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  1. #1
    PatrickHughes123 is offline This person has opted out of remaining active
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    The Scots Gaelic Myth

    I have often heard the ridiculous myth that "Gaelic is purely the language of the Highlands and was never spoken by the Lowland Scots", which, quite frankly, isn't true. It has no basis in reality, and it I have no idea when this myth developed. I have the gut feeling it came about during the time of the Jacobites when there was a serious hatred of Highland culture & religion both by Lowlanders and the English, or maybe it developed earlier when the aristocracy of Scotland, became Scots speaking, and didn't want to associate themselves with the barbarous, savage and unruly Erse (Scots term for Gaelic at the time, it literally means Irish) speaking Highlanders.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is a historical map that I found from Reddit! Scots Gaelic is represented by the blue zone labelled 'Irish speaking'. You can clearly see that in this time, Gaelic was the dominating language. Gaelic was at one time spoken by most Scots, with the exception of the extreme South-East, Orkney and Shetland.

    Let's also not forget, the numerous place-names of Gaelic origin in Lowland Scotland, such as; Kilmarnock; Auchinleck; Rutherglen; Cardonald; Galloway; Dumfries; Dundee; As well as many others.

    This, when first heard, caused me to feel empty inside as I had my own culture ripped away from me, but then to realize it wasn't true, it's a commonly believed myth.
    Last edited by PatrickHughes123; 17th July 18 at 10:38 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Thumbs up

    On your map, though, the Lowlands are English speaking...
    Last edited by davidlpope; 18th July 18 at 12:53 AM.

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  5. #3
    PatrickHughes123 is offline This person has opted out of remaining active
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidlpope View Post
    On your map, though, the Lowlands are English speaking...
    No they aren't, they are mostly Gaelic-speaking. Please Google the map of Scotland.

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    Unfortunately Gaelic has been in retreat ever since the time that the map portrays. The relatively recent resurgence of interest is welcome but so much has already been lost.

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  8. #5
    PatrickHughes123 is offline This person has opted out of remaining active
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    Unfortunately Gaelic has been in retreat ever since the time that the map portrays. The relatively recent resurgence of interest is welcome but so much has already been lost.
    Yes, I'm aware. Thanks to King David I of Scotland. I know Gaelic had a short live as a prestigious language, but to say that it was never the case is just nonsense.

  9. #6
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    No they aren't, they are mostly Gaelic-speaking. Please Google the map of Scotland.
    The map which you posted actually shows the eastern lowlands, all the way north to the south shore of the Firth of Forth as "Men of Lothian", English speaking.
    The Lothian region extends from the east of the Central Lowlands southwards into the Southern Uplands.
    Vice-President and Regional Director for Scotland for Clan Cunningham International, and a Scottish Armiger.

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  11. #7
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    I must correct one statement you made about the Jacobites. Jacobites were not just from the Highlands, many Jacobites lived in England as well as the Lowlands, but they did not talk about it and supported the cause during the uprisings. Jacobites were not just Roman Catholic, but were also Protestants too. The Jacobite cause was not as hated as you may think, much of the support of the Jacobites and their actions were done one the sly. Regarding the "speaking in tongue" as my Grandfather would say, I agree totally with Peter, after the Uprising, much of Gaelic made way for English, as it fell in disfavor, mainly because of fear, and never regained. However, Gaelic was brought over to Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland, and even in the U.S. in the Outer Banks were it flourished for years. Even slaves in the Outer Banks spoke Gaelic, learned by their Scottish Masters, and to this day, Gaelic in small pockets exist in the Outer Banks. So, I agree, it was spoken across Scotland, or very least understood, but as you go closer to the English border, it was less used. Same as Welsh, as you got closer to the Border of England and Wales, the Welsh language was used less and less.
    Last edited by CollinMacD; 18th July 18 at 10:11 AM.
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, West River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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  13. #8
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    Thank you for a very interesting thread.

    May I ask what was the language of the Picts? I know I am going back hundreds of years further, but with the foundation of the Scotland, my understanding was the Irish Gaelic speaking Scotti and the Picts forged a Kingdom under Kenneth MacAlpin (much myth and legend about how fast and how violently this occurred).

    My understanding of Scottish historic is very high level and may be very wrong, so be gentle.

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  15. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Carrick View Post
    Thank you for a very interesting thread.

    May I ask what was the language of the Picts? I know I am going back hundreds of years further, but with the foundation of the Scotland, my understanding was the Irish Gaelic speaking Scotti and the Picts forged a Kingdom under Kenneth MacAlpin (much myth and legend about how fast and how violently this occurred).

    My understanding of Scottish historic is very high level and may be very wrong, so be gentle.
    Not everything on Wiki is necessary correct all the time but this is a good summary of what we know/can deduce of this extinct language - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictish_language

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  17. #10
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    The growth and distribution of Scots in Scotland and Ulster: Old English by the beginning of the 9th century in the northern portion of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, now part of Scotland
    Early Scots by the beginning of the 15th century
    Modern Scots by the mid 20th century

    While splitting hairs, would seem to indicate at least some of the lowlands speaking old English prior to the 12th Century.

    I was taught Gaelic in elementary school, and still remember a few simple phrases.
    Last edited by Taskr; 18th July 18 at 10:20 AM.

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