English Roadsigns: a Waste of Public Money?

Over the past few years, the rise in support for an independent Scotland coupled with an increasingly reactionary approach to Scottish culture from hardline unionists has brought many deep rooted anti-Gaelic sentiments to light. These sentiments are often based on ideas that have been promoted historically which are grounded in an outdated, discredited narrative designed to undermine the role that Gaelic has had to play in the development and identity of the Scottish nation.

The antagonism towards Gaelic has, of late expressed itself in increasingly outrageous and fantastic ideas like Gaelic being a ploy created by the SNP to promote nationalist sentiment, but more often than not it expresses itself as complaints about the amount of money being spent on the language. My immediate response to this sentiment is always the rhetorical question ‘well where are all the Gaelic millionaires then’? There are plenty of English speakers who have made their fortune from public cash so why not Gaelic? Are we an inferior breed of people, unworthy of being successful?

It will require a lot more investment of public money if Gaelic is to be salvaged from the jaws of the global monoculture, and looking deeper, the argument is never really about the amount actually being spent, but whether Gaelic is worth saving or not. True, money has been spent unwisely in the past, but Gaelic encompasses a language, a culture and a people who are just starting to recover from several hundred years of suppression which has resulted in the death of the language in most parts of Scotland in which it was spoken naturally within the past few generations.

These areas include the better part of Alba (Scotland) stretching from Dùthaich ‘ic Aoidh (Sutherland) and parts of Caithness in the north to Argyllshire, much of Perthshire, Rosshire, Invernesshire, some of West Dunbartonshire and Stirlingshire, parts of Aberdeenshire; even Aryshire – Gaelic still having had a foothold in the isle of Arran until the 1970s. Not to mention the many urban Gaelic communities that developed as a direct result of the destruction of rural Gaelic Scotland and the subsequent migration of Gaels to the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

One of the top grievances of the ‘it’s deid anyway’ brigade who seem to be able to have completely ignored the thriving and growing culture of the Gael in 21st century Scotland is that there are now so called ‘Gaelic roadsigns’. In some of the areas mentioned above it has been the policy of local governments for some years now to give place names in both Gaelic and in English and these signs appear with the Gaelic written in Celtic green, the authoritative English name being given in bold black.

Arguments against these bilingual signs have been numerous; from letters sent by angry motorists to newspapers complaining about ‘alphabet soup’ putting drivers off, to articles in respected Scottish newspapers by journalists who aught to know better which argue that these signs are a ‘waste of public money’. Having gone through most of my adult life dealing with the ignorance which stems from the linguistic triumphalism of monoglot British, English speakers; an ignorance which manifests itself in many guises, from online abuse to the ‘what’s the Gaelic for helicopter’ mantra I’m sure most Gaels have had to endure, these anti-Gaelic expressions regarding roadsigns come as no surprise.

Anti-Gaelic sentiment has its roots in a deep seated fear within Scottish and British society of the outsider Gael; the picture painted by John of Fordun and others from the medieval period onwards of bloodthirsty barbarians who perform bestiality and are without law or civility. These ideas are tied into the growth of the exclusively Anglo-Saxon speaking community in Scotland juxtaposing itself with the earlier, long established Gaelic one. This can be seen as an example of what is known in post colonial theory quite simply as ’othering’ and most cultures endemic to their landscape worldwide now fighting for survival have had to endure this same phenomenon.

The names given to places by those who have dwelt in them for millennia are deeply rooted in both the history and the cosmology of those people. Often they contain clues regarding the natural ecology of the land they describe ie. Ceann a’ Ghiùthsaich (Head of the pine forest; a reference to the ancient Caledonian pine forest which once covered much of the country) appearing in English as Kingussie. Sometimes place names reference our history and can tell us much about where we came from ie. Dun Breatann, Englished to Dumbarton meaning fort of the Britons, a reference to the Northern colonies of the Brythonic people who I believe flourished in Strathclyde following the building of the short lived Roman, Antonine wall. Gaelic place names like Caol Acain (the narrows of King Haakon), Englished to Kyleackin also incorporate the history of the Scandinavians who after holding the sway of power in much of the Hebrides eventually turned to the Gaelic language and culture of the land they had colonised.

