Hutu radio broadcasting

Well there ye go. I do another piece supporting and promoting the Gaelic language, and now I discover that I’m a blood and soil nationalist, a fascist, and am all but indistinguishable from a Hutu radio broadcaster calling on people to slaughter their neighbours because they belong to a different tribe. That last is courtesy of a minor blog which I won’t give a link to because the frothing zoomer who writes it doesn’t deserve any more readership than the dozen he’s already got.

Being described as a fascist and likened to a Hutu radio broadcaster calling on people to take a machete to their neighbours is quite possibly legally actionable.  The author of the blog describes his articlettes as “literary criticism with cojones”, but it’s more like criticism which is cojones. It’s pretentious bollocks masquerading as insight, an example of the psychosis of psychological projection, a snide wee critique of those who can write prose that people enjoy reading from a wannabe writer read by no one.

This followed on from a frustrating and tedious conversation with a Unionist apologist on Twitter who wilfully conflated the terms “indigenous language” and “national language” in order to accuse me of racism for not acknowledging Polish or Urdu as national languages of Scotland. The two concepts are entirely unrelated, as any fewl no. Any fewl that is, except for an apologist for the British state in search of something to feel victimised by.

Nowhere in yesterday’s blog piece do I refer to “indigenous languages”. It’s not a concept which is relevant or useful. Some languages which are indigenous are not national languages. Shelta, the language of the Scottish Traveller community, is not a national language even though it’s an indigenous language. It’s never been used beyond the Traveller community, and it is a symbol of Traveller identity, not a symbol of Scotland as a whole. The Norn language of the Northern Isles is likewise not a national language of Scotland, even though it is also indigenous. Norn was never used beyond the Northern Isles, it’s proper to the Northern Isles and nowhere else. That doesn’t mean Shelta or a variety of Norn (if it were possible to revive it) should not be protected, fostered and encouraged by agencies of the state, they most certainly should. They are a part of the rich diversity of Scotland and we should cherish them.

Equally a national language doesn’t need to be an indigenous language. English is a national language of many former colonies of the UK, but it’s not an indigenous language in all of them. In some countries where it’s a national language it’s spoken only as a second language.

Standard English is also a national language of Scotland. There is a distinctively Scottish variety of Standard English which arose in the 18th century, so English is also an indigenous language of Scotland. But even if it were not, even if Scotland used English purely as a second language like some of the former colonies of the British Empire, it would still be a national language of Scotland.  A vast amount of literature and cultural production relevant to the whole of Scotland has been produced in English.

A national language is a language which has an ambit covering the entire country, which is the cultural property of everyone in the country irrespective of their origins, and which is a cultural symbol of that country as a whole. A language can fulfil those roles even if it’s not an indigenous language. Further we can add that a national language is one in which literary and non-fictional works of national significance have been produced. The only languages in Scotland which fulfil those criteria are Gaelic, Scots, and English.

I clearly stated in yesterday’s piece that although Polish, Chinese, or Urdu, or the other languages of minority communities in Scotland, are not national languages of Scotland, their use should be fostered, encouraged and supported. The only clear implication there is that their use should be fostered, encouraged, and supported by the state. However certain British state apologists insist that this statement implies that I’m a blood and soil nationalist. They claim that I’m really drawing a distinction between “indigenous” and “non-indigenous” and that only if you’re “indigenous” can you properly be Scottish. This is an implication which exists purely in their own self-righteous imaginations.

I’d have thought that the statement that Polish is not a national language of Scotland would have been a simple objective statement of fact, but some seek to twist this into a rejection of the right of members of those communities to remain in Scotland, and a claim that they’re not “properly Scottish”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The languages of minority communities are also a part of the rich diversity of Scotland and we should cherish them.  The people who use them are every bit as Scottish as anyone else.  It’s sad that needs to be explicitly stated.  Reasonable people should take it for granted.  But then not everyone in the UK is reasonable.  You only need to look at the blatant xenophobia on display at the Tory party conference or the recent episodes of BBC Question Time to see that.

Throughout the history of this blog I have repeatedly stated the belief that Scottishness is a property pertaining not just to people who were born and brought up in Scotland, irrespective of their family’s ethnic or national origins, but also that people who choose to come and live in Scotland are equally Scottish too. Those who are Scots by choice are every bit as Scottish as those who are Scots by the accident of birth.  This is a belief which is shared by the vast majority of those of us who support Scottish independence, and it is core to our concept of the inclusive and tolerant independent nation we seek to build.  But I’m not going to apologise for things which exist purely in the imaginations of people who are looking for excuses to castigate the Scottish independence movement.  Nasty and vicious xenophobia is far more of a problem and far more characteristic of British nationalism than it is of the Scottish variety.

