Jump to content

Dundee gripped by gaelic fever


Reynard
 Share

Recommended Posts

Actually it was more a practical point.

If there are no monoglot Gaelic speakers left and, as appears to me, no significant literary legacy left behind then what would learning Gaelic allow an English Speaker to do that They can't do already?

It seems madness to spend time learning Gaelic that one could spend learning French or Mandarin.

It allows them to get in touch with Scottish Gaelic culture to a much greater degree than they would if they only spoke English.

Then there's all the benefits that learning any language brings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But what impact does that have on people's lives 1000 years later? Somewhere between exceedingly slim and none, I would have thought. The reality is that after only a few generations, the Gaelic speaking Scottish royal family went native in Lothian post-Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret and adopted Anglo-Saxon derived speech, which subsequently had a higher status in Scotland than it did in England where Norman French very much held sway post-1066. Chaucer was mentioned earlier in the thread. Try comparing the original lingo of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales with that of Barbour's The Brus and odds on you'll find the latter a lot easier to read because it's significantly closer to modern English as well as modern Scots. That's an angle that you will never see on a BBC history documentary, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to fit the preferred narrative in a Scottish angle either because middle class Scotland is still fixated with the whole phoney Highlands romanticism craze started by the arch-Tory reactionary Sir Walter Scott.

A middle class fixation with Highland romanticism? What utter nonsense.

No one is denying that (most brilliantly for us might I add) the Germanic tongue became dominant in the lowlands and gradually throughout the whole country.

All we're saying is that it would be a shame if Gaelic, an ancient language, were to die out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tbh yes, I was thinking more on a educational level in schools, £25m per annum seems quite a lot given current austerity measures across regional spending, for a language so sparsely used.

By all means include learning about the Gaels and their language in the curriculum, but I think it could be better spent in breaking current barriers within the education system. We talk about being a modern inclusive Scotland, but separate our kids at such an early important stage of their development.

Gaelic schools hardly promote a "divide". All the kids will be able to speak English and the curriculums are largely the same as far as I know. They aren't encouraged into some ideological belief as we see at religious schools. They also don't cost anymore than your average school and kids who learn in another language are shown to outperform monolingual schoolchildren. I don't see the downside tbh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re. Gaelic in East Lothian - I spoke to a local - Haddington - member of the Scottish Placenames Society some years ago who had collected a couple hundred Gaelic names in EL. Many were minor - aspects of fields or farms - but some significant ones still exist - Drem, Dunbar, Gullane, Ballencrieff (spelling?) and Garvald.

Ballencrieff - spot on. The most obvious Gaelic contender, in my eyes, with its Bal- start

I had a quick peek at the Scottish Place Names Society website - the fullest article I could find (dated 1920-something, links to any later material would be very welcome) mentions around 45 place-names. However, Scottish toponymy being what it is, many of the etymologies use the words 'probably', 'likely', etc. That doesn't invalidate a Gaelic derivation by any means but we're into best guesses rather than certainty.

The same article article http://www.spns.org.uk/watsloth.htmlalso suggests a 'window of opportunity' for Gaelic in East Lothian, from around 960 to 1100. It's definitely a topic that interests me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A middle class fixation with Highland romanticism? What utter nonsense.

...

All we're saying is that it would be a shame if Gaelic, an ancient language, were to die out.

On the first point have you ever seen the Tartan Army in action? The pseudo-Jacobite kitsch is a continuation of the Highland fad that Sir Walter Scott launched for King George IV's visit to Scotland in 1822, which was aimed at turning us into colourful natives that are deferential towards ancestral chieftains rather than dour Covenanters with bolshy ideas about the plebs having the right to vote and the King not being head of the Church of Scotland:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visit_of_King_George_IV_to_Scotland

On your second point, you do realise that I have been arguing that resources should be targeted at core Gaelic-speaking areas like the Western Isles rather than Lowland cities like Dundee, don't you? I have not been arguing that Gaelic should be allowed to die, quite the contrary. The key on survival for regional minority languages is usually letting native speakers set the agenda in the communities where the language is still spoken through the course of people's daily lives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually it was more a practical point.

If there are no monoglot Gaelic speakers left and, as appears to me, no significant literary legacy left behind then what would learning Gaelic allow an English Speaker to do that They can't do already?

It seems madness to spend time learning Gaelic that one could spend learning French or Mandarin.

Oisean/ Ossian is one of our mythological 'heroes' along with Cu Chullain, Fionn MacCumhail, Deirde and others. I guess it could've become our 'bible' - tribal folklore an aw that.

Yes, all Gaels are now bilingual - but it's the choice apart from the fact that most Gaels have English as 'an additional tongue'. Virtualy all Danes and Dutch speak perfect English. Why then do they persist with their own languages?

I have ability in 5 languages but I find that English and Gaelic are the ones I use on a daily basis therefore they are more useful to me than French, Certainly, according to linguists, there is no such thing as a 'useless' language. It depends on the person who wishes to er, use it,

Lastly, I find Scotland's linguistic past fascinating - Pictish (whatver it was), Norn, French, Flemish, Norse as well as Gaelic. Were Norn to have survived in Shetland then I would fight to maintain it too. We spend god knows what on museums of all sorts and we protect flora and fauna that's in danger - why not our cultural and linguistic heritage? Especially as Gaelic is still a living tongue, used daily by thousands of folk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ballencrieff - spot on. The most obvious Gaelic contender, in my eyes, with its Bal- start

I had a quick peek at the Scottish Place Names Society website - the fullest article I could find (dated 1920-something, links to any later material would be very welcome) mentions around 45 place-names. However, Scottish toponymy being what it is, many of the etymologies use the words 'probably', 'likely', etc. That doesn't invalidate a Gaelic derivation by any means but we're into best guesses rather than certainty.

The same article article http://www.spns.org.uk/watsloth.htmlalso suggests a 'window of opportunity' for Gaelic in East Lothian, from around 960 to 1100. It's definitely a topic that interests me.

There was a book - Watson I think - on the Celtic Placenames of Scotland. He looked at the placenames of the Borders - both Gaelic and Brythonnic and found more Gaelic placenames in Peebleshire than Brythonnic. Point being that everyone seems to accept that Brythonnic (Old Welsh) was spoken here, largely due to placename evidence but ignore the same evidence that points to long standing communities of Gaelic speakers in the same area.

Sure, it's a geekery that aint everyone's cup of tea but I find it fascinating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...