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Lowland 'Scots' was the ruin of Scotland

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Old 18th October 2009, 13:48
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Originally posted by Calum Mac Neill

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.

We don't need to focus on a lot of irrelevant nonsense about emotional retaliation etc. I might think you focused on that merely as a smokescreen to avoid directly addressing some of the points I've made but in any case I have no intention of being drawn into an exchange of ad hominem abuse so henceforth I'll scrupulously avoid any statement that doesn't deal directly with the issue. You haven't quite grasped the points I've made previously about evidence. I'm not being pedantic by asking you to provide textual evidence to support your contentions I just feel it would add far greater credibility to your argument if you quoted some textual evidence to support it. I just prefer to involve myself in debates where we can discuss sources of evidence rather than just bandy about personal viewpoints which may or may not be facts.




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.

No I'm afraid this is one point where you really are mistaken. Anglophone refers specifically to language- nothing else. You are trying to endow it with some wider meaning that involves culture etc. however that just doesn't wash. I suspect you are perfectly well aware of the flaws in this argument but of course that doesn't mean you can't use it - it's just for me to prove that it's wrong. How can language alone define a country's cultural identity? There are countless other factors that help shape a people's identity such as their history. We have our own unique legal system, media, religion, cuisine and countless other things that seperate us from England. We have a devolved parliament controlled by a party that campaigns for complete independence from England so there is just no evidence that supports your idea that Scots are lacking in a strong sense of uniqueness and national identity. Swiss people aren't any less Swiss because they happen to speak French or German and French speaking Belgians see themselves as Belgian not French so appartently this is only a Scottish affliction? Hardly credible is it?
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Old 18th October 2009, 14:11
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Originally posted by Calum Mac Neill


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.

So you keep saying but you always avoid stating just how that could be. I speak English yet I'm fiercly proud of my Scottish identity. According to you my outlook is flawed. Tell me why that is.




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.


As history shows, although you may as usual choose to ignore my bringing up any facts.

I guarantee I will address every fact that you support with textual evidence. Whether I choose to reply to your subjective opinions on any given topic is another matter.



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.


Yet you previously castigated me for suggesting that gaels themselves often acted in such a way as to undermine their own culture to a degree that lowlanders would never have been able to do. You don't seek to dispute that the Black watch, all of whom were highlanders, made a free choice to carry out the policies of the British government. Likewise the perpetrators of the massacre of Glencoe freely chose to murder their fellow Gaels and help further the aims of the British government. They weren't coerced into persecuting their fellow highlanders so seen in that context you have to ask who were worse- the lowland Scots who conspired to subdue Gaelic culture or the highlanders who actively engaged in perpetrating acts of mass murder on their fellow Gaels.



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.

I have provided an alternative explanation above. Almost no language has survived without developing a modern literary tradition. Scottish Gaelic never developed any literary tradition until the late 18th century because Gaels themselves never saw fit to print a Gaelic language version of the bible. That being the case Gaelic would have had to do what virtually no other language has done and survive predominantly in an oral form. You surely accept that this is a key factor that must be considered regarding the demise of Gaelic. You can't just conveniently blame external causes when the language itself lacked a fundamental prerequisite that could have ensured its survival.
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Old 18th October 2009, 14:30
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Originally posted by Calum Mac Neill

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.


I don't know why you introduce a reference to Franco? Is it perhaps because you hoped that a bit of obfuscation would muddy the waters and hide the fundamental weakness of your argument? It's hardly a valid analogy. You don't seem to grasp the point that whatever policies the Scottish government would have liked to enact in the sevententh century their abilities to implement their wishes in areas as remote as the highlands and islands were extremely limited. This is where textual evidence would help you out- you can show that the Scottish government in Edinburgh enacted a given policy but what you haven't attempted show is to what degree it was actually implemented. The very fact that you subsequently had several Jacobite rebellions in the highlands shows the extent to which highlanders up until the eighteenth century were a law unto themselves who paid little heed to the wishes of lowland politicians or monarchs.



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.

But to be fair it should be pointed out that they freely made a choice to do so- no one held a gun to their head and forced them to reject their Gaelic heritage.



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?

No but they give you a sense of your heritage. The fact that I have Gaelic lineage gives me a sense of connection with highland culture and history. The fact that I don't happen to speak Gaelic doesn't diminish that sense of connection. As regards the attitudes that you allege so many Scots display you would need to ask them that because as I've said I haven't actually encountered that attitude myself.