I am apparently a dangerous fascist for pointing out the relevance of the Gaelic language to the formation of the Scottish nation. This is divisive, drawing distinctions between tribes, and just a bawhair short of a Hutu radio broadcast calling on Gaelic and Scots speakers to take a machete to their neighbours. That’s the kind of ridiculous and hysterical hyperbole that you attract when you dare to promote a minoritised language, when you seek to describe the value in a language that’s been traduced, belittled and diminished. And apparently the person who wrote it fancies himself as a serious cultural commentator. Bless.

The point which any reasonable person can grasp is that it’s Scotland’s history as a multilingual nation which has created the modern inclusive and outward looking civic Scottish nationalism of today. It’s Scotland’s origins in the Gaelic language and the long interplay between Gaelic and Scots which have created that modern reality. It’s Scotland’s history as a country where many languages have been spoken which has brought about this modern Scotland where Scottishness is a choice, a conscious act of creation that anyone can participate in, not something due to genes or blood. That’s the point that Unionist critics wilfully overlook. It doesn’t suit their simplistic and reductionist narrative that “nationalism is bad”.

It’s only in Unionist Scotland where celebrating diversity, welcoming migrants into the tapestry of Scottishness, and attempting to protect multilingualism and stave off an English language monoculture becomes narrow minded dangerous nationalism. They claim that a celebration of Gaelic and Scots implies a rejection of English, when in fact any such rejection exists purely in their own imaginations. They accuse supporters of independence of blood and soil nationalism while they’re the ones who seek to diminish cultural diversity in the name of the faux internationalism of the British state. The uncomfortable truth that apologists for the British state won’t accept is that the most dangerous, the most quasi-fascist, the real blood and soil nationalists in this country are the ones who wrap themselves in the red white and blue. Defending the British state doesn’t mean you oppose nationalism, because the British state is very much a nationalist project. Defending the British state doesn’t make you an internationalist, it just makes you an apologist for a far nastier and more pernicious form of nationalism. A nationalism that thinks it’s so special that it rejects that it’s nationalist at all.

The real internationalists in Scotland are the people who seek to preserve and foster the diversity of Scottish culture and language and to connect it to the rest of the world on equal terms with any other country.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-26th-oct-2016

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61 comments on “Hutu radio broadcasting

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug Hutu radio broadcasting […]

  2. Thepnr says:

    Your right Paul.

    I’ll be honest, as much as I support and will fight for Independence it’s not because I’m a Nationalist.

    It’s because I’m a human being that truly believes in democracy and wants a government that serves equally ALL of the people. Not just those that went to Eton.

    The British State denies me that choice so I no longer wish to be a member of the British State, it’s as simple as that.

    British Nationalists cannot see this simple fact so must give me a label. A label I’ll happily throw back in their faces. YOU are the Nationalists, just refusing to believe it. I think though all your worst nightmares are about to come true.

    You will be welcome here in Scotland but for your sins you will have to ask nicely.

  3. diabloandco says:

    Ach !I love you , you wee fascist you! Obviously I too am a wee fascist.

  4. scrandoonyeah says:

    Let them call you all the names under the sun, because what you really are, is a threat to the very existence of this so called union of equals…….you articulate the thoughts and feelings of hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland…….. that is why we respect and love you, and your words

    • John Edgar says:

      You are rummeling them up!
      Their reactions are a cause for celebrations!
      Great to see yoonery being forced to express its prejudices and concealed ignorance out in the open.
      Theirs is a form of linguphobia!
      Ask them what the English word for galore is?! ( Gaelic: gu leor). That will flummox them!

  5. Paul, I am sure that I’m not alone in encountering Brits abroad, talking loudly in English, be it in France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy, and so on, and cursing the locals because they do not, or in the Angles’ eyes refuse to, understand the Queen’s English.
    By ‘Angles’ I mean Scots, English, Irish, and Welsh monoglots, who have the arrogance to believe that they have no need to make the effort and learn another language because ‘English is spoken all over the world’.
    Sadly I have spent time with Brits who have settled in Spain France and Italy who refuse point blank to learn the language of their adopted home.
    Encouragingly they are few and far between.
    I suspect that your unnamed accuser has the superiority complex of a certain type of Brit. The world revolves around them, because of their unshakable belief that Britain/England is number one,the dominant nation in the world.
    They’re getting desperate.
    Hats off to you, sir.

