about your comment of how Gaelic is not useful outside of Scotland, which made me laugh because living in Argyll I’ve been amazed at the interaction of local Gaelic speakers with ‘foreigners’, be they Irish, North and south, Canadians and scattering of folks from countries you would be astounded to hear actually have people interested enough to learn the language of Scotland.

      Most of the people who visit here who ‘have the Gaelic’, learn the language through music and poetry, which is absolutely beautiful to hear, always makes me feel an emotional tug which English just canny do.

      If we do nothing else as a nation, then keeping our languages ticking over is the very least we can do.

      Anyone who resents hearing others speaking in a different tongue obviously never leave home…

    89. mogabee says:


      We are definitely going and so are loads I’ve spoken to but many will just turn up on the day.

      Here’s hoping for a spot of good weather!!

    90. Gordon Chalmers says:

      This is a thoughtful and well written piece Stu. I find little to actively disagree about in terms of the ideal of unifying people through language, and yet I can’t bring myself to believe that we’d be better off if people didn’t speak Gaelic daily. Both my boys can speak some Gaelic as it’s compulsory at school. We don’t use it in the house, but it’s as useful as French will be post Brexit! It’s all relative really. But I guess the thing that really grinds my gears is the ignorance of those that oppose the support it gets in schools and the media. There are some real beauts on here, and it only reaffirms my commitment to supporting our language at every turn.
      And I particularly take exception to your rather snide comment about the SNP losing half its vote if it gave itself a Gaelic name “like in Wales and Ireland”??
      Well, forgive me for stating the bleeding obvious, but Sinn Fein distinguishes itself from the Unionists in Ireland in more obvious ways than language.
      Plaid Cymru has an English name and sends out emails in both languages. I know this because I’m a member of both PC and the SNP. The SNP actually HAS a Gaelic name too, but I guess you didn’t think that worth mentioning.
      Partaidh Naiseanta na-h’Alba doesn’t trip off the tongue for monoglot Anglophones anymore than French or German, but it’s real, and it’s OURS. Anyway thanks for the good work, keep it up.

    91. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “By learning a second language, any second language including Gaelic, the ability to learn another language is increased. This is another reason to encourage more adoption of a Gaelic in Scotland.”

      Why not just learn a useful second language to start with?

    92. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The anti-Gaelic argument is part of a systematic effort by right-wing and anti-independence opinion to delegitimise public expenditure on Gaelic, mainly because it is a distinctive part of Scottish culture.”

      Mine isn’t, and I’ve written several articles demolishing that one.

    93. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “And if we were to adopt a universal tongue, which one?”

      Don’t care. Roll a dice.

    94. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Secondly it promotes a more international outlook.”

      Not nearly as much as everyone agreeing to speak the same language would.

    95. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Social meanings would arise, attaching to the slightest systematic difference that would arise, though variations in communities of practice. Because people choose what to do, where to go, and who to hang out with, their speech patterns, vocabulary, and language gradually change.”

      That happens now, WITHIN single languages. So what?

    96. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “First, with respect to war, hatred, bigotry, humanity, peace, and all the important things that preserve or end life, and cause misery or opportunity for self-determination… “it’s the economy, stupid”. Not the tower of babel – the problem is NOT that we have different languages.”

      Those things are all PARTS of the problem. None of them are SOLELY the problem. As I pointed out – languages help capitalism oppress people economically, in all sorts of ways that would otherwise be impossible.

    97. Shane Fraser says:

      “Languages are the enemy.”

      Nobody is ever always right, are they rev ?
      you talk utter shite on this one, going off into fallacy and sophisms to suit your rational ..

    98. geeo says:

      To those getting hot and bothered here by the article, WHY ?

      It is a feature called “Soapbox”. If you do not understand the concept, google it.

      I thought the article was good, thought provoking and promoted healthy discussion.

      Like Breeks, i also try to learn some basics like please, thank you, 2 beers please…etc.

      As Breeks says, rather than think you are patronising them, most people are pleased you are making the effort.

      When we go abroad on city breaks, we like to eat and drink, off the tourist trail, using bars and restuarants the locals use, and English can be scarce.

      We always get by though, due to a wee bit forward planning of basics, hand signals, pointing and knowing how to say “is this gluten free” (wife) in several languages !!

      It forces human interactions to solve the language barrier, and most folk enjoy that in our experience.

    99. Northern Rock says:

      Should Nicola Sturgeon lead the Indy Rally next week???

      I think she should and I also think she should highlight details of the Rally in the Scottish Parliament at next week’s FMQs.

      I remember the first big Indy Rally in 2012 I think it was.

      It was held in Edinburgh and Alex Salmond and a multitude of guests made it a memorable day.

      C’Mon Nicola, get your marchin boots on.

      Your Country needs you.

    100. Breeks says:

      Robert Peffers… Will you write a script or screenplay detailing Scotland’s Constitutional Sovereignty and it’s current state of imprisonment? You’ve told us enough and often enough, but you’ve got us all feart we’d get it wrong. Like it or not, the honours are yours my friend.

      Phantom Power films… What are the prospects of working that script / screenplay into a punchy videoclip of shareable size with viral potential? How much time required? How much money?

      Actors, Battle reinactors / custodians of period costume and arms…What do we have at our disposal? We can crowd fund lots of things, but can we “Scot” fund a 5 minute video epic with our latent talents as a nation?

      Gaelic speakers. We need dubbed script or subtitles as fitting respects to our Gaelic brothers and sisters.

      Narrators of gravitas. Step forward. We know you’re out there.

      Animators/Artists. We have a dossier to sex up, and make it look stunning. What can you give us? What stunning iconography can you show us?

      Video post production and special effects engineers.. Your country needs YOU!.. and a wee shot of your software.

      Composers of Anthems. We need 3 to 5 minutes of inspired transportation to another plane of existence. No problem I hear you say.

      Gerard Butler.. Come on son, a wee dod of make up, a couple of minutes of your time, and a very minor alteration in the script and it’s done. We’ll even turn up the heating. We can use a body double if your inner Scot is getting out too much these days. It’s only natural. We’re a forgiving bunch when we want something.

      That better Archbishop of Dork?

    101. Rocky II says:

      What language does Fraser Nelson speak?

    102. geeo says:

      As an addition to my last post.

      We were on Prague, and exploring well off the tourist trail. We came across a Pet Shop and decided to buy the Dog something, after some complete confusion, we eventually walk out with a bright blue PERCH for the in laws budgie in the shape of a pointing finger !!!

      It cost next to nothing (around 70p) and we laughed about it for ages afterwards, particularly because not only did we have a lasting memory of our trip, but so did the shopkeeper !!

      I would loved to have been a czech speaking fly on the wall when she went home and was asked “how was your day then”?

      The budgie loved the perch as well !!

    103. Proud Cybernat says:


      Just got two Emergency Air Horns from ScrewFix.

      Me and Mrs C. are gonnae be making a LOT of noise next Saturday!!!

      Cannae wait.

    104. Ruby says:

      Why not just learn a useful second language to start with?

      When you learn a second language it’s not just about learning a load of words it also involves learning the history, culture, literature of the country where that language is/was spoken.

      I’m not sure if learning any 2nd spoken/modern language would be all that useful in this age of technology it’s a bit like learning analogue photography.

      If I were to chose which 2nd language should be taught I would go with Gaelic as I think it’s good for pupils to learn the history etc of the country they live in.

      My question would probably be why not just learn a useful 2nd language like Ruby,Java, HTML, CSS, SQL etc etc.

    105. Anagach says:

      Every language lost is at least one if not many other unique ways of viewing the world that is lost.

      Languages do die, but it’s no reason to neglect or actively seek to destroy languages that don’t have state or elite backing.

    106. Famous15 says:

      Amadan dubh or seems like a nice person?

      The lochgelly bisters on the back of the legs for speaking Gaelic certainly encourage agreement with what you say Stu.But is it a meritorious view?

    107. Ruby says:

      The thing about learning any European language is that it involves spending a fair bit of time in the country where the language is spoken and being that we are out of the EU the chances of anyone being able to live and work in Europe has been greatly diminished.

    108. Ottomanboi says:

      I sense nothing divides Scot, whether nat or unionist, more than the language issue.
      I have had my ears burned by anti-Gaelic tirades ever since I became aware that Scotland was polyglot and that English per se was historically a foreign language here.
      The mi-rùn mòr nan Gall or the great hatred of the lowlander towards the Gael endures.
      Along with the Protestant distrust of Catholics it offers convenient entry for ‘divide et impera’ strategies, which in Scotland have been rather successful and continue to exercise influence.
      Scottish nationalism originally had a cultural dimension shed with the formation of the ‘bread and butter’ SNP. It is the troublesome elephant in the room which so many choose to consider irrelevant.
      I do find it perverse that otherwise rational supporters of Scottish independence can share views similar to those of backwoods BritNats.
      Tell Catalans language doesn’t matter and that they ought to speak Castilian. They will think you mad.

    109. Footsoldier says:

      O/T Surely there must be more anti independence letter writers than Keith Howell writing to The Sunday Herald. They seem to be obsessed with him as do other newspapers as he is everywhere.

      It’s not as if his letters are particularly good but he does frequently appear alongside the cabal of well know anti SNP career letter writers. It looks orchestrated and well organised.

    110. Robert Peffers says:

      @montfleury says:29 April, 2018 at 8:57 am:

      “A chicken and a poulet and a hoender and a kjúklingur are all the exact same thing”

      Well no they are not all the same thing. They are all foreigners to each other. Just like the Scots, Englanders, Welsh and Irish, (both North and south).

      Here we all, (mostly), are as Wingers attempting to further the just cause of the Scottish Kingdom’s independence from that of England in the unjust, corrupt and overbearing United Kingdom, (a.k.a. country of England), yet some of us would apparently support all those foreign to each other birds as being the same.

      Onywey! Ablins wi micht gie ae puckle thoucht tae our ain leid whit wi spak, bit micht no screive, in oor ait kinrick and kintra.

      Sae whit aboot our ain Lallans leid? Aa thin frae the tune o the Broch, the tune o the Dorric an the itther Lallans tunes o oor ain Lallans leid get a puckle less siller frae our ain Scots pairliament nor fir whit thae gie tae the Erse.

      (For those without nor lowland Scots language, that last word above does not refer to an. “arse”. In our lowland Scots language with its divers dialects, 9tunes), the thing it refers to is, “The Irish Language”, (a.k.a. Gaelic), it does not refer to an Arse.)

      So, sorry Rev Stu, but your analogy of the chickens is all too obviously a false argument. They may well be birds of a feather but are foreign to each other when together.

    111. Bell™ says:

      A friend of mine who lived in Japan for a while occasionally drank in a Scottish theme pub there. The owner of the pub, a Japanese man who dressed in tartan trews, spoke no English but was fluent in Gaelic. This was of no help to Rab, but luckily he’d learned to speak Japanese, so was still able to order a drink. Learning a second language is always a good thing, even if you almost never get the chance to use it.

    112. Kangaroo says:

      Rev Stu looks like you’ve stirred up a hornets nest with this post.

      I would love to have learned Gaelic when I was much younger but alas I am lousy at languages. They are all foreign to me.

      If people want to speak multiple languages that’s OK by me. It doesn’t define me nor should it. My experience is that most peoples learn english as a second language because it is so universal and allows easy communication. Which I guess is the point of your post.

      If it makes the yoons mad so much the better. Gives them something to bitch about that doesn’t much impinge on the indy movement. Look a squirrel.?

    113. Gordie says:

      And none of that is dependent on any specific language. Language is just the tool you write the recipe book with so that someone else can replicate the dinner. Utter pish

    114. starlaw says:

      I wish I could speak Gaelic its a lovely language which my Grandfather from Donegal was raised in but had to learn Scottish when he arrived here to work aged eight.
      Several years ago at the South Uist Highland games I witnessed two small boys having a barney over a kite, they were bawling and shouting at each other in Gaelic…Wonderful.

    115. Andy-B says:

      I have to agree with the majority of commentors so far who love and care about the gaelic language. I only wish it was our first language and English our second language.

      I hope it thrives and grows in Scotland.

    116. Sean says:

      Worth remembering that at the moment, the Northern Ireland Assembly is mothballed in large part because the DUP can’t agree an Irish Language Act. In part though that’s a proxy for respect. A sensible DUP could run rings around SF because while people don’t want the language to die, and might want a bit of visibility, they don’t want anything expansive.

      I think the reasons for learning Garlic differ from the reasons for learning say, Spanish. It’s less about connecting with other people, and more about connecting to history. Not just things like the place-names, but garnering an insight into how language shaped the thoughts of people that came before. And all languages are unique – there are fascinating videos on YouTube about various unique features of languages – and it is about being to create poetry and story that is unique. Worth some investment.

      In any case, language teaching in the UK & Ireland is an appalling failure on most metrics. Whatever we doing now doesn’t work, for any language. Use native languages as a testbed for what works, the n roll it out to other languages.

    117. ben madigan says:

      Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam

    118. James Sneddon says:

      “Certainly, making Gaelic a partisan political battleground is an idiotic idea from a Yes point of view”
      That I can agree with wholeheartly and your view on the support for the dictionary project. As the rest of your piece raises interesting points especially your speculation about a one world language. As a gaelic learner (of advanced age some would say) studying Scottish ethnology.
      I can state, in my opinion, that language like society changes all the time n response to many pressures such as societal and political changes. Dominant languages tend to er..well dominate and legislate and supress the minority/conquered culture. When a dominant culture becomes progressive it can afford at least a dictionary!
      The fact is that some language issues are political (e.g.Catalan, Basque etc) and some indy folk feel gaelic is political despite some notable unionist gaelic speakers but that’s another Soapbox Piece:)
      As you point out we have to deal with things as they are. Laguages are part of how a culture and society see themselves in all the diversity and messiness that it entails.
      In a 100 years we may all be speaking Mandarin and I’d hope they’d be a wee project to compile an english language dictionary

    119. Ken500 says:

      The DUP are not upholding UK Law. They are a Law unto themselves. Racists, bigots and misogynists. They want to be part of the UK but not uphold the Law. They discriminate against others. The irony is some people consider direct rule because same sex marriage, abortion and language respect would have to be introduced. Just what the DUP are against.

    120. yesindyref2 says:

      ‘s’mir Wurst

    121. Cactus says:

      FYI man…

      There be two types of (pronounced) Gaelic, AsFAIAware.

      1) Gay-lick ~ Irish
      2) Gah-lick ~ Scottish

      I love to hear the ladies singing folk music in Scots Gaelic.

      Ah get the endorphins running down ma spine like.

      SO sexy.

    122. yesindyref2 says:

      The thing is without all these languages you wouldn’t get such great English expressions as top of the mountain, one wall free, it’s all sausage to me.

    123. Ruby says:

      I have so many questions about this article I could be here all day asking questions. The good news for you all is that I am very busy I can’t spend much time here nor have I had the time to read the article thoroughly but is Stu really saying that

      If we all spoke the same language there would be no more racism/bigotry?
      That everything we learn at school must be useful ?
      What is the definition of useful ?
      Is Art useful? What about history/Art history? Shakespeare?

    124. Cactus says:


      V / V / MMXVIII


    125. galamcennalath says:

      TheBuchanLoony says:
      at 11:15 am

      Gaelic reminds us that we are the unique and separate nation of Scotland. Unionist don’t like that!

      auld highlander says:
      at 10:58 am

      Never mind all this Gaelic talk, concentrate on the job in hand, … What if they do a powergrab job on us … What about Holyrood and independence.

      Make no mistake, folks, these are in fact intertwined. The Tories deep down hate ANYTHING which allows Scotland to deviate from their in-the-image-of-England model of the UKOK. That includes both Gaelic and Holyrood.

      EVERYTHING which makes Scotland distinctive works to our advantage.

    126. This article proves what I have always suspected The Rev., Stu., is a troll ?

    127. auld highlander says:

      Yer spot on there BuchanLoony and the numbers that Cactus posted just reminded me so I asked the cailleach if she wanted to go down the road but she is undecided.

    128. Mark Fletcher says:

      Stu! You remind me of these boorish Little Englanders who want and demand Watney’s bloody Red Barrel wherever they go.

      Variety in all things, Mate. Language learning is pure pleasure and a fabulous exploration of human diversity. The best music there is.

      Vivent les differences!

    129. yesindyref2 says:

      Many years ago when I liked a pint in different pubs to meet different people including probably all over Glasgow, I was in this pub in South Side Glasgow, got a pint and when reaching for it, knocked over the pint on the bar next to it. Without pause I asked the barman for a pint for the guy standing there looking a bit disappointed.

      Now, I was born in Scotland of Welsh parents and have lived in Scotland most of my life and worked all over, but was brought up in London and mostly have an English accent except when nearly parlatic. Anyways I got talking to the guy and after a time he asked me where I was from. Ayr said I. He says “That’s OK then you’re one of us, I thought you were fer Edinburgh”.

    130. Brian Powell says:

      90% of communication is non verbal.

    131. thomas says:

      The language of scotland to me is like the monarchy , an important part of what must be discussed in an independent scotlands future , but at the moment isnt a priority and we all must agree to disagree.

    132. paul gerard mccormack says:

      Thank you Stu for encouraging debate and expanding its boundaries given a changing technological and political world.

      I would be in support of maintaining Gaelic. We would be the ‘poorer’ for its disappearance through lack of funding. I am no linguistic anthropologist but here too be my literal tuppence worth in 3 short viewpoints:

      1. The Imperialism of language

      I personally would subscribe to Jim Kelman’s writing on the imperialism of language, in how certain language spoken is culturally disapproved of in order for the prevailing cultural political hegemony of the day to be given leverage to its authority.

      For example, the simple use of ‘everyday’ street language is commonly disapproved of by the middle class as a way of asserting their position in society and so on.

      How we speak is a marker of who we are, defining so much more than elementary communication of concepts etc. It defines the tone of the conversation, the relationship, empathy etc. these are important in binding together societal relational functions way beyond banal functionality. We can not deprive people of the use of their tongues.That would be an act of barbarity.

      2. Scotland a Desert.

      Culturally, I think very broadly speaking there is an element of truth to this. Culture – now there is a loaded word.

      As some contributors have already stated, language is not translatable, as language is bound up with a societal culture and hence presents a cultural viewpoint of the world.

      Scotland, like most other small nation states is a diverse group of many differing cultures. All of this is undergoing the one size fits all of globalisation, never mind technology, anglification and where if you don’t think for yourself then Microsoft et al will certainly do your thinking for you. I am in favour of a tolerant pluralism in society where differences are acceptable (apart from those that are off the Richter scale) but obviously this will not happen in the current political carve-up.

      But why Scotland a desert? Because, when I visit and see other cultures, I can see a huge depth of cultural experience even evident on a domestic coffee table such as on an embroidered napkin, which is a whole narrative in itself of a people and culture, whereas in Scotland I see no such evidence in the main, other than anglified Victorian tartanry. Diversity enriches. I could go on by way of many further examples….

      3. Values

      I suspect that all this graphification and percentagising misses the question of value. What do we value and what has value? Is a whole culture and way of viewing the world to be jettisoned under the wheels of homogeneity? Is this how its to be? for 0.1% GDP surely not?

      Should Gaelic cease to receive support, then the Gàidhealtachd would become a native American Indian reservation. Language is home. Language is where we belong. If language disappears then we are exiles.

      I do not care that this is not my language. I could not deprive anyone of their mother tongue. Not and never in my name and I don’t even consider myself ‘Scottish’.

    133. yesindyref2 says:

      Language is fun, oh how we laughed 🙂

    134. Dan Huil says:

      Keep Gaelic alive.

    135. schrodingers cat says:

      the article confounds many different issues.

      if you speak english and german, it is easier to understand regional variants, dutch, scandinavian languages, etc. it is easier to learn a 3rd language if you already speak a 2nd It is why children in scotland brought up in gaelic medium schools perform infinitely better in french and german subjects than english only schools. (this is a statistical fact). this can be summed up as, multilingualism starts with bilingualism,

      speaking a 2nd language will also improve and create a deeper understanding of your 1st language.

      speaking a 2nd language, if done from birth, more neural networks survive the break off point at about 4 years old, when unused neural pathways die back. this is why children find it much easier to learn and remember a 2nd language than adults who need to regrow and make new neural connections when they learn a new language in the same way that adult aphasics do to regain speech abilities after a stroke. All this can be summed up as “learning a 2nd language physically changes the wiring in your brain.

      None of the reasons above are language specific, they are true of all languages and are the main reasons why it is preferable for our population to be bilingual,

      Individual Languages
      linguists are on weaker ground here, at a phonetic level, different languages represent nothing more than variation in the whistles, bleeps and grunts than humans use to communicate. however, it remains true that people find the french language sexy, german threatening and officious and gaelic a musical language. it is like aking why elephants are huge gray and rough etc

      It is perhaps at a grammatical level that language influences our view of the world, the way we think and our culture. eg, french english and german have all co-oped the verb “to have” to indicate possession, I have a pencil, j’ai un crayon etc, where as in gaelic, (and russian) possession is indicate by saying, a pencil is with me. agam etc.
      It is highly likely that this grammatical structure is what has historically formed the russian and gaelic view of such things as land ownership.
      so even today, when someone announces that they have (own) a mountain or a river, the average scot is likely to say,
      1. who did you buy it from?
      2. do you want to buy a bridge?
      3. Eh min! that river you bought just fukced of doon in tae the sea!
      It is also the reason there is no law of trespass in scotland and why modern communism began in russia!
      There is no doubt that individual languages directly influence individual cultures. the idea that different words in different languages code for the same meaning. they dont. you can translate sunset for the scots word gloamin’ but the word gloamin’ means a great deal more than just the sun setting.

