Future of Gaelic lies in heartland
DR ALASDAIR Allan states (“Gaidhlig air an Rathad”, Insight, 15 July) that the government wishes to create a situation in which Gaelic will be “well established and protected” in the future.
Experience in other countries shows that it is not within the power of any government to promote a minority language. The result which the government hopes for can only come about if the Gaelic speakers commit themselves to the language, build up their confidence in it and pass it on to their children.
Again, Dr Allan states that “Gaelic belongs to the whole of Scotland.” In what sense? A language is a system of communication rather than a piece of property, and he is bound to be aware that the traditional speech of the south and east of Scotland is Scots or more recently Scots English.
I would not impose Gaelic on the Lowlands. But as Dr Allan says, if our Gaelic language is to have a future, surely it is more likely to be in its traditional heartland, where it still survives as a natural means of communication, rather than in those areas of Scotland where it is little more than a school subject.
Richard A A Deveria, Gaelic historian
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