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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Scots in the dock?

23rd August 2012

In the press this past week (Daily Record, 17 August), it was reported that a woman found herself in court for telling a police officer he should speak Scots. Wendy McCulloch, from Irvine, had been detained on suspicion of theft by PC Neville Wright-Turner but said she would only listen to him “When you learn to speak Scottish.” On 16 August McCulloch appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on a charge of having acted in a ‘racially aggravated manner’ towards the officer (whom we assume was an English gentleman) by insisting he should learn to speak Scots.  We are glad to learn, though, that the sheriff simply admonished her on this account. It can be argued that cases of abuse concerning differences in language are not racist, but in fact instances of ethnic discrimination, given that language transcends racial makeup.