The Gaelic Debate

The Scotsman today reported on how a rising school roll has prompted Scotland’s first Gaelic school to expand. Although the Highland school is only gaining two classrooms, the expansion will see a major difference in kind of education children in this part of Inverness will receive. But this started a debate in my household: should we all be taught Gaelic at school?

Many people believe that it should be compulsory, that we should learn the language as it is part of our heritage. Hardly anyone speaks Gaelic (except in the north and isles) nowadays and there is a fear the language will one day be lost. However, not everyone can say they have a link to the Highlands and islands. My dad argued that we are from the central belt and our language was never Gaelic but Scots. He went on to say, “Scots is Rabbie Burn’s language. It’s English with a few of our own words thrown in.” despite my dad’s attempt to make a serious statement comical, he is right to an extent. Why waste our time learning a language that none of our family members spoke?

On the other hand, we can debate that their should be the option of learning the language at school- even if it is just the basics. It is all very well learning French, Italian, German or Spanish, but it would be nice to learn something totally different that could allow you to travel about Scotland without the worry that Gaelic speakers will ignore English. And as Journalists I guess it would mean BBC Alba would be an option when looking for a job. Or an aid for the boys when they are watching SPL games on the channel.

I think it all comes down to finding that one key reason for learning the language. There are so many pros and cons that it is difficult to decide. But at the end of the day I’m sure the government will decide for us by moaning about the price tag and then cutting more languages out of the curriculum. C’est la vie.

One Response

  1. I did my second cutting notes story on a Gaelic school opening in Leith. I think it’s a dead language really, hardly anyone speaks it even up in the Highlands the figures are low.

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