Language barrier

Bill McLean is kind enough to prove my point about the need for correct historical teaching in his letter (10 April). He misses the point that I made that the people of what was called Lothian were “English-speaking”. That they were called “English” in King David’s charters was an acknowledgement of their language. The English called Normans “French” in a number of post-Conquest writings because they spoke French.

Indeed, ironically, the sarcastic statement he made about other language groups does have some historical support. Although there is no doubt that the Gall Gaels (foreign Gaels) of the Western Isles and the folk north of Inverness were at one time regarded as Norwegians, as many of them spoke Old Norse (it only died out in the 16th century), equally, Highlanders were customarily referred to as “Irish” in the 18th century Lowlands because they spoke Gaelic, which was regarded as Irish at that time.

There has not been any large area of southern England settled recently by a majority of French speakers, though Norwich was at one time largely French-speaking. By that time, language and nationality had diverged, however.

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My point was that the LTS site set up by the SNP is misleading about the origins of a significant proportion of the population of Scotland. This is of crucial importance in understanding our own, genuine origins, however much it may conflict with tidy racial stereotypes clung to by Celticists and other groups who wish to reinvent Scotland and the Scots in their own, narrow, tribal tick-boxes.


Craiglea Drive