The Highlands council has pledged to give as much respect to Highland languages and dialects as is given to English.

Although there are various dialects in this region; including Caithness Scots, Gaelic and English influenced by English soldiers who were sent to Inverness in the 17th Century, it is clear that these are not so widely spoken nowadays and are therefore beginning to die out.

Without an injection of people speaking these dialects and languages, they will become extinct.

 

As well as giving equal deference to these dialects, there are suggestions that it could be taken further.

Encouraging the teaching of Gaelic and Caithness Scots could help to revive these dialects in the region and ensure that they do not die out.

As with other languages and dialects throughout the world, which might be considered as ‘endangered’, the culture that goes along with them could also be lost.

History shows many different factors and events that have impacted the Highland language and dialects. Invasions, occupations,  migrations from other countries; all of these have had a direct influence of how the dialects have evolved over time.

The Cromarty fisherfolk dialect is just one example. This is believed to have developed from fishermen who travelled from Firth of Forth to Cromarty in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

It is clear that these languages and dialects hold vital links to historical events and linguistic variations that have occured in Highland history. If we lose them, then we lose pieces of history.

The council have repeatedly pledged that they “will commit to the principle of equal respect for the Gaelic and English languages, whilst also recognising the diversity of the indigenous language and dialects within the Highland area.” This is an important statement and it will undoubtedly benefit the Highland languages and dialects if this promise is kept.

Learning and speaking these languages and dialects will be invaluable. A Blether-bus is a chatterbox in Cromarty fisherfolk dialect and we could certainly use a few more chatterboxes to spread the dialects through the Highlands and, in fact, why not further?

What do you think about the Highland Council’s pledge? Is it important to prevent the extinction of dialects and languages?

For more information on the languages we work with, see our languages page.