A little contradiction at the heart of the Scottish government?

VisitScotland the department of government responsible for the development of the tourism, in the course of puffing a pretty low rent marketing survey to guide ‘targeted marketing strategies’, noted that Dutch visitors ‘love to test out their excellent English language skills’. [Ed: our emphasis.]

Right.

That marketing strategy – hardly offering an opportunity unique to Scotland within the UK anyway – in already under a death sentence with VisitScotland’s fellow department of government, EducationScotland, fighting to compel all children in Scotland to learn the comic cartoon language of Scots Doric.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • And we live in a country where bilingual place names are beginning to spring up all over the land – was Lockerbie ever Locarbaidh, or only in the fertile imagination of Scotrail and Transport Scotland?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 12

    Robert Wakeham December 1, 2014 4:46 pm Reply
    • I believe it comes under the auspices of ‘job creation’, Robert. Someone has been paid to make it up – whether that’s the name or the sign.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 14

      Lowry December 1, 2014 4:55 pm Reply
      • With so much cash splashing about, this being another example, one wonders when the SNP will ever actually do anything to stop the growth of foodbanks we heard to much about.

        Anything?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 12

        Jamie Black December 1, 2014 5:33 pm Reply
        • I’m expecting to get off the Caledonian sleeper and see the gaelic name for ‘London Euston’ any day now.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 13

          Robert Wakeham December 1, 2014 7:42 pm Reply
        • I notice none of the usual suspects have jumpted in to tell me what the SNP are doing to alleviste foodbanks and poverty, mke Scotlan fairer etc, but hopefully his reminder will spur them into action.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

          Jamie Black December 2, 2014 7:44 am Reply
  • Bilingual is nothing. There are many trilingual place names in Scotland as well. So much more interesting for the tourists, and interested Scots as well.
    Actually, from Wiki,
    “The name (originally “Loc-hard’s by”) means Lockard’s Farm in Old Norse”
    so it looks that the English and Gaelic names are both translations.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

    Murdoch MacKenzie December 1, 2014 6:42 pm Reply
  • NEWSIE

    “fighting to compel all children in Scotland to learn the comic cartoon language of Scots Doric” Cartoon language?
    As an Irish women how would you like your speech described? Do you speak Ulster Scots, Irish Gaelic , Scots Gaelic , English with a funny accent?
    We then have Wakeham and Lowry both English people agreeing. Are they typical of English folk in Scotland. Thankfully not. Most people living here enjoy our variety of cultures and value something more than just £ and pence.
    Based upon your editorial I can I call you racist ? In what language.

    As residents of this country what do you feel is expendable, the Mod, Celtic Connections, The Edinburgh Fringe? I assume as culture snobs the Edinborough Festival is culturally a cut above the rest. Close Gaelic schools? — All small schools?

    I am pleased Jamie Black is worried over food banks. It is the first time. Personally my family dropped of food at our local church yesterday. I wish I didn’t have to but there you are. No doubt I have counterparts doing likewise over RUK but suffering in the UK is partial despite Osborne and Cameron’s that we are in it altogether.
    Increasingly NEWSIE I think you are living in the wrong place judging on your continuous and negative comments of this nation. Scotland should you wonder.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 11

    No Cheese Here December 1, 2014 6:42 pm Reply
    • You make me chuckle NCH, but I’m not taking the bait.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

      Jamie Black December 1, 2014 7:19 pm Reply
      • Not even a tin of beans guv?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

        No Cheese Here December 1, 2014 8:28 pm Reply
    • You can call newsie racist if you want NCH, but demented would be a better word. “Condescending provincial” would do too. Or “glaikit eejit”

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

      Kassandra December 1, 2014 9:31 pm Reply
      • But one hell of a lot more constructively motivated than you are, Kassandra.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

        Robert Wakeham December 1, 2014 10:45 pm Reply
  • Re the last sentence of the article, I am pretty sure that more sensible words have been spoken in the Doric than we all manage on here.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

    Murdoch MacKenzie December 1, 2014 6:47 pm Reply
  • I don’t really see it as a contradiction. Education Scotland and VisitScotland are not really targeting the same core market are they.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

    Integrity? December 1, 2014 6:57 pm Reply
  • Newsie define English as it should be spoken.
    Is it “BBC” English?
    Is it “Eton” English?
    Is it “the only way is Essex” English?
    Is it Yorkshire English?
    Is Liverpool English?
    Is it Birmingham English?
    My point being that every region on these islands speak with their own distinct dialect, take Kintyre as an example, Campbeltown, Carradale and Tarbert all have their different sounding dialects.