More importantly Gaelic place names actually mean something. They describe the place in question usually very precisely and their sound, when heard is often similar to the English versions which generally came about as a result of monoglot English speakers, having been contemptuous and unwilling to attempt the Gaelic pronunciation corrupting them to their current, meaningless, soulless form. Sometimes the English place name will bear no resemblance to the Gaelic one whatsoever and can be a directly imposed change such as Fort Augustus (Cille Chuimein in Gaelic), renamed after the Duke of Cumberland who oversaw the slaughter of thousands of Gaels on the battlefield of Culloden.

The loss of indigenous place names throughout the globe helps to create the void we all now feel whether wittingly or unwittingly between us, our ancestors, our landscape and many other factors which enter into our understanding of our surroundings and our natural place within them. This trend can only be seen as having a negative effect on our society, promoting the triumphalism of the English speaking monoculture which still spreads across the globe obliterating the songs, stories, languages and ideas of those who peopled the sacred earth with love and respect since time immemorial.

With this in mind it makes great sense to turn the question often posed by the adversaries of the Gael on its head and ask ‘are English roadsigns a waste of public money?’

My home village, Baile Chaolais, which means the village of the narrows is Englished to Ballachulish. The English version of the name and others like it which sound strange to the non-Gaelic ear is often ridiculed with undertones of its natives being backward, after all, who would have lived in a place where even the name sounds completely ridiculous. To the outsider, Gaelic is a thing of the past here; It is as if my great grandfather, Seumas Uilleam Thòmais who according to my grandmother, couldn’t speak much English didn’t really exist and like the Highlanders depicted in Outlander, most probably think people here ran about the hills speaking English with Fife accents.

The nearest town is Fort William, known as Baile Mhàiri or An Gearasdan to a select few locals who have been fortunate enough to be exposed to the native culture of the area. As an English and latterly a British fort it was at one time, the epicentre of the suppression of the Gaels in the West Highlands and was named after none other than William of Orange, the victor in the struggle between kings which lead locally to the massacre of a whole community of those who had peopled Gleann a’ Comhann (Glencoe) for countless generations.

With this in mind isn’t the very existence of English versions of our place names downright offensive? Wouldn’t public money be spent far more effectively by helping to obliterate the use of this legacy of colonialism by getting rid of bilingual and English roadsigns? They are, after all a complete waste of public money and are a down right danger to the public.

The truth is that Gaelic roadsigns are a threat to those who wish to see the highlands remain a placid, subjugated region of North Britain with no evidence of the outlandish, foreign natives apart from the unpronounceable names of mountains; and even some of those are now popularly renamed amongst those outdoor enthusiasts who use them for leisure pursuits. God forbid a visitor or even a resident may have to actually attempt the pronunciation of a place name in the language of the land they are in, but then again these people probably think that Perth, Australia has always been called Perth or that Calgary, Canada has always been named thus.

Let’s keep the roadsigns Gaelic and get rid of these ridiculous Englished versions of our place names which mean absolutely nothing and have no value other than an enshrining of attitudes which saw a whole culture and people decimated by the same colonial attitudes which continue to destroy the indigenous cultures of our planet worldwide today.

Comments (51)

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  1. Welsh Sion says:

    Warm greetings, support and best wishes from a mother tongue professional Celtic (Welsh) linguist, language campaigner, national party member and human being.

  2. John O'Dowd says:

    Superb. Brilliant idea (says me with a Gaelic surname anglicised out of meaning).

  3. Charles G M Stuart says:

    My own and many other families descend from the west of Scotland.
    Gaelic was a very important part of their lives and culture, as is the Scots accent itself.
    As a child, my Scottish accent was deemed “unfit” and therefore “unemployable” in England, when attending school, and it was literally forced out of my dialect by constant correction, and punishment.

    Take pride in your heritage. You have nothing to fear from the Gaelic language, except perhaps your children’s curiosity, who may well become the next generation to speak the language.
    Sainte

    Tearlach

  4. Catriona Grigg says:

    Well said!

