View Full Version : Scottish Parliament Passes Gaelic Language Bill

Thursday, May 5th, 2005, 02:24 PM
It would indeed be a sad day were Gaelic to fade out of use and memory, so it is good to see that it is being afforded at least some degree of legal protection.

Scottish Parliament Passes Gaelic Language Bill
Truru/ Truro 4/22/2005
by Davyth Hicks

The passage of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill by the Scottish Parliament on Thursday (21/04/2005) marked a historic victory for Gaelic speakers who have campaigned for the language to be granted official recognition in law.

The legislation, which was passed unanimously, establishes Bòrd na Gàidhlig (the Gaelic language board) in law. Until now, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has been a non-departmental public body; it will now be a statutory body with greater powers. The board is charged with “securing the status of the Gaelic Language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language”. It will be responsible for producing a national plan for Gaelic, for advising ministers on Gaelic issues, including education, and for approving the Gaelic language plans that public authorities in Scotland will now be required to make.

The bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in September 2004, following a public consultation exercise that attracted more than 3,000 responses. During the bill’s passage through Parliament, MSPs heard evidence from lobby groups, local authority representatives and members of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Opening the final debate on the bill, Peter Peacock, the Scottish Executive minister with responsibility for Gaelic, said: “It is imperative that we act now. Gaelic is a precious asset for all of Scotland and it is our responsibility to provide the means by which the Gaelic language will not only survive but thrive into the future.

The bill gives clear and official recognition to Gaelic. Gaelic is an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to English”.

Robert Brown MSP, convener of the committee that steered the bill though its evidence and amendment stages, said: “Without Gaelic language, culture and tradition, Scotland would be a poorer place. The bill is a major step towards securing and enhancing the future of Gaelic, so I have much pleasure in supporting in it.”

The road to legislation has been fraught with frustration for language activists. The first plans for legislation to give Gaelic “secure status” were drawn up in 1997 by Comunn na Gàidhlig, the Government-funded development organisation, but the first Gaelic language bill in the new devolved Scottish Parliament, introduced in 2002 by opposition member Michael Russell failed to be passed. Campaigners have also been critical of the response by both the Scottish Executive and the UK Government to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in respect of Gaelic, and of the reluctance of either administration to respond to calls for a dedicated Gaelic TV channel.

While this bill has been widely welcomed by the Gaelic community, many parents are disappointed that the bill did not, as many parents had hoped, enshrine in law a right for children to receive education through the medium of Gaelic. Gaelic broadcasting is also omitted from the Bill as broadcasting is not devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is expected to publish the national plan for Gaelic in 2007. (Eurolang © 2005)

Thursday, May 5th, 2005, 02:51 PM
A great move on their part. If only other governments weren't so afraid to protect the language and culture of it's native peoples...

Mistress Klaus
Thursday, May 5th, 2005, 03:18 PM
I love the Scots!:love :thumbsup
The down to earth (though seems batty to the rest of the world) reasoning and connection to the traditional ways.

Thursday, May 5th, 2005, 04:31 PM
I love the Scots!:love :thumbsup
The down to earth (though seems batty to the rest of the world) reasoning and connection to the traditional ways.I love them too. And I love Scottish music. :D ;)

Thursday, May 5th, 2005, 09:35 PM
And I love Scottish music. :D ;)
Celtic music in general ;)

Thursday, May 5th, 2005, 11:07 PM
Yep, indeed. :)

Friday, May 6th, 2005, 04:59 PM
And just to add, here is the current state of the Manx language. Several families are speaking it again, which pleases my friend Doug to no end since his family emigrated to Australia from the Isle of Man...


The Manx Language (Y Ghailck)
Since its inception, Manx National Heritage has been a strong supporter of the Manx language.

Manx National Heritage was the first agency of Government to ensure that the Manx language appeared on its letter-head.

Manx National Heritage, in Manx is ‘Eiraght Ashoonagh Vannin’ (literally, ‘heritage, national, of Mann’)

Manx National Heritage has provided research grants for study of original Manx Place-Names, the use of Anglo-Manx dialect, and for a number of publications, and has funded the post of a Manx Language Development Officer in the Island.

Although the last ‘native speaker’ of Manx died in 1974 the language is now strong in a revived movement of enthusiasts and began to be formally taught in the Island’s schools since 1992.

Manx National Heritage preserves a rich archive on original sound recordings and photographs of the last of the native speakers which are available for consultation by researchers and modern speakers.

The Manx language also features in the displays at a number of Manx National Heritage museum sites. Indeed, the first cottage acquired in Cregneash village as a foundation for the National Folk Museum in 1938 belonged to Harry Kelly, a noted Manx speaker.

There are now several Manx-speaking families at Cregneash who use the language at home and as part of their work for Manx National Heritage.
Further information about the Manx language can be obtained from the Manx National Heritage headquarters at the Manx Museum in Douglas.