      Which language then?
      Stu argues we should chose a more USEFUL language, eg french, german, spanish and cantonese etc. This is a powerful argument. but it has one major drawback. english speaking countries, oz, us, uk etc, have for centuries taught french and german as 2nd languages but the number of children leaving school today, in all these countries, who actually speak any of these languages with any proficiency, is virtually zero. It is an argument that has had its day, we have already tried that. there are numerous reasons for its failure, but it has failed, no question.
      Stupidity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results.

      someones language is an emotive issue rather than a linguistic issue. gaelic isnt a dead language, it is an exterminated language. there is a difference. It is no surprise that the vast majority of attacks on the gaelic language, do come from unionists, it is a cultural attack. but while gaelic may be a dead or dying language, it is nothing more than a historical signpost in a series of attacks stretching far back in time.

      Such attacks are not dead, neither are they a historical oddity, they are very much part of our politics, 2014 showed the unionists that scottish culture was a real and living threat to their british culture and they have been actively trying to destroy it ever since.

      the avalanche of union jacks, great british history, bake off tv programmes etc are only part of this attack, the direct undermining of scottish history, the clearances, even the scottish saltire are olso part of this attack.

      so todays attacks on gaelic and scots, has nothing to do with linguistics, the idea such attacks are based on any firm language usefulness or pedagogy is nothing more than a thin veneer of the familiar too wee, too stupid, too poor variety.

    136. Robin says:

      The Billy Connolly Syndrome.

      Billy Connolly almost seems to be embarrassed to say he is from Scotland. The Big Yin slaughters anybody who stays north of Glasgow.

      He detests Highland “Teuchters”.

      As I have said before, if our English Imperial Masters had their way they would close down Holyrood and all funding to Scottish Languages would be stopped.

      They are systematically reducing Scotland to nothing more than an english regional council.

    137. schrodingers cat says:

      Sean says:
      29 April, 2018 at 12:47 pm
      Worth remembering that at the moment, the Northern Ireland Assembly is mothballed in large part because the DUP can’t agree an Irish Language Act.

      bingo, and the unionist put forward many linguist and language learning reasons for this, but no one seriously believes this is an issue about language?

    138. schrodingers cat says:

      it is also true that those who are most vociferously against linguistic diversity are almost 100% monolingual

    139. schrodingers cat says:

      what’s gaelic for
      romanus eunt domus?

    140. Jerry says:

      I recently met a Swedish man in Edinburgh, when he was sitting at a neighbouring table in a pub and spilled his drink on me. I happen to speak a little Swedish, so after he apologised profusely, I said in Swedish, “It’s all good.” He gave me a very strange look and said, ‘But I spilled my drink on you, how is that good?’. Turns out that while Swedish and English both have a word for ‘good’ it doesn’t actually mean the same thing. In Swedish, what I should have said was ‘It doesn’t matter’ or ‘don’t worry’. Same goes for stuff like ‘Wie gehts’

      Speaking a different language really changes the way you think about things. British people are very sloppy compared to Swedes, we are OK with getting things ‘nearly right’ or ‘good enough’. In Sweden or Germany, where the equivalent of ‘yes’ or ‘that’s fine’ is often ‘precis’ or ‘genau’ (exactly, or precisely) that attitude is a lot harder to keep up. So culture and language are intimately linked.

    141. Rocky II says:

      Where is Heedy???

      Miss his detailed and forensic posts.

      Hope he is well.???

    142. Graf Midgehunter says:

      Apart from stimulating the brain activity and organised thinking, for me learning a language is a key gateway to understanding a foreign culture.

      Tuscany, Florence, Sienna live and breath the Italien Renaissance identity partly through their language, the Romans and Etruscans via Latin.
      Italiens speaking some kind of Geordie,Liverpudlian or Doric in Florence just wouldn’t cut the ice in my POV..!

      Gaelic may not be a world language but it still belongs to the Scottish identity and enriches our history despite the attemtps to exterminate it. If it pays for itself in tourism etc., or as the Rev says by being “useful” then why shouldn’t we invest a small part of our budget in furthering Scotland.

      Gaelic can’t be a substitute for english but it will enhance the Scottish identity.

      Identity along with quality also means a lot in the business world of manufacturing and exports.

    143. Ottomanboi says:

      In language as in many things one persons meat is anothers poison. Finding a natural language neutral enough, free of ‘baggage’ is problematic. Man made ie artificial languages have been proposed but have fallen at the hurdle of linguistic nationalism and internal ideological squabbles regarding their development. And therein lies the trap. Humans are individualistic. The variety of the language we speak will have its own particular idiolect. We are not all the same. We are awkward, fussy, choosy and willful. It would need an authoritarian decree to enforce unilingualism. There would inevitably be oppression of the nonconforming. Freedom of thought, the lexical base and register would be subject to oversight and control.
      In authoritarian systems among the first casualties is meaning. You cannot trust what is said to you. Innocent words morph into the hangman’s noose. The polyglot culture offers more ways than one for expressing an idea. It confuses the uniformists and conformists. Capitalists, fascists and imperialist can’t cope with that.

    144. Graf Midgehunter says:

      indyref2 says:

      “The thing is without all these languages you wouldn’t get such great English expressions as top of the mountain, one wall free, it’s all sausage to me.”
      I see you are still “heavy on the wire” …. 🙂

    145. Ottomanboi says:

      The dialect of Florence was the language of the Italian Renaissance. .
      Gaelic and Scots could replace English. However, there would need to be a profound change in the national psyche from the can’t to the can, from the prosaic to the imaginative, from negative to positive.
      Scottish nationalism still has a long way to go on that score. Still too much baggage in tow.

    146. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I recently met a Swedish man in Edinburgh, when he was sitting at a neighbouring table in a pub and spilled his drink on me. I happen to speak a little Swedish, so after he apologised profusely, I said in Swedish, “It’s all good.” He gave me a very strange look and said, ‘But I spilled my drink on you, how is that good?’. Turns out that while Swedish and English both have a word for ‘good’ it doesn’t actually mean the same thing. In Swedish, what I should have said was ‘It doesn’t matter’ or ‘don’t worry’. Same goes for stuff like ‘Wie gehts’”

      So what you’re saying is, if you both spoke the same language you would have avoided some confusion?

    147. velofello says:

      I expect most people reading and commenting here speak and understand Scots. Just imagine if Scots was lost due to oppression, scorn and neglect. The loss of such descriptive words like – breenge,glaikit,plook, boorach. And so with Gaelic, I’m 100% in agreement to support.

      To repeat what I’ve said in the past, Gaelic spoken and sung, is very melodic to my ear.

    148. Matthew says:

      Wonderful article. I live in Valencia in Spain where the government is resucitaing Valencian by forcing ago schools to teach all subjects in Valencian. This is supposedly to help people identify with their culture. But, learning English doesn’t help people understand Brutish/American/Australian history. It’s a decisive device designed to protect jobs from foreigners – public sector jobs require proficiency, so that they can soak to each other in case they forget Spanish… English, now spoken by over 2 billion people is a good proxy for an international language. Let’s rebuild the tower of Babel.

    149. Edward Freeman says:

      In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m a retired UN translator and sometime teacher of English as a foreign language. I also do tend to go on a bit.

      As a translator, a linguist and a language teacher, I believe it is really wrong for us to denigrate or deny equal status to any minority language.

      In my experience, the one-world, one language school of thought is most often espoused by people who in practical terms don’t speak more than one language. To put that into perspective, bilingualism (at least) is the norm in this world, not the exception; and everyone who speaks English competently as a second language is (at least) bilingual, and therefore has (at least) one over on everyone who speaks only English.

      Monoglots, again in my experience, quite often succumb to the unfortunate tendency to use language as a criterion for dividing people into two categories: people who speak the same language as them, and those who don’t. Nothing logically wrong with that – unless they make the further assumptions that people in the second category are Other, and are therefore second-class, and – the same as each other.

      That’s why maps of foreign parts drawn by the former colonial / imperial powers are so often ignorant and insensitive as well as arrogant… take Kurdistan, for example, and pretty much everywhere in sub-Saharan Africa. “They all look the same to me”, right?

      As for languages in courts: it’s one of those pesky human rights that if you’re in court, you must be able to understand the proceedings, thus court interpreters. Naturally this throws up the occasional absurdity – but it is a right you attack at your peril.

      Languages have to be used, in courts, for example, to have status, meaning to stay alive and develop, to not fall out of use. Use’em or lose’em, basically. Using them as a medium of education and in the media is a great good and necessary thing, and – in education in particular – is terrific brain exercise.

      Languages also have to evolve: no one grows up speaking Classical Latin any more, but they do grow up – many, many millions of them – speaking at least one of its descendants. Nothing can stop living languages developing and changing, however hard people with conservative psychologies may try. Change is the only constant along the arrow of time, so to speak, but some of us have a problem recognizing and adapting to that. That is why it is so silly to try to impose some fuddy-duddy old fogey’s peculiar ideas on how English (or any other language) should be spoken or written.

      It’s a shame that I cannot write this piece in Scots; maybe some people could, but I am not fluent enough in it. Or maybe it’s not so much a shame after all, as too few of the Scots reading this are fluent enough either. We change the way we speak depending on who we’re talking to, and not just out of politeness, but in order to be understood… I would not have been inclined, and would not have been permitted, to use “outwith” in a UN translation, though it would have been ideal for translating “en dehors de la portée du traité” into “outwith the scope of the treaty”, for example. English is read by many people who are not native speakers, and one should never set out to blow other people’s linguistic fuses.

      Cultures make their own decisions about national / official languages. In Cape Verde, for example, Cape Verde creole is the language in common use, but Portuguese (Portuguese Portuguese, not Brazilian Portuguese) is the official one, used in (some) formal education and so on: CVC, on the other hand, is described as a language of national identity.

      Another recognized minority language among us here in Scotland is British sign language. If you are deaf and are had up in court, you may need an interpreter to sign for you. But don’t expect your own BSL to do you any good in the States, where they use ASL. It won’t do you any good either in, say, Estonia, where Estonian sign language is also its own thing. No, in Estonia they would have to find you a couple of interpreters to do relay for you (as it’s called in the profession): one to translate out of spoken Estonian into English, and another to sign the English into BSL.

      Not that I would mind very much, personally, if all those drunken English-only louts from the UK who regularly create trouble and stag parties in peaceful foreign parts, were arrested, charged, brought before the beak, sentenced and imprisoned without a word of English spoken and with no notice taken of anything you might want to say in that language… say in Tallinn, where they would speak Estonian around you as the official language (Estonian is in the Uralic language group, like Finnish, and is not Indo-European at all) though on the streets you would also hear, as minority languages, Russian, Swedish and German in particular (which are in fact all Indo-European but in two different groups within it).

      Here’s another example: in Kenya, there are approximately 47 tribal languages (I simplify) in two main language groups: Bantu and Nilotic. There are two lingua francas / linguae francae, Swahili and English. Bantu and Nilotic languages are in two completely different language groups, like Cantonese and Navajo. English in Kenya is quite distinctive now, and its use in East Africa is of course a relic of the – very shameful – colonial period. If you are a smart young thing in Nairobi, you will also speak Sheng … which is a sort of cool, hip youth slang based on both English and Swahili, with the aim of bamboozling wrinklies such as Concerned Parents over assignations with a view to sex, booze and rock’n’roll.

      Swahili is originally a creole of a Bantu language or languages of the East African coast and the Arabic of traders from the Gulf, who would come and go with the monsoon. Bantu languages and Arabic, a Semitic language, are again in two completely different language groups – isn’t the human capacity for language amazing? Defining, even.

      We can call Swahili a creole because kids grew up speaking it as their mother tongue. That’s the criterion for differentiating between a creole and a pidgin. Swahili long ago developed into a well-established literary language and has been used for official purposes – , and when that happens we can stop calling it a creole. There is a point of view that English itself is the descendant of a process of creolization between Norman French (Indo-European, Romance) and Saxon (Indo-European, Teutonic)

      So my Maasai pal Ntosho grew up speaking Maa (Nilotic) and was educated in that, and also in Swahili (Bantu + Semitic) and English (Indo-European). He also speaks Kikuyu (Bantu), the language of the largest ethnic group in Kenya, and was cheerfully absorbing Kamba (also Bantu) from another of my guys when I last saw them.

      I make that five languages in which Ntosho is fluent. An ordinary Kenyan guy – well, actually, he’s pretty smart, is Ntosho – speaks all those languages that are not his mother tongue without the benefit even of bilingual dictionaries to help him learn: too expensive, no bloody good, or simply non-existent – and with no formal education beyond primary school.

      Gaelic, English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Hindi – are all in the same Indo-European language group, and are of course not mutually comprehensible, generally speaking. Mutual comprehensibility between languages is on a sliding scale, actually, from 0% to 100% – Spanish and Portuguese are closer to each other than French and Romanian, say.

      Mutual comprehensibility is not necessarily symmetrical either: as an example of asymmetry – and ostentatiously ignoring the dialect / language question – in the UK we all understand Estuary English, but folk from the Smoke find Glaswegian impenetrable, at least to begin with. Between Geordie and Lunnon, the same applies – but quite often Geordies and Glaswegians cannot understand much at all of what the other is saying, at least until they get their ear in, or adapt their own speech to their audience – and that is something you can do without necessarily being aware of it.

      The cut-off between languages and dialects is not sharp or easily definable, and over time, dialects evolve into separate languages – such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Romanian (Romance), or Czech, Serbian, Ukrainian and Russian (Slavic). This is not a process that anyone can stop by bureaucratic fiat.

      If you don’t absorb a foreign language as a child, it’s harder, of course, but it’s hardly impossible! Did I mention the practice of exogamy? That on its own may lead to widespread bilingualism.

      Speaking other languages has the useful side-effect, by the way, of deepening and honing our understanding and appreciation of our own mother tongue. That is over and above the extremely beneficial side-effect of coming to understand other cultures on their own terms, and recognizing our shared, innate humanity – and our shared, innate, defining capacity for language.

      By the way, there are reportedly about 170,000 Navajo speakers in the US, so relatively speaking that’s a much smaller community than our Gaels are to the rest of us Scots. The history of the native Americans after the European colonization of their lands is, of course, even more dismal than the history of our Gaels here in Scotland. In world terms, and even now, Gaelic is not a particularly “small” language: there are many that are smaller.

      Diversity is a strength, not a weakness, and we should celebrate it, not denigrate it. We cannot on the one hand complain about the Westminster regime and the British Establishment refusing to recognize that we Scots are not simply British people who talk a bit funny and live in North Britain, dismissing our different history and culture as irrelevant or non-existent, imposing their historical and cultural narrative on us – no, we cannot complain about that while at the same time doing the analogous thing to Scotland’s Gaels and their language.

      As for different languages as causes of conflict: human beings have a terrible tendency to turn the slightest thing into a casus belli. Religion, sectarianism, pernicious political ideologies, and abusive temporal and spiritual power on the human side, and land, resources and wealth on the physical side, are far more explosive causes of conflict than language. In relatively recent history, there was no significant language difference between the Southern and the Union states in the American Civil War; no difference in language between Honduras and Guatemala when they fought their 100-hour Football War; and Hutu and Tutsi alike speak Kinyarwanda…

      No, even if violent conflicts may be exacerbated by language differences, they are rarely if ever caused by them. Either way, the solution to the problem is to have more language learning, on both sides of the dispute. In practice, using a third language to do your peace talks in is actually asking for trouble and confusion, and using the language of one of the parties but not the other is politically unwise. You need not just interpreters, but more learning and less ignorance, more language skills, not fewer.

    150. thomas says:

      @ ottomanboi

      You say too much baggage in tow and scottish nationalism still has a long way to go.???

      Totally agree with you on that score , i mean listen to some of the comments on here on the subject of gaelic.

      As for the scots dialect of english , please dont get me started on that.

      Murray grieve has a lot to answer for in this tolkienesque fantasy of a dialect everyone in history called inglis

      They divided the scots on language , the irish on religion and conquered the lot.

    151. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You remind me of these boorish Little Englanders who want and demand Watney’s bloody Red Barrel wherever they go.”

      Oh do fuck off. If I was demanding the entire world adopt English that’d be a fair comment, but since I’m expressly NOT doing that, away and ram it.

    152. Ottomanboi says:

      Literary works have been composed in Scotland in English, Scots, Irish, Gaelic, French, Norse and proto-Welsh. We could do with getting in touch with this rich and, for poltico-cultural reasons, neglected inheritance. Britishness has cast a mournful shadow over Scotland. Time we moved into the light.

    153. cath says:

      ” living in Argyll I’ve been amazed at the interaction of local Gaelic speakers with ‘foreigners’, be they Irish, North and south, Canadians and scattering of folks from countries you would be astounded to hear actually have people interested enough to learn the language of Scotland.”

      It doesn’t surprise me at all. I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, and had virtually no exposure to Scottish culture. Scottish music was the cheesy old White Heather Club stuff they played on Radio Scotland.

      I only discovered Scottish culture when I went to Canada. And I got some mighty strange looks when I said, “I love your Canadian fiddle music”, to a pub full of people who knew it was Scottish and couldn’t comprehend a Scottish visitor didn’t know that.

      I made a point of finding Scottish culture when I came back home and it’s all over the place now, if you know where to look for it. That, I think, is a result of devolution and a growing desire from a lot of people to explore it. But there is also an angry element of unionists who feel threatened by all of it – Scottish culture, language and history. They want to take us back to the 1970s and 80s when it had been all but wiped out.

    154. cath says:

      “language is a key gateway to understanding a foreign culture.”

      Totally. We often have an image of Russians as cold. But in reality their language and culture is just very different, and in many ways makes more sense. It’s efficient – perhaps because of the cold, or maybe from years of repression. But if you meet someone to carry out a transaction and they’re not a friend, you don’t bother with all the supposedly “polite” small talk, “How are you?” “I’m fine. How are you” etc, etc, to which the only “polite” answer in return is “fine.”

      If a Russian asks how you are it’s because they genuinely care and want to hear the truth, and the responses can vary from, “Great” to “Terrible” and “Just don’t ask.” But will probably lead to an actual conversation about what the problem is. We find their brusqueness rude, but they find our “How are you?” then subsequent total lack of interest in their truthful response rude.

      That isn’t language – “How are you?” can be translated just fine. It’s culture.

    155. cath says:

      “That isn’t language – “How are you?” can be translated just fine. It’s culture…”

      But, it’s related to language, and too often language carries cultural baggage with it, which makes the assumption that “my culture is superior to yours” when it asks people to speak it. English is packed full of that.

    156. Ottomanboi says:

      To get to know about Scotland and its culture you have to clear away a lot of British clutter and be prepared to dig deep. The surface material is deceptive.

    157. schrodingers cat says:

      the smallest piece of information is the planck length, but the more random a series of information is, the more information it can contain.

      not an obvious point but true none the less. human language is no different. if everyone spoke the same language it would reduce our ability to communicate as our brains would be wired in a more similar fashion, reducing our ability to “think outside the box”

      case in point, in the 80’s, Pepsi cola ran an advert, “come alive with pepsi cola” but in mandarin, the closest translation they could come up with was, “pepsi cola brings your ancestors back from the grave” !

      in the 60’s, we belived that by now we would all be riding around in flying cars and having deep conversations with robby the robot. what i actually got was a citroen picasso and windows 10.

      this is the reason we should be wary of making any sweeping statements about language, we have windows 10 and not conversant robots because, then as now, linguists still have very little idea about what language actually is or how we learn it. I can, and have done among other linguists, argued successfully that language is a form of magic!

      eg, look up the word War in the dictionary, it will say, conflict, strife.look up the word Conflict in the dictionary, it will say, war, strife. look up the word strife in the dictionary, it will say, war, strife.

      the idea of meaning or indeed the communicative property of words is a circular argument, with no foundation, a castle in the air. yet we all believe it implicitly. language is the 21st century luminiferous ether

      protagoras dismissed mathematics and logic because of their inability to express the superlative. they still cant. and until they do, windows 10 will be as good as it gets.

      as for the gaelic language on a cultural level, linguists have always disagreed with historians and archeologists as to its origins, however, recent dna analysis supports the linguists view far more than the historians, gaelic was the language spoken by all of the uk and ireland and was exported onto the atlantic coast and into continental europe during the bronze age. it was the linga franca of the bronze trade. This makes it one of the oldest and still spoken language perhaps in the world. It is a cultural icon and reason enough to promote its use

    158. schrodingers cat says:

      In practice, using a third language to do your peace talks in is actually asking for trouble and confusion.

      the kennedy Khrushchev cuban crisis takesg when kennedy said, “you are barking up the wrong tree” was mis translated as” you are baying like a hound” It almost sparked a diplomatic incident

    159. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Hoss Mackintosh @ 11:17:

      I also found out the the Real Princes of Wales were called “Tywysog Cymru” which is the same word – if only the Welsh could spell it properly.

      Seems to me that none of the Gaels can spell properly! =laugh=

      More seriously, having a universal language is a real asset for public affairs, and for better or worse for us that is standard English. Though even that is being slowly corrupted by the Americans (as the spelling of a number of posters on here can readily testify).

      But that’s not all there is to it. While people within a common polity do have a civic obligation to share a common language, they also have a right to be able to speak their own amongst themselves. Not as a proxy for base politics of any kind, just as a fundamental human need.

      It’s simple cultural evolution in action. Looking back, obvious really. Even if we “wiped the slate clean” and started afresh with Esperanto or suchlike, variations and eventual different languages would inevitably re-emerge.

      The need to impose a single language, by brute force if necessary, is a sure sign of authoritarian thinking. The inability to accommodate difference of any kind, whose source is underlying deep insecurity.

      This kind of thing, I suspect, is what underlies much of the Leaver mentality. More than happy to chum with other English speakers across the world, but not with our nearest other-language neighbours. (Which was never a problem in days of yore.)

