Hating the Gaelic

to-kill-the-gaelic-languages-you-must-first-teach-people-to-dehumanize-and-hate-those-who-speak-the-gaelic-languagesFollowing a brief period of relative quiet the haters of Scottish Gaelic are back in full-swing, attacking new education legislation in Scotland which includes provisions to allow Gaelic-speaking parents to request Gaelic-medium schooling for their Gaelic-speaking children. The horror! From the Deadline News Agency, a press organisation with a certain reputation when it comes to reporting on Scotland’s indigenous tongue:

“PRIMARY schools will be forced to teach in Gaelic, even if their area has no history of using the language.

At present only 3,500 pupils across Scotland are taught their day-to-day lessons in the Gaelic language.

But a new law passed by the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday means councils across the country will have to provide an education in the language if a parent asks them to.”

Let’s just examine the above claim. The new “Education (Scotland) Bill” does not include any requirements forcing primary schools to teach in the Scottish Gaelic language, any more than they are forced to teach in the English language. Families who speak or who wish to speak the country’s minority vernacular will have the option to request their local school to access the feasibility of providing such eduction within their existing – and overwhelmingly, English – structures. Indeed the article itself goes on to admit as much.

“Among the many new regulations it contains is a ruling that all councils should provide a “Gaelic medium education” at primary schools should parents request it.”

This is hardly the revolutionary guard of linguistic equality storming the gates of the anglophone palace. More a case of them huddled at the gates and meekly seeking entry if everyone else inside is ok with it. In fact the full wording of the bill, not the carefully chosen snippets in certain media reports, is wrapped in regulatory caveats:

“Assessment requests
30 (1) A person who is the parent of a child who is under school age and has not commenced
attendance at a primary school may request the education authority in whose area the
child is resident to assess the need for Gaelic medium primary education…

(2) A request under subsection (1) must—

(a) relate to only one child (in this Part, the ―specified child‖), and
(b) set out, or be accompanied by, evidence that there is a demand for GMPE from
parents of other children who are—
(i) resident in the area of the authority to which the request is made, and
(ii) in the same year group as the specified child.”

This part of the legislation runs to some 200 lines of conditions and criteria before such requests can be granted. And again, for the dumb-fuck bigots out there, this is about tax-paying citizens and parents who speak or who wish to speak Gaelic requesting Gaelic-medium schooling for children who speak or who wish to speak Gaelic. No one in Scotland is forcing parents or children who speak English to be educated solely through Scottish. Talking of idiots-with-opinions, the Liberal Democrats’ MSP, Tavish Scott, pulls himself away from watching his plummeting polling numbers or planning constitutional secession to issue this moronic statement to the Shetland Times:

“Isles MSP Tavish Scott has accused the SNP-led authority of forcing the SIC to use a portion of its stretched finances to teach Gaelic in schools – despite a lack of Gaelic tradition in the Northern Isles.

“Once again, the Scottish government has refused to recognise that there is no tradition of Gaelic in Shetland. Yet Shetland Islands Council could be left in a position where it is forced to use some of its already stretched budget to fund Gaelic education.

“It’s time for the Scottish government to recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach to education is not right. Indeed, if the government were ever to look at Shetland’s historical language connections they would find that we have far more ties with Norwegian than Gaelic.

“Our primary school teachers are already helping pupils with languages. Languages for that the next generation need and want to learn. Forcing Gaelic on Shetland is not the right approach.””

Interestingly Tavish Scott has no problem with resources being spent on non-English language teaching in the Shetland Islands – just so long as it is not Scottish language teaching. Discrimination, it seems, comes in many forms and the electorally desperate rump of the Lib-Dems have pretty much embraced all of them in recent times. Perhaps if Scott was genuinely enamoured of Shetland’s Scandinavian heritage, rather than simply using it as a weapon to further segregate Gaelic-speaking men, women and children, he might adhere to the spirit of a Norwegian saying. Ett språk er aldri nok. Which simply means, “One language is never enough”.

