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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Highlands & Islands MSP Says The Narrative of Gaelic and Scots as Languages of The Past Must Change

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Highlands & Islands MSP Emma Roddick has told the Scottish Parliament that there is a future for Gaelic and Scots as languages, expressing that the Scottish Highlands are still rich in Gaelic culture.

Speaking in the debate on the Future of Gaelic and Scots, delivering part of her speech in Gaelic, Ms Roddick welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to promoting the languages, but warned that strategies should not give up on Gaelic outwith the Highlands. 

Ms Roddick also urged the Scottish Government to support efforts to ensure more opportunities are available for immersion in Scotland’s languages.

She said:

“I have my concerns about the policy to create a Gàidhealtachd, not only because I grew up believing I lived in it, but because I worry this may mean giving up on Gaelic elsewhere.

“The more I learn about the Gaelic language, the more I realise how much of the Highland Scots I know is influenced by it.

“I didn’t know some of the words I had heard growing up were Scots until I came to Edinburgh and started using them, to the confusion of my friends.

“There are too few opportunities to learn Gaelic.

“I remember the difficulty my friends who took Gaelic classes had in immersing themselves in the language outside the small classroom they learned in.

“I, therefore, very much welcome the announcement that the Gaelic Capital Fund will develop school units in Tain and Skye in my region.

“When I went to Bridgend Nursery, I remember the teachers being very strict with me on some of my vocabulary.

“I spent the first three years of my life in Cardross and might have picked up some Weedgieisms there.

“In my region, many places are still hurting from historic oppression of Gaelic and our culture in general, and that perhaps makes me a bit sensitive to these things, but if we want both these Scottish languages to survive, we can’t be teaching kids that it’s bad or wrong to speak them.”

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