    • bedelsten says:

      You are not alone. Indeed we find it slightly embarrassing when our southern neighbours speak s-l-o-w-l-y and d-i-s-t-i-n-c-t-l-y or SHOUT at the natives who often speak better English than they do. When the average Brit goes abroad on their package holiday they will spend their time in a curated environment; there will be English airport signs, the customs people will speak English, the courier outside will speak English as will the resort people. So, if all the furriners they encounter speak English what is this about the sweaty jocks wanting to have another language?

      To really upset yoonster monoglots, Scotland has lallands and doric to play with and there is nothing I enjoy more than going into a bar darn sarth to meet polyglots from the North East of Scotland and greeting them with a ‘fit like’, hoping to get at least one ‘furra boots’ into the conversation. Many people in Scotland are bilingual, using their scots or English as appropriate – though I did come across one IT support chiel who persisted with scots throughout = ‘ aye, your moose ‘ll need its ball scoored’. (it was a while ago)

      This refusal to accept that other languages exist can have its consequences. Take, for example, the road sign: ‘Nid wyf yn y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw waith i’w gyfieithu ‘ which is the result of someone submitting a translation request and getting the out of office reply put on the road sign.

    • “By ‘Angles’ I mean Scots, English, Irish, and Welsh monoglots, who have the arrogance to believe that they have no need to make the effort and learn another language…”

      Y’mean that they’re obtuse Angles?

      (Sorry….)

    • Connor McEwen says:

      They’re getting desperate. EXACTLY

    • Alan Hendry says:

      Jack, I too have seen this. I met my Norwegian wife many years ago while working in the oil industry here in Norway. There were lots of brits here earlier, and to some extent there still are. I realised that my future would be here with my wife and children, so I set about the task of learning the Norwegian language. Without boasting, I am quite fluent now (still not perfect) but I made the effort as did some other Brits. I found that the guys who didn’t want to even try to learn a smattering of the language, were exactly as you describe in your post.
      I must also say that the guys who were more open to learning the language, and integrating into the social and cultural side of life here in Norway were my fellow countrymen the Scots.
      Norwegian people don’t do arrogance, and yes they are a proud and very patriotic nation of peoples (check out they’re national day celebrations 17th May lots of flag waving and marching bands etc.) but some of the brits here compare this to nazi germany. I have even heard them compare the Norwegian flag to the flag of nazi germany. Can you guess who these brits are? Yeah unionists, who even while making a life here in Norway, still opposed the referendum in 2014.
      I despair and just think there’s nae f’ckin hope for these ignorant few.

      • Takes me back, Alan.
        I was sent to Gothenburg by Singer’s in 1969 as a 22 year old to set up a Northern European Outlet. I hired a lot of Swedish students to help set up a Warehouse. They all spoke flawless English, with an American twang.
        I already had schoolboy French and Greek.
        It opened this Clydebank boy’s eyes up to the big broad world out there.
        The Swedes had just converted from driving on the left side to the right, and there were lots of bang crash and wallop filling the night air.
        I recall a meal where I was at a table with a Norwegian, a Swede, A German and a Dutchman, who all conversed in English out of respect for me, but I noted they spoke in asides to each other in German Dutch and Swedish.
        I was bowled over and became an instant Europhile.
        Nowadays I trundle along linguistically in French, German, and Italian, and can holiday comfortably in Spain.
        I am astonished that we Scots would sit passively and let a Tory Oligarchy deny us our rightful place in Europe.
        I shall resist it with ‘every fibre’ of my being.

    • Marconatrix says:

      Well lets hope it´s simply a symptom of the last gasp of a fading empire.

      However, even amongst non-BritNat types there does seem to be a kind of mental block that many English speakers have when it comes to learning other languages. It may not be exclusive to English speakers, but it doesn´t seem to affect most other Europeans. Is it historical? cultural? a reaction to horrible ¨School French¨? or what, I wonder? Of course to everyone else it comes over as an unbearable arrogance whether intended as such or not.

  6. Iona says:

    Only you could put the words ‘pretentious’ and ‘bollocks’ in the same sentence. An interesting and informed, humourous read as ever.