      Scotland wouldn’t be Scotland without The Gaelic. If anyone wants to speak it, that’s their business. If we can give them a wee help without turning the whole world upside down over it, so much the better.

    160. schrodingers cat says:

      the earliest written records are in the form of clay talismans, not necessarily spelling our actual words but a series of letters with alliterative qualities
      eg Ajji Majji la Tarajji

      it is as if the people are marvelling at the magical ability for letters to communicate sounds, let alone words.

      our own magic word comes from the same belief system

      what is the magic word?

    161. thomas says:


      I have studied scottish history and culture for over twenty years , and anyone who seriously believes the lowlands were teutonic and the highlands something other are the ones laying british clutter in front of us.

    162. K1 says:

      Thank you so much Edward Freeman @3.37pm, for your thoughtful, skilfull and very eloquent counterpoint/s to Stu’s article.

      Beautifully expressed and imv an excellent dismantling of the entire premise of his view as expressed in the above the line article.

      What say you Mr Campbell?

    163. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      cath @ 15:48, 15:55,

      All true. It’s really about culture in the widest sense, of which language is but one aspect, although an essential one.

      In other parts of the world it’s the other way round, I think. A move to business without a full exchange of preliminary pleasantries is considered brusque and rude.

      It requires a modicum of understanding of the other’s norms to be able to judge them correctly.

      And that remains just as true even within a single language area. As a Scot living for a number of very agreeable years in England, I had to learn very quickly that I was in a foreign country, culturally speaking. (I don’t make that as a narrow political point. English people moving here – and not isolated in a bubble of their own – experience the same in reverse.) It’s something that too many TV-watching Scots who have never lived down south still don’t realise.

      Contrariwise, it’s no accident that those who set out to destroy cultures in order to dominate always start by banning the others’ languages and enforcing their own. Even (or especially?) if it’s a minority language.

      Sometimes as a consequence you end up with a bastard result, eg. Norman English. (pork meat from a pig, mutton from a sheep, etc.)

    164. Hamish100 says:

      I do not speak Gaelic.

      But I support those that do and pity those who condemn Gaelic speakers.

      Gaelic was persecuted as were the Scots. No-one is asking to repeat the ’45 just believe it is to offer a helping hand to our culture and history.

    165. Another Union Dividend says:

      Very O/T but someone was asking why Keith Howell is never out of the letters pages? He is a member of the Scotland In Union writing team.

      “If it were not for Scotland in Union, many might feel overwhelmed by the daily drip-feed of the SNP’s misleading attempts to equate themselves with Scotland, as they arrogantly claim to speak for us all in relation to what we think about everything from Brexit to the UK.

      The respectful and positive tone of Scotland in Union’s contributions, also means they are treated seriously by the media who now often look to them for reactions to relevant developments, again encouraging us all that the SNP cannot simply drive the news agenda to suit themselves.

      Above all else, Scotland in Union has given a voice to a majority who might otherwise be intimidated into silence. I thank them for that and will continue to do all I can to support their continuing campaigns to speak for the best of what Scotland can be within the UK.”

      Also from 2014

    166. Derick fae Yell says:

      Flower of Scotland says:
      29 April, 2018 at 10:17 am

      I could not agree with the Rev more. Was Gaelic ever spoken in central Scotland?

      Of course not. All the Gaelic place names were obviously coined by people fae Uist down here on their holidays.

      (Looks out front window at a hill with a Gaelic name: just west of Falkirk)

    167. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Edward Freeman at 3.37

      Interesting post. I was in West Africa for 15 years in Nigeria and the average Nigerian will be fluent to some extent in several languages, more particularly members of some of the minor tribes (Nigeria has over 300 languages) who need to be able to converse in the dominant language in that area of the country as well as his own tribe’s.
      Hausa,the dominant language of the north of Nigeria, shares the same roots as Swahili and use many of the same words because of its Arabic base. It has developed over 1000 years from what will have been pidgin Arabic and developed its own syntax etc. The same is happening all the time in all languages . Usage continues to change. We can hear it in what was considered recently to be grammatically incorrect English usage now becoming normal in Scottish dialect, even on the BBC. When Nigeria went independent in 1960 English was adopted as lingua franca for obvious reasons. But very few Nigerians in day to day conversation,except with Brits,actually converse in it. What is developing is a Nigeria pidgin with its own developing syntax which is understood by all across the whole federation. There are already publications in this pidgin.

    168. Scottish Steve says:

      I think Gaelic is a beautiful language. Despite not understanding it, I enjoy listening to Gaelic songs and hearing it spoken. I remember once when I visited my late grandfather in hospital, there was an old lady visiting her husband in the ward and they were both speaking Gaelic. Before I left, I told them I thought their language was beautiful and it was nice to hear it still being spoken. They seemed to really appreciate my sentiments.

      It’s my personal opinion that Gaelic should receive funding to keep it alive. If it became lost to the sands of time, I’d find that a very sad thing, like part of our culture has been consigned to history forever.

      Plus, keeping Gaelic alive makes unionists angry because it reinforces difference between Scotland and England as separate countries. Anything that keeps the Yoons foaming at the mouth is alright by me.

    169. Derek says:

      Slight aside – remove the hose from the car and take it to someone like Pirtek; they’ll make you a replica.

    170. Street Andrew says:

      As a lazy monoglot I have a lot of sympathy for the idea that it would be nice if everybody spoke the same language, with the proviso that it has to be English. And therein lies the problem.

      So on balance I have to agree with those who think the Rev is wrong on this. We think in words, or at least most people do and those of us who think in only one language I suspect are missing out a window into the way other people experience the world.

      Chinese written language is said to be common amongst peoples who cannot understand each others spoken language. Now that’s clever. Mind-bendingly clever, I think. We share an Alphabet across Europe and it is of little help with mutual understanding.

      So if we have to have a common language it might just have to be Chinese. That way at least we could write to each other, even if we lost some of the nuances which we enjoy in our mother tongue. Which we would keep for our local communications anyway.

    171. Hamish100 says:

      How do I write Nos 21 Chicken Chow Mein in Cantonese

      or Rev you are wrong on this one?

    172. Proud Cybernat says:

      First Minister in today’s Sunday Herald archived:

    173. schrodingers cat says:

      it is true that any language can be written in chinese characters and can be understood by everyone regardless of what langauge you speak, but, to touch type on a chinese keyboard you need hands like stevie wonder

    174. thomas says:

      @ derick fae yell.

      I know pal , in Dunbar there is a wee hill called knockenhair.

      Instead of these lowlander scots using their “native” scots english to call this wee knoll the watch hill , they decided to nick a teuchter phrase fae the islands and call it cnoc na h-aire.

      Fast forward centuries later , in 1503 when james the fourth came doon fae his old citadel in Edinburgh to build holyrood house , the local midlothian “scots speaking ” lowlanders decided to speak more teuchter gibberish and call the adjoining plot of land “croft an righ”.

      Seems to have been a hell o a lot of jocks runnin around speaking irish at wan time in central lowland scotland instead o their native english.

    175. Artyhetty says:

      I like it, very much food for thought.

      I remember when my son came home from school aged 8 and said, ‘why do they tell us that everyone’s the same and equal, but that we are all different’. In other words embrace diversity but retain your unique self. It was always a conundrum for him anyway he went on to teach himself Japanese because school wasn’t inclusive of diversity enough, for someone with Aspergers!

      So, language is an interesting subject, some people are really good at it and can learn several languages. If you are dyslexic, any language is a bit of a nightmare. I find English a nightmare at times, spelling some words, argh! The similarities of some words, with very different meanings is difficult for people who don’t have English as a first language.

      I love hearing Gaelic spoken and sung, and have learned a tiny bit. I think it’s great that it is being kept alive, it’s like the language of the land, to be all romantic about it.

      Live and let live. Britnats complaining about it in the newspapers, are wasting time and diverting attention away from some extremely important matters for Scotland right now.

      We should embrace it and allow people to enjoy it to whatever level they want. There are many things to be getting on with to keep the Britnat wolves at bay.

    176. Ian Brotherhood says:

      What a great post, and so many top comments.

      This is WOS at its best.

      Post-indy, this is the quality of discourse we need, on every single topic.

      Hat duly doffed off to all.


    177. Ottomanboi says:

      It has been suggested that William Wallace or Walas originated from a family which might have had a form of Welsh as its ‘native’ tongue, Walas being Old English for a foreigner ie Celt.
      The kingdom of Strathclyde or Ystrad Clud was the oldest and longest surviving of the post-Roman British states; from there a certain Patrick may have been kidnapped by Irish pirates The ‘gwyr y gogledd’ men of the north ie modern south Scotland figure in Welsh history and literature eg Y Gododdin.
      Not many Scots know that. We have a redacted national story. We are the poorer for it.

    178. Macart says:

      @Edward Freeman 3.37

      Well said and a fine post.

    179. Famous15 says:

      If nothing else Stu,you have fair walked away with the Unionisr’s ba’.

      They are beelin!

    180. Reluctant Nationalist says:

      So everyone’s fighting about X again. Provoked by a story about X.

      Get. A. Fucking. Life.

    181. Ian Brotherhood says:

      ‘It is natural for a poet to love his own language if it is the language of his ancestors and dying, even if it were a poor defective thing.’

      Sorley McLean, as quoted here –

    182. auld highlander says:

      Hey Rev,

      a bheil a ‘Ghàidhlig agad?

      just wondering.

    183. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

      Also another reason why Keith Howell is never out of the letters pages @Another Union Dividend says at 5:02 pm

    184. mr thms says:

      When I was growing up there were regular programmes featuring traditional gaelic music and songs, from which many great musicians and singers made their livelihood. I think the language is incredibly beautiful. I am glad the Scottish government are implementing the next stage of planning, that began with the Labour and Lib-Dem coalition government’s 2005 Act and its aims to put the Gaelic language on an equal footing with English. The current concensus amongst the parties in Holyrood is a first for me, and I hope it is a turning point for the language.

    185. Haggishunter says:

      Gaelic has been ridiculed to the point that to be seen to support it means you,re eccentric or mental.
      I feel great sadness for what the Brits and their yoons have done to Gaelic.
      However, I feel that we cannot fight a political campaign and support Gaelic, it’s 2 separate entities.
      The only way Gaelic can survive and flourish is after independence, where it should be taught in school.
      Like Ireland the language will not be used again for every day use, and like Ireland, people will have a sound knowledge of it (after Indy).

    186. ayeok says:

      First post here (long time lurker) and also the first thread I can’t agree with. I am biased of course, having been born and bred in the Gaelic speaking Outer Hebrides and been force fed a new language at 4 years old when going to school.

      Gaelic culture has a magic and majesty illustrated by it’s poetry and writing, songs and traditions which surely make it worth preserving even if the costs were greater than the relatively small sums involved. To consider discarding such a treasure trove is utterly bewlidering to me.

      I recently spent time in Prague and Budapest and, as others have done, learned the basics before arriving. We’re put to shame by the linguistic abilities of most European cultures in my experience, largely due to english being taught in school. I’d like to see all Scottish languages preserved and offered to pupils so that they’re properly retained.

      Culture and language are key elements in our identity and discarding them only helps to create a ‘north britain’ acceptance in our country which does our cause no good whatsoever.

      The U(?)K is not held is as high esteem as we think and I suspect our linguistic shortcomings play a large role in creating these perceptions. I always initiate my conversations abroad (once I’ve exhausted my local language skills) in Gaelic before trying english! As a certain advert goes.. every little helps. I’d suggest everyone tries the same approach with Doric or Scots – anything which separates us from the stereotyptical brit can only be good.

      Other than this gentle? rant, keep up the good work!

      ps, hurry back Chris.

    187. Highland Wifie says:

      Some fantastic posts here today, in particular Edward Freeman @3.37
      A right can of worms been opened and slopped about.
      Regards the Irish Language Act I recently fell out big time with a Scottish friend who lives in England. Her grandson, Irish born, was having a problem getting his school leaving certificate as he had failed Irish language despite passing the rest of his subjects. Friend was appalled that he should fail because of Irish but I was appalled that she had so little respect for the cultural expectations of another country. She also voted against Scottish independence so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.
      I should also add that despite my failings in learning Gaelic, my Highland born son, who learned no Gaelic at school has taught himself and now reads stories in Gaelic to his daughter.
      Stu probably thinks it’s a bit pointless reading Gaelic to an American child but I quite like it. Who’s to say how or when it might be an advantage to her.

    188. Hamish100 says:

      Reluctant Nationalist says:
      29 April, 2018 at 6:25 pm
      So everyone’s fighting about X again. Provoked by a story about X.
      Get. A. Fucking. Lif

      Nope not fighting, debating.

      I think you and the rev have lost the argument in any language or profanity. lol

    189. thomas says:


      Aye i know pal.

      It was suggested as well wallaces family were immigrants to scotland from the welsh marches during the 12th century when king david invited many of the normans and their followers into scotland.

      An example of this was Eddleston in the borders.

      I was assured at one time by those in the know that Eddleston was an example of an anglo saxon placename and shows how we are all lowland scottish saxons.

      The truth of the matter is that Eddleston was known as Baile gille moire , and king David granted it to an anglo norman in the 12th century called Edulf , and it became known as Edulfstun.

      The local scottish contemporary name for a welshman wasnt “walas” , but “bretnach”.

      So if wallace was descended from the strathclyde british , where gaelic came to be the language of the area long before it became part of scotland in the 11th century , hundreds of years before wallace lived , he would have been known as something like uilleam bretnach.

    190. Artyhetty says:

      Re; shrodingerscat@4.21pm

      Ah, idioms. I found a book recently. 1950’s, called, ‘a book of English idioms’, all 1005 of them. I think we can all assume they are not all ‘English’ in origin at all. Though in Japan they have their own, ‘idioms’ I hear, are one aspect of spoken English that’s difficult to fathom. Some of the old idioms are definitely best left to rot for being racist.

      Language and it’s use changes very quickly, remember when the kids were all saying things like, ‘that’s so random!’ about everything. Eh what do you mean, argh!! Some words and sayings used not so long ago, are completely unfamiliar with todays generation.

      Oh and Scotland’s mountains in Gaelic, are all the more interesting for it, imo.

    191. Wobbly says:

      “but you have no way of knowing that because you can’t tell what they’re saying and measure it against their expression or body language.”

      I have always found expression and body language the only way to hold a conversation if neither of the parties can speak the others language.

      Modern life would have us believe that we are not animal which is incorrect.

      “If we could somehow double or treble or quadruple the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland, what would be the point?”

      I know many children that attended Gaelic school and they also learn both Spanish & French and also English.

      Mathematics is also a language so being bilingual has many benefits.

    192. mogabee says:


      Before I moved here I was pretty ambivalent about Gaelic, the language and music and culture. Boy I am no longer!! Loved your story about Canada. 😀

      Edward Freeman

      Fascinating comment, had me enthralled right to the last word, thank you.

      Ian Brotherhood

      Man, tell it like it is! 😀 😀

    193. starlaw says:

      Just after Dunkirk four soldiers from Ballachulish cut off, stole civilian clothing, arrested by the Germans they were taken for interrogation. All four spoke only in Gaelic several Germans tried various languages to no avail until officer showed them a map of Europe, they all pointed to Finland, The officer then wrote them a pass. They made it to Norway, and home by fishing boat. There have been times when I wished I could speak Gaelic.

    194. schrodingers cat says:


      what you are saying about the lowlands of scotland is true, it was briton culture and language, that is to say romano celt. (welsh and cumbric) indeed, it is proposed that the basis of this lowland culture was the creation of the province of valentia after the barbarian conspiracy in 367 ce. the earlier kingdoms of damnonia, novantae, selgovae and votadini morphed into strathclyde rheged and goddodin.

      but prior to the romans, this celtic culture was that of the prydain. there is no genetic signature indicating a p celtic invasion between 500-200 bce anymore than there is any genetic norman signature in the general population but there is little doubt that this iron age culture left a linguistic imprint in england, wales and lowland scotland. indeed, caesar says of the prydain in 45bce that they speak a form of gaulish, ie p celtic called by linguists brythonic.

      however, close analysis of early irish, brythonic an gaulish, frequency analysis of their respective vocabulary shows that irish has only 30% cognate with german, brythonic has 40% and gaulish 60%. so while brythonic is a p celtic language, it is much closer to irish than it is to gaulish. it is the result of an iron age p celtic overlay on a q celtic speaking population. the cruithne

      roman briton
      iron age prydain
      bronze age cruithne

      there is virually no p celtic influence in what is considered as pictland. no iron age swords have ever been found there either. indeed, the oldest iron we have ever found is iron nails from inchtuthil, and they are roman.

    195. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      I stayed one time in a pension in Geneva (where the dominant language is French), and the couple who owned it would sometimes leave the breakfast room speaking German and re-enter speaking Italian! (I never asked, but I suppose they came originally from different parts of Switzerland.)

      If the Swiss can handle four languages (all official, I think) with such aplomb, I guess we can struggle by somehow with only three!

    196. Proud Cybernat says:


      The SNP’s Spring Conference is usually always held in March or April each year. The 2018 conference is scheduled for June with the autumn conference in October.

      Anyone know the reason why the 2018 Spring conference is being held so late?

    197. Edmund says:

      There’s something called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that claims that language shapes our thoughts – if we don’t have a word for something, it becomes harder (maybe impossible?) to conceptualise an idea.

      The ancient Greeks seemingly described colour in a very different way than we do today.

      So I’m not sure that we can completely separate language from culture.

      But I absolutely agree with this article both that the Gaelic dictionary project is worthy and a good way to preserve the language for future generations, and also that different languages ultimately serve to divide people, and a future in which we all spoke Esperanto or even Mandarin would be vastly preferable to the current situation.

      I have attempted to learn three different languages, each time spending years and hours and hours of study. After all that, I have ended up just about able to say hello, if that. It is absolutely ridiculous how difficult it is to talk to people just 20 miles across the Channel – and us native English speakers we are uniquely disadvantaged. So much international media and technical documentation is in English, and consequently there is less forcing us to learn.

      The Tower of Babel has God punishing the peoples of the world with separate languages for a reason.

    198. dakk says:

      Aw. The Reverend Stuart is on the Gaeldom’s case again.

      He must be missin’ that wee ride Torrance already.

      I think Scotland would be losing a big piece of it’s identity if it died out,so let’s keep facilitating the learning of it.Othering or no othering.

      Anything which might help even slightly differentiate Scotland from the neo liberal English speaking world is worth giving our assistance to.

    199. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Edmund @ 20:29

      Take my sage advice, the easiest way by far to learn another language is not by books* but by immersion. That’s mainly how I learnt Flemish (Dutch, variant of). When you’re sitting in the midst of a bunch of people happily chatting amongst themselves and you don’t understand a damn word, you would be amazed at how quickly you learn!

      *exception: comics! (plus a dictionary to accompany, of course).

    200. schrodingers cat says:

      Edmund says:
      29 April, 2018 at 8:29 pm
      There’s something called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that claims that language shapes our thoughts – if we don’t have a word for something, it becomes harder (maybe impossible?) to conceptualise an idea.

      I have to agree with this, although whorf is discredited in many linguist fields for his lack of proper research or conclusions to back up his theories, eg that eskimos have 250 different words for snow etc (which has already appeared on this thread)

      but in the case you mention I believe he is correct. studies show that children brought up in the absence of spoken language eg, by wolves or isolated by parents etc, once they go past the point where unused neural networks die back (about 4 years old) never develop speech in any meaningful way. eg, simple test with small children is to draw an imaginary creature/monster then tell them it is a WUG, then draw 2,3 or 4 wugs together then ask the children what they are. they will invariably say WUGS.

      It isnt that language deprived children dont know the simple english rule of adding an S to create plurals but that they have no concept at all of what a plural is!

      all languages use the concept of a 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, without exception. but no language has a concept or a word to describe a 4th person, indeed, it is a concept we cant even conceive. that doesnt mean such an entity doesnt exist we just cant even imagine it. neither can we imagine what 3 dimensionally curved space looks like but scientists assure us it does exists!

    201. Robert Louis says:

      A load of p*sh, written by somebody who knows precious little about Gaelic, and, it seems even less about its place in Scottish culture.

      Send it to the Daily Mail, it’s the kind of rubbish they print – but you’ll need to remove the big words – if there are any.

    202. Rock says:

      I have long been in favour of a single language fluently learned by everyone.

      Everyone could then communicate on equal terms with everyone else.

      But I would not be in favour of a single language replacing existing languages.

    203. Rock says:

      “At the moment people are theoretically free to travel and live and work across much of the world, but in practical terms that ability is enormously restricted by the need to learn languages.”

      I am afraid they are not.

      Forget about economic and other migrants of a different colour.

      Even English speaking Canadians can be expelled from the English colony of Scotland.

    204. Effijy says:

      Oh dear! The Queens mighty 11 were totally embarrassed today
      By a group they call Tattie munchers.

      I once supported Rangers while my Dad wasn’t watching.
      He detested the hate and bigotry the old firm spewed out.

      It seems that there has been a mob invasion at Rangers player
      If the year award held earlier this evening.
      Players and Board members alike threatened just as they did
      To wee lassies at Indy Ref 1.

      No sportsmanship, no dignity, no money, no quality players,
      Just the worst type of knuckle draggers threatening anyone
      Who has just proved themselves to be better people.

      Why is Murdo Fraser wearing his balaclava back to front?

      Maybe the DUP could get Scotland in union to buy them a player?

    205. geeo says:

      Does this count as an example of international cross purposes, ruined good intentions caused by an inability to communicate ?

      Or just inability to read laws on importation of plants and wildlife ?

      “Macron’s tree removed from White House lawn just days after his departure”

      Oh dear !!!

