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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Parliamentary Motions 2008

Motion S3M-03035: Bill Wilson, West of Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/12/2008

European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee’s Recognition of Right to be Educated in and Speak Scots and Gaelic

That the Parliament, further to motion S3M-3022 in the name of Jamie Hepburn (European Parliament Committee’s Concern at Human Rights Abuses), welcomes the desire of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee to promote regional or minority languages, and specifically the statement that it believes that “the right to speak and to be educated in one’s mother tongue is one of the most basic fundamental rights”, and accordingly expresses the opinion that failure to provide education in Scots and Gaelic to the children of native speakers of these languages should be considered a breach of human rights.


Motion S3M-03019: Kenneth Gibson, Cunninghame North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2008

Congratulations to the Children of St John's Primary

That the Parliament congratulates the children of St John’s Primary School in Stevenston, on their preparation of an exhibition of Scots poetry, which they have written and illustrated to be displayed at Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine; notes the support that the group has had from Scots language author Matthew Fitt and illustrator Alison Thomas, and encourages schools and community centres across Scotland to work together to promote knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the Scots language.


Motion S3M-03031: Jamie Hepburn, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2008

Universal Declaration o Human Richts

That the Parliament welcomes the publication by Amnesty International of a Scots language version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in poster format, in time for its 60th Anniversary on 10 December 2008; believes this will help to promote awareness and understanding of both the human rights agenda and the importance of the Scots language; reaffirms its belief in the declaration’s opening statement that “All human beings born free and equal in dignity and rights”, which translates as “Aw human sowels is born free and equal in dignity and richts”; notes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the most translated documents in history and welcomes the Scots and Gaelic translations of it, and further reaffirms its commitment to and respect for fundamental human rights, irrespective of language or any other distinction.


Motion S3M-02607: Aileen Campbell, South of Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2008

European Day of Languages

That the Parliament notes that 26 September 2008 is the European Day of Languages, promoted by the Council of Europe each year to celebrate language and cultural diversity; believes that the Scots and Gaelic languages both make distinctive contributions to the cultural and linguistic life of Europe, and encourages people across Scotland and Europe to take part in the wide range of events and competitions being held to mark the day.

            The member has provided the following Gaelic and Scots translations:

Gu bheil a’ Phàrlamaid ag aithneachadh gur e 26mh an t-Sultain Latha Eòrpach nan Cànain, a tha air a’ bhrosnachadh gach bliadhna leis an Comhairle Eòrpach airson fàilte a’ cur air iomadachd ann an cànan agus cultur; a chreidsinn gu bheil pàirtean chudthromach aig na chànanan Albais agus Gàidhlig ann am beatha culturail agus cànanach na Roinn Eòrpa; a toirt misneachd gu daoine air feadh Alba agus an Roinn Eòrpa pàirt a ghabhail anns na tachartasan agus co-fharpaisean a bhios air a’ chumail an latha sin.

That the Pairlament taks tent that 26t September is the European Day o Leids, forderit by the Cooncil o Europe ilka year for tae celebrate langage and cultural diversity; doots that the Scots and Gaelic leids baith maks kenspeckle inpits tae the cultural and linguistic life o Europe; and steers fowk ootowre Scotlan and Europe tae tak pairt in the braid reenge o events and competeitions hauden for tae merk thon day.


Motion S3M-02491: Christine Grahame, South of Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/09/2008

MacDiarmid Remembered

That the Parliament acknowledges and remembers the 30th anniversary, on 9 September 2008, of the death of Scots poet and modernist, Hugh MacDiarmid, described variously as a “complex and perplexing Scottish hero”, “the poet who dominates the imagination of Scotland” and “a one-man revolution”; considers that few other Scots poets or writers have left such a mark on the Scottish social and political atmosphere as has MacDiarmid, and remembers MacDiarmid as uncompromising, argumentative and unashamedly inconsistent, yet capable of writing such powerful and meaningful prose as to move a generation of Scots and open a window on the Scottish cultural and social psyche.