 

This story was first published on An Sionnach Fionn.

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  1. Helayne says:

    Rock on Scottish-Gaelic speakers!

  2. Eachann says:

    Ironically, Tavish Scott is a fully paid-up member of the incomer Shetland lairdlings which carried out clearances of the native people in that county and saw to it that their brand of Norwegian became extinct

    1. Steven Johnson says:

      I think you’ll likely find that many of the parasitic SNP MSP’s plugging this measure are also from areas and families who helped damage gaelic.
      I’m with Tavish on this, we have more need of Danish, Swedish Faroese, Icelandic or Norwegian here in Shetland than we do Gaelic.
      If people don’t point out the slippery slope to enforced gaelic education NOW, then the next step will be an obligation to teach some and all classes in the medium.
      I’d sew more relevance in teaching Polish than gaelic.
      I don’t mind gaelic being promoted, in fact I encourage it, but, not where its never been.
      Shetland is one of those places.
      Why aren’t signs all across Scotland adorned with Shetland dialect words?
      Our culture is just as important as any other in Scotland.
      There’s roughly 25,000 people in Shetland, at the last count, roughly 60,000 Gaelic communicators, so surely we should get around 40% of the budget gaelic gets to promote our culture?

      1. Finlay Macleoid says:

        I can easily understand your viewpoint if you were also going to stop French, German, and Spanish being taught in your Shetland schools but this you allow without one single word of protest against any other language in your schools.

        Incidentally how different is Scots from the Shetlandic Dialect and why isn’t Norn or even Norwegian being taught in your schools or am I behind the times in this happening.

      2. Arthur Cormack says:

        Have you actually read the Education (Scotland) Bill or the article above?

        The new law does not force Gaelic on anybody, anywhere. It gives parents (and there would need to be four of them with an indication of ongoing support beyond year one) the right to request Gaelic education.

        Parental wishes in relation to education are long established in Scots law and this Bill strengthens the hand of those who wish Gaelic medium education for their children, by offering an assessment process. It follows, therefore, that if there is “no Gaelic tradition in Shetland” it is unlikely parents – 4+ in number – will be queuing at the door of Shetland Islands Council to demand Gaelic education. No demand = no assessment = no provision = no cost = no problem for you, Steven.

        Only if parents want Gaelic education for their children would there be an assessment and what gives anyone the right to dictate to a parent (‘petty’ of otherwise) how they should have their child educated?

      3. Tam says:

        You didn’t read the article properly did you ? Too busy composing a victim rant.

      4. Robin Stevenson says:

        Steven

        Could I suggest in the future that whatever mince Tavish decides to come out with, please take it with a large fist of salt? The ‘usual suspects’ of the Shetland Times forum, [yes you know who they are] unsurprisingly pounced on this nonsense, but if you’d care to scroll down to the more ‘sensible comments’ you’ll find their – and Mr Scott’s – fears are completely unfounded and subsequently trashed.

  3. kate says:

    during the last anti gaelic hysteria i remember reading wings over scotland’s timeline and being shocked by his unrestrained arrogance , rudeness and contempt for gaelic and for other people. a classic male bully. knowing so many indy people respected and still respect the person and some shared his views behind it that made me think indy campaign really overrated itself as new politics , as egalitarian, even as pro scottish. this anglomania has all been such a joke for people linked to an independence movt and is so bitter a sequel to all the discrimination the highlands has suffered over centuries. anti gaelic indy supporters should be deeply ashamed and they should not ask the highlands to vote yes in another referendum. they should shut up and stay away

  4. C Rober says:

    Must say though I do like their breaded mushrooms.

  5. JohnEdgar says:

    Suas leis a’ Ghàidhlig!

  6. Steven Johnson says:

    The law says where requested and words along the lines of where its needed, culturally etc.
    But, I’ve not heard anything about the appeals process nor who pays for the whole evaluation process?
    Why should stretched councils foot the bill for evaluating the need or to justify their decision when it comes to petty parents appealing the answer in the event its a no?
    Also, who makes the decision if there is an appeal, and, how are they going to make that decision?
    Will I be based on a “natural bias” toward making Gaelic available or will it based around the true justification for it?