    206. Sarah says:

      @Edward Freeman: thank you for your post. Very interesting indeed, and written in a non-contentious way – just informative.

    207. ahundredthidiot says:

      people on here always say Rev Stu should be rewared with a special media role in our not too distant future in an independent Scotland.

      I agree.

      Gaelic Affairs.

    208. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      schrodingers cat @ 21:06,

      Hmmm, there’s a deal of chicken-and-egg in that, methinks.

      After all, if you don’t have a concept in the first place, you won’t have any need to think-up a word for it.

      Your example of “persons” isn’t helpful. There are only three possible “persons” for a verb (six if you include plurals): yourself, another that you are addressing directly, and everyone else (quantity unspecified). There are no other possibilities. In terms of quantities, languages typically deal with that by having nouns describing generic multiples, “trio”, “quartet”, etc.

    209. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      me @ 21:43,

      Or with the third-person singular rather than the plural, “someone else (possibly gender-specific)”.

    210. Del says:

      This is boring and predictable. People who appreciate the language of Sorley MacLean will never agree with universalism, whether English or otherwise. Or George MacKay Brown, or Neil Gunn, or Lewis Grassic Gibbon. Or Burns or Ferguson or Hogg. Or other authors and poets ancient and modern who wrote unpure english.
      I know enough French and Italian to know the difference it makes when I say I’m Scottish rather than English. Attitudes change immediately. Often for the better.
      Umberto Eco was much into semiotics especially in translation. Quite apart from English cultural imperialism in Scotland, his writings expose more subtle cultural differences in meaning thanks to differential or inadequate translation. One reason why people in England have no fucking idea why Sorley Maclean is revered by many non-Gaelic speakers.
      That may look like ranting on three different subject headings. Please look for the commonalities.

    211. geeo says:

      Oh well, Amber Rudd has sacrificed herself to save Treeza, how noble. How Tory.

    212. The French spend millions every year on the Académie française (that`s the French Academy for all you monoglots :),

      the Académie française is there to keep the French language so pure that a Frenchman from 400 years ago could converse easily with today`s Frenchman,

      “Le rosbifs still arrogant twonks”, “oui oui”

      the French see their unadulterated language as one of the greatest cultural symbols of their country.

    213. dakk says:

      I see ‘Strong and Stable’ UK Gov have had to expunge yet another Minister due to dishonesty.

      What are these British politicians like ?

      Also, Westminster dubbed’Gorbals Michael’ has died.

    214. Effijy says:

      A seat at tonight’s Rangers player of the year award
      Started at £144.00.
      For that kind of money you buy one of their players.

      Knuckle dragging fans stormed the event and threatened the players
      and board members.

      Murdo Fraser has claimed that the Queens 11 had prepared for
      A Gaelic Football Match. This wasn’t fair on the bigots in blue.

      Tories to bring in a new scoring system where 0 has a higher ranking than 5.

    215. Cadogan Enright says:

      What a lot of uninformed half thought out nonsense rooted in ignorance and lack of basic understanding

      Every colonised society breeds these sorts of attitudes. You just normally don’t find them in independence movements

    216. crazycat says:

      @ dakk

      It was “Gorbals Mick” – coined, I’ve just discovered, by the odious Quentin Letts – with all the extra connotations that has (though now that I know it was Letts, I’m not sure he would have understood them).

    217. Famous15 says:

      Amber Rudd fell to save Theresa.They are both incompetents.

      Here in Scotland the usual suspects are trying to unseat Ms Robison at Health. FYI she is too competent to having their coyoty baying listened to.

      In all areas where devolved resposibilities can be compared with England and Wales the Scottish management of these responsibilities is better. I wish to see better outcomes here but acknowledge that only with Independence will we see what really can be accomplished.

    218. Ken500 says:

      Has she gone yet. Either of them. What a bunch of lies. They keep on leaking stuff. Showing up the lies. Heyward lying too, interfering in the IndyRef. By the time the Tories have finished they will be wishing they did not have an EU Ref. What a mess.

      Goodness sake now they are dumping homeless folk in Aberdeen out of Scotland. The non Labour councillors 9 now running the City into the ground, £7Million a year interest on a grotesque project. Hotel and shops. No one wants. Occupancy the lowest in Scotland. Shops boarded up already. They find out what people want. Then do the opposite. Waste of £200Million. £1.2Billion in debt.

      Young wanted to put homeless people on the street in prison. Wanted by-laws passed. Until he got the dunt. A LibDem became an Independent to keep the nine and the Tories in power. The SNP the biggest elected group.

      ACC 100 teachers short. They have not spent half of the extra attainment money they were given by the Scottish Gov. £3Million. £1.5Million not spent. Class sizes too high and a shortage of teachers. They need to give teachers affordable accomodation. Or key houses. Ditto the Shire.

    219. K1 says:

      Aye geeo, now for May herself…she’s the real bastard who spearheaded the hostile environment as former Home Secretary and the msm who dutifully created this toxic environment by telling lie after lie about immigration, they are all culpable…UKexit…directly traceable to this essential and utter fabrication that immigration was the problem…the lies Rudd told and the leaks have finally undone her, but May is the real culprit. And the BBC woefully incapable of being a ‘public broadcaster’ never once corrected or challenged them about any of it.

    220. Ken500 says:

      Rudd has gone. Another one hits the dust. May next?

    221. Zen Broon says:

      “Culture is a people’s customs, their food, their music, their architecture, their festivals, their dances, their society. And none of that is dependent on any specific language. Language is just the tool you write the recipe book with so that someone else can replicate the dinner”. Whether you like Gaelic or not, this is almost unbelievably ignorant/stupid remark from an otherwise intelligent, politically aware and analytical person. Lets not speak of this ever again. 😀

    222. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Let us not be naive. The “Windrush Scandal” plays very well with lots of the Tory core target vote.

    223. Ken500 says:

      Rock must be stuck in the Lodge. One trouser leg up the other one doon. Not sharing the news Rudd has resigned. May could go next. The Tories predicted to lose 200 seats in the council elections next week. What will Nicola do? No one to negotiate with. The only one left standing up for Scotland. Not what was being predicted by certain folk.

    224. dakk says:

      @ crazycat

      Quintessential English gent,and glaikit looking Letts went to Trinity College Dublin so would’ve known the condescension alright.

    225. schrodingers cat says:

      i think it is time to come to stus defence.

      linguistics is the study of language as a science but that doesnt mean that there is no recognition of language as an art form.

      case in point. we all speak, read and write english and there are many pro indy blogs but stus is the most popular by far. why?
      cos he is good at it. fact.

      explaining why he is good at it is much much more difficult. he just is. he maybe misguided as to why the gaelic language is of no use, thats perhaps because of his monolingualism, but he has elevated the english language in indy political discourse to an art. thats why we are here. eg, stu often goes on about the headline in news articles, but he obviously gives a great deal of thought to his own. the recent “cupid stunts” was very funny.

      an example from a more simplistic language. chess, there are 6 different pieces, which move, threaten and take in 6 different ways(7 if you count pawns) I can play chess but i am not and never will be as good as boris spaski, but that dont mean i cant appreciate how good he is a chess,

      the same is true of language. just because i am not be able to write a pro indy blog as well as stu doesnt mean i am unable to appreciate how well he can!
      recognising how good something is, is an innate quality we all have. that is why wos is sucessful

      as a linguist, i can tell you how to learn any language in 4 weeks. no more difficult than pedalling the pedals on a pianola to play the piano, but that doesnt mean you will be any good at it, being able to write a best selling book, play, song or poem in that language, that is an art and not something you can teach or learn

    226. Welsh Sion says:

      If it wasn’t before, the Maybot’s Government is decidedly Rudd-er-less, now.

    227. Ken500 says:

      People voted for Brexit not realising they would be the ones being evicted. Some from migrant families in the Cabinent. Bit of a shock for them. They could get the 6 am knock at the door and turfed out of the UK. An embassador couldn’t get his child registered being on Gov Official duty out of the country.

      Some person is declaring Dudley BP head was poisoned in Russia. He was defrauding the Russians and fled the country before he was put in prison. BP caused the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico by cutting corners. Killed people.

    228. Hamish100 says:

      stu doesn’t need defending he’s over 18.

      Rock however is away to his bed as he only has a 2 hr window to comment on hear before he morphs.

    229. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Dave McEwan Hill @ 22:44,

      My thought likewise (as mentioned in a previous thread).

      Expulsion isn’t happening by accident, but by design.

      It’s a natural consequence from being obsessed about immigration, a lesson the yes-leavers in particular might care to ponder.

      As might we all:

      “First they came for the Canadian families, but I wasn’t from Canada,

      Then they came for the Belorussian families, but I wasn’t from Belorussia,

      Then they came for the Windrush people, but I wasn’t from the Caribbean…”

      …you get my drift…

    230. schrodingers cat says:

      Robert J. Sutherland says:
      29 April, 2018 at 9:43 pm
      schrodingers cat @ 21:06,

      Hmmm, there’s a deal of chicken-and-egg in that, methinks.
      lol, this only proves that attention to such detailed minutiae, the stuff of rhetoricians and it means we share more similarities than differences. it is called communication of information. in itself, it is neither right or wrong. being interesting, is enough reason

    231. Graf Midgehunter says:

      For me language is not an obstacle or something to be feared, it’s a method of communication. Every word or sentence learned allows me to express my thoughts or feelings towards someone else who doesn’t speak my first language of English.

      With German it enabled me to chat with people from Germany, Austria, Switzerland (Schwyzerdütsch), North Italy (Südtirol), Eastern Belgium, Luxemburg. Danish with Norwegians and Swedes. With Spanish I was able to understand a lot of Italian.

      Gaelic won’t ever be a world language but we shouldn’t let it die in an Indy Scotland.

      BTW, have you ever heard of the Sorbs in Germany, this is their “Gaelic” minority.
      They speak Sorbish and also have dual road/street signs etc. in Sorbish.

      The world is indeed a small place don’t you think…! 🙂

    232. crazycat says:

      @ dakk

      Fair enough – I was just dismissing Letts on the basis of some of his recent pronouncements, without bothering to find out more about him.

    233. Graf Midgehunter says:

      Oops – nearly forgot:

    234. schrodingers cat says:

      Robert J. Sutherland

      the biggest crime isnt being controvetial, that is the stock and trade of journalists and bloggers alike.

      the biggest crime is being boring

    235. geeo says:

      Rudd is NOT the end of this affair, Treeza must go as well. It was HER policies.

      The only thing keeping treeza safe, is nobody else wants it…..yet.

      She is the sacrifice for later.

    236. Effijy says:

      Just received a video of Rangees Knuckle draggers rampaging outside
      The Hilton were Rangers are currently holding their ” Plater” if the year diner.

      A flash bomb was thrown into the event.

      For confirmation, check the Twitter Acciunt if
      @TheIanFerg the former Rangers player.

      We are assured that the Police are protecting us
      From those with bombs?
      This is the same people who rampaged across Glasgow
      A few weeks ago, completely unchallenged by the Police.

      Wonder if all the street and Hotel cameras are having a fault installed right now!

    237. Gary45% says:

      Rudd resigns, “another chicken shit bites the dust”
      I am a wee bit sceptical about the polls regarding Tory losses, I expect a media backlash this week in defence of the most useless government presiding at Westminster in my memory, and it shames me to say that because I thought “War Crimes Blair”, “Snatcher Thatcher” and that useless bastard Broon, were the bottom of the trough.
      If May goes that leaves Brexiteers “Wif Waf fuckwit” and the Clueless idiot Mogg as potential leaders of this dismal, embarrassing, failed, pig ignorant, racist wanabee empire.

    238. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      schrodingers cat @ 23:05,

      Ah, the interest in any topic, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, I fear!

      (I liked your exposition on the evolution of celtic languages, btw. History and place names tell one story, genetics tells another, and they’re not always the same! As I think you were saying, some “invasions” of Scotland were largely cultural rather than migrational, it seems.

      I just find it sad though that whatever culture “the picts” had has largely been lost, with just a legacy of silent carvings remaining to mystify their descendants.)

    239. Robert Peffers says:

      @thomas says: 29 April, 2018 at 3:37 pm:

      “As for the scots dialect of english , please dont get me started on that.”

      Unfortunately you have already started on that – and you are spouting absolute blethers.

      “Murray grieve has a lot to answer for in this tolkienesque fantasy of a dialect everyone in history called inglis”

      In the first place Chris Grieve didn’t invent a language of any kind and specifically most certainly nothing in any way similar to that of J. R. R. Tolkien.

      Here are a few stone cold facts for you. I was born on a farm and brought up by my grandparents as my father was fighting in World War Two and my very young mother had been mistakenly conscripted and made to work on munitions in the North of England.

      I learned to speak Lallans Scots at my grandmother’s knee and never actually heard English spoken until I attended the nearest village school.

      Thus the only language I had heard was that of the family and the farm hand on the farm and from neighbouring farms as these each took turns in weekly Bothy nights and monthly barn dances.

      The language Chris Grieve wrote was that language, (missing out the usual course farm/industrial language of course.

      Furthermore you confuse Lowland Scots, (a language in its own right and with its own dialects), with Standard Scottish English, (a dialect of English). The two are very different in every way but the English dialect does include many unique Scots words.

      I have, on several occasions, posted examples here on Wings.
      As for the English language – this was very much like Scots until the days of William Shakespeare and the advent of the printing press. Rural villages just a few miles apart were almost unable to understand each other and travel was hard work and dangerous.

      Shakespeare certainly did not invent the English language but did, as Chris Grieve did in Scotland – in both instances these authors standardised a written form of a spoken language. In the case of England this happened much earlier than in Scotland but for the reason that the Scots languages were forcibly suppressed.

      If you want just one almost certain proof of what I claim consider just two old Scots words.

      In Scotland the word, “Gate”, means a road or highway. It is reflected in our towns and city place names.

      For example in Edinburgh we have the Canongate and the Cowgate, (in Scots: The Cougait)).

      In Scots then, “Ye wad gan ben the yett and stravaig ower the Cougait”, but in Scots Standard English you would, “gae through the gate an dander doon the road”.

      BTW: The farm I was brought up on was in the Lothians but was worked by people mainly from the Borders and Southern Uplands.

      Another thing. I was, as a child, able to pick up books written by such as R.L. Stevenson in the Lallans Leid a great deal easier than I could cope with the Education Authority text books. The reason being they were written in my native language that I already spoke.

      So I ask you to explain just how Chris Grieve invented a synthetic language that a pre-school child spoke in around 1941? There is one other point – the word Lallans itself simply means lowlands and The Lowland Scots language has several distinct dialects. Which, BTW, is one criterion used when defining distinct languages.

    240. Grouse Beater says:

      The real issue of the day, month, and year:

    241. Smallaxe says:

      The Red Cross say they can’t help survivors of a nuclear blast – yet we all know Scotland’s largest city Glasgow lies some 30 miles from Faslane and it’s nuclear arsenal! Watch and share folks;

      The government is caught making plans that could stop 11 million people voting;

    242. Footsoldier says:

      @Edward Freeman 15:37. The English language has a suitable word; diatribe.

    243. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Scot Finlayson @ 10.11pm.

      You typed,
      “the French see their unadulterated language as one of the greatest cultural symbols of their country.”

      Do they chat about it at “le week-end”?


    244. Phronesis says:
      There are an estimated 6000 languages in the world ( Arabic ,English,Hindi,Spanish are some of the largest ) but language death occurs frequently.
      Smaller languages are vulnerable,often brutally repressed by a more powerful imperialist nation through enforced monolingualism and a repression of culture.
      And yet the monolingual state does not exist, there are at least 350 home languages used by London school children for example and the majority of the world’s population are bilingual or multilingual.Scots Gaelic is one of many home languages spoken in Scotland , the symbolic meaning of its survival is very important .

    245. Faltdubh says:

      A poor article, IMO.

      Suppose I would think that with my user name (it means dark/black hair to the 99%)

      The the 99%, your street name, house, loch (sorry, maybe that should be river) your country. You will never fully understand the name meanings of the place unlike most of the Nordic places etc. And you’ll never get the idio-matic phrase of Carn Gorm/Cairn Gorm.

      The argument of speaking the same language/united is rubbish too. Look at Scotland, we all speak English yet the indy ref delivered 45-55 and no one I know was divided by language lines.

      You should offer your services to the DUP, Rev. Even your story about the Welsh translation.

      And I am a fan, donator too and I will be back, but I believe you are way off the mark, lazy hyperbole with today’s blog.

    246. Faltdubh says:

      A poor article, IMO.

      Suppose I would think that with my user name (it means dark/black hair to the 99%)

      To the 99%, your street name, house, loch (sorry, maybe that should be river) your country. You will never fully understand the name meanings of the place unlike most of the Nordic places etc. And you’ll never get the idio-matic phrase of Carn Gorm/Cairn Gorm.

      The argument of speaking the same language/united is rubbish too. Look at Scotland, we all speak English yet the indy ref delivered 45-55 and no one I know was divided by language lines.

      You should offer your services to the DUP, Rev. Even your story about the Welsh translation.

      And I am a fan, donator too and I will be back, but I believe you are way off the mark, lazy hyperbole with today’s blog.

    247. Meg merrilees says:

      Link to Mike Russell/Gordon Brewer interview tonight on BBC re Brexit deal.


      Mike Russell is excellent – as usual. Gordon Brewer is remarkably docile.

      Robert J Sutherland – so at what point do you think they’ll ask all Scottish people to leave England??? They wouldn’t dare…. well, I wouldn’t put money on them not doing it!

    248. jfngw says:

      May will never resign, just look at her record, the level of ineptitude is endless. She was effectively the Hobsons Choice selection, the rest were even worse.

      Rudd was a shield, it was time to have the sacrifice to protect the leader. They hope the resignation will satiate the media.

      If May goes the government would really need to call it a day and call another election.

    249. twathater says:

      Re languages was sent this a while ago

      Hi di hi

      The European Commission has, according to the CIA, made a secret agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German, which was the other possibility.

      As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty´s Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5 year phase-in plan that would be known as “Euro-English”.

      In the first year, “s” will be used instead of the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump for joy. Also, the hard “c” will be replased with “k”. Not only will this klear up konfusion, but komputers have one less letter.

      There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replased by “f”. This will make words like “fotograf” 20 persent shorter.

      In the third year, the akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reash the stage where more komplikated shanges are possible.

      They will enkourage the removal of double letters, whish have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent “e”‘s in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.

      By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps sush as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” by “v”.

      During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be droped from vords kontaining “ou”, and similar shanges vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

      After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis, and everivun vil find it ezi to kommunikat viz eash ozer.


      (Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

    250. Confused says:

      – when the Rev is good he’s excellent, but when he’s farting it out his arse he really stinks it up – that’s a confused mess of an article

      – still, the standard of rebuttal was excellent – an exposition on linguistics, culture, history, genetics, imperialism – even mentions of Sapir-Whorf, Sorley Maclean and Umberto Eco – bra-fucking-vo all you wingers! It’s a THINK-TANK !!

      OTOH, the “conspiricist” (- soapbox is a partial admission) in me thinks –

      – blogger whose comments activity has dropped off a bit lately posts an unproductive and pointlessly controversial article just to get some attention ! And it works – as I see a lot of handles that have been missing lately.

      – so here’s a thought – forget the stunts, hire a couple of WRITERS – you will still be Benevolent Dictator for Life, they will be your minions only; better still – have some “try outs” – there’s bound to be a couple of usable fanboys out there who will work for FREE – get everyone to send in their best essay, on any subject they want. And -fucksake- some wingers are insanely prolific – just don’t pay them by the word or the fighting fund will be fucked by next week!

      WINGS is now a “brand” – so develop it into a PLATFORM – in the upcoming indyref, the information war will be crucial – let WINGS be the main fortress, where the “warriors” will gather.

      Going back to language and the extent to which it shapes thought – have you noticed that the BBC when referring to any foreign govt it does not like calls it a “-regime” … so for fun and bafflement I have started to drop in “the LONDON REGIME” to refer to the UK govt – just adds a nice tang of illegitimacy into the conversation.

      We should start a WINGS-APPROVED dictionary and supply a browser plugin which does auto-translation when you are reading a news story – and also develop our own NEW WORDS in order to attack our opponents – I will start

      – some people I hate are the
      I’M A PROUD SCOT -BUT- … I’M BRITISH ALSO … and I don’t see the problem, I am just as Scottish as you … yakketty-yak … blah blah (get it up ye)
      – I christen these people
      – from CUCKOLD and CALEDONIAN

      – more inventive insults please.

    251. James Dippie says:

      Huge believer in “native” languages, dialects and accents as these are fundamental to our identities, our thought processes and natural means of expression as we grow as individuals, mature & communicate into adulthood and beyond.
      Power over language, like dress, has been a major controlling tool of imperialists over many centuries.
      “Unifying” languages such as English are critical as tools for international communication but often simply don’t have the vocabulary to accurately reflect the multicultural experiences within our international communities.
      While we very much need “international” languages for international communication, local dialects & languages provide vocabulary & phraseologies which are unique in enabling full cultural expression of their users life & cultural experiences.
      There is absolutely no shame in adopting one language for commercial purposes while retaining one’s own indigenous community way of speech for full cultural expression.

    252. Still Positive says:

      Confused @ 12.30

      Nice one.

      I studied French at uni as a mature student 30 years ago. Am a bit rusty nowadays but the accent holds up well.

      As others have said: to grow up bilingual is a definite advantage.

      And pre-fives have an inbuilt instinct for their mother tongue no matter the language.

      I’m all in favour of teaching other languages in primary school – doesn’t matter whether it is Gaelic or a modern European language.

    253. Chick McGregor says:

      I spent many years researching and thinking about cultural identity, what it was? and whether it had any value.

