FOR somebody that argued owre 30 year ago that we needit legislation on the Scots language (when gey few thocht it a guid idea or thocht it even possible), it is maist hertenin tae hear that a younger generation o Scots language activists, an even some politicians, are noo supportin this proposal.

Yet it really is whammygasterin that in spite o the SNP bein in pooer for owre 15 year, Scotland is still ane o the few countries, at least in Europe, no tae mak siccar that ane o its indigenous languages (Scots) has the same status as ither languages in oor country ie English and Gaelic.

In the licht o developments in Northern Ireland anent recognition an status for Ulster Scots, the settin up o the Ulster Scots Agency (Boord o Ulster-Scotch), an a new Ulster-Scots Language, Heritage and Culture Strategy, it wid suirly be ayont belief if Scots wis protectit by legislation in Northern Ireland but no in Scotland.

Even Cornish noo has legally protectit status fae the UK Government.

Therefore it is lang owredue that a Scottish Government pit furrit legislation for a Scots Language Act, tae complement the Gaelic Language Act, wi a Scots Language Board, mibbie alang the lines o Bord na Gaidhlig, responsible for seein that the Act is implementit an positive policies developt by local authorities an ither public bodies etc.

Even tho the last census showed that owre 1.5 million o us yaise the Scots language, oor country is still reekin wi ignorance an prejudice aboot Scots (an Gaelic), a form o discrimination jist as hermfu as ither forms o discrimination.

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Mibbie we coud learn fae the French wha hae passed a law makkin ony form o linguistic discrimination illegal.

Ironically, in March 2021, the Scottish Parliament passed intae law the United Nations Convention on the Rights o the Child.

This enshrines the richts o weans tae hae adequate provision in education for their mither tongue, somethin that hauds the key tae educational success an has a key role tae play in nerrowin the attainment gap.

Yet a report fae the Cooncil o Europe in September 2020 statit that Lowland Scots “was not being adequately taught, studied or promoted”, yaisin criteria fae the European Charter for Regional an Minority Languages, a charter that caws Scots a “language”.

The Curriculum for Excellence caws for weans tae be confident individuals and responsible citizens.

Yet hou can they become confident individuals etc when their confidence as speakers o their mither tung is still sairly duntit an the system taks nae tent o their learnin needs?

For in spite o positive policy statements, or the guid work o some teachers, Scots is still gien nae respect, or haurdly ony, in owre mony schuils.

An things willnae chynge till we dae somethin aboot aw this, for Scotland must be ane o the few countries, no jist in Europe but the world, that disnae expeck its teachers tae hae a relevant minimal qualification in the culture an languages o oor ain country.

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Maist ither countries, includin oor neebours in the UK, see this as an essential qualification, but somehow we dinnae.

While it’s guid that the Scottish Government has supportit Scots in sindry weys an the possibility o a language act is at least noo bein thocht aboot, folk lik masel wha hae been arguing aboot aw this for decades hae heard nae shortage o fine words an proposals afore.

Whit we noo need is a faur mair ameebitous plan, wi faur mair substance ahint it, than onythin pit furrit afore.

Yet at least we dinnae need tae re-invent the wheel. We hae a wheen o reports an recommendations tae faw back on, plus umpteen submissions an proposals fae campaigners owre the years.

A wycelike stertin place for the Scottish Government wid be tae dig oot “Scots, a Statement o Principles” produced by the Cross-Pairty Group chaired by Irene McGugan MSP, gey near

20 year ago, an then leuk again at the proposals pit furrit by the 2010 Ministerial Workin Group on the Scots Language chaired by Derrick McClure.

Mony o thir proposals wir no implementit, only implementit in pairt, or jist forgotten aboot aw thegither.

Last year, afore the election, the Association for Scottish Literature wrote tae the heid bummers (chief exechies) o aw the political pairties askin them tae furrit oor letter tae aw their candidates anent supportin measures tae gie Scots linguistic equality an status wi English an Gaelic.

Mibbie we wrote tae the wrang folk, an mibbie oor timin wisnae awfae great, but we didnae get a reply fae ony o them. No the maist encouragin sign that things are gonnae chynge, but I hope I’m wrang aboot that!

John Hodgart is a retired English teacher, an honorary fellow of the Association for Scottish Literature, Scots Language Champion 2021, an a scriever an grandpaw

A consultation on the forthcoming Scottish Language Bill runs until Thursday 17th.