I’ve just watched this episode of David Mitchell’s SoapBox entitled “The Gaelic Language”. He is not at all snide on the subject (which surprised me) and makes a few good points…but mostly it’s a load of cac.
I’m sorry you don’t want to learn the gaelic Mr Mitchell but that’s no reason for us to stop funding it. He talks, in a very British way, as if people should just pick one language and only ever speak that… Which, to be fair, is exactly what many native english speakers do. However, it is perfectly possible for humans to speak multifarious languages. I personally know tonnes of folk who do just that – and I aspire to it myself.
Multi-lingualism makes your brain work on a whole different level – you get all shiny and genius like. You do, science says so…
Anyway, in the video Mitchell states that currently gaelic speakers are relatively small in number, and that most of them also speak english. Two points here:
- They might be able to speak english but they might not want to – and forcing folk to speak english is cultural imperialism, which is a Very Bad Thing.
- If the language is supported now, if more gaelic medium jobs become available, folk will see the practical benefits of speaking – and teaching their children – gaelic, not just the cultural benefits. The number of gaelic speakers could rise and we’ll start having an annual Mod in Livi… (ok, I might have gone a little far at the end there)
It seems to me David Mitchell has little knowledge of what has gone before. Gaelic didn’t get into this state because folk got bored with it, or whatever he was saying. Folk were forbidden to speak the gaelic and either punished or ridiculed for doing so. The same thing happened to Scots btw – the ancient leid this bawheid refers to as “a dialect of english”!
I’d better stop ranting now – I need to have my tea (tha an t-acras orm) – but just to conclude:
There are many good, artful and beautiful reasons to support gaelic language and culture. The only reason not to is money – and that is never good reason for anything.