    Tell Mr Spock on Starship Enterprise to beam you back down from your high horse

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

    john in kintyre December 1, 2014 7:03 pm Reply
    • Trying to bring a lighter note in the face of continual vitriol coming out of the referendum.

      I remember Lenny Henry (not a comedian who usually makes me chuckle) talking about this very issue. He said people from abroad were always amazed at how 20 miles makes such a difference to the way people talk in Britain. He have Birmingam as a prime example by saying

      In Birmingham people say ‘I’m going to a party’ (this said in a Brummie accent)

      In Dudley they say ‘Can I come?’

      Ok not as funny when you write it!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

      Integrity? December 1, 2014 7:07 pm Reply
      • Integrity, you tube. Father Chris Smith mulled wines.
        Tis the season of fun and goodwill!
        Enjoy

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

        richard December 1, 2014 8:32 pm Reply
      • Richard

        Wasn’t sure if you were telling me to youtube a video or calling me a tube – having youtubed it I have to admit that both options have merit!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

        Integrity? December 1, 2014 8:52 pm Reply
        • I should have said watch, anyway its just a bit of fun in amongst the moaning.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

          richard December 1, 2014 9:05 pm Reply
          • Much needed. The spirit of bah humbug is alive and well in the hills of Argyll. We have thumbs down for poor humour!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

            Integrity? December 1, 2014 11:02 pm
    • Just as not every area of Scotland has a Gaelic tradition but it has been decided for political reasons to force Gaelic on all areas.

      I have yet to hear anyone speaking Gaelic around town.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

      Lundavra December 2, 2014 12:20 am Reply
  • Changing the subject somewhat.

    Crude oil currently trading at $70.15 a barrel, time for an article me thinks newsie?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

    Oban4 me December 1, 2014 8:45 pm Reply
    • Probably counting as a big contradiction at the heart of the Scottish government, and perchance giving Mr Swinney sleepless nights.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

      Robert Wakeham December 1, 2014 8:49 pm Reply
      • Swinney? Maybe you mean Osbourne. Was it the Oil Price that put him over the edge on last Wednesdays PMQ?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

        Murdoch MacKenzie December 1, 2014 9:46 pm Reply
        • MM.

          Talk about out of touch with reality. Osbourne and the treasury has long since given up on north sea oil revenue as a contributor to the treasury coffers, in fact westminster are considering handing over all north sea oil assets to Holyrood. There is of course a £40 billion price tag for total decommissioning of the north sea oil infrastructure.

          $70.15 a barrel. North sea oil can’t operate at the price.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

          Oban4 me December 1, 2014 10:32 pm Reply
          • Really? Before 9/11 the only time oil was over 30USD was during the Iran/Iraq war. It’s a lot easier to work now than it was then.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

            Murdoch MacKenzie December 1, 2014 11:23 pm
          • My Aberdeen contacts tell me the North Sea is still going like a fair.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

            Longshanks December 2, 2014 12:02 am
          • I had to have a quiet laugh at Oban* saying I was out of touch with reality. I have been involved with the oil industry for over fifty years, the last forty exclusively so. Millions of earnings from oil have and continue to pass through my accounts.
            I have been on projects that decommissioned the existing infrastructure while the product from adjacent platforms was diverted round about us. Whole topsides have been changed out in some fields in this way. Nothing is impossible.
            It’s sad when people living in Scotland find happiness in Global situations that damage us, just to press their political prejudice.
            The oil company I work with have just signed massive deals for further development, all offshore and in very deep water. The price is the price, profit is what matters. New technology keeps that profit within reach.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

            Murdoch MacKenzie December 2, 2014 8:34 am
          • Oban
            What tablets are you taking?
            Osborne will bleed the North Sea dry before handing anything back and you know it. Explain why our master on high didn’t say last week to Smith please give this to the plebs in Scotland its worthless.
            He needs to pay off the debt and at the same time promise (for the second time) to spend billions on English roads including a tunnel at Stonehenge.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

            No Cheese Here December 2, 2014 11:21 am
          • I can explain NCH. George Osborne was not part of the Smith Commision.

            But maybe you can tell us at what point John Swinney suggested it?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

            Jamie Black December 2, 2014 11:26 am
  • the comic cartoon language of Scots Doric.

    Good grief.

    What a narrow-minded, bigoted, thoroughly stupid statement.

    Doric has a long and distinguished history in Scots literature, in both novels and poetry. Although it has a much longer tradition in local literature its emergence into the mainstream probably started with William Alexander’s Johnny Gibb of Gushetneuk, which first appeared in instalments in the Aberdeen Free Press in 1868-9 prior to its publication in book form in 1871.

