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  • Writer's pictureThe YSI

The Scots language and its community have a bright future ahead.

Below is a slightly edited version of the speech Sean Cosgrove hoped to give at #SNP19 on the Scots Language Board/ Board fir the Scots Leid

I will start by admitting that I am sadly not one of the 1.54 million Scottish people who at the last census indicated their status as Scots speakers in some form or another.

That said I am not shy in my support and appreciation for the Scots language, and we should not be afraid to embrace Scots place within our national story and heritage. Scots and Gaelic are the ancient tongues of our country but yet only one is given full legislative status under our laws.

The plain and simple fact is that Scots speakers are looked down upon in this country. All too often the critics forget, or more often than not will-fully ignore, the huge influence the Scots language has had on our society and our country throughout history right up to the present day.

Whilst it is one of our ancient languages, Scots is as relevant today as it ever was. The language and its community have a bright future ahead.

The UK and Scottish governments, in line with EU legislation regarding minority languages, recognise and respect Scots in all its forms as a distinct language, and does not consider the use of Scots to be an indication of poor competence in English.

We need to put those words into action.

The first step to this is giving Scots the support it needs to grow and thrive. The Bòrd na Gàidhlig has been essential to recent regrowth of and respect for Gaelic, and the same can be achieved with Scots. We have to give speakers of Scots the opportunity to use their language as they see fit, to feel like their ain hamely tongue does belong within modern Scottish society.

We must ignore the cynics who call it slang, who will say we’re just wasting money, and we must especially ignore the denizens of the Mail on Sunday comments section who absurdly see this as a step to oppressing the English language.

Scots is an integral part of our country, of our society, of our national story- it’s in our DNA. Scots speakers are a massive proportion of our population. It’s time we better served them and recognise the rightful place of the Scots language by establishing a Scots Language Board.

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