    1. Arthur Cormack says:

      There is no appeals process in the Education (Scotland) Bill.

  7. Ewan Macintyre says:

    If Shetlanders wish to learn modern Norwegian, what is stopping them from learning it at evening classes? That way they can visit Norway and converse with Norwegians in a normal healthy manner.
    In this link (if it is allowed – maybe it should not be!) we discover the disturbing belief amongst some that Viking ancestry represented a purer form of Aryan inheritance:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212682113000310

  8. Pall Thormod Morrisson says:

    English language isn’t native to the Northern Isles, something Tavish Scott should educate himself about, nor is even Scots. They came far later. The first tongue was Pictish and then Norse. Gaels and Norse Gaels visiting would also have spoken Gaelic. So if he’s going to view Gaelic as a non native tongue there, then English and Scots are too. He can’t have it all one way.

    1. Richard McHarg says:

      Spot-on!

      Too many self-righteous diddies with little or no knowledge of history before the Anglicised version force fed to an unwitting public.

  9. Peter Clive says:

    Nuair a tha thu ann an tòir air targaid maoth, thoir an aire do na casan agad …

  10. Big Jock says:

    I have a child on the way and I will do my upmost to make sure they get a Gaelic option at primary School. Unfortunately it’s not something I was taught as a lowland Scot. Culturally I think I missed out.

    Every town in Scotland has a name with Gaelic origins , the same for all our mountains and the gaelic song tradition. When sung it can be a beautiful language and should be encouraged. Lets reverse the trend like the Welsh did , it can be done.

    I say this as a third generation Scot with an irish surname. As far as I am concerned Scots and Irish are interconnected. The Anglo Scots tried to cut off the connection and continue to do so with the death of Gaelic. Our Anglo Saxon neighbours have very little shared history with Scotland. The Act Of Union was political not cultural. Our language and people are our culture. It’s what makes us the nation we are.

    1. David Sangster says:

      I agree with you, Big Jock. I went to school in Inverness (class of ’56) which numbered among its pupils dozens of native Gaelic speakers, mainly from the Islands. Many of the townsfolk also spoke Gaelic. And yet there were no classes in Gaelic. What a wasted opportunity to promote the language for new learners, particularly with so many native speakers “on hand” to guide and support. As it was, I studied Latin for three years, which I don’t for a moment regret – but I don’t get much of a chance to speak it! Like you I think I missed out culturally. Regrets, I have a few…

  11. bill fraser says:

    Yet another total misrepresentation of the facts by misinformed media buffs whose sole intention is to ridicule a genuine attempt to give people the opportunity to express themselves in there way of life

  12. Alf Baird says:

    From the ‘Scottish Executive’ in 2007 (‘A Strategy for Scotland’s Languages’):

    • “As many people in Scotland as possible will be equipped with fluent English language
    skills.
    • The Gaelic language will be protected and promoted
    • The Scots language will be treated with respect and pride.”

    Tavish was a Minister in that ‘Executive’. Perhaps he voted for the ‘Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005’?

    The Scots language coud dae wi a peedie bit mair respect, e’en-haunditness mebbe. A ‘Scots Language (Scotland) Act’ fer a stairt!

  13. Pat Gunn says:

    We in Wales have seen this debate, and seen the haters, for well-nigh 50 years, and one of the things that’s been clear right from the start is that most, if not all, the anti-Welsh/anti-Gaelic brigade begin by telling us they’d rather learn another language (French , Chinese, etc) while eventually admitting they never did, nor even tried to, because someone who hates one language because they don’t speak it basically hates all languages apart from their own. So the ‘what use is it’? victim-rant defence is a red herring.
    In any case, the fact that some of you might find it ‘useful’ to know one of your native languages, to pronounce its place-names and generally to feel at ease with that part of your identity, is beyond them.
    Moreover, in Wales many non-Welsh-speaking parents want their children to be schooled in Welsh, so the idea of its being a minority ‘foisting’ it on us, or ‘ramming it down our throats’ etc is also a lie.
    Get used to the haters, I’m afraid they don’t go away, though take heart from the fact that do become madder and madder and more self-disenfranchisingly nasty and far-fetched, and thus easier to ignore.
    That Tavish Scott sounds like a tool.
    You can also stand by for a festival of Godwin’s law ranters bollocking on about ‘language fascists’ etc.
    In essence, fuck’em.

