Friday, January 7, 2011

A healthy Scots tongue in 2011?

Bliadhna mhath ùr as you might say in the original and auld Scots' tongue. 2011 is shaping up to be an important year for our oldest indigenous language on many fronts. March sees the census taking place. Some are predicting a drop in the total number of Gaelic speakers though most agree that the rate of decline has slowed. There also seems to be a rise in the numbers of younger speakers, especially in areas with Gaelic medium units.

Gaelic medium education has been a huge success by any yardstick. There are still problems satisfying demand for it though and sadly some of these problems are caused by public 'servants' who do their best to hinder progress - and Edinburgh cooncil's anti-Gaelic harridan Marilyne MacLaren comes to mind here. Fortunately, anti-Gaelic bigots are thin on the ground though they are still vociferous enough. They don't really have any reasonable objections and resort to erroneous statements like 'Gaelic was never spoken here' (if one is being pedantic it could be claimed that Gaelic speaking monks reached the Northern Isles long before the Norse came - certainly they reached Iceland and the Faroes in their curraichean before the arrival of the Lochlannaich) and 'no-one speaks Gaelic'. Or else they harp on about tax-payers' money as if Scots Gaelic speakers have somehow evaded paying taxes for the past few centuries. If so, then i'm surely entitled to one hell of a fkn rebate. More usually, the bigots resort to abuse when logic fails them and tend to set out their stall with the likes of  'Punjabi mumbled backwards' or 'spoken by a few sheep-shagging crofters'.

Surely education enhances life and an education that leaves that person with two languages instead of one is excellent value for money. Leaving a child with only one language is a gross waste of his/ her potential and is a future of American-English monolingualism one that we should aim for?

On the bright side, Glasgow wants to go ahead with a second Gaelic school. The numbers of kids in the Western Isles in Gaelic medium finally seems to be rising though less than half of all kids there are in GME units or schools. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar however are still years behind their counterparts in Wales and the Basque Country on using and not just promoting their valuable heritage. Away from education, Gaelic is seen more and more in the arts - including galleries in Dùn Eideann. This month sees an attempt to get Gaelic in the charts for the first time in many years with Mànran singing Latha Math. Other contemporary Gaelic music is still being created by punks and indie rockers such as Na Gathan, Oi Polloi, An t-Uabhas, Atomgewitter and Sunrise not Secular. Dòl Eoin is another cool dude who seems to do more than just parrot old folk songs written by dead bards. Various types of courses for learners are now seeking new students in most corners of Alba. This included the ULPAN method which brings rapid competence in speech without resorting to complicated grammar lessons.

On the semi-legal front, 'shadowy' activist group Am Buidheann Dubh continue to decorate various parts of Scotland in a way not seen here since Ceartas did something similar in the 70s. If the Welsh can do it...

Gaelic cultural direct action.


Finally, the high heid yins at the BBC have finally seen sense and 'allowed' BBC Alba to be shown on Freeview. Deagh naidheachd gu dearbh.

So, if you're a non-Gael who's looking for a resolution for this bliadhna ùr then, I'd suggest (I'm allowed to be opinionated here after all. I mean, what else do you want to read in a blog? My latest IKEA purchase or what I ate/ drank at Xmas?) the following...
  • seek out your local ULPAN course or night class in Gaelic and learn it. Use the BBC Alba website, radio and tv to support your learning. Click here for info on ULPAN and other courses.
  • if you have kids - send them to the nearest croileagan or Gaelic school/ unit. If there isn't one, write to your council and demand it
  • support Gaelic arts - go and see Oi Polloi if your ears can take it and buy the Mànran single
  • stick an Alba sticker on your bike or car
  • use Gaelic names when using the post. Dùn Eideann instead of Edinburgh, Sruighlea instead of Stirling etc... the post-code will ensure it gets there anyway. Why just go with the flow if you don't need to?
  • if you meet Tory Hibee and Edinburgh Evil News slaverer/ jakie John Gibson, don't bother engaging him in arguments regarding his barely literate slaverings in the press, buy him a few drams, film the ensuing carnage and post it on You Tube.
Embrace diversity and fck conformity. Suas leis a' Ghàidhlig.

Link to the Scottish Government's census/ cunntas-sluaigh in Gaelic here.

1 comment:

Gun ainm said...

Sin thu fhèin, cum ort a charaid