Bella Caledonia and “The Right to Exist”

Bella Caledonia has been a decent platform for promoting Scots since 2015. Editor Mike Small has announced “Identity Language and Power“, a new series “exploring the use and assertion of language in Scotland and how it’s been politicised, attacked, undermined, devalued and promoted”. Looks promising.

What we’ll be looking for is a critical but supportive conversation and to avoid playing one language off another but instead enhancing cultural confidence; creating a forum for critical conversations; supporting practitioners and publishers; interrogating failure and cringe; examining radical plans for renewal.

Small’s pugnacious opening salvo A Right to Exist (which doesn’t display properly on WordPress for some reason) quotes at length Kelman’s famous 1994 Booker speech on his language, including,

I see it as part of a much wider process — or movement — toward decolonization and self-determination: it is a tradition that assumes two things: 1) The validity of indigenous culture; and 2) The right to defend in the face of attack. It is a tradition premised on a rejection of the cultural values of imperial or colonial authority, offering a defence against cultural assimilation, in particular imposed assimilation.

Sounds good, my only niggle being that to illustrate the article, a 1891 map was chosen that erases Scots!

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