    1. DC says:

      And to add to the point, Pembrokeshire Council (then Dyfed) was put under pressure from parents who (ahem – read between the lines) wanted their children to have the benefits of being bilingual (a powerful argument for learning Welsh in Wales), but in a ‘useful’ language. Giving in to this ploy to avoid having children suffer the indignity of learning an ‘inferior’ language, the council actually set up a French-English bilingual primary school. After the initial flurry, the school closed – from lack of support.

      The demand for Welsh medium education is huge. The young people in Welsh-medium schools regularly perform better than their peers in so-called bilingual (i.e. English-medium) schools, and particularly in English and Mathematics. In spite of this, parents seeking or requesting Welsh-medium education for their children face a constant battle against entrenched anti-Welsh council officers and civil servants, so be warned. And it is always portrayed as an ‘extra cost’, a superficially powerful argument, when it only requires money that would otherwise be put into the less beneficial monoglot English system.

      Go for it guys.

  14. Tor MacKillop says:

    tavish scott is an opportunist who is now among those fighting for a list placing following the carmichael’s disgrace and his party’s journey to obscurity.

    Expect scott to try and mobile a core vote, so I am not surprised Gaelic is in the firing line. That’s not to say that Scott shouldn’t hide his head in shame.

    liberals in the party sense, are the most appalling bunch of people I have ever met, bar a few exceptions, the most annoying, worthless and petty man shat into this universe has to be willie rennie, bar none.

  15. Ramstam says:

    Aye, The native leid o Shetland isna Gaelic or Inglish but a dialect o Scots. Tavish Scott disna hae a guid record o staunin up for ony
    o oor hame leids.
    Wi the elections juist aboot on us
    Scott sees a chance tae tak awa the heidlines frae Carmichael (dae ye mind o him!) bi takkin an ablow the belt shot at Gaelic.
    Shuid we juist uphaud Scots or the Gaelic alane?
    Shairly aw Scots shuid ettle tae
    DAE BAITH !!!

    1. Finlay Macleoid says:

      Why does Bella Caledonia allow those who contribute comments to do so without their full names being put beside or above the comment?

      What does this tell us about the writers? Are they ashamed of what they have to say or is there some other reason?

  16. K.A.Mylchreest says:

    The original blog-post along with comments can be found here :

    http://ansionnachfionn.com/2016/02/05/hating-the-gaelic/

  17. Regarder says:

    While it’s a fair point to debunk the myth that this is somehow forcing Gaelic into Scottish schools, it’s only reasonable to give fair dues to the other side of the argument as well. The concern is obviously that language policies in schools, which should be based purely on what benefits pupils, start to reflect political positions rather than pure education decisions. I don’t think it’s bigotry to be concerned about that, albeit genuine bigots will tend to focus on the issue.

    In this case we have special status afforded to Gaelic in comparison to other languages and I don’t really see why that’s justified on pure educational merit. We know from the 2014 Scottish Government stats on this that the main home languages for pupils in Scottish schools (after English) are Polish, Urdu, Punjabi and Arabic, none of which are mentioned in the new Education (Scotland) Bill.

    Broadly speaking, is it really that far-fetched to think there are political undertones to the government’s policies on Gaelic? It’s a genuine concern in my view and I don’t think shutting down the conversation with accusations of bigotry is particularly beneficial. The threat posed by “anti-Gaelic bigots” is pretty minimal in my view – I’ve never met anyone who takes this further than muttering about rail signs, or using it as a stick to beat the SNP with. The threat of a government effectively capturing education policy for political purposes, however, is pretty large, particularly if we instinctively reject any criticism of them while they’re in office.

