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Lowland 'Scots' was the ruin of Scotland

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Old 16th October 2009, 22:16
Polwarth Polwarth is offline
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Does anyone else think that Mr MacNeill sounds like a close relative of other Gaelic 'speaking' members?
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Old 16th October 2009, 22:21
Duthill Duthill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANDY-J3 View Post
Originally posted by Duthill

I find this statistic rather odd .
Is that a guess or a recorded number ?
And how was it arrived at ?


At present the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland amounts to somewhere in the region of 100 000 people. The number of "Anglophones" or English speakers as they are conventionally referred to is over 5 million.
Tena koe Andy ,
it was your use of the word ethnic that prompted my question .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ANDY-J3
I'm well aware that you're criticising an ethnic group- one which amounts to several million people and adds up to to over 90% of the country's population.
90% being present speakers of 'Scots' , yes , 90% being unable to speak Gaelic , ok .
But 90% ethnic ? Define 'ethnic' in your context .

I speak neither Gaelic nor Scots . I am however , ethnicly , a descendant of both.
I speak a certain amount of Maori , yet I am not an ethnic descendant of it .

kia ora ehoa ,
Toka


PS. There is one language that you have both neglected to mention
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Old 17th October 2009, 14:01
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Ethnic isn't perhaps the correct word. I meant that lowland Scots have their own cultural identity and traditions and the Scots language is a part of that. I just think it smacks of parochialism and possibly bigotry for a Gaelic speaker to focus their condemnation on an entire section of Scottish society almost all of whom have some Gaelic ancestry and most of whom are actually quite supportive of Gaelic language and culture.
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Old 17th October 2009, 15:54
Calum Mac Neill Calum Mac Neill is offline
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Denial of facts

Again, Andy-J3, you evidently do not accept that you are not the only person in this discussion presenting historical facts. Believe it or not, facts do not cease to be facts just because I present them within a given hermeneutic or because you ignore them. Calling up terms even more personal terms like arrogance/pretentiousness/eccentricity/pedantry only further exposes your argument as essentially an emotional retaliation for being offended.

As per previous examples I have given, the behaviour of individuals does not necessarily reflect the trend within a group. I 'talk as if' Anglophone Scots are some kind of homogenous group with an anti-Gaelic agenda pervading the group, because Anglophones have historically given up a Gaelic heritage with respect to language and more. There is no general Anglophone outcry to have Gaelic returned; rather, one hears general complaints about Anglophones being 'made to speak Gaelic'. The fact that the people of Galloway live in an area once completely Gaelic-speaking does not mean that they have any significant interest in speaking the language today. Even in Ireland, there is huge Anglophone complaint about the compulsory teaching of Irish in schools despite the status of Irish as an official language within Ireland.

Anglophone culture is quintessentially English culture, not quintessentially Scottish culture. That's why it's called Anglophone and not Scotophone. I cannot attack Scottish culture when attacking general Anglophone culture.

You refer to 'our culture' but I do not wish to be absorbed into 'your culture'. To conduct this discourse, I need neither be a Gaelic speaker nor a Scot. Your Scottish identity is indeed diluted if your first language is a descendant of Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic. To say that Scottish culture is whittled away by parochialism and narrow-mindedness is like saying that Scottish culture is whittled away by backwardness and ignorance. That hardly affects the notion that Anglophone culture has also historically whittled back Scottish culture through official and unofficial oppression, claiming it to be parochial, backward, barbaric, etc, so your choice of words does not surprise me. Scottish culture absorbing influences from Welsh, Norse, and Anglo-Saxon is a different matter to Scottish culture being absorbed by Anglo-Saxon culture until Scottish culture remains no more than a surface layer, effectively erased, creating a Greater Northern England.

When successful colonialism, both external and internal, has caused a nation to lose its independence, and has then worn down its resistance to domination and until it exchanges its patriotism for its own country to patriotism for another, it is no surprise that any latter-day movement for independence is insufficiently strong to undo the colonial mindset. It is also hardly a surprise that the Scottish independence movement only grew as strong as it has in Scotland within the era of human rights.

