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What is the status of Scots and Gaelic in Scotland today?

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  • What is the status of Scots and Gaelic in Scotland today?

    Today I read in a magazine from Cardigan Bay, Wales that "Welsh is the first language of three out of five 'Cardis'. The language is taught in every school and is widely used socially and in business." As part of Great Britain, how did Wales escape the eradication of their native language that Scotland experienced? How many citizens of Scotland speak Scots or have the Gaelic, much less count it as their first language? To what extent is either language taught in schools in Scotland?
    Luceo non Uro -- I shine not burn

  • #2
    Yeah, it's funny, especially when Wales was conquered by England several hundreds of years before Scotland and England were unified.
    An sgiamh a'ghealach air an tuinn ghlasa.
    For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
    That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
    Heureux l'étudiant qui comme la rivière arrive à suivre son cours sans sortir de son lit.


    • #3
      In reply to the above question on why Welsh did not suffer as badly under English domination is due to the fact the Welsh put up little if any resistance to the Anglo-Saxons,.by doing so,.the English did not see the Welsh as any major threat to their domination and thus did not enact laws such as the Penal Code in Ireland,.in order to wipe out any vestige of the Celtic-Gaelic peoples.The Penal Code,.among many other things,which today would be viewed as nothing less than "ethnic cleansing",.forbade the use and instruction of Irish among the citizens of Ireland.Scotlands' story would be very similar however not as ruthlessly handled.This is a "simplification" of the reason "why".,but more or less answers your question.



      • #4
        Back to the original question, how are Scots and Gaelic faring in Scotland today? How many residents speak their own language, how widespread is the teaching of Scots and Gaelic in Scottish schools and/or communities. How many newspapers carry articles printed in the Gaelic in addition to English. Are there newspapers that are printed only in Scots or Gaelic? Among those who can speak the language of their heritage, how many of them can also read fluently in that language? (On a side note, I read last night that some believe that the mountainous geography of Wales protected many of the villages of Wales from English "influence" and allowed them to preserve the Welsh language and culture).
        Luceo non Uro -- I shine not burn


        • #5
          Status of Gaidhlig

          Today, Gaidhlig is spoken by about 66000 people in Scotland. The majority of the speakers still live in the Western Isles (19546) and the Highland area, particularly Skye (14713). The language is still not officially recognised but moves are being made to give the language secure status, one step down from an official language.

          Encouragingly, the number of children in Gaelic education has risen from a few hundred twenty years ago to well over 2000 now. A good source for further information is the Comunn na gaidhlig website, and use the site map, it's easier to navigate that way.

          Hope this helps, I did an essay on the rise of Gaelic youth culture last year. I can post it on the board or put it on my website if anyone is particularly interested.
          Open up The Original Pipe Box!


          • #6
            Hello all...
            Hello to DCubed.....

            The native Welsh Language was all but outlawed by the British Government as late as the mid 19th century...

            Children heard speaking Welsh in the schools of the coal mining villages in the valleys were ridiculed by the school teachers who were sent to educate them.
            Often, the punishment for the child being caught speaking Native Welsh , was to have a sign draped around the offending neck, advertising to all, the backwardness of the child.



            • #7

              Gàidhlig in is being taught in schools more now than it has been. The restrictions that England put on Scotland made it nearly impossible to teach that in the schools seeing that English law prevailed in just about everything, and if someone tried to teach it, and english got word of this. The teacher would have a few things done to them (don't teach this or be fired) type threats. Of course this was back in the 1900's and a bit earlier. They have since of course lightened this.

              Now since the parlaiment has been reinstated in Scotland, most of the old laws have been lifted. Gàidhlig is now being revived, it's not going to be very quick or anyting. It might take a decade or two to get things back close to the way they were, but it's happening. Gàidhlig is being taught by certain people, and are now classes that you can take of course, they are not manditory. There are very few native speakers (I being one) who can say it was their first language.

