Scotch speaker

For a number of years, about 50 years ago, I lived in North-west Sutherland and noticed the grandparents spoke Gaelic. The parents could speak it but rarely used it. The children could neither speak nor understand it. This shows that the language was already dying a natural death.

On the other hand, down here, I still hear Scotch spoken daily and use it much of the time myself. Before some ignoramus attacks me for using the name "Scotch",

they should note that in 1786, J Elphinston explained the difference between the terms "Scots" and "Scotch".

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"That Scots is only a plural or an appropriative, every Scotchman may now know; whether from Mary Queen of Scots or the Scots Magazine....The Scots and English tongues lost in the Scotch and Inglish, must emerge like the respective nations, with blended purity, in the British tongue."

As all my life I have spoken the same language as Robert Burns, who was busy writing at that time, I shall still call it Scotch.


Old Edinburgh Road

Newton Stewart

David McPhillips (Letters, 22 April) refers to the wrong country when he speaks of "white guilt". Apparently, this phenomenon afflicts those who seek to further Gaelic culture in Scotland. Was that not America in the 1950s? Black and white?

Perhaps he is thinking of an old Scots murderer. Or his wife:

"If he do bleed,

I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal,

For it must seem their guilt."

Today in Scotland, there should be no such feeling about backing all aspects of our nation's inherited cultural wealth.

Neither the language nor the people are dead. Mr McPhillips should get out more, spend some money, using his "secret" pin numbers. That'll teach him.

As for electing Liberals, that is another chance he'll have to take.


Granton Road