      As part of that huge personal project, a small piece of the puzzle but significant in terms of effort on my part, I made serious attempts to learn and study Spanish and Scottish Gaelic. This was in addition to a more general study of philology and the theory and history of that subject, a subject which, incidentally, has a great deal of Germanic academic input.

      My study was far more ranging than just language, covering the belief systems of different cultures as enshrined in their enduring mythologies and their enduring social practices leading to an understanding of how the ethical and moral benchmarks which define their unique cultural identity came about and how they became manifest in their culture bearing institutions.

      However, sticking to the specific issue of language, I will make the following comments.

      First of all, I agree with a lot of what Stuart says.
      Every idea that a human has ever had can be adequately expressed in any language, at least in any of the main languages, including those in the Celtic branch of European languages.

      Since I concluded from my studies (when I eventually arrived at a theory for cultural identity with which I was satisfied) that the distinguishing feature between cultural identities is the ideas and beliefs they adhere to and the social and moral benchmarks those engender, then the language used becomes very much of secondary importance in substance.

      However, not entirely. For example, in Scottish Gaelic it can be argued that the way different kinds of possession is treated grammatically could be construed as encouraging a more socialist attitude amongst its users.

      But generally speaking, the structural aspects of a language have little effect on what those eventual cultural benchmarks are.

      I will not reiterate my Socratic-esque ‘Republic’ analogy argument for where cultural identity comes from, it is too long, but as part of that argument I have in the past stipulated that in that hypothetical scenario, everyone would speak the same language, yet different cultural identities would still quickly establish themselves.

      In practical terms, cultural identity is not dependant on the language used.

      Finally, as my pc battery is running out, I will just add that I still do not consider the time devoted to learning Spanish and Gaelic or the little German I have or the Old Irish tracts I have studied or the vying philological theories to have been a waste of my time.

      That language is, wrongly IMV, very important to some people’s ideas about their cultural identity is undeniable. Especially for cultural groups actually named after their language, like for instance, the English, so we in Scotland should really look on it as a distinct perspective enhancement that here, the main language of the day has been named Scots whether that was Gaelic when that language was predominant or the Germanic/Scandinavian Northern Inglis of later centuries.

      Gaelic is worth preserving if only to keep that point in focus as it is a rather important one.

    254. Mark Mac Conmhaoil says:

      Fair enough, but you could have saved yourself thousands of words by just saying “I don’t understand the difference between culture and sub-culture” 😉

    255. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      RE: language teaching.

      I was involved in a pupil exchange scheme in 1967/68. In the summer of 1967, my family had to endure “Fat Boab” from Würzburg for 3 weeks. The following year, I spent 3 weeks with Fat Boab’s family, who were nice.

      The major difference I found was that in the UK, we started our second language (usually French or German) education at the start of secondary schooling.

      However, in Germany, Fat Boab had started learning English at the age of 8. It could be an idea for a future independent Scotland to start secondary/tertiary language (French/German) education at 7 or 8, when young minds are receptive.

      Could that possibly cause any harm?

    256. Still Positive says:

      Brian doonthetoon @1.36

      My 8 year-old grand-daughter is already learning a second language as is my great-niece the same age. Both in different local authorities in Scotland.

    257. yesindyref2 says:

      So basically in the space of 8 years we’ve gone downhill from Cameron moderated by Clegg, to Cameron on his own, to May, and next who, Rees-Mogg, Johnson, Gove, or even Fox?

      May your God help us all.

    258. yesindyref2 says:

      Quick analysis. With Rudd gone May can afford even less to show any sign of “weakness”. Which means as far as the Clause 11 is concerned there’s even less chance of a compromise because of course compromise is weakness. But on top of that if it shifts the balance of power towards Brexiteers, it also strengthens the hands of the out and out Brexit, no deal or as little as possible.

      Which in its turns increases the need for a US trade agreement, which increases the need to have an “overall UK framework”, so that the Atlantic Bridge Brexiteers who are coming out on top, can sell us all out to the Yanks and even the 51st Staters.

      So there’s even more chance this will end up in the UKSC, almost a certainty.

    259. Colin.AH says:


      Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world with 1.2 billion speakers followes by Spanish with a measely 400 million speakers.

    260. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Meg merrilees @ 23:45,

      It’s hard to predict where that attitude could lead, when amplified by hard times and low political chicanery. Both of which haven’t exactly been scarce these last few years. Full-on Brexit could well bring a new round of both.

      For which reason, better to escape from being caught up in all that ASAP, no?

      (Dunno about the Scots diaspora down south, but I could see some English folk freely choosing to join us. And very welcome too.)

    261. Liz Rannoch says:


    262. Ghillie says:

      Q: ‘And if we were to adopt a universal language,which one?’

      Rev Stu A: ‘Don’t care. Roll a dice’

      Ghillie: ‘Ok. How about Gaelic!’

      Smashing 🙂

    263. ronnie anderson says:

      Liz Rannoch U could say the Home Office is Rudderless but the person who started the shambles should resign Teresa May , we wait & see .

    264. Ken500 says:

      Different dialects. Different countries. Portuguese etc.

    265. thomas says:

      @robert peffers

      I didnt say murray grieve did invent any kind of language.You need to read what i have written rather than what you think i have written.

      I said he , (among others) was responsible for the tolkienesque fantasy around scots inglis.

      English has been possibly spoken on and off in what is now modern scotland for something like 1300 years.For all of that time the language spoken in south east scotland was and is no different to the language spoken in northern england.

      The idea that it is some native dialect/language that grew in scotland by anglian settlers to develop into a seperate language from english is nothing more than fantasy by certain scots unable to come to terms with the fact we have lost our native language and become anglicised.

      We have no early literary evidence of “inglis” in scotland except carvings on the ruthwell cross from the 8th century , found a few miles inside the modern border.

      Yet England has masses of literary works from the anglo saxon period , and scotland has both gaelic( much now destroyed)and the oldest literary works in the welsh language comes from south east outside edinburgh in the 7th century.

      You have to jump 7 centuries forward to find the first evidence of english in scotland in barbours the bruce at the end of the 14th century.

      Everyone in scotland called it either beurla sassannach or inglis. Not one mention of “scots”.

      You then jump forward to the end of the 15th century , and gavin douglas is the first writer to label inglis as scots.

      Despite this the vast majority of scots continue to refer to it as english.

      Examples are the statutes of iona mention gaels being made to learn “english” not scots in schools in the 17th century , the SPCK forcing english schools on gaelic speaking areas in the 18th century , and the education act of 1872 that again punished gaelic and promoted english.

      Its fuckin embarrassing listening to some nationalists promote this fantasy language.

      I have never heard anyone in the real world speak , or claim to speak a language called scots.

      If gaelic has no place in modern scotland going forward ,what chance does your 18th century dialect of english that you often quote on here have?

      Who the fuck is going to learn your dialect of english anymore than i am going to learn aberdonian doric or liverpool scouse etc????

      Further , both gaelic and english have a common standard medium everyone uses , in the past old/middle irish was used by the bardic culture all over scotland , yet you cant even agree a standard Inglis that everyone accepts?

      What the fuck has doric or the edinburgh dialect got to do with weegie?

      Do we see the irish or welsh , where english has been spoken within the boundaries of those nations for approx a thousand years talk about inglis as an irish or welsh native language?

      Last thing i will ssay , this fantasy scotland is unique in having many languages is exactly that a complete fantasy.

      Most countries past and present have had many languages spoken , England itself has had at least 4 or 5 historically never mind the modern immigrant languages.

      Scotland has had three main languages in history that scholastic research can find over the last two tousand years , spoken by the elite , administrators and the majority of the population , p celtic , q celtic and english.

      Im not gonnae waste anymore time on this now , as stuart campbell says we are where we are , and this is nothing more than a fuckin sideshow.

    266. BJ says:

      Red Amber Go. Hope the traffic gets heavier from that direction

    267. Ken500 says:

      Who will get the poison chalice? The Tories will be regretting they ever started it. Seven years? May will not even last seven months.

      Sadij Javid for Home Secretary? They could have been throwing him out. Failed banker like Rudd. Rudd criminal father. The Tory vice chairman trying to make up excuses. Honest to goodness. What a way to behave.

    268. Hamish100 says:

      Why hasnt boris Johnston been sacked as foreign Secretary?

    269. Macart says:


      Yes. Clocked that Ms Rudd had fallen on her PDA. That she’s taken the flak and the fallout for Ms May’s actions seems a tad harsh, but then Ms Rudd and Ms May are very much cut from the same cloth regardless. I doubt many will shed a tear.

      As for what comes next? Ms May has two choices and if she follows form she’ll not choose wisely. Though tbf, neither are palatable for any kind of Tory. One will extend her tenure till brexit breaks and t’other will see UK gov descend into chaos in short order.

      All the FM need do is wait a little longer. Not long mind? Just a little. We need that court case to go forward and we need the media and Westminster to follow their own nature on both.

      That should do it. 😉

    270. Liz g says:

      Thomas @ 7.58
      Thing is Thomas,where we are now,is,
      according to the Wee Ginger Dug (mibbi some kind Winger will do a link he wrote about it when the media tried to shame Mahri Black for the way she spoke)
      Scots English meets the five tests that denote a language in its own right.
      Canny mind them all but one is the change of vowels EG …. Moose Mouse , Hoose House… and mibbi word order,and unique words or phrases!
      Anyhoo,despite how we got here,nobody need waste any more time,on it,as the UN have done it for us,so I suppose the argument is with them then!

    271. @Brian Doonthetoon

      my last words on language 🙂

      the Germans also borrow the English word `weekend`

      Wie war dein Wochenende? = how was your weekend?

      although `week` and `end` are probably germanic in root so they are not really borrowing the words but taking them back.

    272. thomas says:

      @ liz g

      Hiya liz , i know what you are saying , but because of the sensitivities around gaelic , the centuries of brainwashing ie the kafflick language , the highland language etc we are now at the stage where writers i respect like WGD and many others are forced to pay lip service to the idea of scots in case of upsetting a minority who are remotely fuckin interested in this dialect.

      You cannae please all the people all the time , which while we all may agree or disagree with stuart campbell on occassion , many of us respect him for saying it like it is.

      I speak english in a glaswegian dialect.

      My mum and dad referred to it as english.

      my friends and acquaintances refer to it as english.

      I achieved an o level in a language called english at school in the eighties.

      Im supposed to refer o it as “scots ” because some bell end academic says so , contrary to all written and historical evidence , to massage the chip on some scots shoulders because we have lost our native language?

      Are you trying to tell me robert peffers dialect of english , or someone from say garvald in lothian is a seperate language from the dialect of english spoken in berwick 50 miles away because of an imaginary line in the ground but somehow its the same as my dialect 70 miles away in glasgow becuase there is no imaginary line in the ground between us?

      Its a fantasy liz.

      A sick fantasy no other english speaking country in the world appears to suffer from.

    273. galamcennalath says:

      To give a quick example of how different the Scots language is from English, consider plurals.

      Eye – ey (pronounced ee), plural eyn

      Cow – coo, plural kye

      Also, the tendency is often to not stick an S on ie

      Ane year, twa year

    274. thomas says:

      @ galamcennalath

      Hows that different from northumbrian english?

      So scouse or bristolian ,cockney or yorkshire are all differing languages from english by that line of thought?

      Is that what you are saying , they pronounce their regional dialects of english different so its a differing language?

    275. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      thomas @ 09:09

      Im supposed to refer o it as “scots ” because some bell end academic says so , contrary to all written and historical evidence , […]?

      Ah, who needs experts, eh? Especially those who have no professionalism and contradict a know-nothing.

      As if languages never evolve and branch.

      Ye micht as weil hiv seid that we wha learnt Doric at oor mither’s knee niver spake English ava sine, but a kin’ o’ German, ye glaikit feel.

    276. Ken500 says:

      French was spoken. English Court. Normans. Mary Queen of Scots. Auld Alliance. English/Scottish courts. Intermarriage. European. Alexander 111 died. Maid of Norway. Norwegian. Edward 1 Hammer of the Scots. Robert Bruce. Lands in Scotland and England.

      Queen Scottish/English/Greek/German. Victoria German spoken. QueenAnne – Mary. William of Orange. Dutch. George of Denmark Danish.

      Early Scots Law -Gaels – Roman Law

      English Law based on Norman law. Latin

    277. Moonlight says:

      My first wife taught in a very rural Aberdeenshire school. She asked little Willie (age around 6) to read a page from Janet and John. He had some difficulty but she led him through the pictures which depicted John falling down and crying.
      Eventually he had a stab at it. “John fell doon, en he grat”. Perfect use of the past tense, but not in English.
      She, by the way, was Cornish and had a distinct dialect of her own.

    278. Ken500 says:

      Speak Doric in London. They think you are German. Hard ‘R’.

    279. Robert Peffers says:

      @thomas says: 30 April, 2018 at 7:58 am:

      “I didnt say murray grieve did invent any kind of language.You need to read what i have written rather than what you think i have written.
      I said he , (among others) was responsible for the tolkienesque fantasy around scots inglis.”

      Oh! I read it all right and I read it correctly and the little extraction I re-quote above was more than enough to show you were off down a well known blind vennel, (sic).

      They are different languages and you are confusing modern English language with Old English. Furthermore the original language spoken in northern Britain was Pictish – not Gaelic.

      The real truth is that both English and Scots derived from the same Germanic roots. It is textually recorded in historic documents that Queen Elizabeth of England was a renowned linguist. History records the many languages with which she was proficient. These records record both Scots and English.

      In point of fact the term, “Old English”, is a very misleading description. I quote for you from the English author, (and English government undercover agent), Daniel Defoe. Probably best known as the author of Robinson Crusoe.

      Defoe, (BTW His name was actually Daniel Foe but he adopted the, “De”, bit as he thought it sounded much more grand).

      Defoe described his own mother tongue as ‘Roman-Saxon-Danish-Norman English’. To Defoe,
      English was but a mixture of the tongues spoken by different peoples who, in the course of English history, had invaded what is present-day England.

      Thus, put simply, the making of the modern English language is a
      story of successive invasions of, England. Now here is the whole point of where you are getting your erroneous theories of the languages of Britain so very wrong.

      My sojourn in the Scottish education system’s curriculum for history began with a very grave error. By telling pupils that, “Britain”, was invaded by the Romans in around 45 BC. This highlights that all that followed was going to be wrong.

      The Romans only succeeded in an invasion of South Britain but teachers spoke of it to pupils as if the entire British Isles had been Roman Britain. This error has been continued in Britain ever since.

      Thus they assumed that what affected Roman Britain affected all parts of Britain but that has never been the case and it was not the case for every subsequent invasion of the British Isles. In the matter of languages this has very different results. Old English is indeed the same basic roots of both English & Scots but they each got that influence at different times and from different sources.

      When England was in conflict with another country it usually meant that Scotland was allied with England’s enemies. So Old English is a misnomer and both the Scottish and English languages are Old English based.

      And then we have, “Middle English”, and the enigma that is, “The yogh”:-

      A letter used in the writing of Middle English to represent a palatal fricative, as in ung (Modern English young) or a velar fricative, as in litliche (Modern English lightly).

      Scots uses the yogh but English does not – Just ask Walter Menzies Campbell, Baron Campbell of Pittenweem, CH, CBE, PC, QC often known as Ming Campbell. He is sure to know all about that.

      The plain truth is that both English and Scots have the same roots but derived their distinct difference by being influenced by those roots differently but neither language can claim to be the other.

    280. jfngw says:

      Ruddy shambles
      Amber gets the Rudd card
      May gets a Ruddy
      A Rudd for May’s back
      May Ruddgered

      So many potential headlines.

      Now you will see May’s supporters circling the wagons, I expect the BBC to use words like devastating. Some reporters may even become emotional, who can forget BBC Scotland reporter that was almost in tears due to a pregnancy, a resignation may have them on anti-depressants.

    281. thomas says:

      @ robert j sutherland

      Thanks for the sarcasm , i thought we were trying to have a sensible discussion.

      We all need experts , that doesnt mean we cant disagree and challenge what they say or that they get it wrong.

      Funny how these experts have always called the germanic language in scotland as english , with the exception of a few in the modern period who disagree with their contemporaries.

      Where have i said languages dont evolve and branch? Attack the straw man why dont ye.

      Am i as a glaswegian supposed to understand your final paragraph?

      As someone earlier said we have a long way to go if this is the thinking among some in the independence community.

      Language religion and the monarchy the taboo subjects i swore i wouldnt get sucked into yet here we are , and why shouldnt the scots dialect fantasy of english be challenged?

    282. Highland Wifie says:

      Unless you were at school in England you achieved an O Grade not an O Level in English.
      Not deliberately being pedantic, just our distinct education system so often confused with the more often heard about English system,even by Scots. It’s what happens when you have a state broadcaster and msm that concentrates on the news from a foreign country.

    283. thomas says:

      @ robert peffers

      The english language in scotland comes from the norman french elite , not the anglo saxons.

      Outwith a few villages of northumbrian speakers in south east scotland , the anglo saxon placename expert may williamson states that barely 6 placenames in the scottish borders can be traced to the anglo saxon period , no one else spoke english.

      The division started with the plantation of foreign merchants in the south and east of scotland under david the first , flemish french english and other europeans.

      The majority of scotland was still celtic speaking.

      Then in the fouteenth century , the normans in scotland like their kin in england adopted a new language made up of 45 % norman french which they called english , and the language spread over the centuries pushing gaelic back to where it is now.

      99 % of that time academics historians and linguists have referred to it as english.

    284. Robert Peffers says:

      @Scot Finlayson says: 30 April, 2018 at 9:01 am:

      “my last words on language ?
      the Germans also borrow the English word `weekend`
      Wie war dein Wochenende? = how was your weekend?
      although `week` and `end` are probably germanic in root so they are not really borrowing the words but taking them back.”

      Indeed so, Scot and I noted a while back here on Wings that certain uneque Scots language words and phrases were making their way into English. The words, “Ming”, and, “Minger”, for example, have made that transition into English.

      You really have to laugh when a language that encompasses such as Cockney, Westto, Geordie and Estuary English gets utterly confused and becomes insulting upon hearing fairly mild Scots accents and a few Scots words.

    285. thomas says:

      @ highland wifie

      oh here we go , the usual paranoia surfaces when a view is challenged .

      I received what i have always called an o level ( level one and two) in school in the greater glasgow area in 1988.

      Does it really matter in the light of this discussion?

    286. Smallaxe says:

      Wah gwaan mi brothas an sistas, wi still chattin’ bout language? Why nuh wi chat bout independence fi a likkle change. Seen?

    287. thomas says:

      @ robert peffers

      Im not laughing , im trying to understand your line of thought.

      There are words unique to the dialect of english spoken from north america to australasia , and these dialects are evolving too , it doeant mean anyone seriously claims these are separate languages to english.

      If you are going to put forth a rational argument for scots im all ears , so far all im hearing is bullshit innuendo and diversions.

      Try starting with why is there no common medium for the so called scots dialect of english that the nation of scotland can agree on , the very bare minimum starting point if you want your dialect to be accepted as a national language?

    288. galamcennalath says:

      I understand that Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian are mutually understood by the speakers of each. Some posters on here would seem to believe that just makes them dialects rather than languages. The same can be said for Dutch, Flemish, and Afrikaans.

      I would suggest any debate about whether Scots is a language or dialect is rooted in post 1707 politics. If each of the above languages didn’t have independent countries underlying them, they too would be subject of such debate.

      Most of us now speak a hybrid of Scots and English. Scots, at its purest, is spoken in the NE and Ayrshire. All languages evolve, borrow, merge, diverge. I very rarely speak full Ayrshire Scots.

    289. Highland Wifie says:

      Now I’m really going to annoy you since if you achieved level one and two then it was a Standard Grade not an O Grade. Standard Grades were introduced in the mid 1980s.
      Sorry but I believe it is important in any discussion to use correct terms. We don’t talk about a barrister when we mean an Advocate. It’s just confusing.

    290. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      thomas @ 09:42,

      Thanks for the sarcasm , i thought we were trying to have a sensible discussion.

      You’re welcome. I thought we were too, hence my reaction.

      We all need experts , that doesnt mean we cant disagree and challenge what they say or that they get it wrong.

      Which would be fine if you didn’t just so airily and sneeringly dismiss them, instead of giving something far more convincing than your purely anecdotal personal assertions.

      Funny how these experts have always called the germanic language in scotland as english , with the exception of a few in the modern period who disagree with their contemporaries.

      Complete bollocks.

      Where have i said languages dont evolve and branch? Attack the straw man why dont ye.

      You didn’t say it, but everything you have written screams it. English as spoken now bears very little resemblance to what people in England spoke back in Chaucer’s day (which had already had 200-odd years of Norman French influence by then) yet your absurd insistence in bundling everything under the one simplistic category of “English” implies they are somehow all the same! You might as well say that we all speak some kind of German. It would actually make slightly more sense (though not much).

      Am i as a glaswegian supposed to understand your final paragraph?

      Which exactly proves my point. If we Scots really only spoke the “English” you insist we do, the “English” that you yourself claim to speak, why don’t you understand?

      The reason is obvious: because it isn’t the same language at all. Duh.

      Through your own narrow experience you fall into the common trap of confusing your own dialect version of English with actual Scots.

      Try reading some Burns. But you wouldn’t understand that either, unless you had a translation handy.

    291. galamcennalath says:

      The articles here …

      … would seem comprehensive, and from my standpoint, accurate.

      Language or Dialect ends ….

      “At the end of the day there is no ‘scientific’ way to prove whether Scots is a language or a dialect. It boils down to a body’s personal opinions and prejudices.”

      I would also add ‘national status’. What secures Norwegian a language is Norway as an independent country, IMO.

