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Lowland 'Scots' was the ruin of Scotland

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Old 12th October 2009, 16:22
Calum Mac Neill Calum Mac Neill is offline
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Lowland 'Scots' was the ruin of Scotland

The various ancient dialects of English which developed in the north of Britain were the ruin of Scotland. I do not see them as constituting a separate language from English any more than Northumbrian English.

They are ultimately connected with English identity and in a way have got a cheek calling themselves 'Scots'. The people who spoke Lowland 'Scots' considered themselves English and English-speaking right up until the wars of independence, and then they started considering themselves Scots, and a couple of centuries after that, had the cheek to call the real Scots 'Irish' while becoming Anglicised again themselves and ultimately ending up with a leadership who voted for union with - guess who - England.

The whole concept of calling an Anglo-Saxon dialect 'the Scots language' is ultimately a betrayal of Scotland to English culture, language and political agenda. The true Scots language is Gaelic (Scot comes from the latin word for a Gael and Ireland was called Scotia in Latin).

Lowland Scots didn't give the Scottish people a strong identity and it never will. It will just keep us tied to the matron's apron. Our true allegiance as a Scottish nation is not to the English Lothians/Northumbria but to Scottish DÓl Riada. Without the Scots of DÓl Riada, there would be no country called Scotland in the north of Britain and the whole island of Britain may have ended up being called England. In fact, since the decline of the Gaelic language, lots of foreigners naturally do just call the whole island England. That in itself speaks volumes.

Even today it is only the Gaelic speaking community, not the Lowland 'Scots' speakers, who make serious attempts to provide education through their own language. It makes sense that the revival of Gaelic education occurs alongside better education in Scottish history, political devolution and calls for independence. You will never see education through 'Scots' because it is too tied to English culture.

A true Scot (or Irishman) should cotton on to this, change his linguistic allegiances and learn Gaelic. Modern English should ultimately have the same position in Scotland and Ireland that it has in Norway or Sweden - fluently spoken as the 'lingua franca' but not replacing domestic Scottish and Irish culture which is ultimately Gaelic in origin.

If Gaelic had held its ground in Scotland and if Northumbrian had never spread, then today we would have had centuries of building up a strong native market. There would be much more work in publishing houses, theatre companies and the media to feed the demand for native language material, as in other European countries today. We would be watching many more of our own news programmes, documentaries, drama series, comedies, entertainment programmes and so on in our own language, as elsewhere in Europe, less dominated by the English cultural and political agenda. Native sports would actually get more airtime. There would be considerably more work for native writers and performers in theatres and concert halls around the country, as in other European countries. Ask a non-English foreigner.

It's no accident that the first regular Scottish European cultural affairs programme, E˛rpa, was created by Gaels. It's also no surprise that Gaels broadcast all the Scottish football games no other broadcaster will show. The so-called 'Scots' speakers all complain about this of course and wonder why such programmes aren't being broadcast in English. They're making the wrong complaint. Change your language from Lowland 'Scots' to Gaelic, add to the growing numbers of children learning Gaelic, and you'll be surprised how less marginalised you'll feel as a Scot. Phone-in shows would be filled with Scottish people speaking and giving their views. The people of Glasgow would actually hear Aberdonians on TV regularly.

It's time that Scotland stopped hanging on fearfully to the strings of its new mummy, England. It's time Scotland grew up and lived as an adult on the European scene, learning from its own mistakes, earning its own income for sure and learning to live on it.
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