Political independence however does not necessarily bring substantial cultural independence. The fact that the Scottish populace, not an Anglophone rulership, voted in an SNP government does not necessarily indicate an overt desire to strengthen Scottish culture as such, nor even in many cases to give more self-determinative political power to the Scottish people, regardless of cultural allegiances. Numerous Labour voters support political independence and numerous SNP voters do not. People's reasons for voting for modern political parties can vary enormously from the most pan-national to the most domestic. Nevertheless, I wonder if the SNP would have the same vote if they were all Lowland 'Scots' or Gaelic speakers hell-bent on introducing compulsory teaching in Lowland 'Scots' or Gaelic in all primary schools or introducing a law requiring all government post-holders to be Lowland 'Scots' and Gaelic speakers. I doubt that the majority of Anglophone Scots would not see a linguistically strong Scottish education as being of benefit, sad to say.

As for Gaels not voting for the SNP, again the complexities of reasons behind modern votes apply including the effects of internal colonialism on Gaelic culture. There are still Gaels who do not speak Gaelic to their own children. Unfortunately, since voting is a matter of conscience, there are no solid figures demonstrating the proportion of Gaels supporting independence as opposed to non-Gaels. Where self-determination is willingly surrended in exchange for 'English gold', colonialism is seen to be effective and I know that some Gaels still retain a suspicion that an Anglophone Scottish political caste would support the Gaelic community less than their equivalents in London. One can blame the Gaels here for being unpatriotic, or ask whether Scottish politicians should be more supportive of Scottish culture than the English.

As history shows, although you may as usual choose to ignore my bringing up any facts, proof that destruction of Gaelic culture is feasible can be seen in the vanishing of Gaelic-speaking communities from most of the Scottish mainland through history. One especially does not need armies when one has anti-Gaelic laws and law enforcers although Anglophones have employed both.

You have chosen to mention some details that, rather than supporting your case, back mine. The Black Watch was a regiment of the British Army and, as such, a paid agent of the British government. The massacre of Glencoe occurred under the signed orders of a British king and his Anglophone Scottish Secretary.

The wiping out of languages was possible before the modern era and the advent of mass media, the Americas presenting numerous cases of this. However, Anglophones don't need to be pro-active in military terms, they just need to be in power and monolingual and thus out of necessity compel all Gaelic speakers to communicate with them in English. Anglophones generally will not learn anyone else's language, they expect everyone to speak their language in their country, as they would have it. That is why your friend and many Gaels across the centuries have had to learn English. However, it doesn't completely explain why Gaels would give up their own language. To do that, you would have to undermine their own culture, and for that, you have laws such as the anti-Gaelic acts of the Scottish parliament in the 17th century.

If you mistate, "THE language spoken by THE people of Scotland for over 500 years", of course you should expect a rebuttal. I can only respond to what you write, not what you do not write. Despite your subsequent emendation of the statement and accusation of pedantry on my part, your wording may nevertheless still be a Freudian slip revealing your cultural mindset. The fact is that dialects of English have existed north of the Tweed since Roman times. That doesn't make them the Scottish language then or now. The Scots (whose nationality is applied to the English name of this country) spoke Gaelic.

These are more of my 'valid challenges' to your arguments. By stating that the demise of Gaelic culture has been 'in large part' self-imposed, you ignore the sumptuous evidence to the contrary, as usual. You write that you 'never mentioned anything about Gaels being responsible for suffering imposed on them.' Of course not, you'd like to blame the demise of Gaelic culture essentially on the Gaels and don't want to mention or acknowledge any instances of Anglophone oppression. However, Gaels did not self-destruct from within in some kind of political isolation, those around them having no role in the destruction and therefore no responsibility for it. Such isolation would be a fantasy political state of affairs within Scotland in relation to the west of Scotland, particularly latterly in history.

Therefore, to introduce some reality I raise the point that, for example, the 17th century Statutes of Iona originated without the Gaelic sphere, not within it, and that, if you perceive Gaels to be to blame for, eg, the 17th century anti-Gaelic acts of the Scottish parliament, or if you continue to ignore this and other facts as I present them, then you are ultimately taking an oppressor's stance on the question, as per Franco's measures after the Spanish civil war, ie, that they deserve what happened to them, they did it to themselves, no es culpa nuestra. To pretend that I do not present these facts is to attempt to deny their existence, just as an oppressor denies oppressive acts. In this respect, you continue to represent the Anglophone culture's ultimately anti-Scottish character.