  7. watergaw says:

    Stunning post

  8. Macart says:

    Or in short, they’re boneheads determined NOT to understand.

    Forget them and their grudge du jour. Folk like that will have another lined up for tomorrow and another for the day after that. They are completely ideologically opposed to an independent Scotland and any manufactured (and I do mean manufactured), grudge will do in order to have a dig. They have zero interest in empathizing, debating or even understanding. In some respects, in fact in all respects, they are a very true reflection of the deaf, dumb and blind state system they defend.

    We’ve got far better and far more important folk to talk to. Folk reeling from HMGs indeyref betrayal, the looming Brexit UK with its alarming rise in hate crime and draconian immigration measures. These folk are the worried, the downright frightened, the betrayed and angered. They’re the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised, the foreign national who chose to make Scotland their home. People who stand to lose everything from their shirt to their inalienable human rights in Brexit UK.

    They’re truly important people.

  9. ScotCat2016 says:

    Thanks for the not too difficult clue to your adversaries blog. I apologise, but I did go and take a look.

    The article on you is close to incoherent; the one below it on Nicola Sturgeon and brexit is simply a rancid collection of every tired Yoon argument ever seen….

    ….and they’re both utter pish.

    Keep up the good work.

  10. Saor Alba says:

    The minor blogger to whom you refer Paul, sounds like he has no cojones, but is a dickhead.

  11. Dan Huil says:

    “It’s only in Unionist Scotland where celebrating diversity, welcoming migrants into the tapestry of Scottishness, and attempting to protect multilingualism and stave off an English language monoculture becomes narrow minded dangerous nationalism.”

    Sums it up perfectly, WGD

  12. Tinto Chiel says:

    “The uncomfortable truth that apologists for the British state won’t accept is that the most dangerous, the most quasi-fascist, the real blood and soil nationalists in this country are the ones who wrap themselves in the red white and blue. Defending the British state doesn’t mean you oppose nationalism, because the
    British state is very much a nationalist project.”

    Precisely. Yoon attacks on independistas for being intolerant, violent B&S nats are a classic case of projection.

    Your well-researched pieces on language are perfectly clear and it is quite obvious what you mean, although some of the words you use might be a bit long for your bonehead blogger.

    Use “autochthonous” next time, just to annoy him.

    Gonnae?

  13. John Porteous says:

    Excellent, Paul. You highlight, among other things, the peculiar Unionist mindset in which Scottish Nationalism is uniformly bad, whereas British Nationalism is not only a force for good but is not really nationalism at all.

  14. garyjc says:

    Ach Paul, they’d gie ye the dry boak; dinnae let them rile ye up. I’ve a near neighbor, Mr & Mrs ex London pretend cockney, long since emigrated, and everything, everywhere is the fault of either whinging fuckin Jocks, or any of the other races they decide to insult as their choice du jour. But I’ll grant them this, even their own people, the English, get a fair bit of stick too. Apart from of course, those who live within the halcyon paradise that lies within the M25, paradise that is if only it weren’t for the poles, jocks, micks, etc, etc. It sez so in the Daily Kate, so it must be true.

  15. David Agnew says:

    Debating a yoon is like arguing with offensive graffiti on a wall. Within a brief exchange you can tell if they are genuine or some shitty little yoon troll trying to find someway of labeling you of being a Nazi/Racist/Marxist blood and soil nationalist. Its best to walk away. Leave them to their wee puddle of piss that they love so much.

  16. Gordie says:

    Aye, depressing the attitudes of some folk towards our languages. Those attitudes have been rampant within British nationalism in Scotland all my life. As Scotland re-emerges British nationalists in this country make more and more noise. Let them craw and and craw do not for a second let them get you down. You are bang on with the Gaelic and your last couple of articles on language in Scotland have been informative and well argued. Excellent

  17. Jan Cowan says:

    I’ll never understand these people who conjure up all sorts of silly gripes in an attempt to promote the Union. They ought to be thanking you Paul for your dedicated work. However if they’re not interested or incapable of understanding surely the reasonable reaction is to ignore your blog. I can only think these poor Unionists are feeling the pressure since more and more people are now realizing that an independent Scotland is the obvious answer to our many problems.
    Thank you, Paul, for all your labour.

  18. Keith Parry says:

    You must be getting it right, to get up the nose of these plankists.

