Public Attitudes to Gaelic and the Debate about Scottish Autonomy
Scotland seems to be a counter-example to general theories of the relationship between language and national identity or nationalism. These theories point to three components in the ideology of language and nation – that being able to speak the national language is necessary for full national membership, that the national language is a core part of the nation’s culture, and that the future of national political autonomy and the future of the national language are connected with each other. In Scotland, it has appeared that language is not central to national membership or culture, and language campaigning has not been central to the political campaigns for autonomy. The paper presents new evidence, from the 2012 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, which questions these beliefs about the relationship between language and national identity or nationalism in Scotland.
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