Gaelic and Scots

Is language politics ‘divisive’?

Events in Catalonia apparently have put the wind up the establishment in Britain as much as in Spain. The Guardian, for example, the English liberals’ sacred text remains extraordinarily pro-Madrid, as it was loyally pro-London against Scottish autonomy in 2014.

Whenever natives get restless root causes are sought. Resistance can never be simple democratic desire for popular self-determination; there must always be deeper – probably irrational – reasons for the insubordination that only the establishment’s best analysts can uncover. Magnus Linklater points to language as the culprit (“Language is an important but divisive force” (Times 30 Oct 2007).

Linklater’s focus is on Gaelic, Scots is as ever ignored, but his target is linguistic diversity. “Just take a look at Catalonia, where since the early 1980s the “immersion” system in schools has transformed Catalan from an archaic Latin-based tongue, once suppressed by Franco, into the official language of the nation”, adding, “As a consequence it has become a divisive force.  For those who want to stay part of Spain, it is the language of nationalism and separation; for those who back independence, it is simply the expression of who they are”. Belgium and Northern Ireland are given as further examples of linguistic strife.

Pavel Iosad (2017), a linguist at the University of Edinburgh takes issue, “The rhetorical contrast between ‘archaic Latin-based tongue’ and ‘official’ language of the nation makes no sense. Why bring in ‘Latin-based’ at all — after all the majority language in the Catalan situation is the equally ‘Latin-based’ Spanish. And note the non-modernity trope again — how is Catalan ‘archaic’?”, explaining ”on the scale of how much it has changed from Latin it is roughly at the same stage as Spanish”.

Iosad describes Lainklater’s claim that language is ‘divisive’ nature of language as, “the nub and the ground zero of projection”, explaining,

“Here’s the thing: people speak a language because it’s central to who they are, or who they want to be, and there is absolutely no logical necessity that it should align to constitutional preferences. There are Spanish-speaking nationalists, and there are Catalan-speaking unionists. Minority languages are not spoken to spite the unionist majority. To say that Catalan was made divisive by immersion education feeding young nationalists, in the same breath as noting it was suppressed by Franco, honestly beggars belief. To blame the people who fought for the right to be educated, and live their lives through their own language, a right that was denied to them, for being divisive, betrays an unwillingness to step away from the majority’s view of minorities as a needy nuisance”.

Iochd! (Jings!)

Aye guid tae see a bittie o Scots-Gaelic thegither.

Lochd! Mo chreubhag! Dìgean mise! Oor Wullie’s adventures set to be translated into Gaelic – The Sunday Post

For the first time, our iconic cartoon character – or Uilleam Againne as he might now be called – has been translated into Gaelic. A new version of the Oor Wullie annual is set for release later this month. Gaelic publisher Cuilean Craicte spent a year translating some of Wullie’s classic strips.

According to one Scots Language Forum member, ”Jings”, “Crivvens”, and “Help ma Boab” ar aw whit they cry “mince’t oaths”, i.e. “Jesus”, “Christ”, an “Help me God”. Hou div they wark in Gaelic? Ar they mince’t oaths anaw? In the bygaun, A like Radio Cabrach’s minced oath, “God Aulmeldrum!”.

A Gaelic speaker also noted a mistake in the article, “I suspect “Lochd” is a confusion, and they meant “iochd!” (but just misread the capital I as a lower case l) — that’s *probably* minced (from “Ìosa” for Jesus)”.

Scots intae Gaelic; Gaelic intae Scots

Lairnin (kinna slaw-like) the Gaelic an cam across this wee buikie that haes a braw leet o 600 wirds that are awfie seemilar in Scots an Gaelic.

Dinna ken if they’re Gaelic-intae-Scots or Scots-intae-Gaelic, but shaws there mibbies muckle mair owerlap atween the twa tungs than aither Scots-speakers or Gaels are that awaur o. Here a fyow fae the leet that lowpit oot fur me…..

siccar/sicir, roup/rop, brock/broc, poke/poc, barra/bara, creel/criol, baist/beist, braw/breagh, dunt/dunt, keelie/gille, stot/stot, breeks/briogais, thrang/trang, bannock/bannag, cowp/cop, kebbuck/ceabag, cloot/clud, footer/fuidir, girn/gearan, crack/cracas, neuk/nuic, coorse/cursa, craitur/creutar, croon/crun, gowk/cuthag, press/preas, glaikit/gliogaid, dowf/dubh, airt/aird, stank/staing, snod/snod, stoor/stur, bree/brigh, fairm/feirm, faut/fat, ingle/aingeal, flooer/flur, puddock/putog, yet/g(h)eata, dour/duibhir, groset/groseid, creeshie/creiseach, grund/grunnd, loof/lamh, bing/beinn, brae/braigh, roch/roc, oor/uair, wheesht/eisd, peewit/pibhinn, sneck/sneag, howk/thog, sonsie/sona, maister/maighstir, smeddum/smideam, sodger/saighdear, scoor/sgur, totie/tiota, burn/burn, speerit/spioraid, stob/stob, sclaff/sglabhart, birse/biorsadh, caird/ceard, trauchle/draghail, pechin/piochan, partan/partan…

Gaelic Wordbook (Chambers’ Mini Guides S.)

Buy Gaelic Wordbook (Chambers’ Mini Guides S.) by Adam, James S. (ISBN: 9780550200723) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.



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