ALISTAIR Grant's column ("Gaelic faces an uphill battle, but is this the turning point?", The Herald, July 11) alluded to the reasons for the decline in Gaelic speakers in a refreshingly way.

I too have parents from the Highlands, who chose not to pass on their Gaelic to me, despite it being their main language. Why have so many native Gaelic speakers chosen not to pass on their first language to their children? One answer is they decided the language was a hindrance, rather than a asset for their children's future employment prospects, as they perceived it had been for them. Until this mindset is changed, the decline in numbers speaking the language will continue.

The solution is increased use of the Gaelic, as a transactional language, spoken in shops, churches, public service buildings and the Scottish Parliament. This is the only way the value of Gaelic will be increased amongst its native speakers. This process could be started immediately by the SNP Government and its Gaelic speaking MSPs Kate Forbes and Alisdair Allan using the language in their workplace of Holyrood, frequently. The remaining native Gaelic speakers need to urgently validate Gaelic by using it in their workplaces. I believe this is the only way to save Gaelic as a living language.

Iain Campbell, Dollar.

I READ Alistair Grant's article in support of retaining the use of the Gaelic language hoping to understand the need for its retention and was left feeling that he simply shot himself in the foot.

He mentions the research which prophesies the danger of the day-to-day use of Gaelic dying out by the end of the decade and the fact that English is more usually spoken in families where both parents are Gaelic speakers.

Now retired, I can count on one hand the Gaelic speakers I have met in my lifetime and like many others was rather surprised when our place names and department buildings were given Gaelic sub-titles. I know that many share the worry that tourists might be a bit baffled and misled at the same treatment of Scottish road signs.

My immigrant father's second language was English but his own language was seldom used in our home out of respect for his family, friends and fellow citizens.

I can remember a school friend of mine who came from South Uist who on meeting her father in the street immediately engaged in a conversation in Gaelic in my presence. Even as a child I felt uncomfortable.

Technology will ensure that the evidence of the Gaelic language can be retained but as for investing in the retention of its day-to-day use, I feel that it should is rather low down on the majority of most Scottish citizens' list of priorities.

Tina Oakes, Stonehaven.

A MAJOR problem Gaelic faces today is that it is not valued within its home territories.

In the cities there’s enthusiasm for Gaelic medium education and bi-lingual signs are more widely in evidence. Call it tokenism, but it reminds everyone that Gaelic is out there, available for further study.

However, in the islands, amongst most young folk, Gaelic is uncool. Amongst many of the old it's a secret language, a badge of exclusivity, to be used when you don’t want others listening in.

There should be a campaign to encourage native Gaelic-speakers to value their gift of bilingualism. It is a huge gift, bringing both direct and indirect advantage, and envied by everyone who has struggled in later life to learn a second language.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow G31.