Gaelic Language Bill

I'm sure that I am just being thoroughly ignorant here but... why does Gaelic need official recognition?

The bill will give the Gaelic tongue official status across Scotland and includes the creation of a Gaelic development board - Bord na Gaidhlig - which will oversee the development of the language and secure its status as an official language of Scotland.
This sounds like a bit of a waste of money to me. Gaelic is obviously fading away as a language in favour of others which are of more utility. Why should it be preserved? Perhaps people argue (I really haven't followed this or even given it much thought) that it is of cultural importance like say a building which can be preserved through listing or an artefact in a museum or a painting in a gallery. I don't know but it seems to me that language has a purpose of facilitating communication and whether it is Gaelic, English, Esperanto or Swahili doesn't really matter. Do languages have aesthetic qualities that are to be appreciated? A "je ne sais quoi"? How much are public bodies going to have to spend on this?
At the last census the number of people able to speak, read or write Gaelic had fallen to 65,674 by 2001 - a drop of 20% in 20 years.
I'm not against it particularly. Who knows? There might be a brilliant reason for its preservation. I am curious though.

Posted by Paul in Scotland Politics at February 2, 2005 05:38 AM | 5 Comments