    There’s a connection between the language issue and the current controversy over the proposal to develop a golf course sympathetic to the environment on Coul Links behind Embo village (Eurbol ann an Cataibh). The locals see the opportunity to boast the east Sutherland economy and manage a area we all love which is sadly neglected because of the cost involved. Invasive species such as whin and mares tail are invading. None of the protestors whether individuals or NGO’s are willing to put up money to manage the links to retain its beauty. The developers plan will do this.
    But then what do we know? We’re these strange people who remember when live was even harder than it is today with no water supply, no foul water drainage, no pier for our fishing boats and when our grandparents spoke that uncouth language called Gaelic. The miracle is we’re still here as will be the ducks and geese in the years to come.

  5. Daibhidh says:

    In reply to the “What’s Gaelic for helicopter?” mantra, I would respond with “What is English for helicopter?” since it is a combination of two Greek words: helix- spiral and pteron – wing.

    And mantra is from Sanskrit…

  6. DaveM says:

    I like this idea. Having spent an increasing amount of time in parts of Scotland which have bilingual roadsigns, part of the fun of going there comes from ignoring the English translation and trying to work out how to pronounce the Gaelic placenames. The friend I travel with once asked me how Caol Loch Aillse would be pronounced, so I simply told her that Kyle of Lochalsh was merely an English ‘translation’ of the sounds of the words.
    I want more Gaelic visibility across the country, so let’s have bilingual signs with Gaelic more prominent than English. Let’s teach kids Gaelic in school from an early age (given the clear cognitive and educational benefits of growing up bilingual). Let’s also give adults more of a chance to learn the language (given the clear cognitive and mental health benefits of learning languages in adulthood). Let’s promote BBC Alba and extend its coverage. Let’s get more Gaelic into our wider cultural experience. Let’s foster wider cross-cultural links with the Irish Gaelic-speaking community. There are tremendous opportunities to be taken from embracing Gaelic, so let’s do that as part of a wider process of self-discovery.

  7. Gordon Cuthbertson says:

    Well done Griogair, S’math a rinn thu

  8. Ewan Scott says:

    Like many families, Gaelic was not spoken when the houshold moved to the Central Belt. It was considered a sign of stupidity to speak Gaelic, so English was spoken.

    The British have spent 300 years trying to eradicate Gaelic and the culture that goes with it. Scotland and the Scots must realise that the future of the country and the culture of the country is closely tied to its Gaelic and its dialects.

    The retention of Gaelic placenames is a start. The reintroduction and expansion of Gaelic and Scots history/ legend and myth is another.

    What is English for bungalow?

  9. T roz says:

    This is the best article I have ever read on Bella, brilliant.

  10. Mark Kinnon says:

    The real point of all the above is that English has been spoken since
    the 6th Century in Scotland. Not all of it but quite a large piece.
    Modern Scots dates back to the first Angle invasions at this time.

    Incidentally whilst parts of Scotland were English speaking, parts of
    England were still Celtic speaking eg West Yorkshire Kingdom of Elmet
    and part of Cumbria.

    To sum up English has been spoken for longer in Edinburgh than in Leeds.

    Nick Higham has written an excellent book on the history of Northumbria.
    (The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100)

    Culled unedited from:
    http://gd.tuwien.ac.at/faqs/allfaqs/soc.culture.celtic/soc.culture.scottish_FAQ

    1. Ailean Mòr says:

      Well compared to Gaelic , the region of the country that incorporated Northumbria was pretty insignificant. The Anglo Saxon based dialects of Scotland are valuable indeed but replaced Gaelic mainly as a result of attempted cultural genocide by successive generations of bigots and hate mongers attempting to destroy the fabric of the oldest aspects of Scottish society.

      1. Allan Thompson says:

        Just evolution of of language, not genocide hyperbole.

  11. K.A.Mylchreest says:

    ‘S toigh leamsa 🙂

  12. Tam Black says:

    I’d love to see more Gaelic on road signs… as well as Gaelic treated equally to ‘English’ (or phonetic English-Gaelic). (Incidentally, I’d also be up for having Welsh on signs around the Lothians and Strathclyde – assuming the Cumbric-based names are translatable to modern Welsh).