    292. Golfnut says:

      @Liz g

      Hi Liz, interesting comment ‘re the UN, could you elaborate a little on this.
      Trying desperately not to get involved and stick my own tuppence worth into this, but curiosity has got the better off me with your comment.

    293. Macart says:

      “Arlene Foster hits out at Michel Barnier over Irish border
      DUP leader says Brexit negotiator does not understand Northern Ireland’s unionist culture”

      Oh, I think Mr Barnier understands NI’s Unionist culture only too well. Not entirely sure that Ms Foster’s understanding of Brexit, the EU, its structure, charter and mandate is rock solid though.

    294. Capella says:

      William Dunbar (14th/15th C) was a Scots poet famous for his “Lament for the Makars” which lists the poets he knew about from the 14th and 15th Centuries. Most of them now unknown and their work lost.

      But in The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy he refers to the antagonism between Scots and Gelic speakers.:

      In The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy, an outstanding specimen of a favourite northern form, analogous to the continental estrif, or tenzone, he and his rival reach a height of scurrility which is certainly without parallel in English literature. This poem has the additional interest of showing the antipathy between the Scots-speaking inhabitants of the Lothians and the Gaelic-speaking folk of Carrick, in southern Ayrshire, where Walter Kennedy was from.

      Perhaps it was the removal of the court to London in 1603, perhaps it was the periodic removal of Scottish records by Cromwell and Edward I etc, and maybe the cultural hegemony of London based TV and radio have all contributed to the loss of Scots as a living language.

      But many Scots stil speak it at home and children speak it in the playground. Some schools are teachng in Scots and seem to have success in engaging pupils who naturally speak it. Does it matter if it is officially designated a language? Perhaps if Scots had never been banned from education we would all be more comfortable using it. The Swiss speak Swiss German without any trace of cringe.

    295. thomas says:


      False dichotomy.

      …and more straw men.

      Further please talk to me rather than about me.

      I wont go into the fact that the native scottish language was celtic , and english germanic , very different languages unlike your example of three north germanic languages strongly linked to each other in scandinavia.

      You are spot on though about pre 1707 politics , thats what scots is , reformation propaganda to anglicise scotland with its roots in the davidian revolution.

    296. galamcennalath says:

      Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Try reading some Burns.

      An interesting one, that. When I was in primary in Ayrshire, a lot of us had difficulty reading Burns.

      It wasn’t the Scots bits, but the English. The mix was difficult for kids who could speak purer Scots and English, but not the Burns hybrid.

      I remember our teacher continually stopping someone and saying, “that’s not what’s there is it”.

      Example, Tam O’Shanter

      That lie between us and our hame

      … we would have instantly translated this into something closer to …

      That lie atween us an’ oor hame

      Or ..
      To think how mony counsels sweet,
      Tae think hoo mony counsels sweet,

      They had been fou for weeks thegither!
      They hid been fou fir weeks thegither!

      This is common. Most Scots who can understand Burns will actually recite it in purer Scots than it is written.

    297. thomas says:

      @ robert j sutherland

      WTF are you going oan about???

      You have proven no point.

      Im supposed to understand doric fae aberdeen , or robert peffers lothian english , and class them all as one language called scots , but when i point out wider english has many dialects that are different but still classed by those same experts you now want to dismiss (that you were earlier defending)as one language called english , you dismiss this and say scots isnt the same language at all.

      You are all over the fuckin place in desperation.

      My schoolteachers in govan and paisley all had it wrong all those years , not to mention family and friends.

      ….cause robert sutherland said so.

      Ive read plenty of burns , and its nothing like the earlier shite paragraph you posted on this forum.

    298. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Macart @ 10:19,

      It’s worth remembering that a majority in NI actually voted to remain.

      Not that you would realise it from anything Arlene Foster says. For her it’s all about Unionism and nothing but. (And she’s not even officially able to represent that, since Stormont is currently suspended.)

      What a world universe of difference from our own FM, who dominates her own parliament and is trying her sincere best to represent everyone.

    299. Glamaig says:

      My understanding of the Scots/English question – originally there were no languages – there were dialects. People could understand those from a few miles away but the further they went from home the less they would understand. With the establishment of bigger kingdoms, courts, and then nation states and the printing press, the specific dialects at the power centres became established as ‘languages’.

      In England this was the Middlesex English – West Country and Geordie etc became quaint rustic dialects. In France it was the Ile de France dialect – Languedoc, the dialect of the south would today be a recognised language if the politics had panned out differently.

      In Scotland, the language of the court etc became Scots. They needed interpreters when they went to England. After the Union, without a power-base, the Scots language decayed back into a collection of dialects. If Scotland had remained a nation state, we would have had our own language, as distinct as Danish is from Norwegian, probably more.

    300. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      thomas @ 10:33,

      When you can’t prevail by reasoned argument (since you very obviously don’t have one), try to prevail instead by rant.

      Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.

    301. Robin says:

      Treeza boots Amber Rudd in the Amber Rudd,,Ouch !!!

    302. thomas says:

      @ capella.

      Thanks for that , but just to point out dunbar is regarded as the finest lyrical poet writing in ENGLISH in the centuries between the death of chaucer and richard tottel in the 16th century.

      yet we are told to classify this as scots.

      Yet ailean dalls works are regarded as “gaelic” rather than scots.

      Go figure….

      as someone earlier alluded to the reformation is alive and kicking in scotland.

    303. Andrew Gallacher says:

      I’m afraid I can’t agree with you on this one Rev. You say you don’t care which language should be the universal one citing “universal translators” and stating no direct translation is perfect. That is exactly why different languages are a good thing. I speak Spanish because my wife is Spanish. Sometimes when we are chatting in English we use expressions in Spanish because there isn’t one in English that is as good for conveying what you want to say. This is especially true when you get to a point where you can use slang terms in another language. Most of the time my wife and I converse in English because that’s what we started with. I’ve never studied the language. I’m now fluent mainly due to the time I spent living and working in Spain, picking it up a bit at a time. It’s not difficult if you immerse yourself. Only took me a few months, mainly due to the fact that my work colleagues didn’t speak any English, so it was a case of learn or don’t integrate. I really like the fact I can now speak two languages, and learning the second one has actually resulted in an increase in the vocabulary of the first.

    304. thomas says:

      @ robert sutherland

      I have put forth many reasoned arguments you have come up with no answer to in your illogical rants and attempts at replies.

      i accept your surrender , now trot on.

    305. David S. Briggs says:

      You make a very good case for your opinion. Well argued and even convincing. A good piece.

    306. Daisy Walker says:

      I was working with some South African friends and when we had something to get done.

      We would both use the phrase, ‘right now’…. I’ll be with you right now, I’ll do that right now, etc.

      And while I would stand up and put my jacket on and get ready to do whatever it was ‘right now’, they would carry on with what it was they were at and not move.

      Turns out their use of the phrase, ‘right now’ actually meant ‘in a wee minute’.

      Languages eh!

      When they go to such a lot of deliberate trouble to kill a language, you know its for their own ends.

      They don’t want you to be able to communicate without their understanding.

      They don’t want you to be able to communicate fluently and better than them, because it hinders their ability to control the message.

      They don’t want you to have access to an un-redacted history contained in poems, and songs and stories.

      They don’t want another culture in their face and ears when they take over a country, on some level it makes them feel a bit uncomfortable, and ignorant.

      If you want to learn and speak Gaelic fine, if you don’t also fine, lets live and let live, but lets also not do the Colonialists work for them. And lets not be in ignorance of the policy behind the slagging of one of Scotland’s native languages.

    307. Meg merrilees says:

      Brilliant discussion have been agreeing out loud to so much of it aa.

      Macart –

      Perfect definition of irony – Arlene Foster accusing Michel Barnier of being ‘aggressive’

      You couldnae mak it up!

      Read between the lines – he’s the first person who’s actually standing up to and saying ‘no’- apart from Sinn Fein.

      It’s going to be an interesting few weeks till mid- May.

    308. Reluctant Nationalist says:

      Rejoice, windrush bumbaclarts. You can now stay on this cold toilet of an island. And in a punishment that would make Dante shiver at the fate of your tormentor, the witch Rudd will be cussed to endure a horrific six-figure sinecure. Boy oh boy, the way that the govt handles certain issues with astounding ineptitude, that conveniently leak in vivid detail like piss through a speculum-parted urethra, really gives one the impression that they don’t want to deal with the issue at all.

      “You said you really wanted to learn to play the piano, but you’ve not gone near it since we bought one for you.”
      – “I’m sorry. I promise that I’ll start playing and will impress you within a few months.”

      -a few months later…

      “No pressure, but I’m really excited to hear your progress.”
      – “OK, here goes.” *pulls down pants and defecates over the keys then smashes out a splattering cacophany with clenched fists*

    309. thomas says:

      @ glamaig

      I think thats a fair appraisal and one i would pretty much agree with.

      Between 1400 and 1600 a dialect of the english language came to be the language of administration and the elite and court of scotland which some called scots , many more didnt , and by 1603 , and the years on the run up to union , the emphasis was on standardising a common english thoughout the british kingdom.

      From scotlands viewpoint , i point out that during the 15th to the 17th centuries , most scots lived north of the clyde and forth rather than in what we call the modern lowlands and the majority language of the country was gaelic.

    310. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      thomas @ 10:49,

      Bollocks. You’re looking in a mirror. You didn’t reply to my specific points at all, you twat. Now it’s just playground posturing.

      Grow up. (And learn to punctuate properly as well while you’re at it.)

    311. thomas says:

      @ robert sutherland

      Try reading through the thread on this forum and the litany of questions i have asked and points i raised
      that you have avoided you fuckin englishman in denial.

      Sorry my punctuation in your english language isnt quite up to standard i do try.

      You are among those minority of cringin scots apologists for the elite who forced the english language down our throats over centuries ,attempted to colonise our minds ( certainly with you they did ) whilst telling us it isnt really english but scottish we speak as they pocketed the bribes from the english treasurey and took us into this unequal union.

      Breasts like you will be telling us morris dancing is scottish next.

    312. schrodingers cat says:

      galamcennalath says:

      Language or Dialect ends ….

      “At the end of the day there is no ‘scientific’ way to prove whether Scots is a language or a dialect. It boils down to a body’s personal opinions and prejudices.”

      I would also add ‘national status’. What secures Norwegian a language is Norway as an independent country, IMO.

      a language is a dialect with an army?

    313. Ken500 says:

      Someone just wants a rammy.

      Siller, bairn, bawbee, coorse etc. Doric. Promoted now. Once disapproved. An ex Head of Aberdeenshire Education promoted it. He said about spelling. It was better to encourage the use of more complex language, even if there was more difficulty spelling. Go with that.

      Auld English. Michael Wood chronicles. Different. Non understandable. What language?

    314. galamcennalath says:

      Re Arlene Foster and DUP

      The last Stormont percentages, ‘first preference’ so probably representative of actual support ….

      DUP 28.1%
      Sinn Féin 27.9%
      UUP 12.9%
      SDLP 11.9%
      Alliance 9.1%
      Green 2.3%

      The DUP are only just the largest party and given the spread, they certainly don’t speak for Northern Ireland. It’s doubtful if they can claim to speak for all Unionists. What power they have is because of supporting the crippled Tories at WM.

      NI is a land of miniorities. Being in the EU with the Rep went a very long way to smoothing things along. The majority voted to stay in the EU.

      What sort of lunacy drove the DUP to support Brexit?

    315. jfngw says:

      Remember when a SNP minister resigned and the press was up in arms about his resettlement payout. I’m sure the same will apply to Amber Rudd, just waiting…..

      After all Rudd only ran a department that deported people who were British but just happened to be the wrong colour. The exSNP person seems to have sent a few tweets.

    316. Northern Rock says:

      Arlene Foster hits out at Michel Barnier over Irish border

      DUP leader says Brexit negotiator does not understand Northern Ireland’s unionist culture.

      The leader of the DUP has said the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator “does not understand” the unionist history or position in Northern Ireland.

      Speaking just hours before Michel Barnier is due to talk at an all-Ireland civic dialogue conference on Brexit, Arlene Foster said that he pretended to understand the issues but was “not an honest broker”.

      “Michel Barnier’s trying to present himself as someone who cares deeply about Northern Ireland and if that is the case he needs to hear the fact that we are part of the United Kingdom [and] will remain part of the United Kingdom constitutionally, politically and economically,” she told the BBC on Monday.

      “Therefore his proposal of us being in an all-Ireland regulatory scenario with a border down the Irish Sea simply does not work. I don’t think he does understand the wider unionist culture of Northern Ireland,” she added.

      Sign up to our Brexit weekly briefing
      Read more
      The DUP is strongly opposed to the agreement made in December, , in which Northern Ireland will remain fully aligned with the EU and the Republic of Ireland in the event that there is no overall deal to keep the Irish border invisible.

      The DUP is propping up Theresa May’s government but last week DUP MP Nigel Dodds said it was prepared to let the government collapse over the issue. However, the EU and the Irish government are holding firm.

      Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, has warned that there would be “difficulties” at the next EU council summit in June in progressing to wider Brexit talks unless the UK commits to wording for a “backstop” solution for the Irish border.

      Barnier has also warned there would be no withdrawal agreement and no transition agreement if Britain does not agree to wording for the backstop solution by June.

      Irish and EU negotiators are getting increasingly exasperated by what they see as Britain’s refusal to move forward on talks on the Irish border issue before the June deadline.

      “The British government has red lines all over the place and expects the EU to accommodate them. We have red lines, so does the EU, but nobody seems to focus on that,” said Coveney.

      “It is not OK for the British government to rule out a whole series of options and then pretend that somebody, somewhere is going to find a solution to find a way forward. The next move is Britain’s in the negotiations,” he said.

    317. jfngw says:


      There is a one word answer, a packet of King Billy boyn boyn’s for the winner.

    318. Abulhaq says:

      It seems Scotland is basically a divided land, there is not a topic that cannot set off the grimaces of intolerance. Scotland’s rebranding and appropriation by the UKGB ruthlessly engineered internal divisions in pursuit of this process. Keep them at each others throats and they will not notice what ‘we’ are about. We need to learn that the identity ‘Scottish’ is not a one size fits all and that aspects of that identity formed during the centuries of British ‘occupation’ may now be due for some revision.
      In the meantime the rebranding and appropriation process continues. ‘They’ remain resolute and undivided in their intention, our extinction. Scott-land or Scotland/Alba….

    319. jfngw says:

      Sajid Javid gives his first press conference.

      ‘The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true’

    320. Liz g says:

      Golfnut @ 11.18
      Hi Golfnut,I was talking about a rebuttal that Paul (wee ginger dug) Kavennah wrote just after the media tried to ridicule Mahri Black for sayin “their at it” on channel 4.
      I’m sorry I can’t do links.
      Anyhoo….from memory.
      There’s some international test,with 5 criteria to distinguish wither a language is an actual language and no a dialect or accent.
      And English Scots meets all five,so is recognised as a minority language.
      If I get the chance later I will try and find the title and date of the article….. But don’t hold yer breath,infact you could potentially learn gaelic while ye wait on me doing anything on a computer…lol

    321. Indy2 says:

      Rudd must have been given some kind of sweetner/back hander for stepping down.

      She has literally saved the job of the Prime Minister.

    322. Robert Peffers says:

      @thomas says: 30 April, 2018 at 9:24 am:

      “Hows that different from northumbrian english?
      So scouse or bristolian ,cockney or yorkshire are all differing languages from english by that line of thought?”

      You obviously do not know the rather stark difference between dialects and languages so it is rather pointless attempting to debate the subject with you.

      However, there is a great difference between local accents and variations on the use of terms for the same thing in different localities within the same language. Lowland Scots is quite different and has a different structure, grammar and lexicon.

      Weegie is a dialect of the English language with some Scots and unique Glaswegian words thrown in for good measure. This is described as being Scots Standard English.

      There are several dialects of Scots, and also of Scots Standard English, throughout the country. The Borders, the Central Belt and the North East Coast for example. They differ greatly but are all just dialects of Scots. However, what is confusing to those who don’t know the difference between a language and a dialect is that, alongside the dialects of Scots, the general population of these areas also speak their own local dialects of Scottish Standard English.


      It is NOT though the Scots language. I have used the following example to show the difference on Wings several times but here we go again.

      English – <i<"I went through the gate, crossed the pavement and strolled down the road."

      Scots Standard English – “A’h gaed through the gate, crossed the fitpath an wandered doon the road.”

      Scots – “A’h gaed ben the yett, gaed ower the causey, an stravaiged alang the gait, (gate).

      A gate in Scots is a yett. a pavement is a causey. Stravaig is to roam; amble; wander; ramble idly; gad or gallivant. As is often the case that Scots word has no direct equivalent in English but every Scots knows exactly what it means.

      Another example of this, no direct translation, is the Scots word driech = bleak; depressing; dismal; drab; boring; wearisome; dull; godforsaken; monotonous; persistent; tardy; or tedious. Yet every Scot knows exactly what is dreich and what is not dreich.

      Invented words usually have no derivation from other languages and often stem from Cockney-like rhyming slang they are thus unique to the dialect that invents them.

      The Scots language, on the other hand, can trace back to where the word originally derived from. Because both Scots and English derived from what is, (rather confusingly), described as, “Old English”, perhaps old Anglish would have better described the original. Few, if any, English speakers would understand any Old English.

      Old English was the various Germanic languages of the Angles, Jutes Saxons. Et Al. Who invaded South Britain in the, so called, Anglo-Saxon invasion. This was actually an invitation by only south Britain after the Romans pulled out and left the south Britons both defenceless and rather unused to running their own country.

      North Britain, the West country of England, Wales and Ireland got their Germanic languages from different sources and at different times. Our different languages are thus linked to our
      different histories and the lack of understanding about our different languages is tied to how our different histories has been suppressed by mainly Westminster and what preceded Westminster in the south. In short we have been brainwashed since ever history of Britain was recorded.

      Until Scots wake up the realise that our history, according to Westminster, is a pack of invented lies and omissions.

    323. admiral says:

      The Rudd affair and the “yes is consent, no is consent” clause show that we are creeping into a fascist dictatorship (if we’re not already there). The concept of “enforced deportation” and removal of citizenship rights, based on ethnic origin, arose in 1930s Nazi Germany, one small step at a time eventually led to the Holocaust.

      For goodness sake, Scotland – let’s get independence before it’s too late.

    324. Archbishop of Dork says:

      The parts of the EU Withdrawal Bill designed to give the Westminster parliament the power of veto over Holyrood would leave Scotland with a lot less autonomy and democratic choice than Guernsey. That’s quite literally true! Not an exaggeration. We wouldn’t be Guernsey with less sunshine. We’d be Guernsey with less sunshine and a lot less democracy.

      The UK establishment realised in 1999 that they couldn’t stop the Scottish Parliament being created. So they got the Scottish Tories to make a show of being won over to the idea of devolution. Their commitment to it has been a sham. And they have been biding their time to when they can move on Holyrood. Brexit has given them a huge opportunity.

      Of course they wouldn’t be having that opportunity if the scare stories and false promises hadn’t done the business for the unionists in 2014. The plans they have for Scotland make the term unionist outdated. They want to end the union. Same as we want to end the union. The difference is they want to replace the union with Scottish vassalage. We want to replace it with a democratic independent Scotland.

      There are no unionists left in Scotland. No status quo to cosily choose. Not even the illusion of it, as there was for many in 2014.

      There’s no comfortable and comforting Britishness to hide behind. Law abiding tax paying British pensioners who have lived on this island for 50 or 60 years are being deported in numbers to Jamaica on the pretext of their papers not being in order. That’s what being British does for you in 2018!

      Talk about Scottish independence. To everyone. No more cringe. Unashamedly talk about it. Don’t worry about being called a bore or an obsessive by some. There’s nothing unhealthy about being fixated if the fixation is your county’s freedom. Your freedom. We can stop talking about independence when we have it, same as other countries that have it.

    325. Ken500 says:

      Smug, hypocrite, failed banker Sajid Javid. Can’t believe it. Can’t believe his luck. The Tories are disgusting.

    326. galamcennalath says:

      Latest from Barnier on Ireland

    327. Robert Peffers says:

      @thomas says: 30 April, 2018 at 10:49 am:

      “I have put forth many reasoned arguments you have come up with no answer to in your illogical rants and attempts at replies.
      i accept your surrender , now trot on.”

      Hilarious! Just hilarious.

      You quite simply do not know anything whatsoever about the subject you are attempting to argue about.

      As we are often inclined to say in Scotland, (but not in Scots), awa an bile yer heid.

    328. Ken500 says:

      Who on earth is Mark Smith. More nonsense in the Herald.

      Scotland is going it’s own way. More progressive, more equal, more fair,more prosperous. Scotland is different now. Thanks to Devolution and the SNP Gov. Either grow away or have another IndyRef. The Tory unionists are a disgrace. Falling under their appalling policies. Coarse, nasty Tories.

    329. winifred mccartney says:

      The use of native language is a wonderful thing and should be promoted with everyone at least knowing a few words. I am all for it so long as it is not used deliberately to exclude – my mother-in-law was stationed in Fort William during the war and tells of locals in local shops speaking English until a ‘foreigner’ a fellow Scot came in when they changed into Gaelic.

    330. Macart says:


      Pretty much.

      A reality check for both the UKs political class and their media. THE EU DID NOT INVITE ANY OF THIS! They aren’t foisting Brexit and its inevitable consequences on the UK. They aren’t doing anything to the UK.

      This is what Brexit means. ROI is an EU member. Of course they’re going to protect the interests of their member. The UK signed up to the GFA to end decades of bloodshed. It is a binding agreement which Westminster’s political class dumped in a heartbeat to satisfy its own short-termist political agendas. Just as they are crapping all over the constitutional outcomes from Scotland’s indyref and the devolution settlement within the UK and just are they are attempting to ignore equally binding overseas financial commitments.

