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gaelic education

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by versingetorix, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    As an (by ethnicity not nationality) Asian myself, I would be forced to say that this is due to the entrenched work ethic of us immigrants ;-) Sorry, I couldn't resist that! I don't think it is anything to do with their mother tongue, more the values these kids bring to the party.
    (ducks back under the parapet)
  2. You're probably quite right about that, but that actually helps with my stance!
    From my own (admittedly informal) observations of children in Gaelic schools, they too have that work ethic - one which puts to shame the ethic of children in 'mainstream' education. Pity we couldn't bottle it.
  3. Do we preserve the Mona Lisa or the Taj Mahal or East African mountain gorillas only for tourism?
    What practical reasons do we have for maintaining the existence of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or the Mary Rose or the Brandenburg concertos?
    I don't understand Gaelic, any more that I understand Italian opera or Arabic poetry or African songs - so should I consign it to the rubbish tip for that reason, even though I adore the sound of, that I adore the stories that would never have existed without it, that I adore just the very idea of it?
    Are all you "practical" people quite prepared to apply the "practicality" principle to every aspect of human existence that you can't put a price on and that doesn't directly benefit the "majority"?
    Shame on you, I say.
  4. I don't understand your point about 'education being duplicated'. Most Gaelic medium intake is from English speaking homes so both immigrant and Scottish children are getting a new language. There are children of Polish, Spanish and Asian origin/background in GM too. And yes, their linguistic abilities are high. Even for the sake of talking/understanding better English as the majority tongue, GME makes sense.
    The main point here being, is why should Scots not have education and other services in their indigenous tongue? And if the answer is, it's spoken by a minority, then what other minorities will suffer discrimination?
    Maybe it's part of the Scots' Cringe?
  5. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    We are providing the same education in English schools and GM schools...the same education in two mediums = duplication of resource. Teachers from English schools are unlikely to be able to teach in a GM unit/ school- this limits transfer of teachers within schools. Training teachers who can work anywhere is a better use of tax payers money, IMO. (Before you say it, yes, I think the same goes for another separate system of education which we pay for in Scotland, but that's another debate and one well worn on this forum!)
    I've replied to this point already. Where does there exist a school teaching in Urdu/ Polish/ Whatever in Scotland. By your logic, these children are already being discriminated against because they are not being taught in their mother tongue. I, for the record, do not think that they are being discriminated against, in the same way that Gaelic speaking children are not being done any disservice by being taught in a language that the rest of the world understands. If parents wish to further their cultural and linguistic education at home, I think that's great. The same goes for other minority groups. I just don't see why we should be investing money in this minority group just because they are ethnically/ culturally Scottish.
    I don't expect you to agree with me.
  6. So it's not enough that a) they are Scottish, b) this is Scotland, c) they live here and d) their parents pay taxes and have a 'voice' here as well?
    If not, then methinks there is something gravely wrong!
  7. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    So, back through this circular debate, then. Why not do the same for all other minority groups? There are plenty Scottish born kids speaking other languages who satisfy your criteria i.e a) theyare Scottish, b) this is Scotland, c) they live here and d) their parents pay taxes and have a 'voice' here as well...
  8. Because it is not their heritage - theirs lies elsewhere. They could, however, accept the choice if they so wish - as long as the choice is there to access. It's not a choice they would be likely to access anywhere else in the world because it is, after all, Scottish, and it's the one choice that we have a duty to make available simply because no-one else will. I, for one, don't see that we have such a duty to all the other minorities.
  9. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    I don't see that we have a duty to any of them. At least we agree on half a point. [​IMG]
  10. First, who do you mean by "we"? Are you suggesting that "we" have all the rights, and that "we" should be making all the decisions about what should and should not be taught in schools? Who are "we"? English speaking? White? Anglo-Saxon? Indigenous? And of course, you then need to establish who "them" are.
    Secondly, if "we" don't have a duty to "them", then "they" don't have a duty to "us". Therefore, why should they pay taxes to fund English speaking schools - or to fund anything "we" think is important, for that matter? Why should they fight for "our" country? Why should the obey "our" laws?
    Thirdly, isn't the preservation of art, culture, history and language a "duty" we all have, not the "them" but to us all, and to all succeeding generations?
  11. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    I used "we" as a direct response to Railroadgin's use of the same. If you had been following the thread you will have seen that we (meaning the Ginster and I) were using "we" to mean the taxpayer. You will also have gathered that I am in no position to use we to describe White or Anglo Saxon or indiginous people!
  12. Si. It's simple. Gaelic medium teachers can teach in both English and Gaelic schools. Value for money.
    Gaelic is special and it is OUR own language. It doesn't exist elsewhere other than a few communities in Canada. As Ali Abassi said, if it dies here, it dies. Poles, Asians etc have their home language and they can also have English and Gaelic at school. Polish or whatever cannot lay claim to being central to Scots culture or having being spoken here for nearly 2 millenia.
    And, to get back to the original point, Gaels have paid taxes and died in disproportianate numbers in the 'British' army for a century and more and received nothing but beatings in return. This has changed in the last 2 or 3 decades but it's outrageous that some seek to deny Scots the opportunity to have services in their oldest language.
    Why is it so many 'anti-Gaels' come across as Daily Mail-reading conservatives on this issue.
    The numbers of Gaelic speakers have stabilised and indeed show some signs of rising. Let's hope it continues.