    I went to Harris and Lewis for the first time recently and was fascinated by the ‘cline of apologeticness’…
    e.g.
    no Gaelic around Callendar
    a bit further north you start to find Gaelic – but it’s in green and below the English
    by the time you get to Skye it’s above the English – but still in green
    by the time you get to Harris and Lewis it’s above the English and in black! Boom.
    On the drive north it’s exciting (as a Gaelic learner), but it’s sad on the way back.

    I used to think the pseudo-Gaelic names should be corrected into ‘proper’ Gaelic, rather than have English-speaking map-makers errors up on the signs. But recently I’ve been doing a course on Gaelic landscape, culture and landscape and one of the tutors pointed out that we would lose aspects of Gaelic heritage by correcting the pseudo-Gaelic on signs. For example, he said the difference between Garvald (Garbh Allt), in East Lothian, and Garwold, in Dumfries and Galloway, corresponds to differences in ancient Gaelic dialects and shows their distribution. There are probably numerous similar examples of information that would be lost…
    Possibly worth it. Hard to be sure.

    1. catriona grigg says:

      I’d like to thank Asda for the Gaelic signage in its car park in Tain. It helps me as a learner become familiar with the phrases used and I know there are plenty of Gaelic speakers around. It is treating Gaelic as a language used in the area which few others do.

  13. Sinead Nic an t- Sealgair says:

    Tapadh leat a’Ghriogair!

  14. Tam Black says:

    testing, testing (I wrote a nice comment that hasn’t appeared)

  15. Nathan says:

    Disagree entirely. A language is supposed to increase the number of people with whom you can converse and I just don’t see that being the case with Gaelic.

    Given the number of Gaelic speakers, this will not broaden anyone’s horizon.

    If it were a useful language, there would be no need to ensure its continuance in such a contrived manner as it would be alive and well in those who speak it. Evidently that is not the case.

    1. Edouard says:

      Language is not only about flat translation, it is also about cognition, and the way we understand the world and it’s concepts. Volume of speakers is of course an important variable, but letting die a language is unacceptable.
      It is like an endangered specie.
      It is a treasure that belongs to humanity. A language is far more important than a simple vehicule of words. It is the information that it contains that maters. Bringing attention to it on road signs, might seem unpractical, unclear or useless to a vast majority of audience, but it is part of the land history and origins. If you complain about them, it is like complaining about the weather. Without the rain, Scotland wouldn’t be itself, no ? I know to little about the historical and political side of Gaelic language, and I am neither Scottish nor English, but it seems your comment can apear hurtfull for those who had to fight (and died) not so long ago to protect their right to speak in their own languages. Contrived manner it doesn’t seem to me; but a brilliant, almost free advertising to millions of tourists and roadtrippers every year.

    2. carthannas says:

      I feel really sad for you, you really haven’t understood a word of the article.

    3. Peter C McGeeney says:

      Well said Nathan. So few people speak that silly wee language (about 1% of the population) that it’s useless as a means of communication and should be confined to the dustbin of history.

  16. Howard says:

    There’s anti-Gaelic feeling now is there? I was just telling all those Gaelic speakers on the bus this morning that they should bloody learn English if they want to live here 😉

    Good luck to people wanting to keep the language alive but this article is just using Gaelic as a proxy for nationalism (small ‘n’).

    1. catriona grigg says:

      Nonsense!

  17. SleepingDog says:

    If you want to decolonise roadsigns, replace Imperial measurements with metric (Système international (d’unités)) which are meaningful in a universal sense, since they relate length to mass to time and so forth. This will be welcomed by visitors from Europe and beyond, although if the English elect to go back to furlongs and leagues it might cause them some confusion.

  18. carthannas says:

    Math fhèin a Ghriogair!

  19. Pepsi and Shirley says:

    There is some truth to what is stated here. However there is some misrepresentation and hyperbole. Very few of these ‘nouveau-advocates’ of the Gaelic language are true advocates of the Highlander. Case in point: The West Highland Free Press. No people’s ‘struggle’ is led by people from out with them – if that is the case solutions are ‘imposed.’ And please note Brian Wilson was vociferously against independence.

