I WAS pleased to learn this week that First Minister Humza Yousaf plans to bring forward legislation to protect the Scottish languages.

While travelling this summer in Scandinavia and the Nordic countries my wife and I did our best to learn sufficient of the local languages to be able to introduce ourselves, order from a menu and manage with shopping. We were struck by the number of words we came across that may have different spellings but sound almost identical to words used in Scots.

For example, a common rodent is called a mus; it is not big, it is sma. Also sma is a bairn and if unwell he or she is syk. Efter being ute we will come back to the hus.

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Too often and for too long Scots has been referred to as “Scots English” and dismissed as at best a dialect of English or often as nothing more than slang. I think perhaps the reverse is the case and that our language is closer to its origins, and that it is southern English where the sound of many of the words in use has been corrupted into dialect or slang.

Perhaps this would make a good PhD study for a linguist, unless someone can highlight work already published that supports my observations.

I am reminded of Reinhard Heydrich talking about how to “Germanise the Czech [people]” he used an offensive, dehumanising word. He said “deprive the people of their national consciousness ... dilute their national pride, do not teach their history, propagate their language as inferior ... and dismiss independence as a barbaric anomaly”. I wonder if he learned this from the English parliament in the years following 1746 or if Westminster learned it from him after 1945.

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We Scots must take seriously all efforts to preserve our languages, our culture and our history as these make us clearly distinct from the United Kingdom and certainly from our much larger neighbour that dominates and defines the culture and identity of the Union, writing its history from an anglocentric perspective.

When we understand how our languages, culture and history intertwine, we will start to see how these being treated as inferior has brought us to accept a place in a Union that has brought benefit to the dominant bigger “partner” at our expense.

Ni Holmes
St Andrews

ASTROPHYSICIST Hubert Reeves is said to have remarked: “Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible god and destroys a visible nature, unaware that this nature he’s destroying is this god he’s worshipping”.

Our government’s much-vaunted economic growth depends on depleting even more of what nature has provided. Coal, oil, gas – they are all finite. Not so long ago I was confronted by the mother of an oil worker. She opined that oil would never run out. I asked why she thought so. She could not give a reason, except to insist that her opinion was correct.

Economic growth is never going to happen except at the expense of our children’s future. Taxing the rich might just work, if we are to rescue these islands from human oblivion. Let’s get on with doing it. Let’s forget England. Let’s forget Alister Jack. He just wants to scupper Holyrood.

Tony Kime

JUST a quick response to Ally McCoist on anthems!

I agree that anthems should be respected generally speaking, however in the UK there is a special situation regarding anthems.

Ally could answer these question and determine who is disrespectful: What is the English anthem? What is the GB anthem? Why are the too the same?

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Therefore England and GB are the same in the eyes of England/GB, and Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are lesser nations to England.

There is the disrespect, Ally!

Robert Doig

WELL, Martin Hannan didn’t pull his punches with the article “Sort out rugby refereeing before World Cup becomes laughing stock” (Sep 13). He certainly made it clear to me that rugby referees aren’t doing their job properly, despite VAR, and the “bunker”.

Who really are the ones controlling matches, the results and who’s most like to be in the final? According to Martin’s article it’s the sponsors aided and abetted by “The Bunker” and referees fighting for selection to officiate at the final match.

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He ripped everyone apart; I couldn’t see anyone escape his onslaught.

It’s such a shame The National doesn’t do that with Scottish football referees and the SFA.

Oh, I forgot. If you pulled that stunt on the SFA and Scottish referees, you would be hauled up before “the beaks” and never allowed access to another Scottish football match again. All “privileges” as bona fide reporters would cease, “persona non grata” as they say.

“Dual standards” reeks from the entire article, (which I thought was good). Why don’t you apply the same journalistic vigour to Scottish football? I suspect you are a bit “feart” you might rock the boat too much.

Jim Todd