Gaelic critical

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Mr Andrew Gray tells us that Gaelic is not an “indigenous” language of Scotland, on the grounds that Old Welsh (he should have said British, the P-Celtic language that is the ancestor of Welsh) was spoken in what is now Scotland before the Gaelic speakers arrived here from Ireland. That is true, but it is also true that the P-Celtic language was brought here by speakers from continental Europe, superseding still earlier languages, of which, as with British, some traces remain in place names. Just how long, in Mr Gray’s view, must a language be spoken in a territory before earning the right to be described as “indigenous”?

It is also indisputably the case that it was the Gaelic-speaking kingdom of Dal Riada, and not the British or Anglo-Saxon-speaking areas, that was the nucleus around which the kingdom of Scotland took shape.

In any case, these historical discussions, interesting as they are, have no bearing on the present issue.

The situation here and now is that one of Scotland’s languages is in a critical state, unsurprisingly after centuries of sustained persecution, and requires urgent and determined action by central and local governments to ensure its survival. This would not even need to be argued in any other European country but Scotland.

Derrick McClure

Rosehill Terrace