  19. BrynnaBob says:

    Excellent response to the narrow minded British nationalism which infects these isles.
    We in Wales are familiar with this particular mindset and these people who often attack our language and culture.
    More often than not this behaviour is instigated or encouraged the Anglophone media and BBC.
    Da iwan a diolch, Paul

  20. Maclergan says:

    Very good posts. Meant to say that yesterday as well.
    As Gaelic names are mostly descriptive, the Anglicised versions are meaningless.
    Keep up the good work

  21. Alba Laddie says:

    You’ve obviously lit a fire under their sorry arses Paul, even more than you normally do. So keep it up.

    But then I’m biased on a number of counts, one of them being that linguistics is a hobby of mine and a fascinating subject for the unenlightened, however I digress…

    “British Culture” as defined by the metropolitan media and their cohorts doesn’t extend much beyond twee baking contests and dance shows for needy d-listers. As long as it’s got “great british” in front of it and is hosted by some vacuous BBC clone then it’s “culture” right?

    (BTW keep voting for the failed ex-shadow chancellor who “dances” like he’s got a souped-up cattle prod jammed up his crotch. If he wins they might have the good grace to take this shite off our screens and stop taxing us for the pleasure.)

  22. Anne says:

    Just watched Scotland Tonight on you tube with Fluffy and Alex Salmond on a split screen.I thought Fluffy’s wee shiny black button eyes were going to pop right out of his head and his mother big T would have to sew them back on!

  23. Frazerio says:

    First time commenter, long time reader.

    All my appreciation to you and then some. I often suspect you’re really just some sort of Silicon Valley whizz kids computer programme churning out writing of the most knowledgable, acerbic, funny and just plain true quality. The consistent and superb standard of your output is quite astonishing and frankly not normal. Meant in the nicest possible way.

    I see parallels between your endeavours with maps/Gaelic/Scots and languages and my own recent path of understanding.

    In the last few years my job has frequently taken me around much of Scotland and the north of England. In the process I’ve emerged from my previous central belt ‘bubble’, a bubble I think that is fairly typical of the majority of ‘central belt Scots’. Fundamental gaps in my understanding of how the past has shaped where I live and work today are now being filled. From the geology (mountainous, boggy highlands to the gentler more fertile lowlands) through the ice ages to the subsequent peoples and their languages and cultures.

    Two gestalt moments for instance were when I first found myself asking
    1) Where does the word ‘Scot’ come from, and
    2) When did ‘Scotland’ become a country?

    I’d never even once wondered (or been told), which you’d think would be almost day 1, lesson 1 stuff!!!

    It’s only properly dawned on me in the last 18 months or so that the English I speak isn’t some sort of lesser slang-English (rather than ‘proper’ English), but that I can actually speak proper English AND English with a liberal sprinkling of an entirely separate language, Scots, or Scots English if you like. I’m nearly bi-lingual and didn’t even realise. Why is it not OK to simply be proficient in both?

    I am now picking up gaelic words mostly from road signs, mostly because its incredibly practical. As most place names in Scotland are Anglicisations/Scoticisations (a debate for another time) of the original gaelic name, and as the gaelic names were often literal (black rock, river mouth etc) and as the Scots/English names that we know places by have no literal meaning in the newer languages (e.g. Drumnadrochit), they’re really just Scots or English soundalikeys of the original literal meaning. Why couldnt Druim na Drochaid simply have been translated into Bridge at the Ridge (what it actually means), rather than having that whole connection and understanding blown away with a mocking soundalike name that obliterates all meaning and culture (rhetorical question, the answer is clear).

    On this educational journey I learn ‘inver’ comes from the gaelic ‘inbhir’ (meaning river mouth or confluence) and the meanings of Dal, Bal, Dun, Kil, Kin etc. I see ‘aber’ all across Scotland (Aberdeen, Aberlour, Aberdour) showing how far brythonic languages (peoples and their culture) spread. I see Innerleithen in the borders and realise gaelic must have been pretty prevalent that far south. I see places like Fiskavaig on Skye which is from old norse and I believe is almost identical to Fish Bay in modern Swedish. So anywhere with ‘vaig’ (meaning bay) had viking visitors. Vaig, vig, vik all deriving from old norse and being found today in place names from Sweden to the Hebrides to Rekjavik.

    Learning this, realising this, acknowledging this does not make me a blue and white faced Freedumb merchant who hates English people. What sort of person makes that leap? It simply increases my appreciation of the past forces that have brought us to this point and informs me to make better decisions in future.

