Podcast: Notes and impressions from the Catalan front


Scots are watching the Catalan controversy with more than a passing interest. As Madrid and Barcelona slug it out over the region’s future status, more than a few people in Scotland are seeking parallels with the UK.

Scots writer, author and broadcaster Rachel McCormack lived in Catalunya for several years, and also set up a Catalan cooking school in London. She has just returned from Barcelona, where she struck up old friendships and took the temperature of the Catalan debate, just as Spanish authorities strengthened their grip.

She visited Newsnet to tell podcast host Derek Bateman and producer Maurice Smith her impressions from the Catalan front.

Chasing the Dram, by Rachel McCormack; Simon & Schuster £16.99

You can tune in by clicking on the audio file above, via your usual podcast channels including iTunes, or using our RSS feed: http://www.buzzsprout.com/57229.rss

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  1. The Scots language was also suppressed and indeed is still suppressed and discriminated against. Daes Rachel no ken, nor unnerstaund thon?

    Methinks Rachel has lived away from Scotland for too long if she thinks fir ane meenit oor colonial maisters widna dae tae Scotlan whit Spain haes duin wi Catalunya. The British state’s Project Fear is still ongoing and behind the scenes is intensifying. The UK elite are maybe more subtle, but they are no less merciless.

  2. As a passionate Scot now living in Orlando, I really enjoyed Rachel’s article – I was always passionate about Scotland when I lived in Edinburgh, and it seems to me that the distance seems to fire up the passion, if ye catch ma drift 😉

  3. Language is the fulcrum of the independence aspirations of the Catalan people. Without that core such aspirations might prove difficult to rationalize. Language is a driver of identity and Scotland is not an exception to that dictum.
    In Scotland our once rich linguistic patchwork has, beginning well before the so-called Union, been significantly encroached upon and culturally appropriated, by English.
    Ninian Win3et (1518-1592) the feisty Catholic apologist, who wrote in classic Scottis complained that the language used by Scottish Protestant writers was heavily anglicised and that they, among other things, appeared to disdain the Scottis leid as a lesser polemical medium than Inglis.
    Weil, we ken fyn nou! he was, regardless of outlook, right on the ball.
    What passes for modern Scots has been ‘corrupted’ to the point that most examples are considered by linguists to be little more than English with Scots glosses sourced ad hoc from dictionaries; a species of Scoto-English in effect.
    As one of the major historic symbol of our nationhood Scots/Scottis needs to be taken very seriously indeed. We may be approaching the point many European ‘minorities’ found themselves in some hundred years ago, that of facing issues of language planning, revival, regeneration, restoration etc. heated debate over which period of the vernacular might serve as the linguistic gold standard, which orthographic conventions to employ, not to mention matters of lexis and syntax. Arcane, maybe, but germane to the reasoned argument for a distinct and articulate cultural identity. In our particular case one distinct from that of the predatory Anglosphere and its not so ‘soft’ cultural imperialism
    Living in, by comparison with its neighbours, a somewhat philistine state where issues of culture, let alone language, are considered rather rarified for mass consumption, in the manner of the Catalans we Scots need to up our game and effectively ‘weaponise’ our national language(s) as a counter to the relentless, sustained assault we face from Anglo-American and the opiates it purveys.
    Planning our future as an independent state is an intellectually broad spectrum issue. We neglect the cultural elements to our cost. The three centuries and more of errosion and neglect of our national patrimony is a major breach to our collective self-esteem which the colonial system we endure has and does exploit with consummate, psychologically manipulative skill.
    Win3et would recognize our predicament and respond accordingly.
    He might well be amused by the use of Inglis as a weapon against the thing itself.
    We are living in interesting times; times in which pedestrian, conventional thinking concerning our case cuts little ice.

    • Very helpful, Abulhaq. I think what we urgently do need is a Scots Language Act, and it truly amazes me the SNP has not delivered one yet, and seems not even to be thinking about it. Yet Holyrood has a ‘Language Minister’, one who evidently ignores thair ain mither tung. Truly tragic. Depressing that the SNP leadership does not appreciate that language is culture, and is not simply the way we speak, but that language influences the way we think and act, aye and the way we vote even! Withoot oor Scots langage thare isna ony Scots cultur. And the less the Scots language is spoken and understood in Scotland, the mair lykely anither naw vote tae.


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