Ulster-Scots’ biggest champion has said that a survey claiming that many Scottish people do not regard their ‘mither tongue’ as a language is just a load of “blether”.
Lord Laird of Artigarvan, head of the Ulster-Scots Agency — or Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch — says that only doubters will query the use and value of local dialects and the survey will have no impact on the popularity of the local language.
Research for the Scottish National Party (SNP) administration this week suggests that 64% of the Scottish people regard Scots just “a way of speaking” rather than a separate language from English.
The Northern Ireland Assembly uses Ulster-Scots — officially recognised as a ‘language’ — in official party documents and advertisements.
A revival of Ulster-Scots and its culture in the 1990s led to the setting up of the Ulster-Scots Agency and a raft of radio and television shows dedicated to the cause, propelling speakers like BBC presenter Willie Drennan to fame. The SNP commissioned the survey to gauge the enthusiasm of Scottish people to the ‘language’, which is also used in Government business there.
But Lord Laird says that he isn’t “gunked” by the findings and says that those who claim the languages are just a variation of English and nothing more are “dotin”.
“If someone can tell me the difference between a language, a way of speaking and a dialect these days anyway I will be able to give a better opinion,” he said.