    Are Highlanders and their communities centre stage in the ‘revival’ of the Gaelic language? No. This provides a clue as to why those of a Gaelic/ Highland background are not at the forefront of campaigns for road signs. Road signs are inanimate. What is the point in a Gaelic road sign in a place with bad roads, poor communication, jobs and where everyone leaves for education? Why are learners of Gaelic fighting for Gaelic services but then show little interest in Highlanders? Anyone in a leadership/ artsy job/lecturers job/government job is usually a learner. They have never been called a ‘teuchter.’ It is intriguing that the power structures of our society have been replicated in this ‘language revival’ movement. Many of these learners venerate the past and do not feel comfortable with the modern Highlander. That campaign by ‘Misneachd’ against the National Museum of Scotland was so pompous and overblown I felt embarrassed at the tactics and language used. The ‘oppression of our’ people chat is just disgusting appropriation.
    If they had simply refuted the content in a factual way and supported it with evidence that would have engaged the public. They presented themselves as ‘Gaels’ -which mostly they are not. And the case was filled with such overblown hyperbole I felt embarrassed at the use of expressions such as ‘my people.’

    Learners also gain a position as experts and are reported as such in the mainstream press. I just see learners communicating with learners. Often they feel uncomfortable with islanders because it chips away at their feeling of being ‘expert’ in their now-found knowledge. Learners too feel deeply uncomfortable with the sharp cynicism of islanders who know what it is and can see where it is all going. The Gaelic people have been once and for all pushed out of our own language by language ‘revitalisation.’ We’ve seen it all before.

    1. Ailean Mòr says:

      Most people I know who are involved in trying to do their bit for Gaelic are, like Griogair, from Gaelic backgrounds. There were a good few of the folk who turned up at the national museum who were native Gaels from the Hebrides.. and besides, if it wasn’t for learners we wouldn’t have a decent Gaelic dictionary, a Gaelic college or anything positive. ‘Let it die’ the choice of the bitter, colonised cop out who is too self important to aknowledge the hard work of those who actually care.

      1. Pepsi and Shirley says:

        Griogoir is NOT from a Gaelic background. He is not recognised as such by people who ARE from a Gaelic background. The ‘colonised opt-out’ is the most patronising form of words I’ve heard in a long time. In fact it’s insulting. My opinion as a person who grew up in a Gaelic speaking home should be held in higher esteem than a learner. Yes I am ‘self-important.’ You bet. I’m educated enough to be and grew up steeped in it. I’ve sat at Bord na Gaidhlig presentations and cringed. The colonisation that’s gone on is the fact that almost everyone who decided to ‘learn’ Gaelic now gets to be a professor/ expert. Why aren’t people from the islands leading this ‘revitalisation?’ No one from an island would ever recognise themselves as this. I grew up steeped in the Gaelic language. I have zero interest in the mangled version of the language which Gaelic has become. Imagine if I learned Cherokee and rocked up on a reservation as a University Professor. It is all wrong. And the Gaelic community – and by that I mean islanders from the Outer Hebrides are pretty united in this view. A colonised opt-out! I’m a highly educated fluent Gaelic speaker who knows the language and culture inside out. I’ve hear people who attended Sabhal Mor Ostaig flagrantly misusing the language of post-colonial studies. It’s time they were stopped. All of them. It has become fairly commonplace that ‘learners’ of the Gaelic language behave like a kind of beyhive. That has nothing to do with real debate or progress. It has nothing to do with including nuanced opinion. It has to do with their limited delusions and self-regard.

        1. Ailean Mòr says:

          Em.. You obviously don’t know Griogair or haven’t done your research. His background is about as Gàidhealach as anyone I know. On both sides of his family.

          1. Pepsi and Shirkey says:

            I don’t need to research a language I speak. You don’t speak Gaelic. I do. I didn’t learn it in evening classes. Be quiet and go away.

  20. Allan Sutherland says:

    Personally I’d find it much easier to say “Kingussie” with a mouth full of Bannocks than Ceann a’ Ghiùthsaich (Head of the pine forest; a reference to the ancient Caledonian pine forest which once covered much of the country) “.
    And a lot less angered at SNP cuddly fascism.
    To be serious this is one important reason why 55% of Scots voted against independence.