    Charles Murray’s Hamewith, first published in 1900, introduced many readers to scenes and characters from the village and farming communities of the North-East using the Doric as his medium.

    Among the ‘common folk’ there is the great tradition of the Bothy Ballad, and of course in the 20th century the unparalleled Scots Quair (Sunset Song et al)

    In the opening years of the 21st century Doric poetry and literature continues to flourish. Doric poetry, traditional and contemporary, is widely taught in schools throughout Scotland already. If you want to find out more you could do worse than look at Aberdeen University’s Elphinstone Kirk website.

    To dismiss Doric as a ‘comic book language’ shows either a profound ignorance or a studied disrespect for the culture and language of well over half a million of our fellow Scots in the North-East, not to mention the descendants of their ancestors who emigrated in their tens of thousands to the colonies.

    Pathetic, Newsie. Simply pathetic.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 5

    Longshanks December 1, 2014 8:57 pm Reply
    • It’s actually more than pathetic. It borders on racism, or perhaps culturalism would be the correct word, if it existed. Basically though, newsie is a snob. A de-racinated Northern Irish snob.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

      Kassandra December 1, 2014 9:35 pm Reply
      • is calling someone a ‘Northern Irish snob’ not in itself a form of racism? After all, what does descent/nationality have to do with being a snob?!

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

        Jamie Black December 1, 2014 10:25 pm Reply
      • And what are you, Kassandra?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

        Robert Wakeham December 1, 2014 10:42 pm Reply
    • Longshanks, I always understood Doric was from the North East of Scotland.
      Lallans I believe covers the main three Scottish languages/Dialects, Gaelic from the north, Scots and Scots English. I believe their are many variations some related to a town or Island.
      The Government have hijacked Gaelic as the language of Scotland until recently and now have a Scots/Doric curriculum, I stand to be corrected by those who are more knowledgeable.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11

      richard December 1, 2014 10:13 pm Reply
  • Actually, I’m not sure that VisitScotland have totally put their foot in it quite as badly as Newsroom’s article suggests. After all what’s the Gaelic for “the English Language”, but “Beurla”, the first meaning of which the dictionary states to be “spoken language” … THE language. It’s an objective fact which I state in a totally neutral way that it is perhaps centuries since the Gaelic-speaking world accepted the reality that within these islands English is the predominant language. And in a comparable way, it is still a common view that Scots is just a dialect form of English rather than a standalone language, although again I don’t offer a position on this. So what’s so wrong with VisitScotland acknowledging reality?

    At Achadh an Droighinn/Auchindrain it is our job to provide an insight into the past and not a commentary on the present, but even within those boundaries we struggle with the issue of language. We meet and greet our visitors in English (or sometimes French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, etc), and we tell the township’s story in English so that it can be understood. But we carefully start by telling everyone that a century ago this language would have been a stranger here, and that everyone thought and spoke in richly-accented Argyll Gaelic.

    In the modern world, we are proud to champion an awareness of Gaelic: in our name, and where it adds to the depth of our story by using and explaining key Gaelic words and names. However, whilst there is incontrovertible evidence that the name of the place was historically spoken as “Ach-anDRAYen”, that the ugly modern usage of “Ockin-drain” only emerged when Argyll had lost its language and this township its people and the name was voiced only by monoglot English-speakers who (knowing no better) phonetically rendered it as an English word, the fact remains that we have yet to identify even one historical source document that spells the name out in Gaelic. Up to the 1930s we have all sorts of different spellings appear on maps and in documents – Achandrain, Achendrian, Achandryan … and even at times in the 18th and 19th centuries the English translation “Thornfield”, but never Achadh an Droighinn. So, however much we celebrate the cultural status and importance of Gaelic, we also accept the verdict of historical fact.

    And we are delighted when our Dutch visitors come to us to practise their English.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    Bob Clark December 1, 2014 11:27 pm Reply
    • It’s only said as Beurla in laziness. The correct way would be Beurla Shasannach.
      Beurla is just language. Travellers Gaelic was known as Beurla Reagaird.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie December 1, 2014 11:50 pm Reply
      • Correct, but what you call “laziness” in in reality the common usage!

        My point is that the issue of language isn’t black and white. We can and do put Gaelic and Scots on a pedestal and acknowledge their cultural significance, but in doing so we also recognise that in the world of 2014, rather than of 1814 or even 1914, English IS “the language” and no amount of wishing things were different will turn back the clock.