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.

Or perhaps it's just the residents of Caithness complaining about an issue that is relevant to them. If you feel so strongly about it why not write a letter yourself to the newspaper and challenge them about their motivations?
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 18th October 2009, 15:24
goldenmessenger goldenmessenger is offline
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scotland

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Originally Posted by Calum Mac Neill View Post
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.




the best thing for scotland is to join with england , you could change the name of the country if you like, to make it fair . but the joining of great britain would be a great thing becuase like i said before.
The scotts betrayed each other back in the times of the wallace, land and titles were worth more than the lives of there fellow scotts.

scotts and the english see them selves, as so different but your not , we are all the same .

when i was in the army i joined the irish guards, i was a london man born in england and im a cockny, but i spent most my time with the scotts becuase i just felt an affinity with them.

but all in all there is no such thing as english and scotts or any other country.

thats why most of the scotts leaders in 1305 submitted to longshanks becuase they would get land and titles from him, if they were truely scottish they would have said no and never buckled.

we all have to learn that being scottish and english are just titles, the measure of a man comes from his heart not his birth place or his family tree.

im english and i would pick a scottman over an englishman any day if he was more of a freind to me . genetics means nothing we are all the same as each other.

i dont see myself as a race anymore , i just treat people as in dividuals .

patriatism requires blind faith.

all men have the same desires underneath
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Old 18th October 2009, 23:59
Calum Mac Neill Calum Mac Neill is offline
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The values of the oppressor

Andy-J3, I would oppose your concept of 'degree of influence' with the concepts of influence versus domination, ie, excessive and destructive influence. I have not been 'glossing over' the issue of Anglophones voting for independence, I have already addressed the complexities of the issue and I do hear Irish people talking about feeling less Irish because they can't speak their own language.

One cannot pro-actively encourage Gaelic recovery except by getting Anglophones to learn it and/or get it taught to their children. Anglophone interest in learning Gaelic is, naturally for the reason I have previously mentioned, very small and the amount of SNP 'support' for such a project merits a degree of scorn. The SNP's priorities seem quite clear in practice. It provides money only where it has to because Gaels nowadays have human rights in relation to educational provision to secondary level in their own language. Adult learners of Gaelic don't have such rights, therefore their education in Gaelic isn't funded. People cannot learn Gaelic if their class numbers are considered insufficient to cover costs and classes are closed before they start, as happened recently (yet again) in Edinburgh. Calling such behaviour pro-active 'support' is feeble when compared with Catalunya where Catalan classes are free and completely subsidised. That's pro-active support, that's genuine patriotism, and I don't expect that from an Anglophone Scot until he questions his own stance.

Now you criticise me for carelessness, obfuscation and castigation. Frankly, you are focussing on individuals, I focus on Anglophone culture in general, and its history of oppression. If you see my opposition to that as bigoted, you have a different value system to mine, and that is what this discussion is really about for me.

Again, you blame the Gael for his own problems, this time seemingly oblivious to the fact that Gaelic has the third oldest literary corpus in Europe after Greek and Latin and that the Celts passed their writing skills onto the English. There was no 'lack of a literary tradition' until Anglophones acted to destroy that culture before and after the advent of the printing press, crushing the bardic schools and Anglicising the Gaelic aristocracy. As an aside, the 'fundamental prerequisite' of literacy is not necessary for language survival as you assert. Plenty of languages are alive today without a substantial literary corpus. Quechua even has official status in two countries.

I focussed on your emotional retaliation briefly because I have the right to respond to the personal comments you make. Such a brief, firm response within a much longer message hardly creates a smokescreen. If you had no intention of being drawn into an exchange about personal comments you shouldn't have made them to start off with. It is only for the better that you now stick to discussing points.

Again, I would state that such 'facts' as the Highland Clearances and the Statutes of Iona need no more textual reference to support their factual nature than the fact that there was once a Scottish king called MacBeth. If Anglophones don't know or don't want to know about such things, I'm not their teacher. Wikipedia has pages on both, naturally. A lack of textual references is not equivalent to a lack of facts, as you have been maintaining, but your stance still perfectly accords with the Anglophone need to disempower and deny the truth of what Anglophone culture has been doing and has done right up until the modern period.

