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Scots Language and Gaelic Latest

This is the sign at the railway station at Linlithgow, a royal burgh situated in West Lothian about twenty miles from Edinburgh. Linlithgow Palace was the residence and birthplace of Scottish royalty. Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James 6th/1st there.

I wrote here about a day trip I took there with my kids a few years ago and there are some photos of the ruined palace on that post.

It is one of the most historic places in Scotland and as such has many visitors, a good proportion of whom will be from other parts of the UK and abroad. Many will arrive by train. The visitors will I’m sure be comforted that Linlithgow’s motto is “St. Michael is kind to strangers”

However, if the sign above is typical of the signage at Linlithgow station, how on earth will ‘black bitches’ (the name for Linlithgow folk) have the opportunity to bestow their kindness? Strangers are confronted with a sign in some strange foreign sub dialect (Scots) and a pretty much deid foreign language (Gaelic) which, to my knowledge has never been spoken widely in Linlithgow. I would be surprised, nay amazed if even one resident of the place has the Gaelic as their first language and would be interested to know how many train passengers on seeing the sign think to themselves “Oh! Gleann Iucha! – my stop!”

Of course plenty of locals will refer to the place as “Lithgae” because it’s a coloquialism and that’s all fair and good, but they won’t need a sign to tell them where they are.

However visitors, be they Scots, English,Welsh, Irish or from overseas do actually do require to know where they are.

I wonder how many have looked at the above sign and missed their stop?

My friend Almax took this photo in Arrochar recently:

Notice how the Gaelic name for Helensburgh has prominence ABOVE the English name.

I have no idea how many fluent Gaelic speakers there are in Helensburgh but I’d guess somewhere around the square root of hee-haw. Having lived there for most of my life I don’t think I’ve ever heard it spoken in the town. Again, I wonder how many visitors to the area would know it by the name Baile Eilidh, or more to the point be able to pronounce it?

As an introduction to this blog’s view on such matters click here, and for a more full collection of rants on the subject click here

The people responsible should go and raffle their doughnut.


Summer in Scotland

I don’t think I can remember such a poor one.

As I type, the weather is as it has been most of the summer, i.e. wet.

Hence the absence of scenic photos on the blog this year.

I haven’t been out in the canoe since April the weather has been so rotten.

However last night along with several fellow nutcases good friends I took a scheduled boat trip/jam session/ on Loch Lomond. We had a small libation or two as well.

It rained.

I hadn’t even taken the camera it was so wet, but I did get a few photos on the phone:

Français parle du sphincter

French foreign minister Alain Juppe yesterday:

“We probably underestimated the resistance that would be put up by Gaddafi’s forces.”

“We cannot speak of getting bogged down.”

“We are five months into our operations… no one talked about a lightning war.”


Sacre bleu!

Mais non Alain! non! au contraire! vous parliez la merde sans doute!

Did I dream all the talk of a ‘no fly zone’, ‘limited and brief military action’, ‘extremely carefully targeted air strikes’ and ‘defending civilians’? – I think not.

You are right in one respect Alain – no one talked about a war. Or rather they went out of their way to say it wasn’t a war – oh no, nothing like that – nothing like Iraq or Afghanistan.

It didn’t take a military expert to figure out the many, many reasons why NATO should not have intervened in Libya in the way it did.

However having made the decision to do so, military expertise was exactly what was required. Instead, since the beginning of this whole ill advised adventure all we have heard is politicians speaking from their backsides and contradicting the military and themselves at every turn.

So Alain you cannot speak of being bogged down? that is exactly what you are mon ami. Bogged down in a foreign conflict which has a high likelihood of turning into a civil war if you withdraw. The only alternative to this would seem to be a full scale land invasion.

Just like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Any fool could have predicted that.

Ooh la la!