        So why shouldn’t VisitScotland encourage the Dutch, or indeed anyone else, from coming to SCOTLAND to practise their ENGLISH given that that’s the language generally spoken most of the time in most of Scotland? Or should we have signs at the border encouraging them to stick to their native tongues … or learn Gaelic or Scots before they come? Or should they be encouraged to go on holiday in England instead?

        There shouldn’t be an issue with any of this.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

        Bob Clark December 2, 2014 12:52 am Reply
        • I can’t remember ever meeting a Dutch person who couldn’t speak English rather better than some English people.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

          Robert Wakeham December 2, 2014 1:31 am Reply
          • I concur. That is one reason why Scottish tourism should actively welcome them – and appreciate the fact that they usually do not need translation services to get the most out of Scotland.

            There really is no contradiction in SCOTLAND’s national tourist agency seeking to encourage visits from DUTCH people who speak ENGLISH!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

            Bob Clark December 2, 2014 3:00 am
          • Robert, I agree, I lived there for two years and am ashamed to say I never learnt the language, we have been a lazy nation when it comes to others languages, it’s probably only in the last 30 years that the importance of being able to speak Russian and Mandarin have surfaced.
            Being fluent in another language very often opens the door to may more opportunities for young people, it’s a mall world.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

            richard December 2, 2014 7:41 am
  • No one is suggesting that English should not be the common language in Scotland. It has been for many years. What causes the outrage on here is the constant attacks on anything Scottish like Gaelic and the Doric.
    These languages exist and there are still children raised in Scotland with these as their first languages. They are a major part of our culture and history that are worth saving and the Scottish Government are right to support them.
    I was brought up with Gaelic as my first language and have always been aware that the language was under constant attack and I believe that the reason is because so much of our history is stored within the culture that the invader wants to hide from the natives, like they did in our classrooms.
    You can learn more Scottish history from old Gaelic and Scots songs than from all the books that ever get written and you can be more certain that it is true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

    Murdoch MacKenzie December 2, 2014 7:45 am Reply
    • Murdoch, no one is attacking Gaelic or Doric but regardless of that we have moved on and used English for well over a hundred years, in some industries English is the international language.
      I support the principle of people having the choice of learning Gaelic, Scots etc but the pendulum appears to have got stuck, so like many things the practicality has become lost in the frenzy of a minority demanding.
      If you try and force these things down children’s throats all you will achieve is rejection.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

      richard December 2, 2014 9:39 am Reply
      • No-one is forcing them down childrens’ throats.

        Modern Doric poetry in particular is generally seen as fun and is well-received in classrooms throughout Scotland, particularly in the North-East of course.

        And there is no ‘frenzy of minority demanding’, just a realisation that for too many years Scottish culture was almost wholly absent from Scottish schools.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

        Longshanks December 2, 2014 5:50 pm Reply
        • ‘almost wholly absent’ – How can you justify that statement Longhanks?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          Jamie Black December 2, 2014 6:21 pm Reply
          • Jamie, from Bob’s comments it is easy enough to read a short history of STOCK that will lead on to the Scottish Governments position regarding Gaelic Schools, it appears from the latest figures that approx 3000 pupils are studying it, There are also statistics for Scots in a report from Ms Macafee.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

            richard December 2, 2014 6:50 pm
  • Didn’t Gaelic speakers and Scots speakers get soap in the mouth to wash it out or get the belt because a bairn or wean did not speak the Kings or Queens English.
    To allow Gaelic, Scots and Doric to die would be an injustice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

    No Cheese Here December 2, 2014 11:15 am Reply
    • I’m interested to know who you think would be to ‘blame’ for such an ‘injustice’, were it to come to pass, NCH?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      Jamie Black December 2, 2014 11:29 am Reply
  • Looking back with a historical perspective, two factors were key to the decline, and in places like Argyll, eventual effective total loss of Gaelic. The first, in the 18th century, was the crusading zeal of SSPCK – the Society in Scotland for the Propogation of Christian Knowledge – which was first responsible for institutionalising the idea that Gaelic was a “barbaric” language. The second, from the 1870s onwards, was the requirement built into the Education (Scotland) Act 1872 that children should be taught in English.

    More enlightened attitudes emerged in the second half of the 20th century, just in time to catch Western Isles Gaelic, and some of the Scots dialects, before they were lost entirely. Nowadays, I do not believe that anyone with an ounce of sense of influence considers that these languages are anything other than a positive aspect of cultural diversity. Whilst Scots may still be under threat through neglect, surely Gaelic is now secure?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Bob Clark December 2, 2014 5:11 pm Reply

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