    1. Richard Keel says:

      It is not possible to draw parallels between Polish, Urdu et al and Gaidhlig. These languages all have significant use in their respective countries of origin.
      Scotland, however, IS Gaidhlig’s country of origin. We are this language’s one chance for survival. To prioritise incoming languages over our own would be a very dangerous move.

      That said, I would welcome moves to perhaps develop high-school level qualifications in the main incomer languages that reflect fluent-speaker level. In Gaidhlig, there are two Highers – one for learners (and is therefore comparable to Higher French) and one for fluent speakers (and is therefore comparable to Higher English).

    2. Squirreltower says:

      This always comes up, that it’s the SNP who for some nameless ‘dark’ reasons are promoting Gaelic. Why not accuse Mrs Thatchers Tory government (who I understand) set up the specific grant for Gaelic of a sinister agenda???! or the Labour Party who brought in the 2005 Gaelic Language Act, gosh they were up to some ethnic weirdness, those Labour politicians. Or maybe, just maybe all parties support one of the languages of Scotland, because it has merit, value culturally and is important in understanding the place we live? I do dispair, I love language, love going to places and hearing different languages like Breton or Corsu, why not Gaelic in Scotland? I am English and am trying to learn Gaelic, it’s rather beautiful.

  18. Lochside says:

    The anti-Gaelic haters are by and large Unionist divide and conquer followers. The bullshit perpetrated by Tavish Scott about Norwegian is risible. His forebears helped wipe out both the Norwegian settlers and their language. The Shetland dialect is mainly NORN i.e. Scots with Nordic intonation and some Nordic words. In fact the early Scottish gentry to rule the islands after the Norse were driven out were Gaelic speakers.

    Significantly Scots unionist and English settlers in the Northern isles, of whom there are many, want to instil the notion of ‘otherness’ from the rest of Scotland. The reason?…the aforesaid Brit tactic of divide and conquer…..and oil of course. Shetlanders and Orcadians are Scottish as much as folk from Gretna are. No amount of wishing will change that.

    All the Shetlanders that I ever knew came to the mainland of Scotland to work and study… how many went to Norway?…Next Tavish Scott will be telling us folk in Stranraer are really closer to being Ulstermen and women because of the ‘Cleyhole’ dialect, which is strongly influenced by ‘Norn Iron’ speech.

    The fact is Gaelic deserves to flourish as does Scots. Indeed in N.Ireland, it has been recognised that both Ulster Scots and Irish Gaelic are part of the shared history. Why don’t the ‘cringers ‘ in this country just away and learn RP so they can emulate their betters, the English upper class , you know the sound, as if they have their baws in their mooths, and give us all peace?

    1. Willie M says:

      Not sure about the otherness aspect. If you go to Aberdeen, for instance, there’s a pretty powerful sense of a distinct identity in relation to those in the central belt/west coast. Anecdotally I wouldn’t say these people are any less likely to support independence. In fact it appeared to me (as someone from Aberdeen) that these were the kinds of people most likely to support independence. That’s one of the strengths of Scottish identity – that it’s diverse.

  19. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    I have always been surprised by some of the people from whom anti-Gaelic opinions flow. The ones I am talking about are people who are usually very tolerant in their views, supportive of minority groups and open-minded. For example, one was a strong supporter of the provision of Urdu and Mandarin in a local school. This group includes people who are friends or respected colleagues, who are aware that, although not a Gaelic speaker myself, my entire ancestry comprises native Gaelic speakers. These are people whom I can count on for support on many matters. I have not managed to uncover a rational explanation. It seems to have something to do with a perception of some kind of Gaelic mafia in places like STV and BBC and privileges. I would welcome any thoughts on this anomaly.

  20. Redgauntlet says:

    The anti-Gaelic brigade are the brainwashed heirs and successors of the proponents of cultural genocide in the Highlands of Scotland who have been in ascendancy for centuries….

