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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

    At no point did I use the word "we" to exclude any minority!
    Quite. And, as per my previous posts, if we are going to provide education in one minority's tongue, why not all of them? The answer to this is clear: because it is not economically viable. I think you'll find that the majority of Scottish taxpayers don't give Gaelic education a second thought. How dreadful, you think. Maybe you're right. Maybe I am a cultural ******. So be it.
  2. Then what does "I don't see that we have a duty to any of them" mean? Sounds pretty exclusive to me - a definite them and us going on, it seems.
    Polish people ARE educated in Polish - in Poland. Urdu speakers ARE educated in Urdu - In Pakistan and India. Because of that, Polish and Urdu language, culture and history ARE NOT in danger of extinction. THAT is the crux of the matter, and your "previous posts" are therefore ill-informed and senseless in that context.
    I'm sure the majority of Scottish people don't give Science education a second thought - in fact, they probably detested what they learned at school. Let's do without it then.
    Quite. Sounds as if you're proud of it too.

  3. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    Ray, go back and read that sentence in the context of the post previous to it.
    Scotland is an English speaking nation, not a Gaelic one. The previous posts were in response to the cry that Gaelic speaking children were a minority whose learning had to be provided in Gaelic by the State.
    I'm not a scientist, despite the user name! An ill aimed shot, I'm afraid... If you want to go there, though, science has a useful place in everyday life of all citizens of Scotland, not just a minority, so the comparison is ill informed and senseless in this context.
    In response to your earlier dig suggesting that I have no linguistic background, I speak 5 languages (all European), three of them fluently. I am not exactly devoid of linguistic knowledge compared to the average Scot.
  4. Ray, I just love you some times! Bet you never thought I'd write that.
    I salute your indefatiguability!
  5. I certainly did. Railroad said "we" don't have a duty to all minorities - YOU said "we" don't have a duty to ANY of them. Now, in what way is that not exclusive of minorities?
    First, Scotland IS a Gaelic speaking nation. It is also a Scots speaking nation. We are rich in cultural and historical traditions by having THREE languages. Now, Switzerland and Belgium are quite happy having several languages: what's your beef with Gaelic and, by implication, Scots?
    Secondly, do you believe Catalans should not not be taught because most people speak Spanish? Do you believe that Welsh should not be taught because most people speak English? Do you believe that Cantonese should wither ad die because most people speak Mandarin? Your prescription would mean the world becoming a desert of two or three international languages - probably English, Chinese and Spanish. Which of those languages you speak would you happily see extinct?
    Thirdly, What of India? Do you believe Punjabi, Urdu, etc., should all have been barred form schools because colonialism decreed that English was the official language of law and commerce? No? But that is exactly what happened to Gaelic - it was proscribed by invaders.
    It may be an ill-aimed shot, but I notice you fail to deal with the substance of the point. Are you saying that we should value ONLY THAT WHICH HAS A USEFUL PLACE IN THE EVERDAY LIFE OF THE MAJORITY? So - let's not value Churches and mosques - only a minority go to them. Let's not value cancer care - only a minority ever need it. Let's not value classical music - only a minority ever listen to it. Let's close museums - only a minority ever really see the inside of them. No, your argument still remains absolutely senseless - unless, of course, you imagine yourself to be the one who decides what is "useful" to the "majority", which is somewhat arrogant.
    Being able to speak a language doesn't make you knowledgeable about linguistics and its relationship to culture and history, nor that you are capable of understanding nuances like irony: it just means you can make the mechanical sounds. However, I'm willing to concede the point: I'm happy not to call you a linguistic ******, since you've already admitted to being a cultural ******.
  6. It's because I'm often indefatigably right, bj! [​IMG]
  7. Scotland may be a Gaelic speaking nation, but 2%?
    Switzerland and Belgium have several different languages, but all of those languages aren't in the 2% region, so it's hardly an equitable comparison.
    Scots as a language? You mean Billy Kay and his pal?
    The "most" you refer to, wrt Catalan and Cantonese etc, is a bit higher than the oft-quoted 2%, so another poor comparison. You can't keep dragging irrelevancies to support your argument.
    Gaelic will die out, whether you want it to or not, whether you see that as a "good" thing or not. It is just not relevant enough in the modern world to survive. Gott a go, period bell!
  8. Come on, bj - at what percentage does a minority - and remember, we're talking about PEOPLE - become irrelevant and expendable? 2%? 12%? 22%? Someone, sometime will come along and say, well, hey, let's ignore the wishes of the 49% minority. I was in Rwanda over the summer holiday - let's not go down the road of deciding when a minority is small enough to be ignored.
    Sorry, bj, you are wrong on that count. Look into the history of the separate development of Scots and English as languages. Scots and English were absolutely neck-and-neck as language until the King James bible codified English, making spelling and grammar consistent. If King James - a Scotsman - had decided to publish the bible in Scots, there's every chance we'd all be speaking Scots now. But that doesn't mean Scots as a language died - it just means that political decisions were made that allowed English to dominate, despite the fact that Scots has its own vocabulary, grammar and - even - alphabet.
  9. Big Jimmy - so how many people speak Romansch in Switzerland? My figures give it 35k speakers or 0.9%. Yet it still has Official Status.
    It's good to know that not all countries deny services to their indigenous population simply on account of their 'minority' status. In fact, many countries actively support languages that are endangered.

