THE Borison is making a speech to laud the Ukrainians over their “finest hour”! Never to be outdone, the Borison uses this to embellish his faux Churchillian persona to full advantage wrapped in soundbites.

The Ukrainian resistance has been full of resolve and elan and it is still in force, but it is not over yet.

However, historical analogies are deceptive. Perhaps, the Union at Westminster could look back and have another “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” and look at our own past.

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The British Empire’s action with its invasion of the South African Republic at the start of the Boer War showed the Boers’ resistance to the Perfidious Albion to be their finest hour. Beyond the campaigns, the British treatment of Boer women and children held in concentration camps was a crime against humanity. Not our finest hour either.

Ukraine needs our support, but the breakdown too of issuing visas by the Home Office under Patel is a disgrace. Not our “finest hour” so far.

John Edgar

BORIS Johnson is obviously trying to distract the British public’s attention from his manipulation of the truth with his talking to the Ukrainian Parliament.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Somebody looked at the President of the USA the wrong way? Start a war, that will sort them. The patriarchy is busy bombing women and children, how to sort it? Start another world war.

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When will men realise the answer lies in diplomacy? Women and girls in Ukraine and Russia have been working quietly for peace for years, they understand the importance of saving face for a powerful dictator. Not like the crackpots in the White House and in the British Foreign Office, with their jingoistic posturing, reminiscent of the days of the British Empire. The Empire is dead, understand?

Remove ALL men from positions of power, and the women will give us peace.

Margaret Forbes

IN 1950s Wick High School I was a pupil of English teacher John Ross. He imbued in me a love and respect of the great English language. He also encouraged pupils to recognise the Caithness, or Kaitness, language that was all around us.

Aged eight, in primary school, I was “corrected” by a sharp-tongued teacher for saying “hoose” instead of “house”. Her scolding meant that I did not dare answer a question for a month. It took me 25 years to write a song about that. Any time I sing it I find a lively and positive response from folk. The response is 100% supportive of the right to say “hoose” even in a school setting. These folk believe that we have the right to say “hoose” as part of Scots language.

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Modern Scots and modern English are derived from the same mother language. Scholars will know its name. In some ways Scots folk have protected elements of it better than have English people. If you hear me say “Ay, Ah ken” you will understand that I mean “Yes, I know”. Both “Ay” and “ken” are from the older language, “ay” meaning “yes”, and “ken” meaning “know”.

Here’s strength to the voice, the arm and the pen of Billy Kay, who has done so much to promote and protect our language and its status.

And here’s to George Foulkes’ listening before he speaks.

Hear the song on YouTube, “Listen tae the Teacher” read by James Robertson.

Thanks to The National for giving publicity to this important issue.

Nancy Nicolson

THE great Jewish linguist Max Weinreich demonstrated how the ongoing debate about the Scots language and the quest for independence are linked when he said, “A language is a dialect which owns an army and a navy.”

Dr David White

A WEE bauchle wi a yaiseless title threips thair isna ony Scottis leid. Whitfer dae we paiye ony tent tae sic lyke clavers frae a wee mannie we aw ken tae be doitit, nae mense an’ nae harns, a tuim tabart wha nou ettles tae haud Scotland in the Inglis grup? It gars me boak. Wad the wee cuiff een unnerstaun whit I hae screivit?

R Mill Irving
Gifford, East Lothian

LORD Foulkes considers Scots grammar to be the same as that of English. If this implies that he accepts it is different from English in vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, geography, history and ethos, this is a step forward for him. However, these characteristics are so tightly knitted in with the grammar that is impossible to separate them. Here is a couplet that George would have no difficulty understanding or reciting, as he is a fraud pleading ignorance of his own forefathers’ tongue...

“The laddie gaed singan by the craft/Whyle owre the loch, heich schane the mune.”

“The boy went singing past the small-holding/While over the lake, high up shone the moon.”

laddie – diminutive common in Scots particularly in Doric

gaed – distinct Scots usage

singan – present participle different from singin – a verbal noun

by – Scots usage

whyle – English often

say wales for whales (originally “hw”)

owre – the “r” is sounded as in French, a skill beyond many English

loch – the verbal fricative is a problem in the BBC, as is the German Bach

heich – ei sounds ee ,not as in English their

schane – think Sean Connery

mune – in Edinburgh as the French “peu”

Even George’s name is problematic. Does he sound it with the digraph as Scots Stow or English Stow in the Wold? Fooks, fowks, folks?

Iain WD Forde