Motion S3M-02474: Tavish Scott, Shetland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 02/09/2008

Scots Language Centre and Scottish National Dictionaries

That the Parliament notes the support given to the Scots language by the Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture in January 2008 when she stated that it “is part of our identity and our heritage as a nation. We must encourage confidence in the use of Scots in all its forms and create opportunities for it to thrive” and that our national languages “should be as valued as any other language spoken in the world”; welcomes this clear statement of support for the Scots language and all related languages, which reflect the rich and varied linguistic heritage found in Scotland from Shetland to Galloway; recognises the important work carried out by the Scots Language Centre and Scottish National Dictionaries in supporting the Scots language; views with concern the threat to the work of these two important bodies from the proposed cut to their funding by the Scottish Arts Council, and believes that their funding should be maintained so that they can continue to help to deliver the Scottish Government’s commitment to the Scots language.


Motion S3M-02240: Rob Gibson, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/06/2008

Slàinte Nòs Ùr

That the Parliament congratulates the organisers, participants and audience of Nòs Ùr (new style) which took place in Eden Court Theatre, Inverness on 21 June 2008; recognises it is the first Celtic and Scots minority languages song competition of its kind which featured 12 finalists from Wales, Brittany, Ireland and Scotland whose entries were in Gaelic and Scots; applauds the UHI Millennium Institute for organising Voices of the West, a conference on minority languages which ran in conjunction with Nòs Ùr; welcomes the importance of vibrant Gaelic and Scots languages and heritage that underpin the self-confidence of Scottish culture and believes that friendly competitions like this help to foster a greater togetherness and understanding of similar cultures; congratulates Yr Annioddefol from north Wales and Gwennyn from Brittany on their victory, and wishes them the best of luck when they represent Western Europe in the pan-European final due to take place in Luleå, Sweden on 18 October 2008.


Motion S3M-02073: Cathy Peattie, Falkirk East, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/06/2008

Supporting Scottish Culture

That the Parliament recognises the valuable work of Scottish cultural organisations, including the Traditional Music and Song Association, the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust, the Scots Music Group, Voluntary Arts Scotland, the Scots Language Centre, and Scots Language Dictionaries, which promote and support extensive voluntary participation in Scottish traditional arts and culture; notes the extreme difficulties these organisations now face as a result of their loss of funding from the Scottish Arts Council; further notes that while existing funding runs to March 2009, the reality of redundancies and the termination of accommodation and office facilities means that their activity will be severely curtailed later this year; recognises that the audit of Scots language provision, even if completed in time, is unlikely to provide more than a partial solution to the problem; believes that the Scottish Arts Council cannot be trusted to support and promote the Scots language and Scottish traditional arts and sees no reason to suspect that Creative Scotland will be any different, and therefore believes that a separately constituted and funded body should be set up for this purpose and interim measures put in place to safeguard existing provision until this is done.

Motion S3M-01872: Cathy Peattie, Falkirk East, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/05/2008

Edinburgh Scots Music Group

That the Parliament is extremely disappointed that the Scottish Arts Council has withdrawn funding from the award-winning Edinburgh Scots Music Group (SMG); notes that the group was formed in 1990 out of Edinburgh Adult Learning Project’s education and community development process and that the SMG has taught traditional music song and dance to literally thousands of adults over almost two decades, making a vital contribution to bringing the tradition back into the heart of community and cultural life in Scotland; further notes that SMG was voted Community Project of the Year at the BBC Radio Scotland Traditional Music Awards in November 2007; believes that the Scottish Arts Council should fund the maintenance of traditional forms, continuing successful and popular initiatives and voluntary organisations that are delivering all this and creating and maintaining participative traditional arts in communities, and further believes that the Scottish Government should ensure that Scottish cultural policy explicitly states the importance of such funding.