    Si says:
    Scotland is an English speaking nation, not a Gaelic one. The previous
    posts were in response to the cry that Gaelic speaking children were a
    minority whose learning had to be provided in Gaelic by the State.
    NO. Scotland has never been 'English speaking'. It has always been bi/multilingual. Most native Gaels have English as a second language, like many of the more recent incomers. Moreover, a quick look at our topography reveals Gaelic names from south to north. Even in Peebleshire, there are more Gaelic derived placenames than Brythonnic, which was also once spoken here.
    The simple facts are:
    Gaelic speakers are native Scots and tax-payers. They therefore are entitled to services in their own tongue. It's minority status - mostly a result of past neglect and repression - means that more has to be done to maintain and develop it. That too is right and reasonable. We don't exepect disabled people to play on a level playing-field, why should we with indigenous and minority tongues? Lastly,it has VALUE. There is no value in just being like everyone else - erasing natural differences between peoples in uncomfortably close to fascism. Better to build understanding through education. Equally Gaelic-medium education has value - it's pupils and teachers can work in 2 languages and the high attainment, even in 'working class' areas bears this out. If in doubt, check out the research by the likes of Chomsky, Colin Baker, Dick Johnstone and Anabella Sorace.
    We are here. Our language is living. Get over it.
  10. Seon, I have about as much interest in Romansch as I have in Gaelic. So, it has a few thousand speakers and official status: your point?
    What services are denied to anyone in our country? Go on. Name one.
    Scotland is not English-speaking? You are joking? Tell me you are joking!
    So, there are Gaelic names all over the place: just exactly what does that prove other than there are Gaelic names all over the place? I'd imagine when lots of people spoke Gaelic it was natural to have lots of Gaelic names all over the country. What's your point?
    Gaelic speakers are native Scots: who is arguing?
    Gaelic speakers are taxpayers: who is arguing?
    Gaelic speakers are entitled to services in their own tongue: and they get it, do they not? (And a wee bit of a confilct with the previous denial of services claim?).
    Anyway, isn't it embedded in the Treaty of Rome that all EU documentation is translated into all languages spoken in all member states? I really can't remember the details, perhaps someone with more knowledge than me could tell us.
    It's (it's "its" but I'll assume an honest typo) minority status as a result of past neglect and repression: same as it's ever been with a more powerful neighbour.
    "More has to be done to maintain and develop it". Fine by me. No problems there.
    In the name of the wee man, what have disabled people got to do with this? Who said it was a level playing field? Another spurious, inappropriate and irrelevant analogy. It's not a level playing field, and that's why your language will eventually die, whether you like it or not, whether I want it or not.
    Who said anything about "erasing differences"? Are you trying to link me to the Nazis because the only negative thing I said about Gaelic was that I didn't see the point of it?
    "Better to build understanding through education". If you say so. I think it's better to build understanding through a common language. As I said previously, I'm no language expert but wasn't that a main reason for Esperanto? Note: don't make a statement and assume it's true just because you made that statement.
    Gaelic may have VALUE (your caps), but I'd assume almost all of that value is obtained by the few people who speak Gaelic. Perhaps we should all send our children to Roman Catholic, single-sex, Gaelic schools to maximise educational VALUE.
    "We are here". Yes, you are. Hi.
    "Our language is living". It surely is. Living in a language hospice.
    "Get over it". Nothing to get over. Total indifference.
  11. Ray, you don't get my point. With a miserly 2% of people speaking it, and efforts going in to keep the language artificially alive, Gaelic will die out. With the best will in the world, Gaelic will eventually be no more.
    I do not doubt your King James paragraph for a single moment, in fact I wholeheartedly agree. A good example of politicking affecting culture.
    I assume "Scots" is a language. I don't know. It too will die out, for same the reasons Gaelic will. You know they will, and that's all I've been opining.
  12. So fait accompli?
    [quote="bigjimmy Let's throw the towel in now - is that your point Big Jimmy or should I say Seamus Mhor.
  13. Jimmy, i hope you're not a teacher.
    Maybe you want to read YOUR earlier post regarding Romansch and Scotland not being solely an English speaking nation.
    End of debate.
    Suas leis a' Ghàidhlig.
  14. "Get over it". Nothing to get over. Total indifference.
    Your long-winded and barely coherent post would suggest otherwise.
    Get over it a bhalaich, or better go and learn some Gaelic, then you might just know something about it!
  15. I am a teacher. Are you? Do I care?
    Learn Gaelic? Why? So I can talk to you? Doh!
    Why would I want to "know something about it"?
    "End of debate"? And then you post again? And you call me incoherent?
  16. Could my Gaelic friends please answer the questions I posed in Post 49?
  17. saoghalbeag

