Tongue tied

John Campbell (Perspective, 6 November), displays a level of naivety about language that beggars belief.

First of all, this country does not have a number of working languages. Overwhelmingly, and most usefully, it has one, ­English, and visitors speaking Polish, Urdu etc are well advised to integrate well by learning it.

Gaelic is a hobby language of little importance, whatever it might once have been. Mr Campbell is not slow about building himself up.

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The rest of us, he avers, do not have his understanding of something he has invented called “language planning”; positive language planning, says he, because “subtractive language planning designed to replace Gaelic and Scots with English was initiated by Scottish authorities more than 400 years ago”.

This is the worst imaginable kind of pseudo-academic tosh. He gives us even more from another Gael, Professor Kenneth Mac­Kinnon – “Linguaphobic Syndrome by Proxy”, which I would translate as roughly meaning “being unkind to Gaelic”.

I have news for him. Language is the most democratic of things. We do not have to plan it, because the people will use whatever language they find useful.

The government needs not and should not play any part in subsidising any marginal language, passing laws about it, promoting TV channels to promote it, or any such nonsense.

Crawford Mackie

Loughborough Road