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.
…the city council’s chief executive, David Martin, conceded that proposals to translate street signs into the language were “inappropriate”.
He said: “Some of those commenting felt that any support for Gaelic would not be a good use of money, especially given the small number of people who speak the language in the city and the other demands on the council’s resources.”
The amended draft plan will be considered by councillors on Monday night.”
“A study has shown that the 2014 Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd) generated £3,547,661 for the business community in Inverness – over £1 million more than the event target.
The nine day festival, which took place from 10-18 October 2014 in Inverness, entertained over 9,000 unique visitors, 78% of which came from outside the host city. 67% were in Inverness with the sole purpose of attending The Mòd, while 25% lived in the Highland Capital.
Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the event is the most significant of the Gaelic language in Scotland.
The figures are testament to The Mòd’s importance, not only to Scotland’s cultural calendar but to its economy too, as 74% of attendees revealed they would not have taken a trip during that week, had it not been for the festival.
The Mòd is hosted in a different town or city every year and this is to not only engage more people in Gaelic culture, but also to boost the local economy.
Findings from the 2014 festival show there was huge return on Highland Council’s investment in the event, with £19 spent for every £1 invested in their governing area and this rose to £25 for every £1 invested at a local level.”
“Budding filmmakers have submitted a record breaking number of entries to this year’s FilmG, MG ALBA’s national Gaelic short film competition.
An amazing 79 films have been entered for this year’s competition, with 51 submissions in the youth category and 28 adult entries.
All films can now be viewed online voting for your favourite film is now open until the March 20th – the week before the glitzy awards ceremony in Glasgow.”
Every single language movement in the world which has succeeded in reviving its vernacular tongue, from the Baltics to North-America, has done so through one key strategy: the “normalisation” of the language in general society. Strength and growth only occurs when the persecuted speech becomes a familiar and accepted part of the broader culture of any particular nation or region. That is why professionals and academics who study this area focus so much on the creation of a bilingual, multilingual or even monolingual “linguistic environment”. After all if the rest of Europe can succeed in such matters why can’t the Scots? Or the Irish?
A sample list of bilingual and multilingual European nation-states:
- Austria, one official language, German. Croatian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Romani and Slovenian recognised regional languages.
- Belgium, three official languages: Dutch, French and German.
- Czech Republic, one official language, Czech. Polish official regional language.
- Finland, two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Sami official regional language.
- Germany, one official language, German. Low Saxon, Frisian, Romany official regional languages.
- Hungary, one official language, Hungarian. German, Croatian, Romani, Slovak, Romanian, Serbian and Slovene recognised regional languages.
- Italy, one official language, Italian. German, French, Slovene, Ladin, Sardu, Friuli, Occitan official regional languages.
- Kosovo, two official languages, Albanian and Serbian. Turkish, Bosnian, Roma official regional languages.
- Luxembourg, three official languages, Luxembourgish, French and German.
- Malta, two official languages, Maltese and English.
- The Netherlands, two official languages, Dutch and Frisian. Low Saxon and Limburgish official regional languages.
- Poland, one official language, Polish. Armenian, Belarusian, Czech, German, Lithuanian, Russian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Karaim, Kashubian, Rusyn and Tartar recognised regional languages.
- Portugal, one official language, Portuguese. Mirandese official regional language.
- Romania, one official language, Romanian. Hungarian, Romani, Ukrainian, German, Serbian, Russian, Croatian, Slovak, Bulgarian and Turkish recognised regional languages.
- Slovenia, one official language, Solvene. Italian and Hungarian official regional languages.
- Spain, one official language, Spanish. Basque, Galician, Valencian, Catalan and Aranese official regional languages.
- Sweden, one official language, Swedish. Finnish, Meänkieli, Romani and Sami official regional languages.
- Switzerland, four official languages, German, French, Italian and Romansh.