    …the defence and fostering of Scottish Gaelic is the duty of the Scottish government, the UK is signatory to the European Charter for Regional and Minority languages which is a pan European agreement which seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of Europe, of which Scottish Gaelic is an important part.

    All the nations of Europe have a duty and a responsibility under the Charter to protect the various linguistic strands of their indigenous culture with a minimum provision of services in such things as the media and education.

    These complete idiots who call for Polish to be taught in Scottish schools, who think that everybody should speak Chinese, who in short, reduce culture and language to utilitarian thinking, are the very definition of parochial… they fail entirely to understand Gaelic in a European or global context, and hark back to who spoke what in the Shetland Isles centuries ago, a matter of supreme irrelevance in terms of the question at hand…

    A definition of the Scots: a nation that managed to kill not one indigenous language, but very nearly two…a world record…

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “A definition of the Scots: a nation that managed to kill not one indigenous language, but very nearly two…a world record…”

      Aye, wha’s like us – naebody! Well worth quoting again. A ‘Scots Language (Scotland) Act’ is essential to get us back on track. It is not good enough for ‘Scots’ to simply be (sic) ‘treated with respect and pride’ (aye, richt!). As with Gaelic language, the ‘Scots’ language must also ‘be protected and promoted’.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        It has to come from the bottom up, Alf, not the top down…

        …I don´t see any hunger for a fully-fledged Scots in Scotland, I just don´t. If that hunger had existed, people would already be speaking the language, as opposed to what they actually speak, which is Scottish English with a wee bit Scots vocab thrown in…

        People are proud to have a Scottish accent, but few seem to care about the Scots language itself…it´s a lost cause IMO…. if it didn´t happen with MacDiarmid and the modernists, it isn´t going to happen now in the age of mass media….there will always be a happy resistance, but I would say it´s a dead duck.

        Gaelic has a much better chance.

  21. Redgauntlet says:

    Hugh MacDiarmid, not for the first time, puts the matter in a nutshell:

    “All that every other European nation strives at whatever cost to retain and foster means nothing to Scotland. The Scots attempt to compensate themselves in the fervour of their passion for what they willingly relinquish in actual fact. They have allowed their languages – Gaelic and Scots – and the literature in them, to lapse almost completely, though any European nation or national minority has fought most desperately to keep and use its distinctive language…”

    …quoted from MacDiarmid´s brilliant “Scottish Eccentrics”

  22. Finlay Macleoid says:

    While I understand that there are some people who are anti-Gaelic in Scotland and elsewhere be it on the education or broadcasting or any other front, I find it hard to accept that they wear or use the symbols or icons or items of identity from the Gaelic language, culture and heritage in any way, shape or form or the money that is made from them in taxation. Items such as the kilt, tartan, Bagpipes, Pipe-bands, touristic attractions, and so much more.

  23. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

    (Font & format test)
    þorsk trosc cod
    uaðil fadhail ford

  24. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

    Scottish Gaelic and Norse have much more in common than many might realise, both in pronunciation and vocabulary, particularly sea-related terms.

    A selection of examples are given below (it is difficult to anticipate exactly how Bella comment-formatting will present this list, so apologies for any garble) –

    OLD NORSE GAELIC ENGLISH
    akkeri acair anchor
    akkarsaeti acarsaid anchorage
    bátr bàta boat
    ármadr byrdhingr àrmunn birlinn “ship of burden”
    stýri stiùir rudder
    tøma taomadh pour
    topt tobhta house-site
    hladhamarr(vík) laimrig “landing rock”/ jetty
    stallr stalla rocky shelf
    boða bogha underwater rock
    klett cleit rocky eminence
    sker sgeir skerry
    bakka bac (sand)bank
    uaðil fadhail ford
    mǫl mol beach
    eyland eilean island
    hólmr tolm(an) islet
    gjá geodha cleft
    brókr bròg shoe
    dorg dorgh fishing-line
    langa langa ling
    þorsk trosc cod
    arsbag farspach gull
    skarf sgarbh cormorant
    baunir pònair beans
    knappr cnaipe button
    kr(j)úpa crùbadh to crouch
    klofa clobha tongs
    jarl iarla earl
    mál màl tax/ rent
    vindauga uinneag window
    nábúa nàbaidh neighbour

    1. K.A.Mylchreest says:

      Minor correction : (f)arsbag < svartbakkr literally 'black-back', it's the word for Greater Black-backed Gull.

