Mono or stereo?

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bi Bob Fairnie

Whan a body speirs for mair Scots language in oor scuils, or ony whaur else for that maitter, the cry gauns oot fae some fowk that the bairns needs tae ken a mair univairsal language like English sae that they can communicate wi oor neibours in Europe an athort the warld.  This is a guid exemplar o a richt mono-leidit wey o leukin at things.  Juist cause they can speik only the yae language thirsels, they think that awbody else is the same. The feck o oor neibours in Europe aw speiks twa, three or e’en mair leids.  Whit wey can oo no dae the same?

Coorse, they micht be thinkin alang the same lines thair maisters did in the 19t century whan they set oot, for thair ain poleitical raisons, tae chynge Scotland intae an English speikin airt.  It wisnae eneuch for thaim tae juist force the Scottish scuils tae teach the bairns English.  Naw, they set oot tae mak the bairns un-lairn thair vernacular Scots an aw.  This wis duin wi muckle yuiss o the tawse alang wi ridicule, lees an makin a bauchle oot o Scots sae that e’en the day thir some fowk that creenges at the verra soond o’t.  They think that Scots is juist yaised bi dunces an donnert-heids.  Some dunces an some donnert-heids!  Think o Robert Burns.

Thae fowk that’s feart the lairnin o Scots in the scuils wull hae an ill ootcome on the bairns’ lairnin o English shuid tak tent.  It’s weel kent in Scottish eddicational circles that the bairns that gauns tae Gaelic medium scuils aye wins better merks in thair English exams nor the bairns that gauns tae English medium scuils.  This is pitten doon tae yin o the mony advantages o bein bi-leidit.  A bi-leidit brain haes twa vocabulars tae descrive the warld aboot it an this gies it, ye micht say, a kinna stereo or 3D effeck.  Whit ivver the richt words tae descrive the advantages o bein bi-leidit, it wad seem that it disnae juist help wi lairnin English but wi aw the ither subjecks an wi lairnin in general.

If fowk wants the bairns at English medium scuils tae catch up wi the yins at Gaelic medium scuils in thair English exams, it wad seem that the wey tae dae it wad be tae chynge thae English medium scuils intae bi-leidit scuils yaisin baith Scots an English or e’en better still, chynge thaim intae Scots medium scuils.