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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Whitekirk urges action for Scots

12th May 2014

In the press lately (Sunday Times, May 2014), a story appeared which indicated support for the Scots language from a quarter which is perhaps unexpected. Lord Whitekirk*, former president of the Court of Session, and the man who presided over the public inquiries into Piper Alpha and Dunblane, and also headed the Lockerbie case in 2002, has publically called on education and government authorities to do much more for the Scots language in the schools. Whitekirk referred to a great injustice done to Scottish children in the 19th and 20th centuries during which they were punished, physically and mentally, for speaking their native language. He also pointed out that despite a common tendency to put Scots down as a dialect of English this idea was quite incorrect and that both simply shared a common origin as many other sister languages do. Whitekirk insisted that much, much more needed to be done to secure a place for Scots in the education system and that, to date, he was concerned that this was not being carried through. Responding to these concerns Alasdair Allan, minister for Learning and Scotlands Languages (himself a native speaker of Borders Scots), said he would be happy to discuss the matter further with Whitekirk.

(* The Scottish custom is to designate a titled person according to place, and not surname).