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Section 2.23. Scots, English, Doric and Scots Gaelic are the languages of Scotland. Notwithstanding, all documentation of a legal nature, and concerning the actions or deeds of the Scottish Parliament and Justice System, will be recorded in the English language, which will have precedence over any other written translations.

Proposed Amendments to Section

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Original Version

  • Avatar admin
    Administrator #1  •  2020-08-16 22:14:22

    Section 2.23. Section 2.23. Scots, English, Doric and Scots Gaelic are the languages of Scotland. Notwithstanding, all documentation of a legal nature, and concerning the actions or deeds of the Scottish Parliament and Justice System, will be recorded in the English language, which will have precedence over any other written translations.

      • Caledonialan

        Section 2.23. Many would deny that Scots and Doric are different languages.

          • J M Tait

            Section 2.23. To the Scottish establishment, this is irrelevant. The purpose of this clause is not to say anything about Scots, Doric or Gaelic, but to assert the dominance of standard English. How Scots is demarcated is irrelevant to this purpose - it doesn't matter what they are or what you call them as long as the point is made that they are functionally irrelevant to Scottish society. That the only reference to the autochthonous languages is to assert their subservience to English is symptomatic of the Scottish mainstream attitude - including those strands that might be called 'nationalist' - in general.

            No responses
          • BillC

            Section 2.23. I'd expect a fair bit of debate around this one, and a challenge against having the constitution declare that English is the official language of Scotland. I know it is, in reality, the current normal and officlal language, but if we are to encourage the survival and development of Scots and Gaelic then those languages need to have official standing.

            No responses
      • Caledonialan

        Section 2.23. I think this topic gives rise to misunderstanding. It also requires fuller discussion than is permitted by the comment cut-off length, so I may have to spill over into several comments. What is an "official language"? (NB: this section does not use the term.) An official language is generally one in which written legal texts are deemed authentic, so that any disputes as to interpretation can be settled without recourse to comparing different language versions. That was a bugbear in the European Ciurt of Justice, where I used to work. In that context, it makes perfect sense for the language in which legal and legislative documents are deemed to be authentic to be the one most widely used and understood in Scotland, namely, English (though with all the specificities of Scottish legal and other usage, which are different from those in other parts of the English-speaking world).

          • Caledonialan

            Section 2.23. In addition to an "official" language, it is quite in order to provide that other languages are "national" languages. Scots and Gaelic are the obvious candidates. Though I still hae ma doots about any distinction between Scots (Lallans?) and Doric - both seem to me to be within the broad spectrum of Scottish speech. Neither is, however, as yet, standardised as a written language, even though various attempts have been made, and that might be awkward when it comes to using Scots/Doric/Lallans "officially".

              • Caledonialan

                Section 2.23. The Luxembourgish example might be worth considering, though I think it is too detailed for a constitutional provision. Luxembourgish law provides, in brief, that (1) the national language is Luxembourgish, (2) all legislative and legal documents are to be in French, and (3) any person applying to a public authority in any way may do so in Luxembourgish, French and German and is in principle entitled to a response in the same language.

                No responses

Proposed Amendment to Section 2.23.

  • Macthedug

    Sign Language

    Section 2.23. Sign Language for the deaf to be included as an official national language.

      • Caledonialan

        Section 2.23. Of course sign language (English/Scots/Gaelic sign language? - they wouldn't be the same) must be used whenever possible and useful in official contexts. I see difficulties, though, in designating it as an "official" language. People have various ideas about what is meant by "official" language, but it generally refers to a written language of record, to which reference can be made in order to interpret legislation and other official communications. Sign language is, like speech, ephemeral and thus very difficult to use for such a purpose. But, even if we were to envisage a sort of authentic recorded version of an Act of Parliament in sign language, how many competent practitioners would be able to make such a record, and how easy would it be for anyone to interpret? When there is a written record, those who use sign language in place of spoken communication are no worse off than the rest of us, apart from the visually impaired, for whom a Braille version may be made.

        No responses

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