Long live Gaelic

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Regular listeners to Radio nan Gàidheal will know that Gaelic radio can call on contributors from not just throughout the Highlands and Islands but from throughout Scotland, Britain, ­Europe and the rest of the world. Not all of these are Scots. There are Gaelic-speaking Germans, Americans and Canadians too.

At the 2001 Census, 6.7 per cent of the population of the Highland region were recorded as being Gaelic-speaking.

In districts such as Skye and
Lochalsh and Lochaber this figure will be significantly higher.

Archibald Lawrie (Letters, 25 February) is clearly wrong when he contradicts Claire Mills’ assertion that the language is spoken throughout the region.

It is thought that the number of Gaelic speakers will continue to decline for perhaps another 20 years but that they then should start to grow again. I regularly encounter, or hear on the radio, young people with total fluency in the language. Gaelic has its problems but it is not a dead language. It’s not even terminally ill. It will be spoken in Scotland years from now, long after Mr Lawrie and I are long gone.

It is, therefore, fit and proper for the Highland Council to spend money on the native language of that area; a language still spoken by a significant minority of its people.

Ronald Cameron


Fort William