One of the clearest examples of Highland chiefs acting against their own people would be during the Highland clearances, except that the chiefs had already been incorporated into the - surprise, surprise - Anglophone aristocracy.

Genes do not give you a language. If almost all Scots have Gaelic genes, why don't they speak Gaelic and why do so many complain about Gaelic? You think they have no reason to do this, on account of the Gaelic heritage in Scotland, but the obvious fact of the matter is that they have reason to do this on account of the Anglic heritage in Scotland and it's innate strain of anti-Scottishness. Even some Gaels complain about Gaelic, such is the power of internal colonialism. It would be fairly easy to refer anyone to letter pages in newspapers where resentment against Gaelic is in regular flow. Yesterday, it was Caithness people complaining about Highland Region's bilingual road-signs and still protesting that Gaelic was never spoken in Caithness. This is typical Anglophone fact denial of the sort you display. Gaelic was of course once spoken throughout Caithness with a small Anglophone minority in the north-east corner.
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Old 17th October 2009, 15:55
Calum Mac Neill Calum Mac Neill is offline
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Ducking criticism

Saying Lowlanders have 'Anglo-Saxon influences' is like saying that Gaels have Gaelic influences. They don't have Gaelic influences, they are Gaels. Lowland 'Scots' speakers speak a form of English. If it quacks like a duck, the chances are that it is a duck.

English as a first language 'diminishes' the Scottishness of the entire country. The Anglophone agenda is to have English language and culture ruling Scotland while Gaelic is not allowed to threaten its almost ubiquitous dominance. Education in Scotland leaves a child so ignorant that he doesn't speak any Scottish and can't even recognise it being spoken on the street. Instead, he's told that his language is that of England, the country that struggled for centuries to incorporate Scotland into itself. 'Where there is a demand' doesn't cut it for the supply of Gaelic education in Scotland - it's too easy for the unwilling bureaucrat to complain that any given demand is too small to justify implementation.

It's time the Scots made a choice to move in a certain direction, away from a future where Scottish culture dissipates into a Greater England, and into a future where the recovery and use of the Scottish language is not merely granted but fostered, funded properly and encouraged. That way, currently monophone Scots can raise generations that can become bilingual in the language of their own Scottish heritage and also the lingua franca of the modern world, English, and know which one is really their language. Figures released this week by Highland Region show children in bilingual (Gaelic/English) education outstripping children in monolingual (English) education in a variety of subjects including maths and English (by 9.8% in English writing), and this despite the lesser quality and variety of available teaching material available in Gaelic language in comparison to English. So-called Lowland 'Scots' gets one nowhere in England, someone else's country, and reduces Scottish culture to being a subset of the dominant English culture in one's own country.

The native culture market expands significantly under Gaelic influence, creating much more work in Scotland in related industries. Time for those who whinge about seeing more Gaelic on TV or radio or in the papers or at work or at the train station to be clearly named and shamed for being the anti-Scottish agents of the Anglophone cultural agenda that they are. Time for Anglophone Scots to stop making fake tartans and start learning how to read the map of Scotland properly.

Bigotry is in the eye of the beholder and perhaps it takes one to know one. The destruction of Gaelic culture under the advance of Anglophone culture is anti-Scottish enough for me to consider it evidence of centuries of Anglophone bigotry both personal and institutional. Anglophones such as you, Andy-J3, shamelessly try to blame Gaels for most of it and absolve Anglophone culture from responsibility.

'An entire section of Scottish society' which you claim are 'quite supportive' of Gaelic can hardly be supportive if they make you feel that you shouldn't speak it while they're around, and of course, they're around all the time throughout Scotland. There is a difference between tolerating something and supporting it, as any parent knows. Time Anglophone Scots started learning some Gaelic instead of tolerating it. It would make them more Scottish and would be preferable to their current ignorance and diminished condition in relation to Scottish culture. They and their ultimately Anglicising tongue are not beyond criticism, far from it.

Last edited by Calum Mac Neill; 17th October 2009 at 16:17.
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Old 17th October 2009, 22:38
Duthill Duthill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANDY-J3 View Post
Ethnic isn't perhaps the correct word. I meant that lowland Scots have their own cultural identity and traditions and the Scots language is a part of that. I just think it smacks of parochialism and possibly bigotry for a Gaelic speaker to focus their condemnation on an entire section of Scottish society almost all of whom have some Gaelic ancestry and most of whom are actually quite supportive of Gaelic language and culture.
Yeah , you could be right there .