    We live in a ridiculously beautiful land with a rich and fascinating history. We are incredibly spoiled. Understanding, realising, exploring and learning about it should be a badge of pride.

    At risk of sounding like too much of a fanboy, you are one of the pieces in todays Scottish cultural jigsaw that give me no doubt we are more than able to go forward and improve our collective future. Ignore the zoomers and please keep up the good work. Kindest regards.

    • Global Nomad says:

      Frazerio, what a wonderful first post!!!

      Can I ask what job it is that has taken you all around the country?
      I like to believe that I have been to quite a few places in our beautiful country but have to admit that there is still a large amount of area still to be covered.
      Definitely thinking of doing the drive up ower the tap and doon the ither side at some point in my life but haven’t considered heading down to the south too much (Borders/Dumfries).

      Perhaps its time for me to stretch my horizons within my own country instead of the wider world.

    • Macart says:

      Great first post.🙂

    • Alasdair Macdonald says:

      I agree with the other two commenters, that this is a fine post, Frazerio.

      Being a bit of a pedant I would say that you are undergoing what the Brazilian educationist, Paulo Freire, termed ‘conscientisation’. Keep up the self realisation!

  24. Les Bremner says:

    In a debate, those who are correct are those who are able to work with logic and dignity. Those who know that they are losing use emotion and the ad hominem approach.

    Congratulations, you are on the winning side.

    • kailyard rules says:

      “…those who are correct are those able to work with logic and dignity. Those who know..they are losing use emotion…”

      On occasion I would substitute the word “win” for “correct” as those with more power, and power of language and speech, have more influence and control of the “debate”. The lesser educated, the less powerful, are often efficiently mooted and muted before being dismissed yelling “travesty”.

  25. Whitburnsfinest says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake, another keyboard warrior trying to have a go. Honestly, these folk trying to start blog wars need to go and get a life. Maybe interact with a real person or two, you know like actual human people.

    Ignore it all, Paul. If you’d just cured cancer and ended world hunger while finding the Holy Grail there’d still be someone somewhere bleating about how terrible it is that you’d said something less than polite in 1972. Keep doing you, sweetheart. The whingers don’t matter.

  26. epicyclo says:

    They’re scared of Gaelic.
    For the simple reason that once we start using/reusing it, they can no longer control the flow of information, or understand what we are saying.

    • davidbsb says:

      They’re no alone. I struggle with English at times. I had to google “bloviated” the other day when someone used it to describe Boris and the gang.

      The Reith lecturer on the MOT radio 4 from Glasgow this week was very interesting. Our nationalism is a civic nationalism. It is not to be confused with the sort of xenophobic or quasifascistic nationalism that obsesses some of our detractors. So while it is very good that our host here has a learned and interesting take on the languages spoken here, I would not get too teary about them or form opinions that include or exclude others based upon his essays.

      We are one Scotland.

  27. Peter says:

    Just because you live in Scotland doesn’t make you Scottish. Apparently an english authoress who writes english stories about english people set in england, can be described as Scottish. She isn’t, has never claimed to be so and should never be referred to as anything else.

    You can’t be Scottish if you deny the existence of a place called Scotland and Scottish people.

    • weegingerdug says:

      If you come from elsewhere and live in Scotland but don’t want to be Scottish, I’m not going to insist that you’ve got to be. The point however is that there are many thousands of people who’ve come to live in Scotland, who have come to identify with Scotland, and we should be proud and honoured to accept them as fellow-Scots.

  28. grumpydubai says:

    Brilliant blog; equally brilliant comment.

    Why bother what other people, apparently without a semblance of more than one brain cell, have say amongst the twitterati and similar fora?

  29. punklin says:

    Please don’t let them get to you, Paul. You are an incipient national treasure and need to be carefully looked after!

  30. stuckdoonhame says:

    Paul, my dad, who wrote poetry in Gaelic, Scots and English – with equal facility in all three – would be cheering you to the rafters because of this and the preceding blog.
    As would my Gaelic-speaking stepfather, who, as my other half reminded me when I recommended he read your previous post. We once took him out for a wee drive round East Lothian and stopped in Garvald. We had a wee dauner doon the street and he stopped and peered over a bridge. “Ah, there it is!” he said. “The ‘garbh alt” (for your non-Gaelic readers, pronounced ‘garv alt’), or, in English ‘rough burn.

