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Gaelic in the New Scotland: Politics, Rhetoric and Public Discourse

Author(s): McLeod, Wilson

Journal: Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
ISSN 1617-5247

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2001;
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Keywords: Gaelic language | Scotland | political discussion | Scottish Parliament

This article considers the position of the Gaelic language in the new political context in Scotland created by the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Although Gaelic has benefited from an unprecedented programme of promotion and development in recent years, Gaelic issues stand at the margins in Scottish political life. In particular, the connection between Gaelic and Scottish nationalism and national identity is a frail one, and deep-seated anti-Gaelic ignorance and antipathy retain surprising vitality. Part I gives an overview of the provision put in place for Gaelic during the last fifteen years and the issues that loom largest in current political discussion, especially proposals to gran official status to the language. Part II then gives a more detailed analysis of the assumptions, ambiguities, divisions, and prejudices that shape policy discussion relating to Gaelic in Scotland-both at the national level and within the Gaelic community itself-giving particular attention to the rhetoric used in these conversations and debates.
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