Thank you Bella Caledonia for pointing this out – In their recent press statements about the 2011 census, National Records of Scotland (NRS) claimed that folk who said they speak Scots “didn’t understand the question”!?!
This is insulting in so many ways. Chiefly – do they really think Scottish people are so stupid they don’t even know what language they’re using? The fact that only 1.5 million folk identified as Scots speakers tells me they understood the question perfectly well. Many of the 5.3 million people in Scotland speak, like me, a modern hybrid of Scots and English (sometimes called Scottish Standard English) with it’s own pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary – distinct from English.
SSE incorporates some Scots words but it is not Scots. I know a few folk who can truly express themselves entirely in Scots so, out of 5 million, 1.5 million sounds like a reasonable number – some being less fluent than others.
That aside, the census had some good news for the Gaelic language in Scotland:
“…previous Census results recorded an 11% drop in speakers, while the new figures suggest a 1.2% fall from 59,000 to 58,000.
The latest results also show a 0.1% increase in Gaelic speakers aged under 20” – source
So, it seems the decline in Gaelic speakers is slowing. Not awesome news but encouraging.
Interestingly, this figure of 58,000 is not too dissimilar to the number of people speaking Polish at home – 54,000 people. My beloved Teo is one of those… although he also speaks Gaelic and Scots so he’s probably skewing the numbers somewhat…
Uabhasach, straszny and Help ma Boab!