Compute Scotland

Gaelic & Signposts

  • 02 Jan 2017
  • 29
Gaberlunzie is deriving some laughter as he watches the Gaelic signpost stushie! He also notes that "For Argyll" has not covered the subject for seven years.   He waits breathlessly, having fallen around at the old "Scotman" story where Bute was renamed ‘Penis Island” in a Gaelic sign error and he is pleased that ComputeScotland has got  Save Gaelic  on his front page left-hand column. Hot off "The Herald" is that scientists have created an App that teaches computers to understand Gaelic! But how good are they at speaking it?

Compute Scotland he points out has alway carried a link front page left hand column where clicking on it downloads  SaveGaelic.Org.  Actually, Gaberlunzie is of the opinion that the indigenous Scottish  population is heavily dyslexic when it comes to words and numbers, which would account for the proof-reading errors in eScottish exam papers and why we don’t seem to manage our government finances too well.

What Gaberlunzie  really loves (being numerically dyslexic) are picture signposts and one of the finest on the outskirts of Edinburgh city is a road signs for "Beware Foxes" He hasn’t had the fortune to see one in years! let along to BEWARE of it !

Scrubbing around into bits and pieces it appears that  (left) Iain Noble,  Berlin-born and son of British diplomat and Norwegian mother, educated in Shanghai and Argentina as well as Eton was in favour of registering Gaelic and  offered to donate  land to the council on condition that  three signs to be erected on the stretch of road be bilingual, a way of registering Gaelic on the linguistic landscape. 

Resisted by the council, with Lord Burton, Chairman of the Roads Committee, who later the same year attempted unsuccessfully to introduce legislation in the Lords to limit the use of Gaelic by Scottish local authorities. 

 However, Noble was supported by a petition signed by many prominent Skye residents and as a compulsory purchase order might have been slow and expensive, the council negotiated a compromise: Portree and Broadford both received bilingual signposts on an "experimental" basis.

This set a precedent,  gradually followed throughout the 1980s, becoming generally accepted in the 1990s. Bilingual signposting is now the norm throughout the Western Isles (indeed for a time directional signposts there were mono-lingually Gaelic[1]) and also in large parts of the mainland on local authority roads. In 1996, Highland Council decided to make use of Gaelic-only signposts in some areas.

“The future of the language lies with the people who speak it and its proponents can do a far better job by promoting it in their day-to-day lives at no cost, rather than spending public money in areas where it is of little or no relevance. The Scottish Government is spending millions of pounds across Scotland’s 32 local authority areas in the next few years to implement Gaelic language plans, that will see the introduction of bilingual signs and websites.

 “The Scottish Government is committed to a sustainable and vibrant future for the Gaelic language in Scotland. Road signage is ultimately a matter for local authorities and Brd na Gidhlig provide guidance to councils in taking forward the actions within their individual language plans.”

However, the blog Wings OverScotland site has no time for the Gaelic lobby.  "The obsolete language spoken by just 0.9% of Scotland’s population might be part of the nation’s “cultural heritage”, but so were burning witches and replacing Highlanders with sheep and we don’t do those any more either.

Being multilingual is an excellent thing, but the significant amount of time and effort taken to learn a literally-pointless second language (because everyone you can talk to in Gaelic already understood English) would be vastly better directed to picking up one that was actually of some use, and every extra fraction of a second spent scanning a road sign trying to find the bit you can read is a fraction of a second spent with your eyes off the road.

Non-primary native languages are a tool whose main utility in practice is at best the exclusion of outsiders, and at worst an expression of dodgy blood-and-soil ethnic nationalism. They’re a barrier to communication and an irritation to the vast majority of the population, who are made to feel like uncultured aliens in their own land. But we’d still rather put up with Gaelic than have complete idiots making our laws.

Gaberluzie would just like to point out that Alamy has a monopoly on dual gaelic-english signposts. God bless Wikipedia above! and more of these Wonderful promissory signs.  Double Trouble just Trippled  and watch out for the FROGS BELOW










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