    saoghalbeag New commenter

    What a bizarre statement. If Scotland does not have some responsibility for continuing Scottish heritage, culture, language etc etc, who/where on earth does?

  18. The interesting thing about this debate is that our Scottish cultural heritage is no more a monolithic entity now than it was at Culloden. At that battle, of the sixteen regiments fighting the Gaelic-speaking, largely Catholic Jacobites, four were Scottish companies. Aberdeen was a Cumberland stronghold and troop base, Edinburgh Castle held out against the rebels, and there was resistance to them also in the Borders as the Young Pretender undertook his invasion of England.
    It seems to me that Scotland's culture has many historical roots, all of which should be nurtured. It's surely also important that in properly teaching the Gaelic language, history and culture, we are escaping from the Brigadoon Scotland pictured on shortbread tins. Queen Victoria bears some responsibility here. The recent TV programme on Balmoral captured the irony of Victoria bedecking every square inch of the castle with the very tartans which her great great grandfather had sought to destroy!
  19. Happy to agree 100% with you, grunwald - and let's not get diverted by notions of what's "practical" or "expendable".
  20. Can't believ i've just wasted so much time reading all the posts on this topic.

    Bottom eline is that both sides here are onto a losing battle. You're fighting hearts not minds.

    Personally, i don't know how to feel on this. I like that Scotland has a history in Gaelic and part of me wishes i knew the language. I'm proud to be Scottish and enjoying learning about my country but at the smae time the Gaelic language really is pointless to an extent. People learn it so they can speak it to each other....the minute you leave Scotland, it is pointless. With Scotland in the mess it is and SNP obvioulsy having meetings every two minutes to discuss how to waste money in education i don't think thousands upon thousands should be going towards Gaelic. As someone else pointed out, kids should be taught languages that will equip them for the real world, that will allow them to work abroad and make a contribution to this world. Gaelic speakers are only in Scotland and even then they are limited, it is not like the whole Scotland is about to adopt it.

    I'm not saying i want it to die out, as i said before i'm proud of my country but unless it was to become a real important part of outr countries future , ie. it taught in ALL scottish schools and made essential learning then i don't see why money which really does NEED to be spent elsewhere shoudl be spent in this area. My school doesn't have interactive whiteboards, depts are working on minimal staff, we don't have any money to play with what so ever, we've already lost our history dept, due to not being able to afford the staff....money shoudl be going towards these things.

    so to sum up...it shoudl be all or nothing for me really. Either it becomes a real, important issue to all of Scotland...like really making it count, making all future scots Gaelic speakers or we start funding things that will benfit out country. I#m sick of here 'you's' in sentences and people not knowing the difference between adverbs, nouns and adjectives etc.....and i'm talking about the teachers here!!

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