      They weren’t fucking serving suggestions. They were all binding agreements. Did people seriously think there would be no fallout from welching on those agreements? That the significant others involved might not have something to say? Might not have an axe to grind of their own when HMG decided to drop the hammer on them?

      One thing you can say about HMG, they’re not short on arrogant assumption and self entitlement. Seems however, that those significant others do indeed have something to say and WILL be heard.

    331. Frank Gillougley says:

      Regarding language – i think it was Lewis Mumford who had coined the phrase, ‘a society without humour is no society for ‘man'(sic)’

      Surely there always has to be room for the comedic (the cracks in the floor) – differing languages offer that.


      Undeniably modelled on the interior of
      a Soyuz spacecraft, the only method
      of electrocution missing here is a toaster.
      However, undeterred, in the morning
      (having considered my chances of survival
      slightly better than having a bath)
      I take a shower, which is also next
      to the plugged-in washing machine.

      Later on, my mother-in-law and I conduct
      the most perfunctory of communications
      concerning the cultural mores of the
      salle-de-bain cum fürd?szoba
      in quarter-pidgin French
      and eighth-pidgin Hungarian
      – the latter really only to show her
      I am not a complete Neanderthal.

      Which reminds me, O thank you,
      Jimmy Sheekey of Sacred Heart High School
      (long since demolished)
      who taught me 45 years ago
      what little French I can now muster.
      Jimmy was a boxer-turned-teacher
      with obligatory broken nose.
      See Angels with Dirty Faces?
      See Jimmy Cagney?

      Anyway, I recall Ronnie Brown unfortunately
      gave Jimmy some bad attitude one day
      and ended up being well-beltet furrit
      and we the paralysed mob, could only look on
      in shock at this reign of terror.
      Come to think of it, I really must remember
      to retrospectively petition the Renfrewshire
      Committee of Public Safety to cough up
      they spondulics for the ruination of my soul.

    332. crazycat says:

      @ Liz g at 10.49

      These may not be the articles you are thinking of, but they do the trick:

      (Paul Kavanagh studied Linguistics at university, so the idea that he might be defending Scots to placate a minority of nutters, as asserted above, seems pretty far-fetched to me.)

    333. Cactus says:

      Yeah, when Scotland votes to return to being independent as was previous, all of that nasty unionist politician/MSM/radio/tv talk will eventually fizzle out and previously no voters are recognising this aussi.

      No longer will they nastilly be able to refer to us fine Scotspeoples such as nationalists or separatists (done in a derogatory way.)

      Look at all the other countries that have WON their freedom from the beasty… you don’t hear about them being referred to as separatists or nationalists countries anymore, do you? They are just their own country.

      We will be known as international AND independent Scotland.

      Aye am a countryist and that country, is Scotland.

      Vote Yes to silence the nasty beasty.

    334. Bob Mack says:

      Language or accents do not mean much,when like me you have total hearing loss. I can lip read fellow Glaswegian just fine ,but have problems elsewhere.

    335. t42 says:

      The No camps cupboard is bare of wedge issues, time to reheat the old gaelic bread.

    336. Golfnut says:

      @ Liz G

      Thanks Liz, I remember the WG article now, and yes there are 5 tests for qualification as a distinct language.

      RP and RJS are doing a fine job on here, thankfully.

      I won’t mention at all how Gaelic is very close to Latin and Greek, funny how the britnats salivate over them, but denigrate our Gaelic, because it is ours, whether we speak it or not.

      Thanks again.

    337. Stravaiger says:

      There are a couple of subjects where the Rev’s brain decides to go on holiday and this is one of them.

      Still, as Osgood Fielding the 3rd says “Well, nobody’s perfect!”

    338. Bob Mack says:

      Just love the BBC describing Mr Javid as the son of a Pakistani bus driver. Hope he remembers to take out citizenship or he will be getting a one way ticket to Pakistan.

      I thought Javid was the son of just a bus driver.

    339. Cactus says:

      Je suis aussi an internationalist and an Earthist.

      But NEVER EVER EVER a uk unionist.

      Why would you be?

    340. thomas says:

      @ robert peffers

      Why do you keep arguing against points i am not making?

      I support scotlands native gaelic language , am passionate enough to defend it , but i am pragmatic enough to realise it probably will never return and be revived , and realistic enough to understand the language that is the lingua franca of modern scotland is english and likely to remain so for the forseeable future.

      We all know old english derives from west germanic languages spoken by german immigrants so fuckin what?

      in case it escapes your notice scotland isnt classed as a west germanic country in terms of historical culture , we are a feckin celtic country.Our native language is hanging by a thread and you want to argue semantics and fairy tales over pronunciation in the english language.

      If you infer i dont know the difference between a language and a dialect , and that your south eastern scottish english is a language in its own right then the same logic must apply to all regional dialects of english must it not?

      Can you answer the feckin question or are you just going to dismiss scouse and geordie as dialects whilst telling us edinburgh lallans or aberdonian doric arent dialects but part of the scottish language no cunt in other parts of scotland can barely understand.???

      Scots inglis, wether a dialect or language isnt my fuckin language.

      it was no more than a regional dialect of english spoken in mainly south east scotland , for a brief time used by the scottish elite , and of no more relevance to us today than norman french , norse or any other minority regional dialect language spoken in scotland over the centuries.Why arent you defending these languages?

      We have a native language in gaelic lose it or use it , and if not , then we have the advantage of speaking a world language that is the english tongue.

      The idea scotland is seriously going to go forward in the modern world respecting and using all sorts of languages and regional dialects when most countries are in a fight for survival for their national language in the face of english spanish and mandarin and globalisation is the sort of tree hugging airy fairy kum by ya fuckwittery that has been the plague of scotland for centuries.

      There will only be one language in modern scotland as the common tongue , and that will be determined by the elite and economics , not navel gazing fuckwits reciting 18 th century english because they cannae accept reality that scotland has become anglicised over the centuries.

      over and out.

    341. Giving Goose says:

      Can we now talk about something else, please?

    342. Reg Varney says:

      What’s wrang wi being a bus driver?

    343. Archbishop of Dork says:

      Sajid Javid is a longtime ally of George Osbourne. Is this May trying to get friendlier editorials about her government in the Evening Standard?

    344. Liz g says:

      Crazy Cat @ 12.55
      Thank you
      Those are not the one I ment,but nevertheless they do say it all really,don’t they!
      Golfnut @ 1.08
      Your welcome Golfnut, while I will keep an eye out for it,and let ye know if I find it.
      In the meantime the two articles that Crazy Cat kindly posted do also explain it very well too.
      They just don’t mention the UN thing.
      Anyhoo you keep on not mentioning the Gaelic/Latin and Greek connections,and I’ll keep quiet about agreeing with

    345. Dorothy Devine says:

      Your doing it again chums!

      Leave the wee trolly/ trolley thing alone , step back from the keyboard and take a deep breathe.

    346. galamcennalath says:

      Macart says:

      It is a binding agreement which Westminster’s political class dumped in a heartbeat to satisfy its own short-termist political agendas. Just as they are crapping all over the constitutional outcomes from Scotland’s indyref and the devolution settlement within the UK

      …. and that goes right to the centre of the current crisis.

      Both the NI and Scottish constitutional arrangements matter. Both societies are split and these current compromises are there for good reasons. In both societies there are those who want detachment from the UK to go much further, and those who think it’s gone too far already.

      Both situations will evolve and democracy will take its course among each, as it should.

      Then enter the mad bad far right English Nationalists who seem to have no comprehension what the UK and the Union are. They are going off at a complete constitutional tangent where all that matters is their England. And they are bolstered by those non English wannabes who support a Greater England in these Isles forged in the image of England itself.

      So many things about Brexit should have been thought about and thrashed out before EURef. IMO the whole damned idea would have never got off the ground!

      It’s all Cameron’s fault. He held a astonishingly stupid referendum which offered his negotiated tweeks versus a totally vague but huge leave option. Leave won with no plan, no direction, no idea.

      The ongoing arrogance and ignorance makes me very angry! However, I contain myself with the belief that this astonishing situation must lead to Scottish independence sooner than later, surely!?

    347. Rick H Johnston says:

      The plight of Gaelic is weel-kent but Scots according to the census is spoken by 1.6million Scots.
      There is more of an argument for Scots language use in public life, yet the Holyrood Govt treat it like a hot potato.
      Whit dae ye think Stuart?

    348. schrodingers cat says:

      the future of gaelic? if there is a will there is always a way, the welsh have made a concerted and successful attempt to rescue their language, so there is no reason why we couldnt do the same for gaelic. the welsh are no more disadvantaged by learning welsh than the dutch are for learning dutch. English is and will continue to be the international language but that will only be at the expense of the other world languages if people let it happen.
      the Dutch is the most boring language and culture on the planet whose only claim to fame is clogs, gouda cheese and fuckin’ windmills but even the complete lack of any music, literature or history doesnt deter them from learning dutch.
      Scotland on the other hand has a very rich and unique culture, literature, music and history.

      Amazon and netflix are both currently giving bob bruce a bodice ripping porridge western makeover, dont knock it, folk poncing about in plaid knocking the shit out other folk with lumps of iron is big business, folks love it and it sells. Even those with only a passing knowledge of scots history will know that wallace and bruce are only the tip of a very large ice berg. there is no shortage of ax wielding homicidal maniacs in scots history.

      Scandinavian history is a mere flash in the pan in comparison, the vikings burst into historical consciousness but quickly fucked of back to where the came from and settled back down to making cuckoo clocks or whatever it is they do during the long winters nights up north.

      our culture, language and history is an asset, it is a shame more scots dont realise this

    349. geeo says:

      Abulhaq says:

      30 April, 2018 at 11:42 am

      It seems Scotland is basically a divided land, there is not a topic that cannot set off the grimaces of intolerance. 

      Utter pish.

      Differing opinion is NOT intolerance.

      You really must try harder.

    350. jfngw says:


      I’m afraid if the SNP go down this unenforceable 20mph nonsense then they will lose a 26 year SNP voter. I’m not going to support what is in effect gesture politics.

      It will not result in lower emissions, if they want that they would make the limit 55mph where most cars are at their most efficient (65mpg compared to 45mpg stuck doing between 20/30 in town).

      I’m sure cyclist will like it as it will make their desire to make cars travel slower than them a reality.

      Maybe Davidson will be the next FM if the SNP piss of enough voters.

    351. ben madigan says:

      @ Galamanncennalath who asked
      “What sort of lunacy drove the DUP to support Brexit?”

      A desire to get their pre-1969 loyalist fiefdom back.
      Consider: the DUP did not support the 1985 Anglo-irish Agreement

      The DUP did not support the belfast/Good friday Agreement

      The DUP reluctantly entered power-sharing arrangements at Stormont after the 2006 St Andrew’s Agreement and then did everything possible to stymie its workings

      The DUP would love to see a hard border back on the island of ireland because NI-ROI convergence eliminates their raison d’etre. The more NI-ROI divergence the better for hard-line Unionists/Loyalists

      The DUP supports “taking back control”!

    352. Sinky says:

      jfngw says:30 April, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      O/T it is not 20 mph limit on every street. Main bus routes etc will still be 30 mph except in very busy city centre where it was impossible to go much faster than 20 mph most of the day.

      Meanwhile good news from latest Mori Poll on Independence. Daily Express 30 April 2017

      The Ipsos Mori survey revealed that while overall support for Scottish independence still falls short of a majority, support among 16 to 34 year-olds is overwhelming.

      Mr Russell said: “The poll shows younger people particularly are very disillusioned with the way Westminster is operating and keen to show they are as European as anybody else.”
      According to the poll, 57 per cent of 16 to 24 year-olds is in favour of independence – with the figure jumping to 59 per cent among 25 to 34 year-olds.

      It’s coming for aw that! The future’s ours.

    353. louis.b.argyll says:

      ‘What sort of lunacy drove the DUP to support Brexit?’

      A lunacy maintained absolutely by the British Unionist’s ruling cult.

      Nothing whatsoever to do with representing their constituents social/economic interests.

    354. louis.b.argyll says:

      All this ‘stuff’ about police mismanagement and dubious practice merely proves that reforms haven’t yet, gone deep enough into the problems of ‘modern corporate power structures’ which enable the systematic abuse of power.

      All bosses, everywhere.

    355. thomas says:

      @ rick h johnston.

      Hiya rick , dont get confused with terminology pal.

      1.6 million claim to speak scots in scotland , something like 30 % , but the problem is most dont know what scots is nor despite the arguments put forth do they think of it as a language in its own right.

      For example there was a government survey often bandied about where 85 % of people surveyed claimed to speak scots , but 64% didnt think of it as a language in its own right.

      I speak a scots dialect of english , where others on here are trying to sell scots as a language in its own right , and there is a difference.

      Its an issue that was commented on by the historian tam devine , where he once wrote as scotland became culturally more like england , it struggled to come to terms with itself in the 18th and 19th centuries and looked to gaeldom for its symbols but swapped the labels on its language whilst scots historians for centuries especially in the victorian era went into complete denial about our gaelic heritage.

      germanic racial supremecists like john pinkerton of edinburgh tried to claim the picts spoke scots , whilst robert louis stevenson famously wrote to counter this

      “Get the Anglo-Saxon heresy out of your head; they superimposed their language, they scarce modified the race; only in Berwickshire and Roxburgh have they very largely affected the place names. The Scandinavians did much more to Scotland than the Angles. The Saxons didn’t come.

      Enough of this sham antiquarianism.”

    356. Gary says:

      A long article for someone who professes not to be bothered about it?

      Remember, Gaelic language is NOT being forced on anyone. The benefit, apart from learning the language of your own country, is that it improves language development generally and leaves kids being bilingual at little/no extra cost.

      I’m not sure why anyone should have to justify/explain the facility to be able to learn in and/or learn Gaelic. It’s a non – issue, and if someone doesn’t want their kids to learn, they don’t have to.

      But finally, to underline this, we DO have native speakers of the language and always have had. I remember being on a dockside in Oban, just a few years ago, and realising after a few minutes, that the two men stood nearby, although I recognised their accents I could not recognise the words, they were native speakers of Gaelic.

      No apology or explanation should be required. Sadly though, it is NOW being politicised by unionists who are trying to dog-whistle religious hatred into it.

      On the day following another dreaded old firm game I think we should be able to track down every single sectarian idiot in this country and try and turn them into normal humans, because they aren’t…

    357. jfngw says:


      It’s not what was reported, the 20mph will be on all 30mph streets unless they are given an exception but this needs to be justified, so it is at the whim of the council.

      I’ve no objection to 20mph in side streets, I never travel faster in this in most anyway, depends on street width and how cars are parked (visibility). But if you end up travelling along roads that are switching on numerous occasions you are probably going to miss some speed signs. I spend more time watching the road for potholes now rather than being able to look out for other hazards.

      If we can’t get independence before the next Scottish elections maybe it is better for a unionist party to be in control at Holyrood, let them reap the consequences of Brexit in which they did nothing to protect Scotland. After all if it’s the SNP they will still be blamed for the mess by the MSM.

    358. Proud Cybernat says:

      BREAKING from Pravda Quay
      with Union Jackie Kim Ono:

    359. Smallaxe says:


      The UK ranks 40th in the world in Press Freedom rankings. That is the reason you had absolutely no idea about this;

    360. Stuart Anderson says:

      @Montfleury 8.57am

      Brill comment.

    361. Jack Murphy says:

      The new Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been a fan of Margaret Thatcher’s politics since the age of eleven.

      That’ll please Ruth Davidson and the Tories in Scotland.

    362. geeo says:

      The Elimination of Scotland continues unchecked on the BBC.

      “As you can see by the Map, ASDA is dominant in the North of ENGLAND”.

    363. jfngw says:

      The clause 11 of the Brexit bill is possibly a double edged sword. The UK government may give way on this as they could then use it to undermine a new indy ref. It would be sold as more grievance and even although the SNP had managed to obtain full concessions on bill they are still not satisfied. This will be the MSM line if a concession is agreed.

      The MSM will play down the mandate, may even claim it has been fulfilled by the agreement, you know how they lie (sorry, spot the lies).

    364. geeo says:

      Oops…error somewhere there…

      Ignore last link.

    365. Proud Cybernat says:

      Slib / Slab reject WM Brexit ‘deal’:

    366. Proud Cybernat says:

      Oh, and BBC – “Ruth Davidson isolated.”

      Top headline on tonight’s Misreporting Scotland surely?

    367. K1 says:

      Aye Proud Cybernat, they’ll be brought into to line soon enough by their London masters.

    368. geeo says:

      Ok, so…the ‘Welsh’ labour plan to shaft Scots devolution failed miserably, and made labour look complicit in attacking devolution with the tories.

      Up pops the desperate Scottish Labour branch office, told to look like they are against the Amendments, but not really. They are looking supportive so they can all jump up and down shouting “take the NEXT deal”…and, when THAT is just more contrived pish, labour will shout.. “we supported you and now you are just being awkward”.

      Nothing if not predictable.

    369. orri says:

      Clause 11 as it stands is a distraction.

      Given Westminster have already tampered with the words of an agreement before publishing it there’s no way any sane Holyrood administration would consent to anything before they saw it in it’s final form.

      Suspect any “concession” would be a sucker bet. Kind of like lending someone the keys to your car so they can commute and then finding they’re drag racing.

    370. jfngw says:

      @Proud cybernat

      I believe Mr Tompkins is less than transparent with his claim that is exactly the same basis as the current devolution settlement, using the statute that WM can in overrule any Holyrood law if it wants to.

      He is probably technically correct but it is not really in the spirit of devolution that was accepted by the majority of Scots. If you are going to take control of devolved matters for seven years the term ‘not normally’ becomes meaningless as they are taking control continuously and may never release this control.

      Currently, to my understanding, Holyrood makes Scots laws on devolved areas to adhere to EU law, the EU does not actually make any laws in a country. What is being proposed is WM will make these laws for the next seven years, without the veto that exist with the EU if it is detrimental to you. Please correct me if I am misunderstanding this.

    371. Robert Louis says:

      Mandatory 20mph limits are just anti-car dogma. Their is little actual HARD peer- reviewed scientific evidence for any of the ‘benefits’ made for doing it. Why not make it 10mph, or why not make it 5mph, or 2mph?

      It is absurd. A guaranteed vote loser for any party that pursues it. I for instance won’t vote SNP or Green in Edinburgh council elections, again, because that madness has started here. Including squandering a large fortune on teeny wee cul-de-sac streets, painting signs on the road in red, which were not needed, and putting up new speed limit signs that are pointless. I’m talking about streets where if you are good, you might make it up to 10mph, and where their are already speed humps.

      Long bus journeys across Edinburgh now take longer than they used to. It’s nuts. What was a 40 minute journey is now nearer to one hour, even if their is no traffic.

      It is as some have found, pointless trying to rationalise with the people responsible. They have a very blinkered worldview, where ‘cars are evil, and ALL car drivers are the devil himself in human form. oh, and all cyclists are of heavenly intent. And Edinburgh has a small but very, very vocal cycling lobby, who are effectively in overall charge of roads policy.

      It is dogma gone mad. And yes, the rev is correct, it IS the kind of leftie loony stuff that makes people vote Tory for councils – something with which I can empathise in Edinburgh. They don’t complain, they just vote Tory. I hate it, think it is a criminal squandering of taxpayers money, and even I didn’t bother complaining, because I knew it was pointless.

    372. Cymru Rydd says:

      Poor Rev. His father was subjected to the use of Welsh in a courtroom, in,guess where, Wales!

      A language which has been spoken for 1,500 years in Wales, and is still an everyday living language in the West. A language that has a million people currently learning it on the brilliant Duo Lingo App.

      But,seemingly used solely in Wales for vexatious purposes to torture people such as Rev Stu senior. Really? Did he ever consider learning the national language of Wales after moving to Wales?

      I’m afraid that little example gives the game away entirely. What we have here is someone who has a level of personal hostility to a minority language like Welsh and Gaelic which poisons his whole thinking on this issue.And therefore undermines any claim to some level of fairness and objectivity.

      This idea that one language instead of multiple languages would make everyone nice and cuddly towards each other is absolutely risible, and has no historical basis whatsoever. Where does one start with this? A few examples of fellow speakers of a language at loggerheads with each other should suffice.

      American Civil War( English), Yugoslavian Civil War( Serbo-Croat)Korean Civil War( Korean),
      Russian Civil War( Russian), Syrian Civil War( Arabic).

      As to this utilitarian idea that language is merely a tool for communication between people, and should therefore be pared down to a bare minimalist form to allow that to happen- it just betrays an abject lack of understanding about the ultimate purpose of language.

      Language is about a sense of place in the world. It forms an intimate bond with land, history and tradition. In an increasingly rootless and globalised environment, these values are absolutely priceless to us as human beings.

      For minority languages like Welsh and Gaelic, which have been suppressed and vilified for centuries there’s also an added political dimension to their languages.

      Nationalist thinker Saunders Lewis put this well: ‘ Y Gymraeg yw’r arf i Ladd taeogrwydd y Cymro a’i godi’n ddyn”( Welsh is the tool to smite the servility of the Welshman and raise him a man”

      This is just as true for Gaelic.

      Like Welsh it is a means for national transformation.

      the natio

    373. Cactus says:

      Like it’s like summer already like, sunny Scotland.

      Wear sunscreen.

      Enjoy your sunny evening Scotland, it’s the last day of April 2018, go say hi to and speak with your neighbours.

      The quickening is comin’ soon fur awe that.

      There can be only one sun.