Language, that medium through which much thought takes place, and which is often one of the most signal elements of cultural difference, unequivocally denotes a difference between the dominant Anglophone culture in Scotland and Gaelic culture. One is Anglic in origin, the other Scottish in origin. 'Anglophone culture', however, is not merely language, it is the culture of the Anglophones as 'Scottish culture' is the culture of the Scots. An Anglophone Scot singing a widespreadly known song such as 'Wee Willie Winkie' is singing a song in a descendant of Anglo-Saxon, not Scottish language. The melody type is Western European and the singing style and rhythm does not derive from Gaelic culture and is completely consistent with English language singing styles. Anglophone Scots are in the unenviable process of being completely subsumed into English culture. Songs like Wee Willie Winkie and others like it survive in the general Anglophone population of Scotland today only as a dated regional curiosity outnumbered by songs imported directly from England and other Anglophone parts of the world. The same cannot be said of the position of songs in Gaelic culture such as 'An C˛ineachan' which is berthed in a harbour of rich, living, native song tradition.

Scottish law has come more and more in line with English law on account of legislation and decisions made by the House of Lords. Being in a separate county to another county, having a separate town council to another town, having different laws and regulations, having a different religion to your neighbour, having different weather, do not necessarily imply having a different overall culture, especially if what you have in common far outweighs any differences, as with the modern Anglophone Scot and his English neighbour. As for diet, there isn't much regional difference between the meals sold in restaurants and supermarkets throughout the UK, including Gaelic areas. And media - Anglicisation is what Anglophone Scots want for their children and ultimately for themselves, whether in education or media. Virtually all of Scotland's newspapers are overwhelmingly in Queen's English, and Scotland is an important market for the English press. Scottish TV channels are part of a UK wide regional network and far from being culturally unique from English channels, using Queen's English again. Scottish radio stations, being smaller and more localised, are a more complex case but they too generally push Queen's English.

Despite being linguistically Alemmanic and linked to German-speakers, the epithet Swiss is not in origin an ethnic marker but a toponym - it derives from the name of a village. The original Gaulish culture that Belgium is named after is long gone. Scotophone culture however is not long gone and could be rescuscitated. Anglophone Scots have no real or deep interest in seeing this happen as they are content to be incorporated into English culture unconsciously by the forces of internal colonialism.

The pretend Scottish identity of Anglophone Scots is as Scottish as a certain Englishman who walks around Edinburgh with a kilt on. He has probably eaten more haggis, drunk more whisky and worn more tartan than most Anglophone Scots. That doesn't make him a true Scot any more than them.

I have clearly mentioned ways in which Anglophone culture in Scotland has been and still is anti-Scottish. You excuse or deny such behaviour and attitudes, and refuse to acknowledge the facts when stated - "no es culpa nuestra".

You are wrong to assert that I do not seek to dispute that the Black Watch made a free choice. The choice between poverty and tasdan an rýgh are not a free choice with a colonial environment. A dominating colonial power always has primary responsibility for the environment it creates, whether in India or Glencoe.

Analogies can indeed be drawn with events in the aftermath of the Spanish civil war, particularly events post-Culloden. I disagree that east coast power in the west of Scotland was 'extremely limited' before then. One seldom revolts against the powerless. The political misadventures of John of Islay, the Earl of Ross, are a prime example. Another would be the Statutes of Iona, signed up to by captive Highland chiefs. When you say, 'no one held a gun to their head', you're quite wrong. Oppression of whatever kind, whether economic, anti-cultural, legal, etc, is equivalent to holding a gun to someone's head. But then, by your own admission, without textual reference, you will not address such evidence. I leave it to the third party to draw their own conclusions about your unwillingness to address such facts as the forfeiture of the Lordship of the Isles, the Statutes of Iona and the Clearances on the grounds of requiring a textual reference.

Genes cannot give you a sense of your heritage, education does that. Unfortunately, education can also diminish any 'connection' and discourage any genuine support for or involvement in a culture, as is the norm for Anglophone Scots.

The fact that you don't encounter anti-Gaelic diatribe does not remove such diatribe from newspapers or TV and radio broadcasts in Scotland. It hardly surprises me that you seek to evade the reality of this since you deny so much on a pretext. Caithness' people complaining about bilingual road-signs is not an alternative scenario to 'residents of Caithness complaining about an issue'. Their complaint and their denial of the Gaelic and Scottish component of their heritage remain evidence for my argument.