Your statistic is definitely not . Chances are no stat. would be in this regard.
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Old 18th October 2009, 13:09
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Originally posted by Calum Mac Neill

Saying Lowlanders have 'Anglo-Saxon influences' is like saying that Gaels have Gaelic influences. They don't have Gaelic influences, they are Gaels. Lowland 'Scots' speakers speak a form of English. If it quacks like a duck, the chances are that it is a duck.


But it is hardly credible for you to critise the "unScottish" Germanic influences on lowland language and culture while ignoring the Germanic influences on Gaelic language and culture. It's only a question of the degree of influence but Gaelic culture was shaped by Scandinavian immigrants while Lowland culture was shaped by Anglo Saxon immigrants. There is no pure Scottish, Celtic culture. Both Gaels and lowlanders have a heritage influenced by Germanic incomers.



English as a first language 'diminishes' the Scottishness of the entire country. The Anglophone agenda is to have English language and culture ruling Scotland while Gaelic is not allowed to threaten its almost ubiquitous dominance. Education in Scotland leaves a child so ignorant that he doesn't speak any Scottish and can't even recognise it being spoken on the street. Instead, he's told that his language is that of England, the country that struggled for centuries to incorporate Scotland into itself. 'Where there is a demand' doesn't cut it for the supply of Gaelic education in Scotland - it's too easy for the unwilling bureaucrat to complain that any given demand is too small to justify implementation.

You seem to be conveniently glossing over some of the points I've made previously. Lowland Scots who you accuse of having an Anglophone agenda voted for a party to govern the country that seeks independence. The SNP don't put forth any of the arguments that you're making- they embrace both Scots and Gaelic as languages that need to be promoted and preserved. I don't hear Irish people suggesting that they are any less Irish because English happens to be universally used in their country. I feel to introduce Gaelic in schools where there is demand is the common sense approach especially if a campain of pro-actively encouraging the preservation of Gaelic is implemented which is exactly what the curent SNP government is doing.



Bigotry is in the eye of the beholder and perhaps it takes one to know one.

Except I've chosen my words with far greater care than you - only one individual in this debate has made a wholesale condemnation of an entire section of Scotish society based on their language and cultural heritage and it isn't me. Let other members reading this debate judge who can rightly be accused of exhibiting bigotry.


The destruction of Gaelic culture under the advance of Anglophone culture is anti-Scottish enough for me to consider it evidence of centuries of Anglophone bigotry both personal and institutional. Anglophones such as you, Andy-J3, shamelessly try to blame Gaels for most of it and absolve Anglophone culture from responsibility.

So let's introduce an alternative hypothesis to account for the demise of Gaelic culture and language. Scottish Gaelic had a rich oral tradition but it never developed into a modern literary language which it would have to have done if it were to thrive. The bible wasn't translated into Scottish Gaelic until the late 18th century and a translation of the bible was a necessary prerequisite for a language to develop and be put into print. Would you agree therefore that regardless of external influences the lack of a literary tradition within Scottish Gaelic would in any case have brought about a decline in the number of speakers. Anglophones wouldn't need to have an anti Gaelic agenda- the very fact that bibles were widely available in English but not in Gaelic would have hastened the spread of English in Gaelic speaking areas. Is that an alternative viewpoint that you would accept or are you still completely focused on condemning Anglophones for some perceived anti Gaelic conspiracy?





'An entire section of Scottish society' which you claim are 'quite supportive' of Gaelic can hardly be supportive if they make you feel that you shouldn't speak it while they're around, and of course, they're around all the time throughout Scotland. There is a difference between tolerating something and supporting it, as any parent knows. Time Anglophone Scots started learning some Gaelic instead of tolerating it. It would make them more Scottish and would be preferable to their current ignorance and diminished condition in relation to Scottish culture. They and their ultimately Anglicising tongue are not beyond criticism, far from it.

But as I've stated previously the SNP pro-actively promotes Gaelic. Lowland Scots therefore voted for a party that actively encourages the use of Gaelic. Condemning lowland Scots as not supporting Gaelic when they vote for a government that promises to make every effort to bolster the language just isn't tenable.
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