  13. I certainly have been following the thread.
    So how do you define a taxpayer? Don't Gaelic people - or Polish people, or Asian people - pay taxes too? If you had read my post you would have seen that I was pouring scorn on the very idea that "we" can be used to exclude those who speak minority languages.
    I would have thought you might have been able to see the irony, but perhaps it's your scientific bent that blinds you to the subtleties of language - which is why you're happy to see endangered languages wither on the vine.
  14. I really don't see the point of Gaelic.
    Sure it might be important, but lots of other things take priority over it.
    And there are a kazillion other minority "things" that are given priority over their perceived importance in today's world.
  15. I don't really think it's a question of us "seeing the point", bj.
    Is there any point to ANY language you or I don't speak?
    Is there any point to Celtic football club, since only a minority of people in the world support them?
    Is there any point to the Mona Lisa, since on a very few people in the world will ever see it?
    You're right, it IS important. Other things - like curing cancer or feeding starving millions in Africa - WILL take priority over it. But that doesn't mean we should allow it to wither and die.
    Think of how little we knew about ancient Egypt until the Rosetta Stone was finally translated. Was there any point to doing that? Weren't lots of other things a bigger priority? And yet... aren't we glad someone took the time to do it? Well, this is all about protecting all the humanity encapsulated in languages before we lose them and have to rediscover them thousands of years later - if we don't lose them for good, that is.
  16. Ray, your points are spurious.
    I thought the main point of a language was to communicate? And if only a few people can speak it, then?
    Natural selection will have its way once again, and Gaelic will die out.
    Perhaps everyone should learn Esperanto?
  17. Ultimately you're probably going to be proved right but there's nothing natural or nor are there any just reasons why the Gaelic language is dying - it's a long story of dominant and unjust political will - always has been always will be.
  18. Communicate what, though? What message do we as Scots communicate about the value we place on our cultural heritage if we sever one of the principal arteries which continue to carry the lifeblood of that culture - our several Scottish languages and dialects. Presumably, you wouldn't pull down Edinburgh Castle because it's difficult to maintain.
    If you go too far down the narrowly utilitarian route, you end up with what is sometimes characterised (probably unfairly) as a Thatcherite view of culture where everything has a price and nothing has value.
  19. Yes, you're quite right about dominant and unjust political will, and that has indeed always ben part of human evolution.
    Communicate between people.
    Next sentence should be "What message do we as 2% of the Scottish population communicate . . .". Sorry, but that's far more accurate than your original sentence. Ditto your use of "our".
    Re price/value, there is a threshold where the "value" will be far less than the "price" (perhaps we're there already?) and the language will be seen as good as dead.
    I am not going to join this debate by belittling the opinions of others as so often happens on this forum. I don't know much about languages but am I the only one who finds it ever so slightly ironic that we're discussing one language in another?
  20. I think you take the biscuit for spuriousness here, bj. We're not talking about language, but about people and history and culture. Language is perhaps the most important aspect of a culture since it captures the essence of it and tells its stories.
    You ignore my point about the Rosetta Stone: we talk about ancient Egypt in English, but we learned so much more about it once we were able to understand its language. And there are great cultures such as the Minoan which are a mystery to us because we have lost their language.
    The fact that 2% of the population still speak Gaelic is a huge percentage when set against the number of people who speak ancient Egyptian or Minoan - and that is why they must be reserved and supported.
    Tell me, should we preserve the last 2% of Amazonian manatees or Northern White Rhinos or Aye Ayes? Watch the new "Last Chance to See" series and tell me that the fact that there are less than2% of these animals means we should let them die out. But hey, why not? Very few people will ever see them. And if they die out, then it doesn't matter if we chop the last of their habitat down for profit.
    I have no intention of belittling your opinions either - but I feel perfectly justified in pointing out that you are categorically wrong, and that if your opinion prevailed the world would be a much worse place.

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