      1. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

        Thanks. Interesting. My list is no doubt slightly ragged 🙂 . I love etymology but Norse is not my field at all. Insights and corrections appreciated.

    2. Finlay Macleoid says:

      Almost all these Gaelic words were used regularly as my father was a fisherman and we lived about a mile from cliffs with a very large number of (f)arsbagan .

  25. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

    Until recently the following text featured on the ‘Visit Shetland’ website:

    “The Romans came, saw but did not try to conquer. For the first 700 years of the Christian era this northern outpost of Britain remained in the hands of tribes who spoke a Celtic dialect. The richness of their culture is seen in monuments such as the Bressay Stone, the Papil Stone from Burra Isle and, above all, in the ornate silver hoard of the St Ninian’s Isle Treasure [….] And no-one can visit St Ninian’s Isle without a sense of wonder at what befell the Celtic civilisation of Shetland. The Viking invasion was so overwhelming that only a few Celtic place-names survived. Were the original Shetlanders slaughtered or were they merely enslaved and their culture eradicated? Archaeologists and historians are still arguing about it.”
    http://visit.shetland.org/archaeology (defunct original page link)

    The site has been relaunched as “SHETLAND: Pride of Place”. The equivalent of the above info is now very much less “sanglant” 🙂 –

    “By the 6th century AD, Shetland shared a Pictish culture with the north of Scotland, evident in carvings and inscriptions. Christianity spread to the islands. During the Viking invasions, beginning around 800AD, the Pictish culture was replaced by a Norse one.”
    http://www.shetland.org/about/culture

    “Despite many archaeological remains, we have only a patchy understanding of those who lived in Shetland before the Viking invasions of around 800AD. Immediately before the Vikings arrived, though, it’s clear that Shetland – like much of Scotland – was part of the Pictish culture….The Viking invasions began around 800AD. It’s not clear what happened to the Pictish peoples, though a few place-names suggest that they may have been forced onto some of the poorer land.”
    http://www.shetland.org/about/history

  26. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

    The article starts by quoting this malign nonsense from the ‘Deadline News Agency’:

    “PRIMARY schools will be forced to teach in Gaelic, even if their area has no history of using the language.”

    Apart of course from the pernicious distortion of using the word “forced” in this context, it needs to be continually reiterated that Gaelic has left evidence of its presence THROUGHOUT Scotland. I would draw attention yet again to the following link. Please scroll down to maps 4 and 5 and ponder the historical distribution of the Gaelic place-names “achadh” (“field”) and “baile” (“hamlet”):
    http://www.dsl.ac.uk/about-scots/history-of-scots/origins/

  27. David Lee says:

    I’d be keen to know how many Shetlanders who talk about having more connection to Norwegian can actually speak any?

    I’d guess about the same as the number of mainland Anglophones who become passionate supporters of Mandarin or Polish when Gaelic is mentioned.

  28. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

    I notice that on my wordlist comment above I inadvertantly used the Irish spelling (“trosc”) of the Gaelic word for “cod”, instead of the Scottish spelling (“trosg”).