  31. We always knew when our mother had indulged in her guilty wee pleasure of an afternoon cuppa, and obligatory tea cakes, with her pals from the Mothers’ Union, twa of whom were from darkest Ayrshire originally.
    Her teatime patois would be peppered with:- ‘He kens weel’, and ‘the morn’s morn’.
    ‘Thought’ would morph into ‘thoucht’, ‘night’, ‘nicht’,and sentences would end with the wonderful ‘ken’, checking out that her message had got across.
    It took 24 hours to wear off, and she reverted to her equally idiosyncratic broad Scotstoun.
    I was working in Stranraer, many moons ago now, when a local colleague recounted queuing for a burger on holiday on a Spanish beach and chatting up two Liverpool lasses. He was going great guns and arranged to met them later that day.(Ah, the innocence of it all now.)
    When he met up with the Liver Birds they were puzzled and disappointed, enquiring where the Galloway Lad’s mate ‘Ken’ was.
    They admitted that earlier in the day they had barely understood much of what he had been saying, but left with the impression that they had agreed to meet later on a double date with two Likely Lads from Stranraer. one of whom was called, ‘Ken’, ken?
    For such a small scattering of rocks teetering on the edge of Continental Shelf, these islands
    form a rich tapestry of languages and dialects.
    Why would anybody want to challenge that?
    Paul, that your excellent writing can invoke such memories is truly remarkable. Thanks.

  32. Polscot says:

    Oh look, now you have gone and upset the frothing Yoon deniers so much that all they have is reductio ad absurdum arguments in response. Keep up the good work.

  33. Brian Fleming says:

    Paul. I just made a donation and I’ve no idea what happened. I deliberately avoided the PayPal option and entered my credit card details direct. But it seemed to go though PayPal anyway. You should get £100, but I’ve no way of knowing if you’ve got it. Could you possibly confirm with a simple acknowledgement to fleming@saunalahti.fi? I’m still struggling for cash, but if I can’t donate after your two latest posts on Gaelic, then when can I? Brilliant stuff. I really admire your work.

    Brian Fleming
    Finland

    • Brian Fleming says:

      It seems it went through PayPal anyway. So no problem, as long as you got it. Keep up the good work. The only thing better than you writing your blog would be if I were writing something as good. Dream on, Brian, dream on. But it’s staggeringly good quality and bang on the nail every time.

      Thank you.

  34. Iain Mac dhonnadhaidh says:

    “It’s not my bloody language!”…..this was the waspish and angry response ifrom a female colleague in the newsroom, when I remarked that I had decided to learn our national language.

    Having just returned home after 14 years working away from Scotland, and eager to learn as much as I could about the country I had sprung from, but left while still at primary school, I was taken aback. The anger expressed by this well educated woman truly amazed me, however her response was (and still is), common to many people who are truly Scottish, but deny the validity of Gaelic.

    As Paul has pointed out; Gaelic is very much ‘our language’ – worn as is into the very fabric of our daily lives. We hardly need to search for it’s everywhere we look.

    The enemy of Gaelic lies not out-with our country, but within the hearts of the Scots who seek to dismiss the language.

    Iain Dubh.j

  35. Emyr says:

    I find it helpful sometimes to turn the logic back on the critics and apply it to the majority language. eg. Is English a national language of England? Is Polish? Is Urdu? Is Welsh (there are indigenous Welsh-speakers just on the English side of the border)?

    Tends to flummox them.

  36. John MacKenzie says:

    Wee point – Norn was spoken beyond the Northern Isles I think. Pretty sure it was spoken in the western isles at the time of Somerled. Not that this affects your point in any way, just being a smartarse, as is my wont.

  37. Hugh Wallace says:

    Paul, just wanted to leave you a note of thanks and appreciation for your blog in general but these articles about language in particular. It is one of my biggest regrets that I don’t speak my other mother-tongue (Gaelic) but intend to rectify that one day (if I haven’t been forced to emigrate to France or Spain to get away from the hellhole that a post-Brexit UK will be). I was utterly delighted the other week when having lunch at a lovely place in the west end of Glasgow, to hear two women chatting to each other and their respective young children in Gaelic. I wanted to go over and tell them just that but decided not to intrude. I am looking forward, with great excitement, to being able to buy one (by which I mean, all) of your Gaelic maps once they are published. I love maps I do.

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