Lack of language report demonstrates Executive dysfunctionality

The UK Government slammed the NI Executive earlier this week for its failure to contribute to the UK’s report to the European Bureau of Lesser-Used Languages on the development of minority languages in the UK.

“Minority languages” means indigenous languages (i.e. those spoken by the population over several generations in the same jurisdiction), which in the case of Northern Ireland is taken to mean Irish and Ulster Scots.

The problem, of course, is that while development of the Irish language is generally proceeding well – with the Liofa campaign and new radio stations – the development of Ulster Scots has ground to an absolute halt, despite millions of taxpayers’ money being spent on it.

My good friend Liam Logan made a brave defence on the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme earlier in the week, but in fact most of what he referred to was musical or broadcasting activity (I can vouch for the latter as Chair of the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund). There is precious little in the area of linguistic development.

It is not as if things couldn’t have been done linguistically for Ulster Scots. I myself, in an entirely voluntary capacity, published a grammar a year ago. A Ministerial Advisory Group, with minimal funding, has at last brought together some real expertise (even if I myself would respectfully dispute some of its priorities) but has been broadly unsupported elsewhere. Vernacular translations of works such as Alice in Wonderland, again primarily voluntary, have appeared. However, this is all under the radar (while the taxpayers’ money is spent on “cultural activities” rather than the linguistic development to which it was initially supposed to be allocated) for fear of ridicule.

Yet again, the Executive is hiding its failings and divisions. It should be more honest about them. A truthful admission of failure is no bad thing. A suspicion you are not being honest is.


3 thoughts on “Lack of language report demonstrates Executive dysfunctionality

  1. madhava says:

    Keep er lit ya boay ye !

  2. harryaswell says:

    It beggars all belief that in these extremely hard times so very much public money is being wasted on “dead” (or virtually dead) languages such as Irish Gaelic, Ulster Scots, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. By the very term “Minority languages”, this means we will soon be supporting schemes for speaking Yorkshire! The amount of money being wasted here, and also due to translations actually “having” to be made available for various parliamentary debates both here and in Brussells is huge and blatantly unnecessary. Cut your cl;oth to suit your pocket, use this money for more urgent things such as hosital A & E and schools, social benefits, whatever, come back to supporting “Minority languages” when times improve.

  3. Clare says:

    Remarkably I agree with you for once Harry.
    It’s political correctness and dreadfully wasteful

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