Motion S3M-01669: Bill Wilson, West of Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/04/2008

Commemorative Stamps for 200th Anniversary of Scots Language Dictionary and Funding for Complete Modern Scots Dictionary

That the Parliament notes that 2008 is the 200th anniversary of John Jamieson’s extensively researched An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, a book dedicated to the Baron of Renfrew, known also as the Prince of Wales, which included words from Renfrewshire and elsewhere in Scotland; notes that this dictionary set new standards in lexicography and has influenced two centuries of lexicographers, including Sir James Murray, the founding father of the Oxford English Dictionary, and those presently working for the Scots language dictionaries organisation; regrets, however, that two centuries after the publication of An Etymological Dictionary there is still no complete modern dictionary of the Scots language which includes words Scots shares with the related language, English; notes that this anomaly prevents the production of an effective spell-checker for Scots and makes automated translation impossible;  believes that the existence of such a complete dictionary would raise the status of the Scots language and help prevent possible discrimination against the language and its speakers in the west of Scotland and elsewhere, and would welcome investigation of the feasibility of both providing adequate funds for the production of such a dictionary and the issuing of stamps to commemorate John Jamieson’s remarkable achievement.


Motion S3M-01457: Pauline McNeill, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/02/2008

Language Diversity in Schools

That the Parliament affirms its commitment to supporting children in school whose first language is not English and believes that language diversity is a positive benefit in Scotland’s schools and across Scottish society; recognises the challenges faced by teachers, pupils and parents in multi-lingual classrooms, particularly in areas such as Glasgow where 8,853 city children speak one of 102 languages other than English at home, including Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic, Mandarin, Polish, Cantonese, Swahili, Kurdish, Thai, French, German, Spanish and Italian, alongside Gaelic, Scots, Doric and British Sign Language; congratulates Glasgow City Council and other local authorities for the work that they are already doing in response to language diversity, and calls for the Scottish Government to do more to support local authorities such as Glasgow and to respond to the calls that have been made for special funding to be made available in order that language never becomes a barrier in Scottish education.


Motion S3M-01398: Bill Wilson, West of Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/02/2008

Death of Last Eyak Speaker and the Importance of Linguistic Heritage

That the Parliament notes the extinction of the Eyak language with the death of 89-year-old Marie Smith Jones, peace campaigner and campaigner for indigenous languages, who was believed to be the last full-blooded member of the Eyak tribe of Alaska and the last fluent speaker of the language; notes that it is reported that none of her nine children learned Eyak because “they grew up a time when it was considered wrong to speak anything but English”; notes the similarities between the history of Eyak and other languages, notably Scots, and is of the opinion that the best way of honouring the life and work of Smith Jones is to promote a positive attitude to our own indigenous languages and culture.


Motion S3M-01205: Cathy Peattie, Falkirk East, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/01/2008

UN International Year of Languages

That the Parliament welcomes the decision by the United Nations General Assembly to designate 2008 as the International Year of Languages; recognises the role of UNESCO in co-ordinating activities during the year; notes the views of the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, that every linguistic community should be encouraged and permitted to use its mother tongue as widely as possible, including within education; calls on the Scottish Executive to mark and celebrate the international year of languages in ways which encourage the use of the Scots and Gaelic languages, and believes that the Executive should respond positively to UNESCO’s call for International Mother Language Day on 21 February 2008 to be used as an appropriate date for the introduction of language initiatives.


Motion S3M-01132: Bill Kidd, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/01/2008

Welcome Victory for Scots Literature

That the Parliament welcomes the US Library of Congress’s reversal of its decision to reclassify Scottish literature as a subsection of English literature, therefore keeping it as Scottish; notes that Scottish literature will be at the top of the table in the coming weeks as Burns Night is celebrated throughout the world, and hopes the words of Burns when he says “And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! And gies a hand o thine! And we’ll tak a right guid willie waught, For auld lang syne” will ring true for all those celebrating his life and works.