W GORDON Watson (Letters, June 26), stamps his metaphorical foot when he sees the introduction of Gaelic road signs as a threat to his cultural identity.
Gaelic road signs may awaken those Scots who have not yet considered it to the fact that our nation has its roots in a largely Gaelic-speaking culture. Gaelic-medium schools are giving an increasing number of our population the benefits of early bi-ligualism in our youngsters. Glasgow leads the field here. They are better prepared to understand the cultures of our European neighbours and of those beyond. This broad-minded approach is welcome, and avoids the trap of "wha's like us" parochialism.
Everyone is entitled to a sense of identity. The Scots have a rich heritage to draw on. Even Lowlanders spoke Gaelic in the past. The small matter of bi-lingual road signs helps to answer the "who am I?" question. It is public money well spent.
Ironically, Mr Watson's address – Bruach Ard, suggests that this "foreign" culture of Gaelic is not too far away.
Alasdair H Macinnes,
96 Granton Road, Edinburgh.
I AGREE with W Gordon Watson's views on the promotion of Gaelic culture. I am from Ayrshire and do not believe that any of my forebears spoke the Gaelic language. An example of the money being spent on the promotion of Gaelic can be seen in East Ayrshire, where a primary school has been teaching Gaelic in recent years. This, of course, is at the expense of the taxpayer, whether he is in agreement or not, and I believe that this is to raise nationalistic fervour by the local SNP council. I cannot see where Gaelic will be of use to these children in later life, when professionally they may be required to deal with countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. People from these countries are taught to speak English at school to prepare them for later life.
One of the ongoing complaints that the Welsh Tourist Board experiences is that of visitors to Wales entering premises where staff are speaking English, but then revert to speaking in Welsh, which can only be seen as impolite or even worse.
Ronald W Neilson,
I AM sure readers spotted the great irony of W Gordon Watson's letter. Not only is he writing from Argyll, one of the heartlands of the language, but his own house name is a good Gaelic one, meaning "high hillock". Anyone who takes the time to speak to foreign tourists cannot but realise the powerful effect that the Gaelic road signs have had on them as it gives them a real sense of being in the culture that they came to Scotland to find.
Foreign tourists have declared their appreciation of these signs. In fact, it must be the best tourist investment we have ever made.
On the subject of census figures, Mr Watson is selective. Data for the Gaelic areas, including Argyll, tell a different story. In Inverness itself, the figures were 24.5% of Gaelic speakers in 1901 and, in the immediate rural vicinity, the total was 39.1%. If one went a few miles outside the town the concentration of Gaelic speakers much outnumbered the monolingual English speakers.
Obscene cultural damage has, alas, been carried out in Scotland by high-minded officialdom. It would appear that foreign tourists are more aware of our recent past than some Scots who are in denial.
Alasdair D L Forbes,
W GORDON Watson objects to promoting the Gaelic culture.
Yet he lives in a house named Bruach Ard.
Why has he not changed the name of his house to the English translation?
On the other hand, as I was brought up in Dunstaffnage and know North Connel well, I would have thought a more appropriate name would be Bruach Dhuine.
D Thorburn Campbell,
3 Carron Drive,
If W Gordon Watson wants visitors to understand his house name, he will no doubt be obliged to put up a sign announcing it as Heich Bank or something similar. Doesn't have the same ring somehow.
Thomas G F Gray,
4A Auchinloch Road,
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