Language barrier

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Margaret E Salmond (Letters, 16 January) rather longwindedly dismisses Isabel Lind’s idea that Scots should be taught in schools (Letters, 13 January), but it can be dealt with in rather shorter order – Scots isn’t a separate language, end of story.

All over the British Isles (and beyond) there are local vocabularies and structures, but most of us speak a standardised 
language, so that I could move 
to Lostwithiel or New York tomorrow and face no language difficulty.

Indeed, the English language is not really taught in schools, merely rehearsed and standardised and used across the curriculum. Literary works are studied because they are worthwhile as literature, and not for any other reason.

If teachers familiarise pupils with the works of Robert Burns or a local dialect writer (they will find it difficult, I can tell you), it is not for language preservation reasons, but because it is worth doing. If that is “teaching Scots”, then fine.

Iain WD Forde, however, (Letters, 18 January) wants to set himself up as an authority on “integrated Scots”, and teach ‘new learners’ – a completely bizarre idea.

CRAWFORD MACKIE

Loughborough Road

Kirkcaldy, Fife

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