Letter: Ulster Scots is dead and I’ll believe otherwise when it’s on the curriculum

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Dear Sir,

One can only but admire the emotive missive from Ulster Scots Agency CEO, Mr Ian Crozier, but first of all he must dispose of the ‘we are under siege’ mentality.

I did not ‘attack’ the Ulster Scots language, I simply stated that it was dead, and it surprises me that none of the so-called thousands of people who can read and speak the language, and to whom Mr Crozier refers to in his sweeping generalisation, took me to task.

My admiration for Mr Crozier stems from his defence of the indefensible.

I have been privileged to read Ulster Scots verse from Dundalk to Drumquin and from Aghadowey to Ardara, but have yet to meet one of these ardent speakers in pursuit of the Ulster Scots language.

Mr Crozier refers to the European Committee of Experts (COMEX), which oversees the development of minority languages across Europe who observed that the position of Ulster Scots has improved from the last monitoring round thanks largely to the work of the Ulster Scots Agency.

Does this mean they have moved from “guid tae mair than guid?” What a “margymore” when we have to rely on quangos for confirmation.

It pleases me that the Ulster Scots Agency have now assumed the role of impresarios and are holding a Burns Night, a highlight of Northern Ireland culture no less, as part of their efforts to promote the language.

Will a local Ulster Scots speaker be participating? Will the Ulster Orchestra aficionados leave the Waterfront Hall telling each other, “That wiz a quare oul nicht, or yae cudnae bate him?” I fear not.

Mr Crozier’s indecorous comment about “eaten bread being soon forgotten” is typical but appropriate when applied to the Ulster Scots Agency.

Many years ago, following spirited persuasion on my part, the Ulster Scots Agency, condescended to publish two books of my Ulster Scots verse.

Not, I hasten to add, through any love of the language, but as fig leaf that would help justify their existence.

Once eaten that bread too was soon forgotten.

I will be the first to acknowledge the resurrection of the dead language when Mr Crozier and the Ulster Scots Agency lobby the Minister of Education to make the Ulster Scots language a subject on the national curriculum.

Until that time comes, I fear, the Ulster Scots Agency and the Ulster Scots language will be forever based on sentiment.

Wilson Burgess

Londonderry