              There are websites being posted in gàidhlig, and english, and some only in Gàidhlig (for personal and cultural reasons) Radio stations are also starting to broadcast talk shows and other things in gàidhlig too. There aren't very many of these, but considdering what it was like ten or so years ago, it's jumped by close to 500% in that time which is amazing! After the scots got the word that they could get their parlaiment back together, they as you could say pulled anything and everything off the shelves relating to their language, and instated it into all they could, given time of course. Now the problem is not the books that are being printed (tons) but the lack of people who actually know how to speak it well enough to call themselves fluent. I actually do speak it fluently don't know how to spell worth crap. One reason why I am writing this in english, yet I could write it en francais but what's the point in that? hehe...

              I'm so used to english class that i'm writing this like an essay, yet i'll conclude with this that Gàidhlig, given time will revive it's self. If not people in scotland, but people around the world who feel a connection to it. There will probably be revived native speakers of it. (I think native speaker also means, someone who speaks it from birth) There will probably be a few parents who will only speak their language to them, and english as a second. (I only hope)

              Tapadh leibh
              Toìraidh, an dràsda


              • #8

                To anaon:

                Yes, I think (and hope) that Gàidhlig will revive itself. I was pleased to find links like
                "Gàidhlig for parents" - for if the children are learning Scottish Gaelic in school, and the parents have no Gàidhlig. I'd love to see that children are brought up again with their own, native tongue.

                As I am a great Runrig fan, there are some lines from their songs, which I think are just

                Failte gu mo chainnt
                Is i dh'ionnsaich mi 'nam phaisde
                Canan uasal mor nan Gaidheal
                Mar bhratach dhomh gach la
                Welcome to my language
                The one I learned as a child
                The huge dignified language of the Gael
                That stands like a banner
                For me daily

                (From "Tir a' Mhurain" - "Land of Maram Grass")

                ...and finally:

                Fichead bliadhna'airson firinn
                B'fheudar dhomh feitheamh
                'S b'fheudar dhomh lorg
                Fichead bliadhn' de bhreugan
                Thug iad eachdraidh air falbh bhuainn
                Twenty years for the truth
                I had to wait
                I had to search
                Twenty years of deceit
                They denied me knowledge of myself

                (From "Fichead bliadhna" - "Twenty years")

                ...this not only deals with the language, but also with the cultural heritage, the history.
                About learning everything about the history of foreign countries, while the history of the very
                own is simply skipped. And of course, the all-covering question: "Why?"

                When I think about the percentage of fluent or even native Gaelic speakers,
                it leaves my heart full o' woe...
                But I hope this percentage will increase.

                It is interesting that in Ireland Gaeilge was taught in schools, but usually regarded as 'useless knowledge', only important if you wanted to claim a civil federal business job. It was taught with no love, either. Just as a dead 'latin-kind' of language. Therefore there was no real interest in learning Gaeilge. This is what a friend of mine from Ireland told me.
                I hope that there is more interest throughout Scotland.

                Rüdiger Reinhardt -- [email protected]


                • #9
                  I'm interested in keeping heritage alive in my family, and in doing so, I am learning Scottish Gaelic.
                  My children think that I am an odd one.
                  I find them also, from time to time asking "what does it mean Mum, how do you say this Mum"....
                  The passion I have for this language and history hopefully show through.
                  I'm a single parent of two, my influences will hopefully be seeds for future interest in my childrens lives, to continue the study and use of Scottish Gaelic.
                  The language is not dead, it may be difficult at times, but it is far from dead!!

                  Bairbre Aine


                  • #10
                    Good to hear...

                    Hullo, a Bhairbre Aine!

                    I am pleased to hear that.
                    Though I'm German, I am very interested in Gàidhlig.
                    I'm learning it, too.
                    And I think it's people like you that are helping
                    to revive this beautiful language.

                    Bliadhna mhàth ùr, by the way. Happy new year!

                    Mar sin leìbh,