    374. ALANM says:

      Sevco fans will have sobered up by now and carefully folded up & stored their union flags ready for another day. This is therefore as good a time as any to remind them that they’ve still got cause for joy & celebration…

      A new royal baby has just arrived and there’s a royal wedding to look forward to next month. Street party anyone?

    375. K.A.Mylchreest says:

      “A language which has been spoken for 1,500 years in Wales …”
      … not to mention at one time over a good swathe of what’s now Scotland. _Y gwyr aeth Catraeth gyda’r wawr_ set out to see off the English from IIRC Edinburgh. Of course they were annihilated and the rest is history, sad but true I suppose …

    376. Cubby says:

      Alanm 6.04

      What is the value of this post?

    377. Cubby says:

      ALANM 6.04

      I thought this was a site for Scottish independence. Your comment sounds like a silly football sectarian comment.

    378. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

      According to Radio Shortbreid this evening they didn’t REJECT IT” @Proud Cybernat says at 4:02 pm

      “Slib / Slab reject WM Brexit ‘deal’”

      They “positioned themselves against it” I shit you not.

      Only the EssEnnPee have things REJECTED, SLAPPED DOWN etc. etc.

    379. geeo says:

      @robert louis.

      Is edinburgh council under green/SNP control ?

      Appears NOT.
      Make up of the Council

      The City of Edinburgh Council is made up of 63 elected councillors. They represent 17 wards within the city. 

      The 63 Councillors represent the following groups

      18 Conservative Group

      17 SNP Group

      12 Labour Group

      8 Green Group

      6 Liberal Democrat Group

      2 Independent.

      Explain how “not voting SNP/Green at council level, will make any difference again ?

      Maybe you meant AT HOLYROOD elections ?

      But hey, that would mean NO INDY SCOTLAND and £8.20 PER prescribed item, HUGE CT hikes, CUTS to the NHS and education budgets, next to zero affordable housing and so on…

      But never mind, you can drive 10 mph faster in built up areas….

      Away ya fucking roaster.

    380. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

      As for Gaelic and cultural oppression:

      I leave you this:

      It is the Modus Operandi* of the BritNats, their Broadcasting Corporation and the Daily Rags produced by their Compliant Non-Dom Media Barons.

      *The way they do shite

    381. Sinky says:

      BBC report on DG1 Dumfries Swimming Pool building disgrace didn’t mention whether this was another Labour PFI contract or not or which party was running the council in 2007.
      Can anyone enlighten Wingers?

    382. Cactus says:

      If the previous eligible Scottish NON-voters had voted way back in ’14…

      We would be iScotland already like.

      Now is this time.

      Now is ur time.

      Now soon.

    383. Cactus says:

      Anybuddy frae Edinburgh in the hoose tonight…

      How y’all doing? 🙂

    384. jfngw says:


      Hope you are not doing any Yes canvassing, ya fucking roaster is a persuasive argument mind you.

      If the next indy ref results is a no vote then the public deserves what it gets. Enough trying to just moderate WM policies, it’s either independence or give them what they vote for, the full monty of WM policies.

    385. David Hughes says:

      Rev Campell : Your outrageous slur on the Welsh language marks you out unquestionably as a ‘Britnat’ . You cannot call yourself a nationalist under those terms, and we would count you in the same camp as A.A. Gill, Jeremy Clarkson, Ann Robinson and Rod Liddle – all of whom have used the media to insult the Welsh and their language.

    386. Cactus says:

      Countdown to WingsScotland twitter hitting 55,000 followers!

      A wise Winger once compared it to percentage Yes.

      Welcome to the tipping point.

      When will we see, yer likes.

      Bonnie Scotland.

    387. K.A.Mylchreest says:

      Stravaiger says:
      30 April, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      “There are a couple of subjects where the Rev’s brain decides to go on holiday and this is one of them.”

      Aye, that’s aboot the size o’t!

      I’ll just leave it at that, otherwise I’d hardly know where to start …

    388. jfngw says:

      Did Rep Scot not report on the committee isolating the Tories, maybe I missed it. Or maybe they had so much news they couldn’t fit it in.

      Oh! hold on they seemed to finish early and put on a Nigel Slater filler for 5 minutes, so that can’t be the reason. I’m perplexed now.

      Maybe they didn’t want to diminish their Police In Crisis message from 2014. The one created just after Police Scotland was formed and was just as likely to be referring to the regional forces.

    389. Effijy says:

      Last night I reported on Wings that a crowd of Knuckle Dragging Rangers Fans mobbed the Hilton Double Tree Hotel where the recently stuffed Queens 11 were trying to propose that one of them might be worthy of a player of the year award.

      Shouting, Swearing, Threatening, and setting off fire crackers inside, the Glasgow Police decided there was no point in taking any action against them?????

      Reports about Police corruption and bias seem to have been reinforced yet again.

      At least they caught the Granny who dropped her receipt on the ground.

      PS Just found out that Glasgow City Parking is increasing from 60p for 12 minutes to £1.00 for 15.

      Sounds like the death of our city centre business’ and shops.

      I need to visit these businesses on business and between the parking increase and a potential 20mph speed limit, my own job seems to be becoming untenable.

    390. Cactus says:

      Ah was a bawhair away there fae joining Twitter, just for WOS.

      Don’t want to do it, Twitter like.

      You do it like.

      Ahm here.



    391. Golfnut says:

      @ Liz G
      Lol ?

    392. Cactus says:

      Tonight’s comments are being brought to you in association with Aldi’s finest Portal Bay reserve, Rouge, Merlot, Valle Central, 2017, Wine of Chile, 12.5% bevvy.

      Cheers to ye Bonnie Scotland!

    393. Cactus says:

      It is not taboo…

      We ARE Bonnie Scotland.

      Never ever ever forget that FACT!

    394. louis.b.argyll says:

      Robert Louis, I recognise all those points you make.

      What’s the answer? Anarchy? The bigger vehicle wins?

      People driving through an amber at a crossing, doing 30mph, is not compatible with pedestrians, or cyclists.

    395. Rock says:

      Ken500 says:
      29 April, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      “Rock must be stuck in the Lodge. One trouser leg up the other one doon. Not sharing the news Rudd has resigned. May could go next.”

      Rock (28th April – “Half a decade away”):

      “I predict that if there is another “snap” Westminster election, the SNP will lose more than half of the seats they currently hold.”

      I challenge the clueless pompous armchair pundits posting here to predict how many seats the SNP would get if finally Ken500’s months old prediction of Saint Theresa going finally comes true and there is another “snap” Westminster election.

    396. louis.b.argyll says:

      ‘Beautiful in the air..’ says soft female voiced narrator,
      BBC Four’s When Britain Ruled the Skies, describing a Vulcan Bomber.
      Lovely, lovely, expensive war.

      How about asking those overpaid former pilots and engineers about how they feel about exporting human suffering.

    397. Rock says:

      schrodingers cat says:
      30 April, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      “Scandinavian history is a mere flash in the pan in comparison, the vikings burst into historical consciousness but quickly fucked of back to where the came from and settled back down to making cuckoo clocks or whatever it is they do during the long winters nights up north.”

      Scandinavians making cuckoo clocks?

      Your knowledge of history and geography seems to be “a mere flash in the pan”.

      Unless by your definition the Swiss are Scandinavians?

      Like by Robert Peffers’ definition the Irish of the Irish Republic are British until eternity.

    398. jfngw says:


      Why would you be on the crossing if the lights are at amber. Or is it only drivers you expect to obey the lights.

      The only time I was near knocked down at a crossing was by a cyclist who seemed to think the lights didn’t apply to him.

    399. louis.b.argyll says:

      Cactus, just sign up, but never NEVER tweet, just lurk, hover, anywhere, plus you can vote etc.

      I’ve resisted, tempting though it is.

    400. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      I (don’t) look forward to the regular comments between around 8pm and 11pm, from the ultimate pessimist, who rarely has anything “new” to offer this community of (almost) like-minded individuals but merely pastes quotes from yonks ago – for what reason?

      What do you think her hang-up is? She seems to have kept a database of Wingers’ comments over the past 3 or 4 years and dips into that database to find something that will reinforce her opinion of where the struggle for independence is.

      Must be a lonely existance…

    401. Liz g says:

      Cactus @ 8.06
      Well I don’t mean tae be pretentious,but I’M toasting Oor Bonnie Scotland wi a cheeky wee Australian at 13.5%,all the while looking at a wee dram o’Grouse (we all go sluming it sometimes) fur a night cap!
      Here ‘s tae us my good man !

    402. K1 says:

      HIs name is Craig Bdtt, it’s clear it’s a he not a she 🙂

    403. Glamaig says:

      louis.b.argyll says:
      30 April, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      “‘Beautiful in the air..’ says soft female voiced narrator,
      BBC Four’s When Britain Ruled the Skies, describing a Vulcan Bomber.”

      OMG there is the most weird military fetish in the UK. Ive seen a Vulcan flying and its one of the most evil looking things Ive seen. They used to be loaded up with nukes.

      Same reason I dont get the fetish with Lancaster bombers especially after spending time in Hamburg.

    404. yesindyref2 says:

      I’ve seen Vulcans too, and there’s nothing beautiful about them at all, they are indeed evil looking, and deadly. And I’m into defence. Might as well say the Jaguar sounded sweet.

    405. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi K1 at 9:20 pm.

      You typed,

      “His name is Craig Bdtt, it’s clear it’s a he not a she”

      So do we actually konw who she/he is? I’m content to regard that person as sorta either gender because she/he doesn’t actually proclaim gender – and as my first wife read “Spare Rib”, I prefer to not make assumptions.

      There’s just something about these comments reminds me of wifie suggesting something, then me going through the recipe books to find the nearest she suggested, then being proved wrong.

      Really types like a wummun…

    406. Liz g says:

      Briandoonthetoon @ 9.06
      I think that Craig has Narcissistic Personality Disorder Brian.
      More to be pitied than blamed really.
      What he is doing is called Gaslighting its a pain in the arse but the only real answer for these people is to ignore them.
      They cannot change …. its a personally type.
      Anyhoo jist be glad thats no whits comin hame tae ye!

    407. Gfaetheblock says:

      Robert Louis 17.24

      Edinburgh council is SNP/Lab collation, with SNP the biggest party. The 20 mph is great where I stay, helping change attitudes and speed on the rat run one street down from my house. It might not be perfect everywhere, but an imprortant effort in reducing pollution and increasing safety. Good nudge theory in play here.

      As a cyclist, Edinburgh is not very cycle friendly, but it is good that the council and holyrood government are supportive of active travel, we just need to see the rhetoric and promises of cash delivered through infrastructure changes.

      Scotland is full of overweight drivers, active travel is a good thing.

      It also saddens me that streets like Victoria street and the grassmarket look like car parks.

    408. Ken500 says:

      The SNP are the only Party to get 50% of the vote in the UK. On the seats being contested.

      Labour 1945 landslide victory was 45%

    409. Archbishop of Dork says:

      As if things weren’t Pythonesque enough there’s now a Minister of Funny Stances.

    410. louis.b.argyll says:

      jfngw, absolutely right.
      The amber is an example of the failure of the current setup.

      A risk assessment based on modern data and logic, flags up ‘unacceptable’ margins of error all over the place in public areas.

      Errors of judgement, distractions, misadventure, slips and trips, confusion, mechanical failure, are all expected behaviours and occurrences. They maybe rare, unlikely, one in a million?

      Well, there are millions of journeys every day, coming into contact with thousands of pedestrians.

      Factor in that cars ’cause’ a more severe damage to people and property, than other hazards..

      ..and speed reduction becomes the logical recommendation.

      Unless you want actual crash barriers, not just at busy crossings as we have now, but everywhere, and no way to cross the road except at crossings, everywhere, because it must be standardised. We don’t have wide enough pavements for starters.

      Maybe non essential car users will be quicker on foot or on bus, bike, skateboard, scooter, skates, horse, taxi.

      If everyone just slows the hell down, pedestrians included, and cyclists..stop showing off..we don’t know which way your going to swing wildly at the last moment!

    411. Ken500 says:

      People often drive 10MPH over the speed limit.

      If it’s 50MPH with not speed cameras they do 60MPH+ 20MPH with no restrictions they do 30MPH. 70MPH they do 80-90MPH. Unless there are speed cameras then they slow down. It is quite difficult to do 20MPH on average roads. Near schools people should slow down. 20MPH. Speed causes accidents. They should maybe put the driving age up. 10% of young drivers cause 25% of accidents. 18-24 year old. Do some statistics on older drivers. Maybe curtail older drivers. If they cause accidents. Anecdotal young folk and older people do cause accidents.

    412. Rock says:

      Ken500 says:
      30 April, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      “The SNP are the only Party to get 50% of the vote in the UK. On the seats being contested.

      Labour 1945 landslide victory was 45%”

      More fake news.

      The SNP does not stand in the UK as a whole.

      The old style Conservatives had got more than 50% in Scotland.

      Most important, SNP support fell to 37% at the last election with a loss of half a million votes.

      It won’t be long before the clueless pompous armchair pundits posting here realise that Nicola is not going to defy Saint Theresa and hold an illegal independence referendum.

      Before there is a flood of posters claiming that Scotland can hold an independence referendum whenever it wants to, the fact is that it has never yet done so without Westminster’s approval.

      You can only prove me wrong if and when it does.

    413. Ken500 says:

      There has been speed restriction for quite a while. While the new road is built. AWPR. 70MPH reduced to 50MPH. There used to be major crashes every fortnight, There has hardly been one. Some drivers usually drive like crazy. Totally over the speed limit.

    414. stewartb says:

      Use of low speed limits in urban areas (20 or 25mph) is widespread in Europe and in the USA (Google searches show up lots of examples).

      Perfectly respectable transport research results exist that indicate not only safety benefits for pedestrians (notably children) and cyclists, but also in terms of better flow of traffic leading actually to less traffic congestion. Yes there are opposing arguments, but these actions by City of Edinburgh Council are not that radical, not untried and supported by credible international evidence.

    415. Colin Alexander says:

      Shona is an anglicised spelling of the gaelic name Seonaid.
      Seonaid is the gaelic for the English name Jane.

      Jane comes from Hebrew. The meaning in Hebrew is that God is gracious or merciful.

      Speaking of Shona, has Shona Robison not resigned yet?

    416. Indy2 says:

      Tomorrow’s National:

      Tomorrow’s front page … Tories left isolated on power grab: Scottish leaders back First Minister in rejecting Westminster’s devo attack – with only Davidson now refusing to stand up for Scotland.

    417. louis.b.argyll says:

      No, and she’s not going to. If the SNP were responsible for the ethos and patronage and misguided principals driving decision making, as we see in councils, boardrooms, police boards, health boards, Downing Street. The UN, etc, then you may have a case.

    418. louis.b.argyll says:

      Deleted a reply there, phew.. But did get sucked-in earlier.

    419. louis.b.argyll says:

      The pathetic comment at 10.02 shows the gutter-led contempt he has for the fair minded, highly capable Shona Robison.

    420. I’ve been learning Gaelic for many a gealach (moon) though I suspect I won’t live long enough to be fluent and yet, I really enjoy it anyway. I learn about why we use English the way we do in Scotland, it’s language structure is incredibly respectful showing that the people who made it all up had strong social values and it’s amazing to think it’s a language that’s been around in the most of what we now call Scotland, since the Iron age.

      Quite why anyone has an issue with it is probably because they are sgaoimeach (feart) of it. Maybe they fear they might be rubbish at it if it was forced upon them (it never would be) and aye it is hard to learn but so is becoming feart of new things since we are no born that way and it takes a lifetime to become an expert at that. So I share quietly lest I cause any more fear that Siorrachd Air an Ear (East Ayrshire) has had Gaelic Education in Cille Mhearnaig (Kilmarnock) since 1997 (over 20 years now) and so has many other cooncils, which means there must be many new Gaelic speakers by now and why not have even more? There’s nothing sad, bad or distasteful about it and really it’s is a bit of a mystery why Gaelic causes such a stir when mostly everyone who does it has a Gaelic name, lives in a Gaelic named town in a Gaelic named county in a Gaelic named street – all translated by force to attempt eradication of our main Scottish language. High five the Gaels it’s still here and rocking on!

    421. yesindyref2 says:

      Good grief, hasn’t Robison Crusadoe found his Moan Fried eh?

      Rev did warn him …

    422. K1 says:

      Thepnr found the original thread where Craig announced he was changing his handle to Rock as there were a few Craig’s posting at that time Brian. He posted this a couple of months ago now, maybe he can re source it, but it definitely is the case that Rock’s name is Craig.

    423. geeo says:


      You are a roaster though. You will not vote SNP over a 20 mph SPEED LIMIT !

      Roaster material right there kid.

      You also stated you think folk should vote for a non SNP Scotsgov, to make some ridiculous point…

      Roaster material right there again, kid.

      And yes i canvass, yes, i encourage folk to Yes.

      Every day i urge that small X to be put in the YES box.

      What i NEVER EVER DO though, is even think about voting for ANY other party but the SNP, because only they can deliver indy,

      Clear enough ?

    424. Meg merrilees says:


      those with access to BBC I player – please listen to BBC R4 at 8.35 onwards this morning.
      The truth is heard on R4 for a brief 3 minutes and they don’t like it.

      Discussion about immigration and the ‘Hostile Environment’ policy. Basically the British people are ok if you come here legally, work hard and pay your taxes but if you try and cheat the system then that is just not ‘cricket’.


      a lady from the British Virgin territories, Lorna, very exasperated about Windrush is discussing with Dame Margaret Hodge. As she gets more frustrated she states that

      ‘ …. and this Westminster legislating for Scotland is COLONIALISM’… woohoo!

      A flustered John Humphreys quickly moves to Dame Mgt Hodge whose soothing voice says this is nonsense, e.g Westminster has legislated for the Overseas Territories ( nice put down there- don’t be ridiculous, you’re from one of our territories, behave yourself) in a beneficial way, you’re part of Britain etc..

      Lorna won’t let this pass unchallenged and tries to contradict Margaret Hodge;
      Dame Hodge , in her most dismissive way says, ‘ Don’t interrupt me’ ….. WRONG – this is where the it goes belly up and the BBC is roundly put in it’s place!!!
      Lorna is having none of it- she tells Dame Hodge not to interrupt her;
      she tells John Humphreys not to interrupt her;
      (producer in BBC studio obviously now having a complete meltdown in the control room yelling down Humphreys ear- get her off, get her off!); Mayday! Mayday!
      Humphreys trying to shut her up;
      Dame Hodge trying to interrupt – but our valiant lady is still accusing the establishment of attacking people who have done nothing wrong,
      raising her voice she won’t let us hear Dame Hodge, She won’t let Humphreys control things
      she is unstoppable while she is seemingly hustled out of the studio…..
      meanwhile Humphreys tries to regain composure by saying… ‘well thankyou A and B and you can continue your argument outside the studio…’

      Item finishes about 8.40/8.41
      Well done Lorna, some very angry people out there and the truth has been outed.

      A regular listener would tell that Humphreys is affected for the remainder of the programme but , Good Old Auntie, decorum is restored on Mayday morning at 8.59 with

      …. Morris Dancing on the Radio !!!!


    425. Footsoldier says:

      A great example of bias from The Herald today. Previously with a prominent headline “SNP stands alone as Theresa May puts final offer on Brexit on the table”.

      Today a tiny paragraph at the end of a piece by Alistair Grant “Scottish Labour, the LibDems and the Greens have all backed the SNP Governments position”. Grudgingly inserted in an article headed “Trust between Holyrood and Westminster at its lowest ebb for a decade”. Given the importance of the issue and with the Scottish Tories now being isolated; where is the front page banner headline? Pretty much says it all under the new editor.

    426. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev Campell : Your outrageous slur on the Welsh language marks you out unquestionably as a ‘Britnat’ . You cannot call yourself a nationalist under those terms, and we would count you in the same camp as A.A. Gill, Jeremy Clarkson, Ann Robinson and Rod Liddle – all of whom have used the media to insult the Welsh and their language.”

      Slur? What the fuck are you talking about?

    427. James Cameron says:

      @thomas says
      “They divided the scots on language , the irish on religion and conquered the lot.”

    428. David Hughes says:

      Your posting re your father, amazingly, coming across Welsh people speaking the Welsh language in Wales. I can reason with you in your language (without resorting to profanities), whilst you belittle my using it in a court of law. That is a slur. Failing to recognize how others might be outraged is a trait of the ‘Little Englanders’ I named in my original post.

    429. Derek says:


      “Speed causes accidents”

      I disagree. Driving at the wrong speed in the wrong place is more like it, but it generally comes under not paying attention to what’s going on and adjusting your driving to suit.

    430. Fred says:

      Some of our older posters might recall Alastair Alpen MacGregor, the author & sage, who wrote a lot on Scotland, the Highlands in particular (not all complementary), but dwelt in Chelsea. On a state visit to Stornoway his fellow Gaels threw him in the harbour! Just sayin like!

    431. misteralz says:

      Wat heet je iemand wie drie of meer talen spreken? Multitalig!
      Wat heet je iemand wie twee talen spreken? Tweetalig!
      Wat heet je iemand wie alleen een taal spreekt? Engels…

    432. Fred says:

      The Wee Ginger Dug very good on the Gaelic Question!

    433. James Cameron says:

      @Fred 02 May
      Thug thu gàire orm! That made me laugh!

    434. James Cameron says:

      @ thomas 29 April 2018 1.52
      “language… at the moment isnt a priority”.
      We can only do what is
      In our power. State intervention on behalf of English may suffocate future use of Gaelic.

    435. Scott MacDonald says:

      A’ bruidhinn aon cànan air feadh an t-saoghal? ‘s e neach dà-chànanach no ioma-chànanach a tha an àbhaist air feadh an t-saoghal. Eu-coltach ris an Rev!

    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top