The Irish Driver Theory Test – In Gaelic?

A couple of days ago I was helping my sister complete her online application form for the driver theory test when we encountered a drop-down menu that offered several different language options, including one for “Gaelic“. I was surprised to see this term substituted for the word “Irish” (or “Gaeilge“) on a website serving users in Ireland. While Irish is a Gaelic language, one of the… Read More The Irish Driver Theory Test – In Gaelic?

Restorative Justice For The Celtic Peoples

Returning to the issue of righting old wrongs, what might be described as restorative justice for dispossessed cultures, Paula Young Lee makes these observations on the decision by Barack Obama to officially recognise the name of the highest peak on the North American continent, Denali: “For decades, the Alaska Federation of Natives has been pushing to restore… Read More Restorative Justice For The Celtic Peoples

A’ Seinn An Aghaidh Na Balbhachd

A quick thank you to regular contributor Marconatrix for an email reminder of this 2012 video-documentary from Michael Newton, A’ Seinn an aghaidh na Balbhachd “Singing against the Silence”, examining the Scottish (Scottish Gaelic) language in Nova Scotia and Canada. It’s well worth half an hour of your time.  

JK Rowling, In Defence Of Greater England

Sometimes an individual should simply stick to doing what he or she does best. In the case of the British author J.K. Rowling her “best” is continuing her spectacularly successful career of writing fantasy books for children; and not becoming an online agent provocateur for Greater England: a veritable troll-baiting champion of its hegemony over the island of… Read More JK Rowling, In Defence Of Greater England

Michael White, The Debonair Greater Englander

Michael White, the parliamentary correspondent of the nominally centre-left Guardian newspaper in the UK, has gained an unenviable reputation over the last decade as one of the more odiously patronising Greater England supremacists of the London commentariat. His barely concealed disdain for the “Celtic fringe” is carefully couched in a pseudo-liberal façade of Anglo-Leftist “anti-tribal” rhetoric. Of… Read More Michael White, The Debonair Greater Englander

The Peculiar Nature Of British Democarcy

Following up on the unexpected results of the UK general election Adrian Kavanagh has examined the barely democratic nature of Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system and the stark anomalies it throws up. The details below make it clear that there is something seriously amiss with the fundamentals of British democracy. The Conservative Party won 50.9% of parliamentary seats with 36.9% of the… Read More The Peculiar Nature Of British Democarcy

Polls Predict 2015 SNP Landslide In Scotland

I must admit that I remain quite sceptical about the anti-SNP hysteria convulsing significant chunks of the UK press as they continue to promulgate claims that Nicola Sturgeon’s party will soon crush all before it as Britain’s general election looms, banishing the mainstream British Unionist parties from Scotland for ever and a day – or at least from representing the Scottish constituencies in Westminster for the… Read More Polls Predict 2015 SNP Landslide In Scotland

Greater England Is At Ease With The European Tea Party

The Scottish National Party is a popular, mainstream, democratic, left-of-centre European political group which has managed the devolved government of Scotland since 2007. It’s current leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is a well-regarded politician with broadly centralist and progressive policies, certainly nothing that would overly-scare the conservative horses of the all important “business community” or offend the liberal sensibilities of the urban intelligentsia.… Read More Greater England Is At Ease With The European Tea Party

The BBC Challengers Election Debate 2015

Did Nicola Sturgeon, the formidable SNP leader and current First Minster of Scotland, emerge as the winner from last night’s televised debate of the “challengers” in the UK general election? She certainly seems to have put Ed Miliband on the defensive more than once, though much of the centre-left media in Britain is spinning the Labour Party leader as… Read More The BBC Challengers Election Debate 2015

Risking The Ire Of Outlander Fans

Scottish blogger Tocasaid has cast a cold eye over the Anglo-American television adaptation of the genre-defying Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, and drawn the wrath of fans everywhere. Personally I like time-travelling tropes (Julian’s May quadrilogy, Saga of the Exiles, remains one of my favourite SF series) however what little I know of Outlander – the novel and TV show –… Read More Risking The Ire Of Outlander Fans

Celtic Cosmology, Perspectives from Ireland and Scotland

Over the last two decades relatively few studies have been published analysing the cosmological traditions of the Celtic-speaking peoples, at least by academic authors. There was a lot of interest in such matters in the 1980s and early ‘90s, coupled with tentative suggestions about the composition of native Irish or Welsh beliefs in the composition of the… Read More Celtic Cosmology, Perspectives from Ireland and Scotland

It Seems That Bigotry Unites As Well As Divides

  Continuing with the controversies that have arisen in the eastern Scottish region of Fife where British nationalist politicians from the main Unionist parties have sought to impede the provision of bilingual services to citizens who speak the indigenous Scottish (Gaelic) language we have this frustrated reaction from two local doctors, featured in the Courier newspaper: “NHS Fife could lose two much-needed consultants… Read More It Seems That Bigotry Unites As Well As Divides

The English Empire Strikes Back In Scotland

Following on from yesterday’s post examining press reports that Dundee City Council had agreed to reverse efforts to place the English and Scottish (Gaelic) languages on an equal footing in Scotland’s fourth largest city through the provision of bilingual services and public signage comes this news from the council area of Fife. Politicians from the main British nationalist… Read More The English Empire Strikes Back In Scotland

The United Languages Of Europe

Contrast and compare these stories from Scotland on the Scottish (Gaelic) language. First up, from the Courier: “Ambitious plans to promote Gaelic in Dundee have been significantly scaled back. Council chiefs have been forced to slash key elements of the proposals after opponents questioned the city’s links with the language and the potential costs involved.… Read More The United Languages Of Europe

Translation Fail

Cautioning on the perils of machine translation, especially when expectations surpass achievable results, Michael Bauer on his Dear Developer blog posts a letter he has written to the Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser following the latter’s suggestion that Scottish (Scottish Gaelic) be added to the list of languages available on Google Translate: “I’m sure that this is a well-intentioned idea but in my professional opinion,… Read More Translation Fail

Prosecutions In Catalonia, Political Revolution In Scotland

The newly authoritarian tone of politics and government in Spain becomes more evident with every passing week. Following a range of laws passed by Madrid banning many forms of public protest we now have reports that the regional government in Barcelona may be prosecuted by the Spanish state following the recent ad hoc independence referendum for Catalonia… Read More Prosecutions In Catalonia, Political Revolution In Scotland

The Gaelic Union

A new website to strengthen ties between Gaelic-speaking communities in Ireland and Scotland, as well as encouraging cultural tourism by non-Gaels, has been launched in Inverness. From the Scotsman newspaper: “TurasG will build on the links between the Scottish Gaidhealtachd and Ireland’s Gaeltacht. World-renowned singer Julie Fowlis, fresh from the Scottish Music Awards, where she… Read More The Gaelic Union

Scottish Gaelic And Glasgow University

The University of Glasgow or Oilthigh Ghlaschu is celebrating its historic links with the Scottish-speaking communities of Scotland thanks to a project called Sgeul na Gàidhlig aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu, as reported by the Scotsman newspaper: “ONE OF Scotland’s oldest universities has had a continuous presence of Gaelic speakers for more than 500 years, a new study has found. Researchers… Read More Scottish Gaelic And Glasgow University