    Which reminds me of a conversation once with a Norwegian acquaintance about the plethora of Norse names down our West Coast. I mentioned Tarskavaig (Gaelic: Tarsgabhaig) on Skye as an example. “Yeah,” he said, “Cod Bay”. [Old Norse “þorska-vík”]
    http://www.gaelicplacenames.org/databasedetails.php?id=341

    Another term on the list is “birlinn”, a kind of ship. Coincidentally, Alan Riach writes in today’s National about the famous Gaelic poem “The Birlinn of Clan Ranald” in his article ‘Not Burns – Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair’
    http://www.thenational.scot/culture/not-burns-alasdair-mac-mhaighstir-alasdair.13613

    Alan Riach also quotes Emeritus Professor Ronald Black:

    “The Scotland I want to live in is one in which the speaking of languages other than English is not seen as an affliction of the elderly but as a wonderful gift which benefits the individual and society as a whole. Basic Scots and Gaelic should be taught in every primary school. Advanced Scots and Gaelic should be available in at least one secondary school in every local authority area. Ultimately it should be possible for pupils in any part of Scotland to be taught Scots or Gaelic for the entirety of their educational career.”

    1. Alf Baird says:

      I’m both surprised and upset that ‘Language’ Meenister Alasdair Allan (and the SNP in general) has not yet brought forward a ‘Scots Language (Scotland) Act’ to follow on from, and give equality to, the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. Is he scared the msm would choke on their porridge? Surely this must be done to conform with international law, as was rightly the case with Gaelic?

  29. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

    I think it is important to appreciate a possible wider context to Tavish Scott’s reaction. As we know, there has been a longstanding Whitehall subterfuge to annex a compliant Orkney and Shetland, should either or both vote against Scottish independence while the mainland votes for. On the feasability of uncoupling from Scotland, note Scott’s agreement with co-unionist Carmichael in this Guardian article from 17 Sept 2014:

    “Shetland may reconsider its place in Scotland after yes vote, says minister”
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/17/shetland-may-reconsider-place-scotland-yes-vote-alistair-carmichael
    ——-
    As related background, here are the Shetland results for the various referendums (and it is worth observing that an influx of a couple of thousand new voters could swing Shetland one way or the other):

    1979 REFERENDUM: Shetland voted “NO”:
    2,020 votes for (27%)
    5,466 votes against (73%)
    50.3 % turnout
    ——-
    1997 (two question) REFERENDUM: Shetland voted a double “YES”:

    I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament: 5,430 (62.4%)
    I do not agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament: 3,275 (37.6%)

    I agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers: 4,478 (51.6%)
    I do not agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers: 4,198 (48.4%)
    Turnout: 51.5%
    ELECTORATE: 16,561
    ——-
    2014 REFERENDUM: Shetland voted heavily “NO”:

    Votes for “YES”: 5,669 (36.3%)
    Votes for “NO”: 9,951 (63.7%)
    Turnout: 15,635 voters (84.4%)
    ELECTORATE: 18,516.
    ——
    To further guess at the mindset of Scott and Carmichael, we should note the remarkable article by Magnus Linklater and George Rosie entitled ‘Secret plan to deprive independent Scotland of North Sea oil fields’ published in The Times on 14 Feb 2009, which included the following revelations:

    “Documents detailing secret government plans in the 1970s to prevent Scotland laying claim to North Sea oil have been seen by The Times. They show the extraordinary lengths to which civil servants were prepared to go to head off devolution, which was seen then as inevitably leading to independence.[…] Treasury officials also advised that the boundaries of Scotland’s coastal waters should be redrawn and a new sector created to “neutralise” Scotland’s claim to North Sea oil – a step that was taken. One Treasury official even proposed that a local campaign for independence in Orkney and Shetland should be encouraged so that Scotland would be denied access to more than half the North Sea oil. The idea was that the islands would prefer to throw in their lot with London rather than Edinburgh.[…] Graham Kear, under-secretary at the Department of Energy […] wrote: “If Scotland and the Orkney and Shetland Islands are both regarded as states, separate from the rest of the United Kingdom, median lines can be drawn to divide the United Kingdom Continental Shelf between Orkney & Shetland/ Scotland and between Scotland/ England. One way of doing this, according to civil servants advising Anthony Crosland, the Environment Secretary, would be to realign the subsea border between Scotland and England, so that it ran northeast instead of east.”
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/scotland/article2631810.ece

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