  21. Bluesnaw says:

    Why did the author write an article about the importance of the Gaelic language over English in English and not Gaelic? Have I missed something?

    1. Catriona Grigg says:

      Maybe to show English speakers what they’re missing! Even the Anglicised version doesn’t stop folk saying ‘Kin gussie’. There’s a lot of Scots, myself among them, who feel deprived of part of their heritage because we can’t speak the language. Why can’t we speak it? Simply because our grandparents were indoctrinated to believe that only by speaking English could their families progress in this world. So it wasn’t spoken in front of their sons and daughters who only got a few words from their grandparents. Here in Sutherland it’s particularly poignant. So many shepherds and estate workers were imported from the lowlands and England to look after the sheep brought in so that the landowners could get a better return from their land than they could if the ‘natives’ were left in place. No wonder the ‘natives’ felt they must learn English.
      Maybe today’s generations are simply trying to turn the tide.

  22. Andy says:

    Article of course written in English so that more than half a dozen people will be able to read it…

  23. Marie Muir says:

    Please stop making life so unpleasant and difficult for those of us who do not have a problem at all with those people who speak Gaelic here in Scotland, though we ourselves do not speak that language, and that is the majority of us Scots who live on Scotland. We all speak English. Many of us speak one or more other languages but, since we have never needed to speak Gaelic we don’t. No offence but road signs with lots of names on them can be confusing when one is driving on unfamiliar roads. The main language in Scotland is English, and, as far as I know, everybody speaks and understands English, which is also the most widely spoken language throughout the world.

    1. Stan the man says:

      Only 1% of 5.5m Scots speak the Gaelic…so the vast majority don’t but as we all know the majority mean nothing in 21st century Scotland.

      1. In recent surveys gaelic roadsigns and support for the language and culture have widespread and deep support. You are not the majority you think you are.

        I don’t have to speak gaelic to support gaelic.

        1. Pepsi and Shirley says:

          You clearly do not understand the difference between ‘Gaelic language activists’ and bona fide Highlanders. None of them have been called a teuchter. They’re all middle class little Lord Fauntleroys that throw a hissy fit if anyone disagrees with them. Take a look at the comments. Which one of them grew up speaking Gaelic in a Gaelic speaking home? None. And they don’t like being told that.

  24. Mr Chairman says:

    “the rise in support for an independent Scotland”

    Except the SNP are not offering independence, they never have. The lie Sturgeon peddles is actually membership of the EU which exists for only one purpose, a United States of Europe, in plain English (not Gaelic) a federal superstate and a new country called Europe.

    As for rise in support that is another lie. Despite existing for 80 years and giving it literally everything they’ve got the people of Scotland firmly and decisively rejected the SNP’s lies. The majority will not permit Scotland to break away from the United Kingdom. That is our decision, the power rests with us not Sturgeon or her failed SNP Scot Gov.

    As for Gaelic road signs……yeah, whatever.

  25. David McEwan says:

    It’s utterly pathetic that you think road signs in Gaelic promote Gaelic culture. It’s nothing but yet another opportunity for an anti-English bellyache, amusingly written in English

  26. Pepsi and Shirley says:

    Blah blaa bla. My great grand parents spoke Gaelic. My Granny is from Donegal. I’m a middle-class Edinbourger and I’ve decided that I’m clever enough to learn this ethnic garbage. In fact all those teuchter s should be grateful that I have arrived. You’re all just a bunch of Uncle Toms anyway. I have learned to despise the Lowlander with ‘Highland Granny syndrome.’ They all get artsy jobs and professorships for themselves while the real Highlanders rout around in the dirt. It doesn’t matter what islanders do the class culture comes into it. Why are all Gaelic lecturers middle-class failures? I hate ALL of them. All of them. They are just getting jobs for themselves. They even got a Gaelic school where less than 50% of the staff actually speak Gaelic. I literally hate Gaelic.. do you know why? Gaelic learners wanted to regenerate the Gaelic language but not Gaelic communities. So real Gaelic communities face massive depopulation and lack of services. Meanwhile a bunch of middle-class roasters demand services to ‘save’ Gaelic in cities like Glasgow / Edinburgh while islands suffer massive depopulation.

