Cadèmia Siciliana – Nae Académie? Dae it yersel!

Scots isna the ainlie tongue wi this issue…….

The Cadèmia Siciliana a nonprofit organization which was founded at the end of 2016 by a group of dedicated Sicilian language activists. Its mission is Sicilian language research, education and activism. “We would like, one day, to be considered an authority in the field of Sicilian language, like in example the Académie française for the French language or the Accademia della Crusca for Italian”.



Why no Minister for the Languages of Scotland?

Derrick McClure We require a fully qualified Minister for the Languages of Scotland, with the responsibility of ensuring that Scots and Gaelic receive their due recognition and support as national languages. How many more times must the case be made before the Government takes decisive action?

Letters: We need someone to protect both of our languages

CALUM MacLeòid is entirely right to protest at the inadequacy of the Scottish Government ‘s provision for Gaelic (Dè a-nis airson Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gàidhlig, The National, October 3), and to call for the establishment of a government official with real power, whose task is specifically to ensure that our indigenous languages have the recognised and inviolable place in education, the media and all official proceedings that they would have as a matter of course in most other European countries.

From the Forum:

But did it make any difference when Alasdair Allan was minister? It seemed to me that the debate was still dominated by the school of thought which considers Scots to be adequately served by an approach similar to that of James Robertson, of which a principle tenet is that the normal means of developing a language would be inimical to the Cinderella role which is conceived of as its value in linguistics, literature and education. Since the most influential voices in Scots adhere, by process of attrition and elimination, to this philosophy, it is almost axiomatic that any Government consultation on the matter would conclude that while Gaelic – however inadequately – is to be promoted as a language, Scots is to be promoted as a vague postmodernist social experiment in laissez-faire linguistic expressionism.

The point needs to be made that the “social experiment in laissez-faire linguistic expressionism”, being conducted by dilettantes who don’t actually use the language in normal life, is a clear case of language misappropriation.

Scots Language in Curriculum for Excellence

A quite remarkable follow-up report from the 2015 3-18 Literacy and English Review, published by Education Scotland and even earning an editorial in the Herald. The research identified good practice in using Scots in schools as part of CfE, with particular emphasis on the role Scots can play in developing literacy skills, encouraging learner engagement and their increasing confidence and self-esteem.

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A wide range of activities were observed in selected primary and secondary schools; Scots used in group discussion, analysis of speakers’ use of Scots, working with Scots in texts and some translation and creative writing. Teachers spoke to the class mostly in Scottish Standard English, using only occasional Scots phrases. However a small number of teachers spoke Scots to the class. Interestingly in these cases, “most children and young people spoke Scots in response, demonstrating their understanding of the teacher’s use of Scots and their own proficiency in using the language” (p5). Frequent use of Scots words helped learners increase their vocabulary and confidence in the language. They also thought it raised the status of the language, encouraged them to use it themselves and generally improved relationships in the classroom, “as a result of learners feeling their language was valued”.

What caught the eye was how Scots positively impacted on other areas (e.g. The Herald, 7 Sept 2017). Scots can assist learners develop the skills required for success in national qualifications in English. Most teachers agreed that the use of Scots can help to engage reluctant learners and the use of Scots “gave some lower-attaining children the confidence to take on leadership roles for the first time”. Teachers in one secondary school felt that allowing pupils to use Scots “removed the barriers to learning experiences for some, and created opportunities for them to access the curriculum”. The report found evidence that the use of Scots resulted in improvements in some lower-attaining pupils’ writing skills, motivation and behaviour. The report concluded,

“There is clear evidence to confirm the educational benefits of including Scots in Curriculum for Excellence. Scots can support children and young people to develop a range of important skills in literacy, including advanced reading and writing skills required for success in national qualifications. Scots as part of Curriculum for Excellence can support young people in developing their confidence and a sense of their own identity. It can help to engage learners whose mither tongue is Scots by making them feel more valued and included, and therefore more motivated to take part in lessons, to lead learning, and to achieve more highly” (p 7).

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