William Ross suggests investing in Gaelic is disloyal to the memory of Robert Burns and a spurn to the Scots language (Letters, January 23).

It is not a case of one agin the other. Gaelic deserves every penny it gets. Scots deserves the same.

As someone who writes in Scots regularly I think it is shameful the neglect the Scots language is subjected to, not just by Government but by Scots society in general.

Loading article content

Scots and Gaelic were widely spoken before the Union of Parliaments. It was that Union that decreed English would be the official language of Britain and both Scots and Gaelic were subsequently demonised.

Burns, we can safely assume, respected Gaelic and certainly did not promote Scots over Gaelic. By all means support Scots, Mr Ross, but do not think by attacking Gaelic you are doing us any favours.

George T Watt,

Membership secretary, The Scots Language Society,

4 Ancrum Drive,


It is short-sighted to criticise the Scottish Government for supporting the growing interest shown by Scots and others in learning our first native language.

Robert Burns is celebrated worldwide. There are other distinguished poets who wrote in Scots – Henryson and Dunbar, for example.

Sorley Maclean's Gaelic verse is read in translation and in the original by many in foreign countries who appreciate the depth and quality of our culture.

Gaelic medium education is being taken up increasingly by many Scots furth of the Highlands and Islands. BBC Alba provides an interesting new dimension to our viewing, and is watched by many who tire of endless soaps and repeats. (Subtitles help).

I am sure Alex Salmond and patriotic Scots like him will be raising a glass to Burns on the night. I am equally sure the Scottish Government should be proud of their support of Gaelic. Slanthe!

Alasdair H Macinnes,


96 Granton Road, Edinburgh.

Like William Ross, I have never been approached for my views on the introduction of Gaelic place names.

Despite no apparent clamour for such provision, our local railway platform now sports a sign in bold Gaelic lettering. I do not object to the alternative spelling. I do consider it an unnecessary expense.

Fortunately the Scottish Government has not extended this name rebranding to our new single police force vehicle livery, which will still boast the "semper viglio" motto. Considering the Romans only got as far as the Antonine Wall, the question arises as to whether a Latin phrase should grace our new force fleet.

Neither a Gaelic plaid nor a Roman toga provides a uniform or blanket cover for auld Scotia.

Perhaps our indigenous mither tongue a'many pairts, as expressed by Rabbie Burns , holds the answer to these conundrums.

Allan C Steele,

22 Forres Avenue,


I have lived in the Gaelic community all my life and have never heard anything but total support for the Scots language being assisted in every way. William Ross's attitude to Gaelic is like attacking support for the giant panda's survival just because he wants to help the white rhino.

Gaelic is in a perilous state because of the cultural persecution it suffered by legislation which forced Highlands and Islands children to be educated in an alien tongue, by brutal teaching methods that thrashed it out of the children, through its removal from official debate and administration and by monolingual broadcasting.

The money spent on Gaelic is small recognition of past mistakes.

If viewers are choosing to watch BBC Alba because it screens good programmes, compared to the inane dross served up by the hundreds of English-language channels, that is a credit to the channel itself.

Alasdair D L Forbes,

Druim Sgitheach,

Farr, Inverness-shire.