AS somebody that’s campaignt for the Scots language owre mony years, I wis maist upliftit tae read aboot the young singer Iona Fyfe, supportit by MSP Clare Adamson, persuadin Spotify tae recognise Scots as a language, an saicondly, tae hear her arguing the case for a Scots Language Act.

It’s a proposal some o us hae buin advocatin for mony years – probably even afore Iona wis born– but withoot much success it has tae be said, at least up tae noo.

On the ither haun, when I read some bloggers’ predictable comments aboot this in The Herald, I wis remindit that owre mony Scots still cannae help spewin oot cairtloads o ignorant an snobbish keich, (or cac in Gaelic) aboot Scots (or Gaelic), revealin ugsome prejudices that were deeply plantit in their nappers by previous generations o dominies wha were theirsels ignorant aboot the fact that Scots isnae “bad” English at aw, but “guid” Scots, an that it is a language by ony criteria ye care tae pit furrit. The EU’s Bureau o Minority Languages an Cultures recognises it as a language an that’s guid eneugh for me.

Clearly it still hasnae dawned on some eejits that Scots an English are no in opposition, but complementary tae ane anither, as we need baith for different purposes, or yaise a mixture o baith for ither purposes as we often dae, wi mair or less Scots in the mixture. A confident Scot shid be able tae command the hale range o language in oor culture, but ye cannae build confidence by tellin weans that their mither tung is mince.

Nae doot oor society is still rife wi linguistic ignorance, snobbery an prejudice, or linguistic racism tae be mair blunt aboot it, but the dowie thing is that gey few folk seem tae be even aware o it or want tae talk aboot it. Suirly this is a crucial maitter o equal richts that jist hasnae buin appreciatit or addresst by oor politeecians. Mibbie we noo need tae learn fae oor Auld Alliance kizzens, as the French hae recently passed a law makkin linguistic discrimination illegal, alang wi ony ither form o discrimination.

Amang educationalists, it is noo widely acceptit that a fundamental human richt o every wean is the richt tae learn in their mither tung an tae hae that respectit as it hauds the key tae buildin confidence, progress an success for aw weans. In spite o this, oor politeecians dinnae yet seem tae hae sussed oot that Scots suirly has a crucial role tae play in helpin tae close the attainment gap in oor schuils.

It has often buin said that the puirest weans hae the richest Scots, but unless they hae the same chance as ithers tae yaise their language in the classroom, we will fail tae mak real progress in this area.

There is nae doot that the present Scottish Government hae supportit the Scots language throu fundin a nummer o key organisations, posts an projects, such as Scots Language Dictionaries. Abuin aw, they hae adoptit positive policies, wi a wee bit o persuasion, especially fae the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, tae establish Scottish Studies an Scots Language Awards in oor schuils an introduce a mandatory Scottish lit question in hte exams, while Curriculum for excellence maks it clear that oor “rich linguistic heritage” should “suffuse” the curriculum.

These are aw things that mony o us, especially in the ASLS (an educational chairity promotin the readin, writin, teachin an study of Scotland’s literature and languages) hae buin wrasslin tae bring aboot for aboot 40 year an mair, fae the late 1970s when a wee group o us wrocht on the Jordanhill Scottish Literature an Language Project, chaired by the wyce-like Alan MacGillivray o Jordanhill College, or went on tae support the production o the late Robbie Robertson’s great “Kist” project, or ran (an still run) ASLS conferences, produce umpteen documents, books, reports an teachin notes on Scottish literature an language (Gaelic an Scots) unner the indefatigable chairmanship o Ronnie Renton o St Aloysius College, wi inspirational support fae folk lik the late James Alison, HMI, the late Douglas Gifford, Professor of Scottish Lit in Glesca Uni, or Alan Riach, the current chair o that post.

I’M no tryin tae blaw ony trumpets here, jist statin facts aboot the huge collaborative effort needit owre mony years tae bring aboot positive chynges, especially in education.

On tap o aw that there is noo a rowth o Scots language texts an teachin resources available that jist werenae there in ma younger days, especially the brilliant Itchycoo an Scots Hoose resources produced by Matthew Fitt an James Robertson, or ither online resources such as Scottish Language Dictionaries material or The Kist teachin pack, noo available on The Scots Language Centre’s wab.

As a result o aw this, teachers, especially primary teachers wi an interest in Scots arenae short o material tae yaise, an some great wark is noo bein duin, but the problem is that owre mony teachers still leuk doon on aw this or ken nocht aboot it. Yet in spite o the progress we hae seen in oor lifetime, Scotland remains ane o the few countries in the world no tae mak siccar that ane o its main indigenous languages has the same legal status an protection as oor ither tungs.

In the licht o developments in Northern Ireland anent a Scots Language Act (tae be supportit by substantial fundin), this is nae longer a tenable poseetion as it wid be daft ayont belief if Scots had legal status etc in Northern Ireland but no in Scotland. Thus, an incoming Scottish Government, if it cares at aw aboot Scots an linguistic equality, really needs tae prepare legislation for a Scots Language Act, similar tae the Gaelic Language Act, wi a Scots Language Board, mibbie alang the lines o Bord na Gaidhlig, responsible for seein that the Act is bein implementit.

At the same time, the SG really needs tae re-examine the proposals pit furrit by the 2010 Ministerial Workin Group on the Scots Language, chaired by Derrick McClure o Aiberdeen Uni, maist o them never implementit, or implementit hauf-hertidly. Whit’s mair is that Scotland must be ane o the gey few countries, no jist in Europe but the world, that doesnae require its teachers tae hae even a minimal qualification in the culture o their ain country – an that needs tae chynge!

The Scottish Government’s Action Plan for the Scots Language wis supposed tae be gaun oot for consultation in the spring o last year an I wid urge a new administration tae stert pittin mair wecht ahint it wi a faur mair ameebitous plan than we’ve had up tae noo. But times they are a chyngin. For “auld anes” o ma generation, it is, as I said, gey hertenin, tae see a younger generation cairryin on the guid fecht for the Scots language, but I jist hope it disnae tak them as lang as ma generation did tae see real progress.

The first time I screivit a newspaper article in Scots wis in The Herald awa back in the late eichties, when Arnold Kemp wis the editor, an Barclay McBain a young reporter keen tae print ma piece. Maist o the reaction, as I expectit, wis negative, but some wis gey encouragin an positive. I jist wunner whit the balance will be this time an whit that micht tell us aboot the level o linguistic ignorance an prejudice in Scotland the day.

John Hodgart is a retired principal teacher of English and an honorary fellow of the ASLS