Central Belt ‘Imperialism’

“To me, what they call Scots is simply a variant of English with some of its own quaint pronunciations, “hooogly-doogly bitties” and different words. It’s hence no different from varieties of English spoken in Yorkshire, Northern Ireland or Northumberland, and simply one of the UK’s many different regional vocabularies and departures from received pronunciation….So if some campaign to promote Scots emerges, then apart from the pointlessness of wasting scarce public resources on a regional variant of the UK’s official language, please leave us out up here. If we have a local identity with any language other than English, it’s with Gaelic and we really don’t need subjected to any more central belt cultural imperialism. And that brings us possibly to the nub of this whole initiative. Is this promotion of Scots even a genuine attempt to do just that, or is it simply a cynical political device by a central belt-focused administration to impose some kind of pan-Scottish mentality?

UPDATE 13 September. The Inverness Courier then printed a couple of replies.

Charles Bannerman’s recent article disparaging the Scots language (Courier, 2/9/22) betrays at best a lack of knowledge, or at worst a deliberate form of cultural superiority. He ridicules and pokes fun at the language of Scots speakers by calling them “ridiculous” and “contrived”. While Charles may have the opinion that Scots is not a language and doesn’t need support or recognition, and is only a dialect worthy of being made fun of, the UN and EU have both recognised Scots as a language, as have the UK government and Scottish Government. Indeed the UN have placed Scots on a list of “vulnerable languages” and urged the UK and Scottish governments to act before the language is lost.

Peter Clark, Tornagrain

“I’m not sure quite what Bannerman’s point in his column on Scots is – for one thing, I’m not aware of anyone claiming that Scots is the language of the Highlands, let alone of Scots being the language of all Scottish people. It seems to me that he’s made the mistake of seeing the existence of AN identity as an attack on HIS identity. Pluralism is not a threat to anyone.” 

Niall Tracey, Stirling
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