A Time for Reflection to promote the use of Scots in Parliament

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper initiated the first Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament in the Scots Language since the Parliament re-convened in 1999.

By Brian Yule
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 11:56 am
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2022, 11:56 am
Emma Harper delivers her affirmation in the Scottish Parliament in Scots
Emma Harper delivers her affirmation in the Scottish Parliament in Scots

Ms Harper and colleague Jackie Dunbar have been raising the profile of the Scots Language in Holyrood, and secured the permission of the Presiding Officer to have Scottish writer, broadcaster and language activist, Billy Kay, address the chamber.

Scots is spoken by more than 1.5 million people and is one of three native languages spoken in the country today, the other two being English and Scottish Gaelic.

Scots is the collective name for Scottish dialects which includes Lallans, Doric, Shetland and others.

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In the 2011 Scotland Census, more than 1.5 million people said they could speak Scots and another 267,000 people said they could understand Scots but not read or write the language and 1.1 per cent of adults said they spoke Scots at home.

Ms Harper said these statistics “serve to demonstrate the need for the Scots language to be promoted and for people to feel empowered to use Scots in day-to-day life”.

Billy, known internationally for his works, addressed MSPs noting history has produced notable Scots speaking cross party parliamentarians, on the importance of the Parliament promoting Scots and on how the use of Scots can help, in particular young people, to excel in their education and indeed career.

Ms Harper said: “Since my re-election to the Scottish Parliament in May last year, and along with my colleague Jackie Dunbar, we have been working to promote the use of Scots and to let people know that it is okay to use Scots on a daily basis.

"Jackie and I have re-established the Cross Party Group on the Scots Leid, we have pressed the Parliament to improve its approach to using, and promoting Scots on the Parliament campus, and we have met with the Scottish Government to discuss the Scots Language Act which was committed to in the 2021 Manifesto.

"This work is continuing and we are determined to see Scots supported, promoted and preserved.

“I again thank Billy for his fantastic Time for Reflection address and I encourage everyone to watch it and to play their part in helping to raise the profile of one of our national languages.”