Last edited by Calum Mac Neill; 19th October 2009 at 00:22.
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Old 19th October 2009, 00:00
Calum Mac Neill Calum Mac Neill is offline
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Anglophone = English

Goldenmessenger, the fact that we are all human beings and all have a human nature does not mean that we all share the same culture. Were that to be true, there would be little need for much anthropology which studies human groups. Likewise, patriotism is no more blind faith than is pride in one's family.

You are right to mention the compromised 'Scottish' identity of aristocracy with a Norman heritage. Normans were part of an ethnic group that had been busy conquering a lot of Europe and would happily take land anywhere - their own homeland was on the shores of the English channel.

I admire your sentiments of equality but not of cultural sameness although I can see why you would see an Anglophone Scot as being extremely similar to someone from Northumberland - an accent, a bit of dialect, but otherwise reading the same papers and books and watching the same programmes, singing the same songs as you and, more often than not, voting for the same set of political parties.

I would agree that if Scotland were finally to lose the Gaelic language and deepen its incorporation into English culture, there would be no substantial reason for justifying a sense of ethnic separateness. After all, even the people of what is now England once spoke Welsh, as it were. The Scots who gave their name to the nation would have ceased to exist and finally everyone would be content to speak modern English as their mother tongue and to participate in English culture as a native of the nation of Great Britain or Greater England. The bagpipes and tartan, the symbols of Gaelic culture taken over right royally by the Anglophone, would of course remain, still fit for purpose as a nod to a culture that no longer existed.

I prefer to celebrate the differences between Scottish (ie, Gaelic) culture and that of the English, as I would celebrate the differences between the Arabs and the Chinese.

Last edited by Calum Mac Neill; 19th October 2009 at 00:32.
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Old 19th October 2009, 13:57
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Calum Mac Neal,
I feel we could exchange viewpoints from now until eternity and for every point I make you will find a form of words that provides what to your mind is a suitable rebuttal, although much of what you write attempts to involve issues which to me seem totally unrelated to the matter in question. I don't have any intention of becoming involved in wordplay. Given that you so glibly dismiss every argument I put forth the route this discussion is taking from now on will be determined by the fact that I'll be citing the views of linguists and historians to challenge your original assertion that "Lowland Scots was the ruin of Scotland" ergo it will be their opinions that you will need to dismiss.

Okay so let's begin with a look at an academic's appraisal of the situation which existed in the eightenth century.

"It would be entirely wrong to conclude that a distinctive Scottish identity was now being crushed beneath the unrelenting and irresistible forces of Anglicisation. Life in Scotland was still fashioned by intrinsically Scottish institutions... civil law, parish schools and the five universities......Scottish patriotism was alive and well among the mass of the people." (page 30)


and this is a significant point given what you've stated above

"acceptance of the union at an elite level was sometimes tempered by concerns about its effects...It also made the Scots elite even more aware of their Scottishness."


Now these are the views of a Professor with years of experience in historical research yet they're totally at odds with what you would have us believe. You're trying to convince us that far from an increasing awareness of Scottishness there was a wholesale rejection of Scottish values. A loss of a unique Scottish identity as Scots became more Anglicised which clearly wasn't the case.

He also touches on the issue of education and the attitudes of government authorities towards the teaching of Gaelic. Now you would have us believe that the government was involved in a campaign to diminish the culture and language of the Highlands- to implement a process of Anglicisation. However what we actually find is that it was "the recommendation of the Napier commission in 1884 that the language should be part of the curriculum in highland schools". He goes on to outline the fact that various academics and public figures including MPs and university professors (i.e. lowlanders) were pressing to make the language a compulsory school subject. However- and this is completely at odds with the idea you are conveying "the school inspectors including the Gaelic speakers amongst them viewed the campaign to revive the language with deep suspicion. In their view (the campaign) did not reflect the real feelings of the Highland people themselves." (page 400).


Now this just blows your entire argument out of the water. The government authorities want to make Gaelic compulsory in schools. The Gaelic speaking school inspectors don't feel however that it would reflect the real wishes of the Highland population- that's the exact opposite of what you want us to believe. So from that I would conclude that there are far more complex issues involved here than any attempt by lowlanders to systematically undermine the use of the Gaelic language.



Source- The Scottish nation 1700-2000. (ISBN-0-713-99351-0)
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