    1. The issue of massive depopulation and lack of services in rural and Highland Scotland is indeed a massive problem Pepsi (and Shirley), which we’ve touched on many many times here and will return to, and indeed the connection between housing crisis, community erosion and cultural and linguistic collapse is well documented.

      Do you have any solutions for community and language renewal?
      Do you not want people to learn gaelic who are not originally from the Gàidhealtachd? Isn’t that a doomed strategy?

      1. Pepsi and Shirley says:

        Yes I do have solutions. The Gaelic people (not learners who went to 3 evening classes) should be leading a revival. The Highlands is already FULL of people buying their Grand Designs houses. It’s too late. Being told what to think by people from the Lowlands learning Gaelic does not save the language. It’s already with the puffins. Stop spending public money propping up middle class Lowland failures who give lectures to bona fide Highlanders. It’s over. And (specifically) Bella Caledonia why are fake Gaels writing Gaelic articles on here as if they are ‘us?’ None of these people have ever been called teuchter with real malice.

  27. Moscow says:

    If it weren’t for the fact that your promotion of Gaelic is in fact a TroJan Horse for nationalism you might be taken more seriously on the subject.
    It’s the same as your comments about the Scots dialect.

  28. Alan Fawbert says:

    What a pretentious load of twaddle from bunch of navel gazers who have nothing to do except trying to find ways to waste public money. On a visit to Caithness recently it was impossible to read the road signs because of the amount of gaelic mixed up with the english.
    Furthermore l nd car heard a word of gaelic being spoken.
    Public money should not be wasted on vanity projects.
    All gaelic speakers are bilingual.

    1. Catriona Grigg says:

      How pompous can you get!

      Even learners find it comforting to have such signs about us. Our grandparents and even parents were strapped if they spoke it in school. We’ve become a little more civilised today.

  29. Helmut says:

    If we are to move forward as either a partner within the UK or an independent nation with or without the governance of the EU surely the money put into Gaelic should be shared with or wholly put into Polish as there are more Polish speakers settled or migrantly working here ? Then there are sizaeble Chinese, Urdi etc speaking communities, all numerically larger than the Gaelic speaking community ? If the vision for Scotland’s future is a prospering incluvisity is how to move forward surely we should have road signs paid for by the tax paying worker in: Gaelic, Polish, English, Estonian, Turkish etc etc or would it add to the confusion of the bilingual and unnecessary bilge we are suffering from already ?

    1. Griogair Labhruidh says:

      None of the languages you mentioned are endangered, all are spoken by millions around the globe.

      Gaelic is under threat.

      Here’s some simple concepts for people with anti-Gaelic attitudes to try and grasp:

      Gaelic is not endangered because it simply ‘died out’. It is endangered because it was almost wiped out. Children were beaten in schools for speaking it WITHIN LIVING MEMORY.

      It is also, not a ‘dead language’. With the growth of Gaelic education etc. it is now, after hundreds of years of being suppressed, being given the chance to grow again.

      To simply ‘let Gaelic die’ is morally wrong.

      The citizens of Scotland have a moral obligation to help support its indigenous language and the thousands all over the country fighting for it. Particularly considering the relatively RECENT history which has seen it suppressed in the most traumatic manner.

      To let the Gaelic language die is to see Scotland become just another part of a global monoculture. The ancient ties between the people and the land, a concept known as cosmology will be lost. The Gaelic language and it’s culture holds the key to so many concepts of how we have lived for millennia and contains the essence of what makes the Scottish nation unique on the planet. A uniqueness that can be celebrated in unity with all the organic, indigenous cultures of the world.

      The levels of sheer ignorance from the anti-Gaelic camp are simply astounding.

      Those who go around triumphantly blowing the trumpet of the English language’s superiority aught to be ashamed of themselves. Their attitudes are pathetic and have no place in the society I, and others like me wish to see our beloved country become.

      With a dignity, love and respect handed down to us over many generations, we wil see our language and our culture unshackled from the bonds made by those who have suppressed us. Your contempt for our culture have no power over us any more.

      Your day is done and ours is just beginning.

      Suas ris a’ Ghàdhlig!!

      1. Catriona Grigg says:

        well said!

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