Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Should We Have a Scots Language TV Channel?

In the Scotsman this morning someone by the name of Paul Henderson Scott has written a piece saying, in short, that there should be a Scots language channel alongside the Gaelic TV channel to preserve the Scots language. While I concur that it would be wonderful to find a way to do such a thing the problem is on the one hand money and on the other hand the fact that the language is in decline anyway. All in all a bit of a catch twenty two. However, and isn't there always he says.

"A London-controlled broadcasting service naturally gave preference to the great majority of its audience south of the Tweed. This destroyed the self-confidence of many Scots by giving them the impression they lived in an unimportant backwater which had never achieved anything of importance. It also meant that English voices, and hardly ever a word of Scots, penetrated into virtually every household north of the Border."

It's this kind of thing that really undermines the whole argument. Haven't we got numerous Scots on TV? In high office? In Business? Do they speak Scots? Did any of this sap their confidence? No of course it didn't. Its about education and no one can tell me we should be educating Scottish school kids in the Scots language to go out into the world to prosper, at the expense of teaching English. Of course we should be teaching them to appreciate Scots literature, but the language of the world is English; mostly for reasons that have little to do with 'that damned government in Westminster." The challenge of educating children is, for reasons I don't understand, greater than ever, to add the Scots language into the mix will do nothing but confuse the issue.


bigrab said...

Should we have a Scots language TV channel? No! or should I say Naw!

There is no such thing as the Scots language. There is a Scots dialect of English with a smattering of wonderful words and phrases which Burns used to great effect. Hooever as a mither tongue it is very much deid.

Kevan said...

The vague suggestion of a 'Scots' language TV Channel is ridiculous on so many levels. English is the language of Britain. The fact that the London based service caters for the audience south of the Tweed is nothing to be surprised about. If this causes a feeling of isolation in the other nations, will a channel that caters for an even smaller demographic help? No, it won't! It will further isolate people.

I am also very keen to see which 'Scots' language will be predominant. You don't need to get the opinion of a foreigner to convince you that Glaswegian sound different to those from Edinburgh or Dundee.

The channel will end up in the same boat as the BBC. The loons and quines up north will feel like they live in an unimportant backwater.

Why not make the channel Doric?

Well, now the neeburs in Fife will have no self-confidence. I fear for the well-being of the jakeys and neds further south as well.

The solution??? We need a BBC Weeg, BBC Embra, BBC Fifer, BBC Teuchter and so on and so on.

That would be fun. Can anyone remember the sketch with Robbie Coltrane doing the Borders News? They were still talking about 'the accident' with the tractor decades later.

Language is a barrier already. This idea of a 'Scots' channel will only make things worse. When our children leave school with a decent grasp of the language they need to get anywhere in life we can then start teaching them less useful ones.

There are not many employers, British or International, who will be looking for their new employees to be fluent in Doric and the like.

Don't get me started on Gaelic. That's like teaching people how to make a Spectrum 128K display a lovely pyramid on the screen.

Richard Havers said...

great post Kev. Of course many of the 'minority' supporters have a vested interest in these kind of crack pot schemes as they see opportunity, grants and money heading their way. As Rab says, it's a dialect not a language. I'd give a more fullsome reply but I'm currently held captive on a Virgin cross country train, somewhere south of the Tweed, without wifi!

Bryce said...

I personally think a Scots language TV channel might help preserve the language and possibly pass it on to future generations.

Here's a great website in the Scots language that you might want to check out. It focuses on preserving less-common languages:

Scots wiki browser