Discovering and sharing the history of Scotland’s island communities

Gaelic on Signs and Maps in Scotland

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Why it Matters

by Ruairidh MacIlleathain

Roddy MacLean (Ruairidh MacIlleathain) is a well-known Gaelic journalist and broadcaster. In this stimulating and passionately argued publication, based on a presentation to the Book Trust in November 2010, Ruairidh assesses the current position with regard to the use of Gaelic on signs and maps in  Scotland, both the patchy extent of its usage and the frequent grammatical errors which are prevalent. He argues that it is important that the language is no longer hidden away as has been the case for generations, and that bilingual signage has an important role in improving the language’s status, visibility and usage. He compares the position in Scotland unfavourably with that of other minority languages elsewhere in the world.


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